Crawl Before You Walk. Walk Before You Do Speed Skaters On Balance Beams into Handstands with Kettlebells on Your Feet

What do pills and crawling have in common? YES! Whatever is in your head right now, you're right.  It depends on what kind and how many. No? There have been studies arising to the surface of the health and fitness industry showing the relationship between athletic coordination, ADHD and child development. I want to clarify that anything I say or write is NOT the absolute...I just want to get the cogs turning.   Also I am not accusing anyone of having ADHD nor being a clutz.

This would be my expression right now too.
Take a look at your daily patterns and how your body moves.  Do you find it uncomfortable to sit down and have the urge to straighten your legs?  Can you march with opposite arm and leg movement with your eyes closed? There are too many examples that actually force me to question myself.

In collaboration with Dr. Mirriam Bender, Dr. Nancy O'Dell and Patricia Cook have related 75% of ADHD/ADD cases to the lack of STNR (Symmetrical Tonic Neck Relfex) development in children. This is partially due to the urgency of parents to force their children to start walking through the use of crazy contraptions that make cheerful babies run over unsuspecting feet at ridiculously high speeds.  The other factor contributing to this phenomenon is the fear of SIDS in the 90's. So parents were making their children sleep on their backs which dramatically prevented SIDS yet, on the other hand reduced normal crawling development.  So the child did not develop the ability to flex and extend their limbs independently. As result, child or adult, if one set of limbs, let's say the arms are bent, the legs have the urge to be straight or vice versa. One example is, some people try to sit down at their desks yet find themselves kneeling on their chair while standing on one leg.  Another example is a young baseball player who had to squat down in order to extend his arms overhead to catch a ball. So as a solution, while sleeping keep them on their backs but while awake, place them on their stomachs.  Dr. Bender developed certain exercises to help develop STNR in conjunction with crawling patterns and have seen significant improvement in both children and adults with ADHD/ADD. I have yet to read their book to know the exact exercises. But for some reason, my ego says  I can figure it out.  Great job ego!! Great job!

Fitness resource, Paul Chek, chooses a different view in his video blog basing his research on athletic prowess and muscular control.  He correlates brain development with the physical aspects of child development ranging from one month to two years of age. There are three stages of development; Reptilian, Paleo-Mammalian, and Neo-Mammalian.  Those who rush through these essential stages tend to not develop certain areas of the brain therefore affecting certain movement patterns.  Completely independent of Dr. Bender's studies, he too uses crawling pattern tests and even the marching test stated earlier.

Deriving off of his studies, I have made some observations from a progression standpoint which stands very similar to that of exercise progressions. The reptilian phase consists of homologous and homolateral movement.  Homologous movement is when a child between one and seven months rocks in a linear pattern while on its back. It begins to strengthen flexion and extensors of the trunk and limbs. Movement of the limbs in that plane begin to create torque on the spine which forces supporting trunk muscles to control those forces. In essence rotational control activates which then promotes lateral rolling movements and touching opposite arms and legs; homolateral phase.

Once strengthened, the child will have the ability to roll on their stomachs and delve into the paleo-mammalian phase. The trunk is now at the point where it can control forces from multiple directions.  The constant movement in the limbs increased efficiency of the flexing and extending muscles of the hips and shoulders.  So once they roll over, they will have the ability to get into the position that develops STNR.  You will then see the child bounce back and forth increasing efficiency of elbow and knee movement. They eventually will build up enough momentum from bouncing to take some steps forcing opposite arm and leg function in order  to maintain locomotion.

The strength and control developed in the limbs and trunk while crawling urges the child to graduate into the neo-mammalian phase. They would have developed sufficient pulling strength to grab on to things and pull them selves up. If you notice them grabbing onto something, they generally get into a split squat position, then a deep squat prior to standing. The feet then come into play to provide information to the brain as to what muscles should be orchestrated in order to maintain their stance.  The constant falling and getting back up is like doing tons of lunges, squats and Jungle Gym pullups! The strengthening of all those muscles allow them to finally get control to take their first step. Then trouble ensues to the terrible twos.

Forcing a child to rush through these developmental phases prove to be detrimental to brain development and muscular control. Just because little Tyler is walking at 7 months doesn't mean that you have to compete, because later, your offspring will be doing sprints and sitting in their chair when their teacher tells them too. Our brains are smarter than people think.  To those of you who have trained with me, I'm sure you recall all the times we revert back to isolated movements like hollowouts, draw ins, bridges, arm and leg raises.  I told you they serve a purpose!  Sprint away then do a horizontal jump into kong walks and tiger pushups!

Keep MUV'N


Covic, E. with Lee, C. (Interviewer) & Cook,P. with O'Dell, N.  (Interviewee). (2010). ADHD Therapy [Interview transcript]. Retrieved from Grok Science Podcast Web site:http://grokscience.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/adhd-therapy/  

Chek,P. (2009). Hollowing VS Bracing? [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.chekinstitute.com/Hollowing_Bracing. (2010, January 27).

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