Category: Applied Functional Science

We’ve all had those moments in our life when we have come across a piece of information that cannot be ignored. 

Collectively, our thoughts, experiences, and questions that have arisen around the topic all seamlessly come together and FINALLY make sense.  This new, undeniable fact, becomes the TRUTH!  And every future action, thought, and reaction substantially becomes changed.  These principles (truths) by which we now operate become the foundation for who we are and what we do in our day-to-day lives.

Although I have been a Movement Coach and Educator for the last 20 years, one truth that I’ve painfully come to accept, is that I don’t know everything, and I may not have the answer to every problem that comes in front of me.  Each client brings with them uniqueness in their physiology, psychology, and past movement experiences that requires the movement professional to create individual strategies and techniques.

This “truth” that we are all individuals, led me to seek a greater truth to support my ability to help others no matter their size, shape, or ability. This is when I found Applied Functional Science.

Applied Functional Science (AFS) is grounded in Principles (truths) to guide the movement professional to help every ‘individual’ client. And although there are many Principles that build the foundation of AFS and have directed the strategies and techniques I use with my clients, there are three profound Principles that slapped me right in the face that I’d like to share with you today.

Face Slap #1: The Body is a Chain Reaction

I’ll blame traditional schooling and learning about the human body through textbooks that focused on lifeless, dehydrated, human cadavers without the forces of gravity and ground reaction force, that made me vulnerable to this slap in the face.

Similar to what we learn in chemistry and physics about chain reaction, the human body is no different.

A chain reaction is a sequence of actions where a reactive product or by-product causes additional reactions to take place. When chain reactions are used properly in human movement, they can be like a snowball that collects into a bigger snowball until finally an avalanche happens. These collective reactions build energy in the body and can later be transferred to other movements.

If any part of the chain is taken away, the efficiency of the reaction changes and it’s greatest potential is diminished.

Try kicking a soccer ball without bending your knee, and you may notice it doesn’t go very far.  Or put yourself in a forward head and kyphotic shoulder posture, then try to reach for something up high… not only is it uncomfortable, but your ability to reach as high as you can with that posture is extremely limited.  Now perform those two things as you would naturally and experience how the body uniquely accomplishes that task.

When we understand that the human body can absorb, transfer, and transform motion into an efficient, and powerful transformation of movement through a chain reaction we approach client assessment and programming differently.  Not only do we look at the local components of movement, but we assess and analyze the global chain reaction that must take place to get the local components to load and explode efficiently.  If any part of the chain is not participating, we have a different outcome.

Face Slap #2: We live and move in 3D

The early trend of linear based selectorized machines that encouraged the development of uni-planar based programming for clients can take the blame for this hard-hitting face slap.  Or maybe I could reference the way we tested muscle function using electrodes on cadavers, that is, ‘the hamstring flexes the knee’? Nonetheless, I should have been smart enough to ask the question early on in my career. “When the movement we prescribe to clients looks and feels nothing like what they need to do in real life, is it the right movement?”

Applied Functional Science teaches us that all joints, although varying in degree, move in all 3 planes of motions. 

AFS also teaches us that the muscles and tissues of the body load and unload in all three planes of motion. Thus, motion prescribed to our clients must be 3-dimensional.

We can capture the natural and authentic capabilities of the human body when we feed it movement in 3-D.  When we move in 3-D using authentic drivers and environments, we are maximizing the potential to help the body to absorb and transfer forces of gravity, ground reaction force, mass, and momentum. This unique strategy to access and capitalize on all that is available within the 3-D movement spectrum, gives the movement professional the power to enhance the client’s ability to move in life and sport.

Our programming reflects within their ability to perform ‘their daily movements’ more efficiently. Essentially, we have created a masterpiece.

Face Slap #3: Behavioral Drivers are just as important as the Physical and Biological Drivers

I’ll blame my own ego for this slap in the face.  I set out to deliver the best programs for my clients, thinking that by applying grounded movement science it would lead me to a successful career. But I forgot one important thing…

A movement professional cannot pretend to ignore such a relevant truth; we are responsible to help the human being, not just the human body.

It’s human nature to avoid the things we don’t like.  It’s also human nature to seek those things that provide us safety, security, and love.

The realization that it’s just as important to coach the neck up, as it is the neck down happened early in my career.  Through various educational courses and learning about the human brain connection, I began implementing various strategies for connecting with client’s emotionally.  However, when I learned that Applied Functional Science integrated behavioral drivers as part of it’s mission, it made it all that more powerful.

Connecting with the client and emotionally mapping their program to movements they like and are successful at, will foster future adherence.  They might not always understand the technicalities of what you are delivering, but the client can easily recognize their ability to successfully perform a task.  By recognizing their awareness of competence, we can guide the client to feel confident through smart tweaks with drivers, in various triangulations. Through praise and affirmation we can further increase their own belief in their ability to accomplish movement relevant to their lives.

By coaching for success, and creating an environment of safety, security, and love we coach the WHOLE PERSON!


About the Author

As an Education Director for the Gray Institute, Hayley Hollander is an international presenter, coach, author, and overall passionate mover.  She brings over 18 years of teaching and coaching individuals and companies to obtain greatness.  With experience as a Fitness Director, Director of Training and Education, Faculty member, and Business owner; her in-depth knowledge and experience has helped to develop and create curriculums and programs that are used all over the world.  Hayley holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Physical Education with a Minor in Mathematics.  She is a GIFT Fellow (2017), CAFS, 3DMAPS, EXOS Performance Specialist, and PTA Global Certified.

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