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Movement Variability: SandBell Training Tips

October 29th, 2014

Human Movement Variability and Training Program Design

Chuck Wolf offers SandBell sandbag training tips

movement variability SandBell training

The traditional model of training often has “blocked” model design, typically characterized as usually low complexity, low skill level single movements in a pre-determined, sequenced design. This often is characteristic of the traditional strength training model. This is not to say it is not a good model, as it is a necessary component for strength gains, hypertrophy, and neuro-control. When performed correctly, there is a learned concept to blocked training and enhances movement patterns, but to a limit, as the repetitiveness does not promote the randomness of movement variability.

In a recent article by Thurmon Lockhart and Nick Stergiou, New Perspectives in Human Movement Variability, “Movement variability is defined as the normal variations that occur in motor performance across multiple repetitions of a task.” N.A. Bernstein in a work called “On Dexterity and Its Development” described movement variability as “repetition without repetition.” They go on to say, “the development of healthy and highly adaptable systems relies on the achievement of the optimal state of variability.”

This holds very true to the term “functional training.” The tri-plane motions, overcoming of gravity, mass and momentum, and ground reaction forces create an environment that emanates the characteristics of movement variability. Within the paradigm of functional training, many tools and environments may be used to challenge the entire human system. The implementation of tools creates an external force that must be controlled and overcome to improve the human function of a task. The tri-plane reactions of the control of mass and momentum, within either a stable environment or unstable environment, will allow the deceleration against gravity and the ground reactions forces to improve the random control that is necessary to attain various tasks. Add in the Newton’s Las of Motion, particularly the first law that states, “Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.”

When applying these principles and truths, nothing matches these concepts as the use of Hyperwear’s SandBell. The simplicity of their usage creates the complexity of the program design. For example, as Newton’s First Law implies, the state of motion tends to remain in motion unless an external force is applied to it. This can be observed in this video clip, Comparison of Anterior Reach, when the first portion demonstrates the anterior reach with a medicine ball.

The second portion of the clip demonstrates the anterior reach using a SandBell. Both tools weigh 20 pounds, however, notice the continued motion of the SandBell and the reactive motion of the body to decelerate the action. This requires more of an eccentric action to slow and control the movement of the SandBell, resulting in more of random reaction. Extrapolate this use through three planes of motion as the body must react within movement variability.

Blended into the program design is high complexity, high skill level of”random” paradigm. This is necessary in the skill specific, task specific phase training because actions in all sports are random needing a reactive response. These activities call for the need to control mass and momentum, deceleration at high loads, and mulit-directional acceleration. The usage of SandBells adds to an intensive program of “repletion without repetition.”

Author: Chuck Wolf, MS, FAFS has a Masters of Science Degree in Exercise Physiology from George Williams College, and specializes in Applied Biomechanics. He presently is the Director of Human Motion Associates, in Orlando, Florida, consulting with clients ranging from the rehabilitation setting to professional athletes of the highest level. Chuck works extensively with many of the top 50 PGA players in the world and also has worked with numerous professional baseball players and other high level athletes. He has emerged as a leader of functional anatomy and biomechanics within the fitness and sports performance industries and works extensively with internal medicine physicians, orthopedic specialists, neurosurgeons, and physical therapists addressing musculoskeletal issues and developing corrective exercise programs. Chuck has presented at many national and international conferences and written numerous articles and produced many educational videos in the areas of human motion, sports science, and human performance.  

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