In our last few squat pattern posts we addressed goblet squat form and coaching fixes specific to “pulling” into the squat and to address torso position. In this post we will discuss using Reactive Neuromuscular Training (RNT) to fix movement dysfunction.
RNT uses outside resistance to neurologically turn on an automatic response. It is often seen as a “quick fix” of faulty movement patterns without using much cueing. RNT is implemented to improve functional stability and enhance motor-control skills with an automatic response.
To put it simply, RNT improves flawed movements by employing external resistance which the body must resist and react against. External force should be applied so that it exaggerates the issue. This can be accomplished by pulling with a band OR by physically pushing or pulling a segment of the body. In the picture above the coach is pulling the students right knee into a valgus collapse. The students automatic response will be to push the knee away from the midline.
In the squat, RNT can be used to fix a variety of movement flaws including: valgus knee(s), torso position, and uneven loading (placing more weight on one leg) just to name a few. Over the years we have implemented RNT to “fix” valgus knee and torso position countless time. Let’s start with Valgus Knee(s).
Fixing Valgus Knee(s) with RNT
While most of us know that a primary reason knees go valgus when applying force has a lot to do with Glute Max activation, many trainers and coaches don’t want to spend the time on correctives to fix this issue. This is more often the case in large group setting and can simply be a time issue. Using RNT in this situation can be a great “movement hack”.
Here’s how…If the student’s left knee is going valgus in the squat attach a band to a fixed object to their right side. Have the student arrange the band so it rest is just above the left knee and is pulling the thigh towards the midline (to the right in this case). Make sure there’s enough tension to make the student fight the band, but not so much that they can’t maintain the position.
If both knees go valgus set the band up in front of the student and arranged so it simultaneously pulls both knees valgus. Use the same rule of thumb for tension.
Fixing torso position with RNT
As we discussed in our last post, maintaining a tall torso in the squat can present challenges for many students. For some, RNT is exactly what the doctor ordered. In this case, affix one or two bands in front of the student and relatively low to the ground (this is dependent upon band length and tension). The student should arrange the bands to that they rest on the back of the shoulders thereby pulling their torso into flexion. The natural response should be to get tall. In this case we used two band and Erik assumed a overhead deep squat position. Use the same rule of thumb as above to determine appropriate tension.
We recommend performing sets of 15 repetitions when implementing RNT and little to no additional load. Immediately follow the RNT set with a weighted set for good transfer. If the form continues to break down in the weighted set just use the RNT technique for a few sessions OR try decreasing load.
For more information on fixing movement dysfunction in a variety of patterns refer to some of our previous blog posts and consider attending one of our upcoming seminars.
Breathing and Postural Control: 4-2-16 in Malvern PA
Certified Kettlbell Coach Level 1: 1-30-16 in Malvern PA
Certified Kettlebell Coach Level 2: 2-27-16 in Malvern PA
Certified Barbell Coach: 3-12-16 in Malvern PA
Metabolic Conditioning: no scheduled seminars thus far