A Look Into The Body: Joint By Joint

Gray Cook.

Mike Boyle.

If you are unaware of those two gentlemen, I highly suggest you start reading their material. A lot of people have a knack for making things really simple. These two gentlemen introduced the joint by joint approach. It is something I educate my staff on, and incorporate in all of our warm ups, as well as program design.

The approach breaks down like this: Starting from the ground up, at the ankle, each joint alternates being stable, or mobile.

Take a look at it like this::

  • Ankle Joint: Mobility
  • Knee Joint: Stability
  • Hip Joint: Mobility
  • Lumbar Region: Stability
  • Thoracic Region: Mobility
  • Scapular Region: Stability
  • Shoulder: Mobility
  • Elbow: Stability

This concept has a lot behind it, but you can pull away a few things from it. Your warm-ups and program design should follow this. You should be completing exercises that will stabilize the knee, mobilize the ankle, stabilize your scapula, mobilize your hip, etc.

This can also help us break down injuries. If a joint is not stable and it’s suppose to be, or mobile and it’s suppose to be, it causes the adjacent joint to do some compensating, typically causing some form of injury.

Take for example the hip joint. If you follow the joint by joint approach the hip should be a mobile joint, having a large range of motion. However, all too often people have extremely poor hip mobility. This causes the next joint up, lumbar spine, to overcompensate. The lumbar spine is an area that should be stabilized. By having poor hip mobility, you are asking a stable joint to be mobile, commonly causing injury.

So what does all this mean? It’s important to pay attention to as you complete your program. You should know which joints need to focus more on stability, and which joints need to focus more on mobility. This will not only increase performance, but also reduce the risk of injury.

Here are some great exercises, joint by joint, to either increase stability, or mobility.

Ankle Mobility: Ankle Rocks

Knee Stability: Bulgarian Split Squats

Hip Mobility: Quad Position Hip Rotations

Lumbar Stability: Prone Planks, Palloff Press Variations

Thoracic Spine Mobility: Tripod T-Spine Mobility

Scapular Stability: Half Kneeling Rows

Shoulder Mobility: Wall Slides

Elbow Stability: Hammer Curls

*Please note: Videos were found through a YouTube search for instructional purposes only. I did not create these videos.

Both Gray Cook and Mike Boyle have done their part in changing the field of strength and conditioning. This joint by joint approach is just one of many examples. I keep it in mind everyday with my program, as well as program design for my clients.

There you have it. A look at the body, joint by joint.

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About Spurling Training Systems

At Spurling Training Systems, our focus is on providing a superior athletic conditioning experience. The combination of expert training, time spent understanding your specific goals and customized program development is what makes Spurling Training Systems a unique and effective training experience for athletes of all ages, levels and abilities. Doug is the founder and owner of Spurling Training Systems. He graduated from University of New England with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Exercise Science. He has several years of experience as both a personal trainer for general fitness and a strength and conditioning coach for athletes. His certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) include Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Certified Personal Trainer (CPT).
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