Mindfulness has become a hot topic. In life, and in fitness, people are being told to be more mindful, or present, in each and every moment. But what is it? How do you achieve it? Mindfulness without specific directions is a meaningless word.
I recently attended the PrePose Method launch. This new system, developed by the brilliant minds of Dr. Chloe Costigan and veteran yoga teacher Carrie Morgan, directly addressed the absence of mindfulness in human movement. In their systematic approach to mindfulness, skillful movements are deconstructed down to their simplest biomechanical pieces, and then transitioned into PrePoses, or corrective exercises, before ultimately layering the pieces back into the full movement. Breaking down skillful movements into biomechanical pieces creates a common language to build more complicated movement from. The PrePoses use that language to bridge the gap between the biomechanical pieces, and more skillful movements. The inaugural PrePose class focused on bringing mindfulness to yoga poses, but it also showed how the method could be directly applied to any skillful movement. At Mobility-Doc we’re already using the PrePose method to teach weightlifters how to achieve a better overhead position with a barbell.
PrePose taught me that mindfulness can be achieved when you have a system that helps you to constantly check back in on the most important parts. That without a common language coaches and healthcare professionals run the risk of their cues getting lost in translation. True movement efficiency is subconscious. But before you can achieve that you must first be made consciously aware of the movement. You can’t be mindful without knowing what you should be mindful about.
At Mobility-Doc a large number of our patients and clients come to us seeking out a better system for improving their ability to recover. What we've found is that the problem isn't that most people aren't doing too little stretching and foam rolling. They are going in blind and doing too much of the wrong thing. You might think that the book or the app you just purchased is giving you a system, but most likely it's not. Take a closer look at it. At best you've probably purchased a generic template or an encyclopedia of exercises. You need to test and retest. If not you are just pressing and guessing.
Testing and retesting is simple. At least it should be. Remember KISS? Keep it short and simple. Is your knee hurting when you squat? Then thats your test. Pick a mobility exercise and perform it for time or sets and reps. Right after you finish performing the exercise, retest. Did it help? Do more of it. Did it hurt? Stop doing it. Do you feel exactly the same afterwards? Then you're wasting your time. Try to develop a 15-20 minute routine. Once you have what works exploit it until it doesn't work anymore. Let test and retest be your guiding principle.
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Drs. Chloe Costigan and John Giacalone are both physical medicine specialists, former competitive athletes, and strength and conditioning coaches.