Maximizing Motor Learning: Cues Matter


Do you inform your purchasers to “squeeze those glutes” or “tighten that core” through the execution of an exercise? These cueing strategies are spoken all over the place from bodily remedy clinics to high-performance services throughout the globe. Presumably, the purpose is to make sure that the participant is appropriately utilizing the goal movers and/or stabilizers for the duty at hand. Of course, not all cues are acceptable for each exercise or assist the shopper obtain the utmost good thing about any given exercise.

The execution of any motion is the sum of some unbelievable processing and coordination of motor alerts to the musculoskeletal system and the continuing suggestions from peripheral sensory receptors in addition to visible, vestibular and auditory enter. For competency, effectivity, security and most profit, exercise professionals and health coaches might present verbal, visible and typically tactical cues to the shopper with respect to motion execution.

For instance, your shopper performs a plank and also you cue her or him to maintain the core tight. In one other instance, your shopper does a wood-chop motion utilizing a cable machine and you might use the very same cue. It is evident that each of those exercises have very completely different biomechanical and neurological traits to them. The plank is a statically held exercise that immediately locations the core in a loaded place as gravity acts perpendicularly to the torso’s place. The wooden chop is a dynamic motion, with the physique oriented vertically and with motion via a number of planes, which requires coordination and timing of the muscular pressure manufacturing.

Is the specified consequence of the cue the identical for each exercises? The reply is not any. Although the core could also be concerned in each exercises, the aim of the exercise, the position of the core and your expectation of the shopper are all very completely different. If that is the case, will the shopper be capable to differentiate between what’s implied and what’s stated?

A greater strategy is to induce your purchasers to make the most of a way known as focus of attention. From a motor skill-learning perspective, this time period could be de?ned as “the conscious effort of an individual to focus their attention through explicit thoughts in an effort to execute a motor skill with superior performance” (Benz et al., 2016).

Focus of attention could be damaged all the way down to intrinsic focus of attention (IFA) and extrinsic focus of attention (EFA). Intrinsic focus is attention to components of the person’s physique (glutes, core, knee, backbone, and so on.). The shopper is being requested to execute a motion primarily based on what half or components of the physique she or he is consciously controlling with larger attention than different components of the physique. Extrinsic focus refers to targets outdoors the physique and could be associated to distance, route and analogies (e.g., “keep your shoulder over your hips,” “get long,” and “open up like a book”).

Here’s one other approach to contemplate these two ideas: While IFA may very well be described as highlighting the “players” and methods of the motion, EFA could be described extra an exterior goal of the motion.

The phrases motor studying and motor management are typically used interchangeably, but they’re completely different. Motor management refers to how the nervous system directs the muscular tissues and joints to carry out an motion. Motor studying refers extra to the acquisition of a brand new motion ability that is still after the apply session(s).

A powerful physique of analysis helps the usage of EFA to reinforce motor studying in additional advanced actions (e.g., wooden chops, lunges, sport particular strategies). This is as a result of the motion requires restricted aware thought and turns into extra unconscious and computerized with a reflex mode of management (Wulf et al., 2010).

Conversely, IFA will increase self-awareness and results in self-regulating changes, which might intervene with coordinated actions in additional advanced actions. I typically consult with this state of affairs with my purchasers as “getting in our own way,” as we ascend their corrective applications to incorporate extra built-in actions.

Returning to the wood-chop instance, if you’re instructing your shopper to maintain his or her core tight, but those self same muscular tissues are imagined to be contributing to the movement, a motion battle might come up. If the abs are overly tightened and braced, how do they effectively eccentrically load on the high of the motion? And then how do they maximally concentrically contract by the top of the motion?

Biomechanically, you may’t do each on the similar time and optimize the muscle synergy and timing essential for coordinated motion. Will the core tighten through the course of the motion? Yes, however the contraction pressure of the core muscular tissues shouldn’t be held fixed via the motion whereas being dictated by larger ranges within the mind. This is opposite to the motion sequence being extra unconscious and computerized with a reflex mode of management.

When working with purchasers with continual ache at Function First, I take advantage of the metaphor of a quantity knob for the way a lot pressure our muscular tissues produce throughout motion. The quantity knob on zero could be a neurologically “silent” muscle, whereas the quantity knob at 10 could be thought-about a most contraction. Movement ought to see a fluctuation of the quantity going up and down primarily based not solely on the duty at hand, but additionally throughout completely different phases of that process. Coaching the shopper to show his or her core as much as an 8 on the quantity knob, and to maintain it there all through the motion, interferes with the authenticity of the movement and doesn’t enable for the mandatory variability of strength of contraction via the motion.

The beforehand talked about limitations of IFA, which have been described as disadvantages for advanced actions, can, actually, be advantageous for lower-level corrective exercises, particularly when working with purchasers in ache. Spatial and proprioceptive acuity is diminished in these with continual ache. Therefore, utilizing an IFA technique with isometric contractions and or remoted actions can improve the corticospinal excitability (motor neuron exercise from the mind and spinal wire) of the related muscle teams. This can help the shopper in regaining consciousness and strength of focused muscle teams and in the end their contribution to extra concerned actions.

The picture under represents rules that we apply as Pain-free Movement Specialists when designing corrective exercise applications for purchasers in ache. The picture summarizes an inverse relationship between IFA and EFA and the forms of exercises that may map greatest to those rules.

Basic motor learning_control exercises

A closing level to contemplate when figuring out the cues you give to your purchasers is the ensuing change within the arthrokinematics of the joint. Arthrokinematics describes the movement between joint surfaces. This movement is decided by the shapes of the 2 joint surfaces and the timing and the pressure of the muscle contractions performing on the joint and exterior forces (e.g., gravity).

For instance, throughout a aspect lateral dumbbell elevate, you cue your shopper to squeeze the shoulder blades collectively and to not allow them to go whereas the arm is raised. The intention, after all, is to keep up good posture and positioning of the scapula within the frontal aircraft, however by limiting the flexibility of the scapula to upwardly rotate on the finish of the motion, the arthrokinematics have been modified.

This has a possible unfavorable consequence, as it might improve mechanical stress on the tender tissue across the joint and improve compression of the joint surfaces.

Both inner focus of attention (IFA) and exterior focus of attention (EFA) cueing supply advantages when utilized on the optimum time and for the suitable exercises or actions. IFA may help purchasers with continual ache or those that are deconditioned or in post-rehab enhance consciousness and recruitment of poorly functioning muscular tissues or muscle teams. When cueing for extra concerned actions requiring larger motor management, EFA permits the shopper to concentrate on the skin goal, creating extra environment friendly motion and reflexive error correction.

With purchasers who’ve continual ache, we use each cueing approaches inside a given session because the programming ascends from remedial/floor-based exercises to extra vertical and built-in actions. This strikes the shopper via a continuum of what we name “sub routines” or applications inside a program that greatest elicits the motor management wanted to construct motion confidence.


Benz, A. et al. (2016). Coaching directions and cues for enhancing dash efficiency. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 38, 1–11.

Wulf, G., Shea, C. and Lewthwaite, R. (2010). Motor ability studying and efficiency: A overview of influential elements. Medical Education, 44, 75–84.

Learn more about becoming a Pain-Free Movement Specialist.


Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *