In my loose programming template, I have a few spaces carved out where I have the word “locomotive” within it. Inspired by recent conversation at Sports Rehab Expert with a number of excellent contributors including Dr. Craig Liebenson, Dr. Jeff Cubos, Joe Heiler, and Charlie Weingroff, I have decided to expand on the benefits of certain locomotive drills and how they fit my movement paradigm.
Locomotives to me a drills that take you from point A to point B. Many may identify locomotives like marching, skipping, crossing over, etc, but it is a bit more detailed than that in my current system. As it is classified now, I am working my athletes while respecting the developmental hierarchy and have the locomotives broken down into anterior, posterior, lateral, rotational, mobility, and stability (in reality, each and every locomotive is a combination of all the above, which may be of value in the physical holism sense).
As you can see “locomotive” is an extremely broad classification of drill, which allows for the freedom to address the specific needs of the athlete. They can start supine on the floor and perform a series of rolling patterns to reach the end point, athletes can move in a variety of quadruped movements (both prone and supine), can take part in lunging/traditional dynamic mobility locomotives, skipping, crossing over, implement carries, etc.
As has been discussed frequently, rolling patterns are the beginning of the developmental sequence, and can provide value in developing reflexive core stability and a certain level of rotational mobility. Depending on the extremity driving the movement, you can train certain motor patterns related to a number of sport movements as well.
Quadruped locomotives can be done either in a prone or supine position (bear crawl or crab walk) and in all directions. The bear crawl is a great exercise that dynamically challenges rotational stability and a bit more of the anterior chain, whereas the crab walk serves to attack the posterior aspects while forcing great frontal and transverse plane control over the pelvis. The hand walk is also an excellent exercise that challenges the anterior chain quite heavily.
Mobility drills can be used to attack joint or pattern specific mobility deficits in athletes. Spidermans, lunge series, and other “traditional” dynamic drills can fit the bill.
We know that implement carries can be done in a variety of ways and provide slightly different impacts depending on the placement of the weight. Unilateral carrying at hip, shoulder, or overhead can lead to a great demand placed across the torso, whereas bilateral carrying seems to result in greater activation of the hips. McGill showed that in a farmers carry the hip abductors are forced to work at a capacity greater than they are capable, meaning that there had to be some specific frontal plane stabilizer activity to help maintain the free half of the pelvis’s height during swing.
I’ll put together a video and post it shortly!