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Upgraded Movement Preparation

Use your knowledge of the fascial system to help participants improve their mobility.

woman stretching as movement preparation

How can you help participants move and feel better? The warmup is an obvious time not only to prepare muscles but also to educate people about their bodies. It’s easier to teach tidbits of information at the start of class, when everyone is, for the most part, fully present. Why not use this time for movement preparation by sharing a snippet about the fascial system?

Mobility, or dynamic flexibility—the ability to move actively through a range of motion—is based on the principle of reciprocal inhibition: For one muscle to contract, the opposite muscle needs to relax. Fascia is “the biological fabric that holds us together, the connective tissue network” (Anatomy Trains 2021).  This fabric binds all the systems together and runs as “lines” throughout the body. Fascia is one network, embryologically and anatomically. How can we train the fascial system to promote resilience?

When training mobility and performance, look beyond a single joint and assess the body in relation to the fascial lines. One key: movement preparation in all planes of motion. Teach the following multiplanar moves to enhance your next class. Keep all movements slow, deliberate and intentional; flow through them dynamically. Do these moves 10 times each or link them together.

See also: Mentally Prepared to Move

Sagittal Plane: Single-Leg Deadlift

  • Stand offset on one foot, back toes just off the ground.
  • Maintain neutral spine, hips square to the floor. “Pack” shoulder blades back and down.
  • Have participants hold a towel shoulder-width apart, hands at hip height.
  • Create tension in the towel by pulling both ends.
  • Hinge forward at hips, lift rear leg (like a pendulum) and extend arms.
  • Keep elbows straight and get as parallel to the ground as possible. Maintain neutral spine and shoulder integrity throughout the movement.
  • Return to start, and repeat, other side.

Frontal/Transverse Plane: Side Lunge

  • Start in wide stance, shifting weight side to side to prep hips.
  • Reach hand to opposite foot, rotating spine.
  • Lunge to the same side, laterally flexing spine. Reach hand to outside of ankle.
  • Step together.
  • Side lunge (same side): Press hands together, arms out in front, and rotate torso toward front knee. Hands press together to engage core as you rotate.
  • Repeat, other side.

Sagittal Plane: Squat to Plank

  • Start in squat. At top of the movement, lift onto toes, circling arms back with slight spinal extension.
  • Do squat-to-knee lift while rotating to open hip.
  • Squat as low as possible while keeping heels on the ground.
  • Transition to forward fold; return to low squat.
  • Walk out to high plank. Drop hips to upward-facing dog while keeping torso engaged.
  • Flow to downward-facing dog and then to high plank. Walk back to low squat and stand while reaching overhead, rising to toes and extending spine.

Transverse T Spine Rotation: Scorpion

  • Lie prone in T position, arms out to sides.
  • Lift left leg and rotate it across body while keep-ing both arms on the floor.
  • Touch L toe to outside of right hip.
  • Return to start and flow from side to side.

See also: Innovative Warmups


Anatomy Trains. 2021. What is fascia? Accessed Jun. 11, 2021: anatomytrains.com/fascia/.

Lynne Skilton-Hayes

"Lynne Skilton-Hayes is the fitness program supervisor at the University of Guelph, where she is responsible for hundreds of programs for students, faculty, staff and the community. She holds a bachelor's degree in exercise science and brings over 20 years of education and experience to the fitness industry. Lynne is an international fitness presenter/educator, a canfitpro pro trainer, and she has done work for television, print and online DVD curricula. Certifications: ACE, canfitpro"

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