Assessing Control In the Sagittal Plane

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a superb seminar in San Francisco to further my education in the science of the Postural Restoration Institute or PRI for short. It was such a huge pleasure to be surrounded by a group of high level thinkers, and reminded me of the expression: If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room!

PRI science manages to be both simple and complex – it is highly technical and requires an advanced understanding of biomechanics and anatomy.  However, at the same time the principles just seem so obvious once they are explained.  It is safe to say that anyone attending a PRI educational event will experience several ‘ah hah’ moments – if not full on face palms.

It all seems so obvious now

At this latest event, which was very much focussed on bringing Postural Restoration science out of the clinical setting it is best known for, and applying it in the space of strength and conditioning, the presenters had simplified some of the more complicated orthopaedic based PRI assessment protocols into a series of movement ‘screens’.

One of these screens has been designed to assess an individual’s ability to fully exhale, and successfully inhibit their Posterior Exterior Chain (one of the various poly-articular chains that PRI science is based upon).  Now whilst this sounds complicated – in essence this was a very simple assessment that would demonstrate if a client / patient / athlete has control in the sagittal plane.

Those who know me, know that I place a great deal of emphasis on an A,B,C of movement coaching that was popularised by Evan Osur in his Integrated Corrective Exercise method.  Dr Osur explains the A,B,C principles as follows  “For a movement to be ‘successful’ it must optimise the individuals Alignment, Breathing, and Control in that position.  If they don’t have control, then they don’t fully own that position.”

In order to ‘clear’ this very simple screen the individual must be able to come out of a gross extension pattern (alignment), fully exhale and retract the ribcage (breathing) and successfully inhibit their trunk extensors (control).

So, so simple and really was one of those ‘why didn’t I think of that!?’ moments.  Well…. I didn’t, and they did – so huge thank you to James Anderson and Julie Blandin for coming up with this.

What does it mean?

Well – in PRI speak we are looking at core organisation and restricted costal mobility, and therefore airflow on one or both sides of the thorax.

For those who aren’t familiar with this terminology, or who don’t wish to explore PRI science – if your client can’t do this, they are not ready to train outside of the sagittal plane.  Nice and simple.  They need to work on core control in this plane first, master the sagittal plane, and then  be progressed to the more 3 dimensional movements.

So there we have it – a simple simple screen technique born out of a very advanced school of thought.  And one that has an application for all.

To round off – here we have the awesome group of people who attended this latest PRI event in San Francisco.  I’ll finish how I started this post – if you’re the smartest person in the room – you’re in the wrong room!

PRI Integration, San Francisco CA, Oct 2015
2017-05-02T21:38:33+00:00November 2nd, 2015|0 Comments

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