This is for coaches, therapists, movement professionals and anyone who wants to expand their understanding of human movement with an inside out approach!

The Fundamentals will cover the following topics: Breathing and Pressure Management, Pelvis and Thorax Orientation (achieving a stack), Hip Shifting , Shoulder Protraction, Co-contractions

Video Poster Image

Seashells, Slings, and Spiral Things...

#anatomytrains #anteriorobliquesling #asymmetry #coreexercises #crossbodyconnection #diaphragmaticbreathing #dns #dynamicmovement #externalobliques #functionalexercise #functionalpatterns #functionaltraining #internalobliqeus #movementtheory #obliquesling #posteriorchain #posteriorobliquesling #posturalrestorationinstitute #pri #spinalengine #spirallines #thomasmyers Mar 17, 2024

Working in the garden yesterday, I was reminded of the importance of spirals in the body, as my garden is full of sea shells collected from some of the small barrier islands in the area. For a long time I didn't know what to do with them so they sat in baskets in the house but once we did our landscaping I decided they looked so pretty sprinkled in the garden.

Nature informs so much of human movement and while I was shoveling dirt back into the massive hole my 85lb golden retriever, Fido, had dug next to the back door I realized just how much those seashells were informing my ability to rotate from internal to external rotation with each toss of the dirt.

* Fido, not as innocent as he looks

Formation of sea shells by the mollusks that inhabit them are a geometrical representation of expansion from the inside out and compression from the outside in. The body is always twisting, even our bones are twisting, and our heart is spiraling into and out of itself. It is this geometrical phenomenon that allows for motion at all levels. Here is a beautiful video on the mathematics of sea shells.

Structure and function relationships of the helical ventricular myocardial  band - ScienceDirect

Spirals are everywhere in the human body as well as in human movement, so it makes sense why there are movement systems like PNF, Thomas Myer's Spiral Lines, DNS, PRI, and so may others that are informed by the geometry of movement. (Not sure if geometry of movement is a thing but it just sort of spiraled out of my brain nicely 😅).

It also makes sense to me why training these qualities can go a long way in improving the skill of movement (macro level) to improving the availability of movement / relative motion of joints (micro level), to potentially even improving the tissue compliance / elasticity (nano level). And now that I think about it, this is basically what I'm trying to emphasize and teach to students in my Empowered Performance course. 

If you watch many of my instagram videos you might think she's this functional movement woman, but it's more than that to me. It's not just novel exercises for the sake of complexity. I mean, sometimes it is 😂, but movement should be fun, right? And we have to explore the spiral nature of our bodies to stumble into useful applications that improve our capacity, spirality, and elasticity at the macro, micro, and nano level. 

In my Alchemy Strength class last week I explored this concept using the concepts of Slings and the anterior and posterior sling. I believe these concepts were originally brought to life by Thomas Myers and Karen Gurtner, but maybe I also should give credit to Serge Gracovetsky and his Spinal Engine Theory and Andry Vleeming. Likely it is many schools of thought and for all of these, I am grateful.

I am also informed by my own view of human movement which was influenced very early on by my love of gymnastics and the ability of my own human body to be able to compress and expand itself into twists and flips of all kinds so I could somehow defy gravity. 

In this exploration last Wednesday, I realized there is so much carry over and possibility for how we use exercises to improve the skill at the macro level (motor control), restore range of motion at the micro level (joints), and improve elasticity at the nano level (tissue - muscle, bone, connective, etc.). 

Below are 4 exercises that I created that can help explain how all of these things may come together in a meaningful way for me and inform my love of movement.

A couple of helpful definitions:

The Anterior Oblique Sling is the coupling of the external and internal oblique connecting with the contralateral adductor muscles via the adductor-abdominal fascia.  

The Posterior Oblique Sling is the coupling of the latissimus dorsi, glute maximus, and the interconnecting thoracolumbar-abdominal fascia.

 1. Hip Shift Chest Press

In this exercise I am emphasizing the anterior oblique sling by creating a hip shift to elicit the adductors while I allow the opposite shoulder to move into a chest press creating a pull for the obliques to have to resist (macro). The hip shift allow for a lengthening of the posterior pelvis and hip allowing for an improvement in internal rotation of the hip and the chest press paired with a good inhale allows for an improvement in shoulder internal rotation (micro). The strength component and cross body connection are improving the elasticity of the connective tissue (nano).

2. Dynamic Front Back Lunge

In this exercise I am utilizing the skill and relative motion gained from the Hip Shift Chest Press in a dynamic way. As I drop back and forth into the lunge, I'm allowing my body to "sink" to allow for greater compliance of the connective tissue as well as a dynamic yielding and lengthening in the back of the hip and pelvis to allow for greater internal rotation. The cross body swing elicits a nice response from the internal and external obliques to support the connection.

3. Heel Dig Single Arm Lat Pullover

In this exercise I am emphasizing the posterior oblique sling by using a heel dig and push into the roller to get the glute max and hamstrings to kick on, while I allow the opposite shoulder to move into a pull over to tap into the lats and thoracolumbar fascia (Macro). The heel dig allows for greater hip extension and the overhead reach with control of the ribs allows for greater shoulder flexion (micro). The strength component and cross body connection are improving the elasticity of the connective tissue (nano).

4. Dynamic Wall Hinge to Overhead Press

In this exercise I am utilizing the skill and relative motion gained from the Heel Dig Lat Pullover in a dynamic way. As I propel away from the wall and stand up tall, I'm having to create more of an overcoming or concentric action through the posterior chain to allow for full hip extension. The overhead reach creates a connection from the opposite hip to shoulder to create stability through the posterior oblique sling.

I hope these exercises and my thought process behind them inspire you to create your own unique lens and love of movement. If you are inspired to learn more I'd love to invite you to join my Alchemy Strength class where the goal is to learn, explore, and get an entire full body workout that supports the macro, micro, and nano. (Alchemy: a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.)

 Use the code ALCHEMY30OFF for 30% off a one time drop in, 48 hour recording access, or the first month of monthly access (includes the recordings from all previous classes over the past 3 years). 

Alchemy Strength Workouts

or you can try out 7 class recordings with the Alchemy bundle by clicking here.



Check out all the ways you can learn with me.


Get on my newsletter for all the content!