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Product Review: Secrets of Primitive Patterns | Boddicker Performance

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Product Review: Secrets of Primitive Patterns

by on Feb 16th, 2010

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In the past several months it seems that the concept of primitive patterns and developmental kinesiology has taken hold in both the performance and rehabilitation communities. This popularity can be linked to the distribution of the Prague School’s (and Dr. Kolar’s) ideas and theories regarding antagonist co-activation, which has come about through extensive study of developmental kinesiology and includes reflexive creeping and turning over as well as rolling patterns, and, as many members of Sports Rehab Expert can also appreciate, Gray Cook and his FMS and SFMA are strongly influenced by the neuro-developmental sequence.

As I am eternally curious and a big proponent of Gray’s work, I was very excited to have the opportunity to review the product in his “Secrets of…” series that discusses these very movement sills, Secrets of Primitive Patterns.

Secrets of Primitive Patterns is a continuation of Cook’s, Burton’s, and Jones’s series that addresses the final two screens in the FMS, the push up and rotary stability screens. The push up and rotary stability screens are patterns that are often deficient in today’s athlete and are also the closest relatives to patterns experienced early in the developmental sequence—rolling and crawling. As Kolar points out, these patterns are pre-programmed and any aberration or disruption in its development can have long-term deleterious effects on movement capacity.

The DVD starts off with an excellent review of screening protocol and a great discussion of when modifications to the screen should be implemented. A “golden nugget” from this segment came with the quote, “Don’t change the bell curve to fit your programming, change your programming to fit the bell curve.” Simply because you have many people who are unable to achieve “3s” on the push up or rotary stability does not necessarily indicate the screens are inappropriate, but only that the patterns are worth investigating. That said, if your screening of clientele fails to establish a bell curve after fifty screens, Lee and Gray then say you may consider modifications.

Following screening, Lee and Gray present several different corrective exercises to help restore patterns in a “low, medium, and high tech” sequence. The techniques range from simple bodyweight loaded drills, to Cook bands, to PowerPlate interventions for both push up and rotational stability screens.

One of my personal favorite exercises requiring little equipment from the DVD is the eccentric, band assisted push up. For those athletes who tend to hyperextend in the concentric phase of the push up, eccentric lowering is performed and the concentric portion is assisted with vertical force via band. Gray’s discussion of neutral spine and what it means prior to demonstrating the rotational stability corrections is well worth seeing.

Finally, Gray and Lee detail the use of two assessments of symmetry, rolling and the side plank exercise. The two exercises are excellent to detect asymmetry and rolling, in Gray’s eyes, is an assessment of “quality” whereas the side plank is more of a quantity marker. While there has been some “normative” data published in the side plank test, it is asserted that time does not necessarily matter so long as there is symmetry. In congruence with many of their previous publications, it is mentioned that quality of rolling should first be established before attempting to improve the quantity of the side plank.

Rolling is a pattern that is theoretically preprogrammed in those with healthy nervous systems and has been likened to “hitting the reset button” with respect to movement patterns. It is theorized to be able to reflexively stimulate stability where necessary while also promoting mobility as well. It can be a valuable addition to your programming.

Secrets of Primitive Patterns has definitely made me take a step back and look at what interventions I am using in my programming. For quite some time, I almost always would include some form of plank exercises in the early stages of programming without first being certain that my athletes had the requisite mobility, which I now believe to be an error. I would highly suggest watching Secrets of Primitive Patterns and playing with some of the suggestions within your own programming.

Get it at Perform Better


Carson Boddicker

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