Something that I’ve noticed that has been seriously overlooked by just about everyone with regard to performance enhancement training is the sequencing of how the body moves.
Take the squat for example an everything I read or hear on squatting only ever looks at squat depth, joint angles, torque and what position gets the highest number on the EMG. But what nobody seems to mention is sequence of the motion and for me this is the most important part. The sequence of movements you choose or the skill will determine which muscles fire and in what order, so when training a client in the real world whether or not they have the skill to perform a movement is much more important than any study that determines optimum joint angle for glute recruitment. If my client can’t do it it’s irrelevant.

In the squat video, I’ve exaggerated the difference in between two squats, but as a trainer I’m pretty sure you’ve probably seen both squats at some point. Both joint angles are similar to begin with and the task is simply to stand up, but the recruitment pattern will be completely different in each of them, so which is the correct way to come out of the squat?

In my opinion either movement is correct as they both accomplish the task of standing up, but each will have a unique motor recruitment pattern and thus will work different muscles in different ways. So when training a client through a high volume of exercises and movements how can you be sure they move in such a way that recruits the muscles you want them to?

And to answer that question is not easy at all and I’m not going to even try to fully explain this over a blog post as its taken me years to figure it out and now I spend months and years teaching it to other trainers. At Faster at specialist level we teach the HMAC which is the ability to derive sequencing and muscle activation based upon how bones are moving in space. So when I watch this video of Ann performing a high knee running drill I can see that the right femur is posteriorly rotating on impact rather than anteriorly rotating, driving the hip into flexion rather than extension and this negatively impacts her running stride. This pattern is one that is also seen in lunges, squatting and hip thrusts and is the perfect example of why those exercises are not beneficial in improving running skill.

If you’re a trainer and want to be able to assess your clients movement to this level of detail then pm me and I can help or check out FasterGlobal, or if you’re serious about improving your sporting performance and need training with this level of precision and detail get in touch as well as I’m currently taking on both new clients and students.