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  by: Lawrence Biscontini, MA One of the most exciting trends in balance training today occurs by combining the versatile BOSU® Balance Trainer (BT) with barefoot mind-body disciplines. While wearing shoes for traditional core and upright conditioning applications still proves popular and appropriate, barefoot movement on the BT challenges the lower body extremities in new ways (Kavounoudias). Among the mind-body disciplines that easily lend the..
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  by: Shannon Fable Yoga continues to increase in popularity throughout the country. Most instructors answer the demand by incorporating yoga-inspired poses into workouts. Of course, nothing can replace the extensive training required for proper yoga practice. However, the strengthening, stretching and relaxation benefits of simple yoga poses can be enjoyed within a wide variety of exercises if certain precautions are taken to ensure safety. The BOSU® Balance Trainer (B..
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  defining neutral spinal posture Neutral posture can be defined as avoiding the extremes of sustained spinal flexion (rounded spine) or extension (arched spine), or positioning the spinal column and pelvis in a manner that reflects a mid­position between the extremes of these two joint actions. A total approach to abdominal and back strengthening, back wellness and functional balance training must include the concept and teaching of neutral posture. Avoiding the extremes of sust..
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    Click here to download pdf version Functional movement, or the ability to move and respond without restriction, as well as to move and respond effectively and with intention, begins with an understanding of core stabilization and neutral spinal posture. core stabilization and its importance to functional movement Obviously, the ability to position the spine and activate the muscles necessary to do..
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  righting, protective and equilibrium reactions The antigravity, balance and power producing capacity of the body can be simply thought of, in terms of physical skills, as righting, protective and equilibrium reactions. Automatic righting reactions maintain or restore body alignment as it relates to the position of the head, trunk and limbs.  Muscle spindles monitor the rate at which muscles lengthen and play a big role in maintaining balance at rest. Spindle feedback..
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  muscle spindles Proporioceptive sense, and consequently balance, is available largely because of muscle spindles and other sensory organs or proprioceptive receptors. Sensory organs relay information via the central nervous system, and provide a sense of body or limb position in space. This is also referred to as kinesthetic awareness. Sensory organs, located in muscles, tendons or joints, for example, allow a person to predict the degree of elbow flexion or extension even if t..
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  Balance represents an ability to stabilize and maintain a desired body position. Balance can also be thought of as correct, or efficient, positioning of a body part or the entire body.  Natural and functional movement is directly related to the harmonious work of joints, muscles and the neurological system. The neurological system interacts with the musculoskeletal system in a coordinated and complex manner. Using stability or balance training, and CCE, is the perfect way to..
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  Secondary fitness traits can be represented by the acronym CARBS = P. With a base of cardiovascular, strength and flexibility fitness established, an important training goal becomes one of transitioning this less functional health/ fitness/aesthetically oriented fitness foundation into integrated movement ability. It must be noted that some secondary fitness traits can be trained simultaneously with primary components, but regardless, it is important to “change­up” your program at ..
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  7. Challenge joint motions in a manner that acknowledges the degree to which sport and daily life movements are similar. Developing general movement capabilities that have a high transfer and relevance to sport and daily life provides a clue that functional training approaches are generally not trying to create sport specific movement. This generalist approach views most activities as more similar than different and focuses on commonalities of daily activity and..
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  The BOSU® Balance Trainer is a piece of fitness equipment that facilitates functional balance training. Thus, it is important to understand what functional training is and how it fits into a total fitness program.  functional training defined  Functional training is purpose driven or intentional training. One can begin to think of functional training (FT) or functional fitness as a methodology and form of movement that is used to expose an individual to integrat..
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  By: Amanda Vogel, MA human kinetics Thinking about trying barefoot running or barefoot walking? Start training with these exercises for creating stronger feet, whether you plan to go completely barefoot or wear barefoot running shoes. If you already enjoy running and walking, you might have heard..
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  By: Amanda Vogel, MA human kinetics Imagine stepping out for a run without any shoes on—it’s called barefoot running, and it’s an emerging trend in the running and fitness industries. For most people, running barefoot goes against conventional wisdom. Besides the “freeing” feeling of kicking off your shoes, what’s so compelling about running barefoot? It turns out that despite advances in shoe technology meant to make run..
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  by: Anthony Carey, MA, CSCS, CES I realize it is called the BOSU® Balance Trainer (BT). Of course it provides an environment in which to challenge balance mechanisms in a variety of ways. However, the same design and materials that have become synonymous with balance also have a hidden benefit. At Function First, we work with a population of clients that deal with long-term musculoskeletal challenges such as joint, soft tissue and/or neuro..
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  By: Justin Price, MA The foot and ankle complex is extremely important to the overall function of the human body. Since it is the only structure that interacts with the ground while in an upright position, the foot and ankle complex is directly responsible for the distribution of weight and pressure throughout the body when the forces of kinetic energy, gravity and the ground collide. Therefore, it is imperative that the foot and ankle complex is fully functional and doing its ..
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By: Justin Price, MA The human body is designed to be upright. Whether you believe in evolution or creationism, the same runs true. We are bipedal creatures designed to stand erect with the spine on top of pelvis, and the pelvis on top of the legs. Our bodies have two very important elements to assist in maintaining an upright posture. First, large gluteus maximus muscles push the hips forward into extension. Secondly, a curvature in the lumbar spine arches the spine upward and backward t..
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  by: Justin Price, MA Research into recreation habits around the globe have shown that walking is rated as the most popular form of physical activity on the planet. Yet many people experience discomfort and pain during the movement. Consequently, individuals may choose to find an alternative form of getting around, such as driving a car (for errands within walking distance), or continuing to walk despite the pain. Thereby, as movements become more imbalanced and compensatory, mo..
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By: Justin Price, MA Many people suffer from mild to severe knee pain that prevents them from engaging in activities they enjoy such as hiking, playing tennis, or simply walking. They blame the knee for their woes, yet the cause of their problem may not be the knees at all. The muscles that help stabilize the knee as it moves all originate from either the foot and ankle, or from the lumbo-pelvic hip girdle. Hence, if the foot/ankle or hip complex is not working correctly, then the sof..
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  By: Justin Price, MA In today's world, people spend increasing amounts of time sitting. Whether driving, working on the computer, or watching television, these seated postures are often characterized by a rounded upper back and shoulders. Over time, this stooped position in the thoracic spine can cause alignment problems and pain in both the upper and lower back. How a Sagittal Plane Deviation (Forward Bend) of the Thoracic Spine Affects the Lo..
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  by: Josie Gardener & Joy Prouty As one ages, many physiological changes take place. This is a natural part of the process, but many of the physical changes (biomarkers) that negatively affect personal wellness can be minimized with physical activity. One key biomarker is loss of muscle. As an individual ages, muscle is lost and has a profound impact on an older adult's well-being. Exercise can have a definite positive impact on maintaining a high quality of life. Weight..
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  by: Josie Gardener & Joy Prouty The inclusion of fun, effective and safe balance training in programs for seniors is critical. As the older adult population increases exponentially, the health care costs associated with a lack of balance and resultant falls totals a staggering 19+ billion dollars. For the most transferable and useable functional balance training, exercises need to engage multiple muscles and stimulate the body's response in a manner that requires both t..
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  by: Becky Langton, MA, ACSM-HFI, NSCA-CSCS, ACE-CPT All too often fitness instructors are faced with the challenge of providing prenatal clients safer or better alternatives to common exercises performed in the gym that become somewhat challenging or contraindicated during pregnancy. This article identifies safe and appropriate alternatives for your pregnant clients that use the BOSU® Balance Trainer (BT) in four (4) different exercise modalities: static stretching, y..
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  by: Per Lundstam, U.S.S.A. Sport Science Department Improvement of mobility in elite U.S. Ski Team athletes is essential for high level performance and on-snow safety. The following article provides a sample workout and introduces methodologies which are part of the U.S. Ski Team conditioning approach. Integrated into many complex training situations, the BOSU® Balance Trainer (BT) is used to increase performance and decrease the risk of injury. The pro..
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  by: Kevin Kearns Functional training fits perfectly with the rigors of MMA. Not only will it aid in reducing potential injuries, but it will assist in rehabbing current injuries.  From my perspective, the marriage between mixed martial arts (MMA) and functional strength training is an easy one. Many of these athletes train like bodybuilders instead of fighters. The MMA industry has simply been unable to anticipate the unique training needs..
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  by: Douglas S. Brooks, MS, ACE, TSCC-L3, Exercise Physiologist & Peter Twist, MSc, BPE, CSCS, TSCC-L3 PTS The systems, strategies and tactics in tennis are best described as organized chaos. During a match, no competitor—even those with great on-court intuition—knows exactly what will happen in the next second. Multi-directional sports are a read-and-react game where success hinges on individual tactics, conditioning and game play experience. A well-rounded tennis player ne..
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  by: Shannon Fable Fitness professionals should attempt to integrate balance training into all components of fitness. Participants are more inclined to try balance training when combined with core work or strength training as our strategies tend to be more methodical, easily progressed and regressed and slower moving. One area that is often overlooked, or thought to be so challenging that only athletes or skilled participants will partak..
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