Written by: Brian Tevis, M.S., CSCS, PES
1. Diaphragmatic Breathing
The diaphragm is a rather large, dome-shaped muscle located at the bottom of the rib cage. When the diaphragm contracts along with the intercostal muscles, pressure in the thoracic cavity decreases, allowing air to enter the lungs. When exhaling, the diaphragm and intercostal muscles relax allowing air to leave. Air can be released faster by activating the transverse abdominis and increasing abdominal pressure. In addition to its respiratory capabilities, the diaphragm also plays an important role in stabilizing the core, an important aspect of any athletic movement and exercise.
Despite the importance of the diaphragm regarding respiratory effectiveness and stabilization of the core, most adults fail to properly recruit this muscle. This limits spinal stabilization and deep core activation. To properly recruit and train the diaphragm, one must work on nasal and diaphragmatic breathing. As we breathe in, our stomachs should rise slightly as the diaphragm contracts and compresses the abdominal space. As we breathe out, both the chest and
stomach should fall.
Failure to properly and effectively breathe is a commonly learned compensation that we develop over time. As we age we tend to stress breathe, meaning we breathe through our mouths and allow our chest cavity to expand. If you were to
watch a young child, you would notice the ease at which he or she is able to belly breathe. Consciously working on your nasal and belly breathing (diaphragmatic breathing) will help enforce activation of key core stabilizing muscles such as
the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, diaphragm, and intercostal muscles. Properly recruiting and training the deep core will help increase strength, limit plateaus and barriers, and prevent injuries.
2. Barefoot Training
Have you ever tried to write while wearing a pair of gloves? Kind of difficult, isn’t it? Putting a barrier between your skin and a writing utensil limits your body’s ability to feel and recruit small nerves in your hands. The same thing goes for your feet when it comes to wearing shoes.
Our bodies are one huge feedback loop of information to and from the brain. Connecting our feet into the ground (barefoot training) and utilizing the natural
spiral effects of muscle tension to center the joint are excellent ways to improve movement, prevent injuries and enhance performance. Wearing shoes with even a small raise in the heel shifts balance and tension; this shift causes limited glute and hamstring activation and contributes to quad dominance. Going barefoot will ensure that you are activating the proper muscles and feeling each exercise where you should be feeling it.
3. Rotational Movement Training ®
Rotation is the fundamental essence of human movement. Whether you are walking, running, swinging a golf club, or simply turning to your left or right, your body is moving with some degree of rotation. There are no straight lines in the human body, so it only makes sense that you should train your body to achieve its highest movement capabilities through Rotational Movement Training ®.
Rotational Movement Training ® is designed to unify, strengthen, and balance the body while educating it to move smarter and with greater efficiency and athleticism. By combining rotational movements within the body with specialized equipment, compound integrated movement patterns, and skill based high-intensity exercises, you can help promote greater communication and connection between your muscles, tendons, connective tissues, and joints within your body. Enhanced communication and connection helps to promote integration and sequencing between your core and the rest of your body. The better integrated your body is, the more effectively you can produce and express total body
strength from your core and throughout your entire body.
The movement patterns and exercises used in Rotational Movement Training ® closely relate to those used in sports and everyday life activities. Training this way prepares your body to execute movements with greater ease and fluidly to
increase the power and explosiveness of the movements while decreasing the risk of injury.
4. Balance & Reflexive Training
Balance and reflexive training is an area of fitness and overall health that most people don’t care about until they are old and NEED to care about it. Training balance at the most reflexive level, with your eyes closed, can teach your body to take tension and drop the tension down. A well-trained athlete figures out how to center their balance lower in the body than someone who is untrained. When you lose your balance, the first thing that happens is the tension shoots up in the body. By teaching your body how to transfer this tension down instead of up, you can effectively create more time where your body can figure out how to solve the problem rather than protect yourself from the problem. You will never totally remove or lose this protective reflex, but you can teach your body to delay that response. This enhances reaction time and fine tunes your body spatial awareness, both with and without your eyes closed.
5. Non-Dominant Side Training™
Developing your non-dominant side is one of the best ways to make yourself a better athlete, improve overall fitness, and develop muscular balance. Often, athletes avoid non-dominant side development because they don’t want to look
or feel awkward. Breaking through the awkwardness and limitations of your mind and body can lead to greater control of your non-dominant side, which helps improve athletic movement skills as both sides of your body are able to work
better together as one complete unit.
The stronger, more coordinated side of your body has established its dominance throughout your life through consistent usage and education. By using the “Compare/Contrast Principle,” you can teach your body to borrow the intelligence
of your better side to help educate your non-dominant side, thus improving coordination, balance, and global athleticism.
This creates balanced muscle memory that translates or carries over to many athletic movements such as throwing, hitting, running, jumping, better agility and athletic balance. By learning to compare the quality of one side against the other, you begin to understand exactly what you are doing with your dominant side and then work to implement these same movement patterns to your non-dominant side. Not only will this improve your non-dominant side, but the examination and comparison between right and left will also enhance your dominant side capabilities.
Improving the capability of your non-dominant side minimizes movement deficiencies and improves overall athletic capacity, balance and strength. The techniques utilized in Non-Dominant Side Training TM encourages symmetry
between left and right sides of your body and allows the non-dominant side of your body to contribute with greater efficiency, coordination, and total body performance.
Non-Dominant Side Training TM will improve the communication between both sides of your body to make you an all-around better athlete, decrease wasted effort and strain from overcompensating with your dominant side for the deficiencies and inefficiencies of your non-dominant side, and will help build a much stronger athletic foundation regardless of what sport your play.
Beat Fitness focuses on empowered living by achieving the optimal state of health in body and mind through instruction on proper body movements and techniques! If you’re interested in working out at Beat Fitness, contact us at 724.900.0323 or email our trainer Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org.