When you watch someone perform a movement (jumping, lifting, throwing, etc.), the body moves in a sequenced pattern in the opposite direction to the intended task The opposite movement, and the associated joint motions, serves to lengthen and load the muscles. At Gray Institute® we believe that this is consistent with all human function. Therefore, it represents a core Principle of human movement: Load to Explode.
Based on this Principle, the Strategies to enhance the execution of a movement will focus on increasing and improving the success of the loading portion of the movement. The title of this blog in the Principled Strategies Series is “Explode to Load.” It will suggest “opposite” Strategies when attempts to facilitate the load are not creating the desired Chain Reaction®.
In many activities there is a cyclical or reciprocal relationship between the sides of the body. Simply stated: the Explode on one side “feeds” the Load on the opposite side. A great example of this is a boxing punch. The Explode of a left hook will Load the right side of the body in preparation for a right hook. So the Strategy of Explode to Load would suggest working on the Explode of the left hook to enhance the load of the right side.
The causes of a poor load most commonly are limited motion at one or more of the joints, or insufficient strength in the muscles to decelerate the loading motions. But pain, surgery, or fear could also limit a person’s ability and / or willingness to load. A post surgical example when the Explode to Load Strategy could be utilized is following hip replacement surgery. When the operated hip becomes the front leg during ambulation, the movement of the pelvis and center of mass towards that leg creates hip adduction. This requires that the hip abductor muscles decelerate the motion. Many patients avoid this, by walking with a wide gait and not allowing the pelvis to move toward the leading leg side. This is where driving the pelvis away from the operated side can reap benefits. As the opposite hip loads and then Explodes, the Explode drives the pelvis towards the operated side. This will gradually create the hip adduction that the client was avoiding.
With the more common deficiencies in joint motion or muscles strength, the Explode to Load Strategy can be employed though the use of pivot movements. Often when motion is restored or strength is increased, the client will not immediately use these new resources. One way to “trick” the body into using the new motion or strength is by driving the body in a successful direction and returning back to the less successful direction. The Explode in the successful direction encourages the body to accept the Load in the less successful direction. In the 3DMAPS® Performance System, this is referred to as Pivots (In-Chain) and Pivots (Out-of-Chain). They are powerful tools in the development of Mobility and Stability. (Fore more info on 3DMAPS®, please visit https://www.grayinstitute.com/courses/maps.)
With the Load to Explode Strategy, the movement is opposite the intended task. In contrast, the Explode to Load Strategy takes advantage of movement success on the opposite side of the body or in the opposite direction to feed the desired Load. While the Load to Explode Strategy is used with almost every patient / client, the Explode to Load Strategy (as Dr. Gary Gray would say) might be the “secret sauce” for a few of your Patients / clients who are having difficulty with the Load.