Functional Training Zones

How Does the Body Know?

by Todd Wright & Chris Braden

The Human Body is an amazing, adaptable, self-organizing, free-flowing, highly intelligent organism. Human Movement involves millions upon millions of actions and reactions in order to effectively produce the end result in an efficient manner. With all of the seemingly ambiguous things happening during movement, one question that arises is; how does the body know how to accomplish movement, or even adapt that movement to the ever-changing environment?

The fact is nobody knows completely how the body gets it done. If some movement specialist did know, we would all be doing the same rehab, prevention, and performance programs. We are human beings trying to figure out how our own bodies know what's going on. Guess What? Our bodies are smarter than us, and will always be ahead of our understanding.

If you're feeling a little intimidated, you should be. That's why we all are investing our time and energy into learning as much as we can about Human Movement. Basically, the body is a reactor. When in motion, external forces (gravity, ground reaction force, mass, and momentum) create chain reactions in every part of the neuromusculoskeletal system. These forces give information to the proprioceptors that in turn transduce this mechanical force into electrical information, which gives the nervous system a "real-time" picture of what's going on and what needs to be done. These sensors are in every tissue in the locomotor system (joint capsule, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and fascia) and allow Human Function to be variable, adaptable, and specific to the task that the individual needs to accomplish. The muscle and fascial systems are now called on to decelerate the forces/motions and "transform" that eccentric loading into exploding in a concentric manner. These internal forces now create another set of chain reactions that the proprioceptors sense. 99.9% of what has been described so far has been subconscious to the individual. It would be impossible for the brain to store and/or learn all the infinite ways the human body can move. Think back to how you learned to walk as a child. No body taught you, your body reacted and discovered how to get the job done. This understanding is the "cornerstone" to expanding our abilities to train and condition movement.         

We at Train 4 The Game have dedicated our lives to learning as much about the "truth" of Human Function as we can. We have learned techniques of giving the body movement problems, and allowing the body to figure out the solutions. This system allows our coaches to systematically create more efficient and effective movement in a variable, dynamic, and sub-conscious manner for our clients and athletes. It is an environment that allows the coach and athlete to learn more about movement from each other everyday. So while we may not have an absolute understanding on how the body knows how to organize movement, we do have proven strategies and exercises at our disposal that allow for the body to successfully learn for itself.

Learn the techniques (exercises) but more importantly understand the strategies and the principles on which they are built upon in order to understand more about how the body knows.