Our modern bodies have started developing tendencies. Those of us who are sedentary, as well as those of us who are active, seem to migrate to a group of similar mobility and stability problems. Of course you will find exceptions, but the more you work in exercise environments, the more you will see these common tendencies, patterns and problems.

A quick summary regarding the joint-by-joint approach looks like this:

1. The foot has a tendency toward sloppiness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of stability and motor control. We can blame poor footwear, weak feet and exercises that neglect the foot, but the point is that the majority of our feet could be more stable. (This is not the ankle joint, I’m talking about the foot itself. The majority of our students don’t have great balance. Why? Because they no longer play outside as children from previous eras did.

2. The ankle has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility. This is particularly evident in the common tendency toward dorsiflexion limitation. We make use of dorsiflexion when we walk uphill when the foot lifts up towards the knee.

3. The knee has a tendency toward sloppiness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of stability and motor control. This tendency usually predates knee injuries and other factors, but in general all our kids need strengthening in their quads and other lower leg muscles. This will help to get the knee more stable.

4. The hip has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility. This is particularly evident on range-­of-­motion testing like the TPI testing I’m doing with them (external and internal rotation in hip socket joint) at KeNako Academy.

5. The lumbar and sacral region has a tendency toward sloppiness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of stability and motor control. This region sits at the crossroads of mechanical stress, and lack of motor control is often replaced with generalized stiffness as a survival strategy. What does it means to have stability in this region. I’d say it means to have stronger lower back muscles and stronger core muscles. In the swing keeping back and core stable with the forces working is tough if the hips are not mobile enough.

6. The thoracic region has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility. The architecture of this region is designed for support, but poor postural habits can promote stiffness. Once again, the students at Kenako more often than not display poor posture in their daily activities. Each one of us needs to focus more on our posture. Roger Wessels recently shared a video with me about Justin Rose – it was evident that everything he does is so focused on doing it with the right posture.

7. The shoulder scapular region has a tendency toward sloppiness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of stability and motor control. This can only be developed and strengthened in the gym.

8. The shoulder joint has a tendency toward stiffness and therefore could benefit from greater amounts of mobility and flexibility. To get the “shoulder” turn in the swing our arms need to be more mobile – but not the scapula thoracic joint – and in fact it’s not a shoulder turn, but a thoracic turn, with the arms simply doing some type of shoulder flexion going back.

Reference: graycook.com

KeNako Academy, A Joint-by-Joint Approach to Habits and Outcomes of the Modern Body, fitness article.