Proprioceptive Training: Functional or Dysfunctional?
It is widely accepted that proprioceptive training is an essential part of rehabilitation and athletic sports performance training. What is the definition of proprioceptive training? Is it a separate dedicated part of your programs?
If the answer is “yes” , you may want to reconsider.
In all environments, no matter what exercises you are having your client/athlete perform, the proprioceptors are being turned on. No matter if you are doing standing, kneeling, or lying exercises: the proprioceptors are being stimulated.....your role is to analyze if it is functional or dysfunctional.
It is impossible to have your client perform an exercise and NOT be stimulating the proprioceptors therefore it is the our job to make sure that we are stimulating the proprioceptors in similar fashion to how they are stimulated during the activity the client needs to return to.
A sign of improper training of the proprioceptors may be if your client/athlete has good strength of a muscle or muscle group in one position but then does not demonstrate that same strength in another position. It may be as “simple” as confused proprioceptors.
Back stabilization exercises in prone over a Swiss ball may be more functional for training the proprioceptors for a swimmer but not as functional for a weight bearing athlete where the back stabilizers have to function while the foot is on the ground.
Remember that the proprioceptors are always being fed: analyze your training
...does the exercise position replicate gravity’s stimulation of the proprioceptors?
...do the joints work in harmony relative to one another and relative to the activity that the athlete/client needs to return to?
....are you feeding your athlete’s proprioceptors functionally or dysfunctionally?
For more on functional training and rehabilitation , click here.