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The Internal Power Training Blog

Check out the latest info and research from Coach Chris' explorations in the Subject of Internal Power.

The Side Lines Bookmark

In this article we will look at one of the less considered lines of the body, the side lines, and their purpose in the Internal Arts. In the internal martial arts we often see the discussion focused around the ‘centre’, the axis, the root and the arm bridges, but rarely do we look at the sides of the body specifically and how they are important in motion, stability and power generation.

 

The Side lines can be thought of as the support pillars of the body, they are like the towers of a suspension bridge providing a stable side to the body in the Coronal plane, but they actually have several active functions that are vital to the unified body.

Thoracic Mobilty Exercise Bookmark

As we discussed in the previous post the thoracic spine can be an area of tension and 'stuck' tissue for some people. Especially those who work at desks all day.

This video is a demonstration and explination of a very nice Thoracic mobility method I use to help people reverse the effect of a bound spine in this area.

It is a relatively simple method but you have to maintain some of the Key components to make it as effective as possible.


  1. Limit flexion at the Elbow so as to fix the shoulder position.
  2. Avoid 'waving the head'
  3. Attempt to maintain a 90 degree angle between the floor and the arm/femur.

If you, or some of your students suffer from thoracic spine and scapular binding, give this simple method a try!

For many more training methods and exercises sign up to the IPT Academy

Connective tissue of the legs Bookmark

"Kangaroos can jump much farther than can be explained by the force of the contraction of their leg muscles. Under closer scrutiny, scientists discovered that a spring-like action is behind the unique ability: the so-called ‘catapult mechanism’ ( Kram and Dawson, 1998 ). Here, the tendons and the fascia of the legs are tensioned like elastic rubber bands. The release of this stored energy is what makes the amazing jumps possible.

.....
Surprisingly, it has been found that the fasciae of humans have a similar kinetic storage capacity to that of kangaroos and gazelles ( Sawicki et al., 2009 ). This is not only made use of when we jump or run but also with simple walking, as a significant part of the energy of the movement comes from the same springiness described above. This new discovery has led to an active revision of long-accepted principles in the field of movement science.”

Of extension and Contraction Bookmark

Methods which utilize extension permeate the internal arts. The idea of extension is different to idea of ‘stretching’ however the two are often confused. When extension is used we actually lead entire chains of tissue out from the body in order to create an elastic like tautness, in stretching we are more focused on elongating a specific muscle or limited muscle group.

Extension plays several roles in internal work. Firstly it is a great way to identify what are often called, blockages or bindings in the body. We may extend our arms out to the side and notice an ache in the elbow or the upper back and this is indicative of the tissue in these areas 'resisting' the extension.

Addressing lower crossed Syndrome Bookmark

An initial point of research for the Internal Arts coach is the relationship between the various muscles of the center and how they relate and influence structural alignment. 

Before any of the strength development can occur (pulling silk - winding etc), we need to address these imbalances or misalignment. If they are are not addressed early then the body will build strength over misalignment and compound any per-existing issues. 

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  • Addressing lower crossed Syndrome Articled last year
    The lower crossed syndrome is something that we see to a lesser or greater degree in new students. The lower cross is a term used to describe a specific pattern of muscular imbalance in the lower body which results in pelvic tilting and curvature of the lower back. If left unchecked, internal strength training where we are specifically working on the connective tissues and muscles in this area can actually compound postural problems, as well as increase the likelihood of injury under load. The lower Cross is characterized by a combination of both weakness and tightness in the lower torso. Specifically, tightness in the Thoraco lumbar extensors which is reflected in the hip flexors and weakness in the abdominals reflected in the Gluteals. This specific pattern of imbalance creates joint dysfunction at specific points along the lower spine and will cause the pelvis to tilt forward. Internal arts have specific training methodologies to address this issue. The corrections are achieved through 'releasing' the tightness in the thoracolumbar and hip flexors. We are aiming to bring the lower cross into a relaxed ...