This article will begin with several assessments from the Reebok RNT program, with detailed explanations for the personal trainer. We will discuss some suggestions for the observations we discover in the screen. It is strongly recommended that personal trainers attend the actual workshop to gain complete information and understanding.
These movement screens are only performed on clients who have already confirmed that they have no diagnosed injuries or joint conditions. These clients have also received relevant medical clearances before beginning the screens. The clients are “apparently healthy” as deemed by the American College of Sports Medicine.
The questions we want to ask ourselves every time we ask a client to perform a screen are:
- Do they feel pain and/or discomfort? If so, the screen should be stopped and further questioning may lead to requested medical referral.
- What would you like to see in the movement?
- What do you actually see during the movement?
- Does one side look better than the other?
- Does it look as if the client may need mobility and/or stability work in an area?
- Is the client compensating in any way?
This is a movement screen. It is important to remember that we are looking for gross observations that “pop out” at you. Avoid the temptation to see things that are not there. Also avoid the “microscope” approach.
The first screen is called the Total Rotation. This screen assesses overall functional mobility of the entire body.
On the total rotation, we would like to see the following:
- We would like to see the shoulder rotating all the way around, i.e. approximately 90 degrees of movement. This is movement coming from the spine (mostly thoracic).
- We would like to see that the hips contribute to 50% of that movement.
Compensations to look for:
- You may see gross compensation at the knee and/or ankle when turning in one direction but not in the other. Some movement at the ankle and knee is normal. (Note is if there is a noticeable difference in the movement to one side more than the other.).
- You may see noticeable flexion or extension as the client rotates.
If your client looks “stiff” during this movement, you can ask yourself several questions:
- they look stiff around the hips and entire torso?
- Do they look as if the hips move but not much at the spine (the shoulder doesn’t move much)?
- Do they look as if the spine rotates (the shoulders move) but not much at the hips?
Seated Trunk Rotation
We use the Seated Trunk Rotation to cross-reference Total Rotation. Ask your client to do the same rotational movement while seated on a table or chair.
While seated without any movement from the hips, you should see the shoulders move half the distance than they did while standing.
When observing this movement, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the movement at the spine (how much the shoulder moves) look the same sitting as it did standing? If it is less, then the movement you were observing while standing may have been coming more from the hips. In that case, your client may need increased mobility at the thoracic spine. If it looks good at the spine while seated and standing and restricted at the hips while standing, then you can be more secure in your thoughts that the rotation while standing was better at the spine than the hips.
If your client looks restricted in the movements around the hips or spine; here are some exercises you may want to try. If they have difficulty in doing one of these exercises, ask yourself if it correlates with what you saw as they were trying to do the movement during the screen These exercises are very integrated, i.e. there are a lot of things going on at the same time!!
For Hip Mobility - Adductor Roll Up
Have your client lie on the side, with both legs straight and in line with the body. A wall is a good cue for the client to learn to keep the body in a straight line. We have all seen those group exercise classes where the participants have the leg in front of the body instead of a straight line and can use other muscles to do the desired movement! Have them get the top leg out of the way.
Cue your client to simply roll the leg up towards the ceiling, internally rotating at the hip.
You can also turn this movement into a traditional adductor exercise. Have your client do a set of roll ups, then hold that position and do a set of adduction with the leg in the rolled-up position.
Abductor Roll Up
Have your client lie on their side, with both legs straight and in line with the body. Again, a wall is a good cue for the client to learn to keep the body in a straight line. Have them bring the bottom leg up and out of the way (for increased range of motion) but be certain to keep the hips stacked on top of each other. Cue your client to simply roll the leg up towards the ceiling, externally rotating at the hip.
As in the first exercise, you can turn this movement into a traditional abductor exercise. Have your client do a set of roll ups, then hold that position and do a set of abduction with the leg in the rolled-up position.
Thoracic Mobility - Quadruped Rotation and Extension
Another exercise to assess your client’s mobility in the thoracic area is the quadruped rotation and extension. Have your client get on all four’s, with their hands directly underneath their shoulders and their knees directly underneath their hips.
Your client puts one hand behind their head, as far down as possible. Cue them to rotate and extend as much as possible without compensating with the rest of the body. They should try and aim their elbow up towards the ceiling with their eyes following the movement. Think about the previous screens as you watch this movement:
- Does the client look stiff doing this movement?
- If so, then did they also look stiff while doing the standing or seated rotation?
- If so, then they probably need to be incorporating this mobility exercise into the training session and program.
The ultimate goal of incorporating RNT screens and exercises is to increase the overall impact of the personal training program. The more we learn about integrated movement and mobility and stability issues, the more we can design better and more comprehensive programs for our clients.