It's been increasingly clear to me that corrective and rehabilitative exercise may respond best to loaded movements.
I wrote about this last week in my post on shoulder mobility and AC joint separations, although I first heard about this concept in Gray Cook and Brett Jones' "Secrets of the Core: The Backside" dvd.
To me, the premise behind this is a necessary stimulus for adaptation.
What I have found is that while the most contemporary strategies often get me the results I'm after, lately I've seen more rapid results when adding significant loads to appropriate movement. And by "appropriate", I mean the most relevant exercise along the individuals rehabilitative or corrective exercise continuum. You know, the one (or two...maybe three), that through the clinical audit process results in an improved, pain-free movement pattern.
Take, for example, traditional rotator cuff exercises for glenohumeral dynamic stability. Some may choose to prescribe resistance band or cord work. Now granted, it has been suggested that it may be inappropriate to train stabilizers as movers, but I myself often choose to use bottoms up kettlebell screwdrivers.
Another example, which really opened my eyes this morning, pertained to the hip. I'll admit that this example consists solely of "N=1", but several weeks ago, I strained my lateral glutes, the stabilizers, by deadlifting the day after a long roadtrip through the mountains. Since then, I have been "doing everything right" to get myself back on track but the muscle fibers have been a little bit more stubborn than I would have hoped for. I've rolled my adductors and quads a ton, I've performed miniband glute work (bridges, lateral and reverse walks), added single leg squats and I've even had a fellow therapist poke me with her needles. But much to my dismay, no significant relief.
Well just last week, I decided take a chance and switch things up. I started performing heavy kettlebell swings, Turkish Getups and added weight to my single leg squats. Since today's workout called for trap bar deadlift singles (I had continued with my program but decreased the weight significantly over the last few weeks), I wanted to experiment for myself what type of effect heavy loading can make on a strained glute. To ensure I was ready, I made sure to adequately "wake" up my core and brought my belt to the gym just in case.
Let me keep this story short. I hit 385 (don't laugh, I used to be a triathlete and besides, I was only able to go 185 w/o pain just two weeks ago) on my last set which was absolutely pain free. In fact, the glute feels normal again.
Obviously, we'll see what the next two days bring, but based on how I feel currently, I am confident that I am just about back to my pre-mishap state.
I will caution, however, that this approach may not work for everyone. Truly, there are certain individuals for which a more conservative
approach is warranted. But for your (relatively) healthy individuals who are accustomed to aggressive physical activity, athletes for example, it may behoove you to load 'em up.