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Moving Through Life Efficiently

Functional movement is a term that gets thrown around quite regularly these days and you might find yourself wondering what exactly people are talking about. The following should give you a better understanding of what it is and how it shapes the ATC Athletic Development Program.

Functional Movement is the ability to move the body with proper muscle and joint function for effortless, pain-free movement. Learning how to be bio-mechanically efficient with everything you do, whether it’s for sports and athletics, general fitness, or daily life activities, is very important for maintaining good health and avoiding injury.

Mechanical efficiency can be seen as the body’s ability to create and capitalise on movement potential.

Something that has shaped my coaching philosophy is helping athletes to be bio-mechanically efficient with everything they do. Movement efficiency is the key when training or learning functional movement patterns. Everyone can do a squat. We sit in chairs way more than we would like to admit and at the end of the day, sitting in a chair or standing up from a chair is technically a squat. Whether you are efficient in your movement patterns whilst carrying out a squat is another thing entirely. Believe it or not it takes a lot of activation and coordination of multiple groups of muscles and joints to perform a squat EFFICIENTLY.

If you could do it as a one year old…why can’t you now?

You would think that automatically our bodies would just work ‘properly’ but often this is not the case. From birth, we begin to learn and develop functional movement patterns such as rolling, bracing, crawling, standing, squatting and eventually walking. As we then get older, these progress into running, rolling, jumping and climbing. Lack of physical activity can inhibit continued development of these movements and result in inefficient movement patterns, poor flexibility and poor control or resilience.

The basic functional movement patterns ATC athletes will master are

  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Hinging
  • Squatting
  • Lunging
  • Bracing
  • Rotating

It’s not just learning how to do these movements or patterns but how to do them properly and efficiently. Once athletes can master these basic movements, they will then be challenged by altering the load/surface/plane/task to make the movement more difficult. These movements are carried out in every sport or physical activity as well as our everyday lives. They are the foundation of all athletic movement and it is my strong belief as a coach that they must be ingrained in all students from an early age to ensure a healthy and fulfilling future.

A great blog by Kelvin Giles, an industry leader in Functional Movement and Athletic Development and a mentor who has shaped my coaching philosophy, is worth reading and sharing with your son. His expert views and advice on functional movement and mechanical efficiency may help you support your son with his sport training. While our students learn to move and perform, there is always the support of coaches at ATC who can guide boys towards the best possible technical model of any movement.

Elliot Jackson
Athletic Performance Coordinator