This week on the show we welcome David Grey to talk about rib cages, the pelvis, isometrics, coordination, and the pillars of human movement.
David is a rehab and performance specialist who found his way to his current profession by being an athlete himself who was plagued with injuries and searching for better solutions than what was being provided. What started in his words as a selfish endeavor eventually led to him helping friends and now he works with people from all walks of life from high level athletes to general population.
We first dive into David’s big rocks when assessing people and his view of what basic human movement is. The first thing he looks at is gait - from walking to breathing - and the ability to access certain ranges of motion with your joints. David is quick to point out that he doesn’t view himself as a “mobility coach” but someone who helps people achieve these ranges of motion through improving things like coordination, structure, and building strength through those ranges.
This leads us into where David starts when looking to improve someone’s gait. He mentions that he’s not really training “gait” or how someone walks as much as he is getting an assessment to find limitations along with how someone’s joints are interacting together, and then using interventions to allow the person’s brain to reorganize and gain access to previously restricted ranges of motion. David is trying to give people what they’re missing in order to change how the brain interprets the references you’re providing it, allowing for movement to change relatively quickly.
We then discuss how someone would go about returning to an activity such as running after a long lay off. Many people get the itch to run again but don’t necessarily go about it the right way in terms of how they integrate strength training with their running. David prefers to use a strategy where he starts people off with exercises that use more reference points and progress them overtime while plugging in the gaps so that they can run efficiently and pain free. One thing that David is very adamant on is making sure the feet are working properly. There are 33 joints in the foot, and if someone is not able to properly pronate or supinate, it affects everything else up the chain. While it’s easy to say “just get stronger”, David believes that you can get stronger and improve movement quality at the same time.
This brings us to talking about David’s perspective on health versus performance and how he finds a balance between stiffness and variability. When dealing with athletes in particular, he makes the distinction that sport does not always equal health, but he takes the stance that you can still improve performance and feel better at the same time. He has also noticed a shift in recent years with athletes being far more in tune with their bodies and less tolerant of poor strength and conditioning practices. David doesn’t think the traditional model doesn’t work, it just needs to be tweaked with an eye on biomechanics and the big picture of playing well over the long term.
Next, David breaks down how he programs a day of training for his clients. He always starts with what they’re missing and what makes them feel good, while instilling principles of quality movement. Most of his clients already have strength and conditioning programs, and David is often on board to fill the gaps and provide some education on basic movement concepts. He will often start clients off with some simple breathing exercises to develop the skill of inhalation and exhalation and then progressing into pelvis control, proximal hamstrings, adduction, pronation and supination of the foot, and reaching without compensation. At the end of the day, he wants his clients to be able to recognize what position their joints need to be in relative to the task they are trying to complete.
Enjoy and be sure to hit that subscribe button if you learned a thing or two!
1:45 - David’s background
5:40 - David’s big rocks of human movement
9:29 - Where David starts with improving gait
17:00 - How David gets people to run pain free
26:05 - The balancing act of health and performance in high level athletics
37:07 - How David works with his clients and thinks about programming