Human Performance: When It Becomes Game of Dominoes

Dominoes Falling

Have you ever felt that your fitness or rehab program isn’t producing the results you had hoped for or that you’re not progressing as well as you should be? You do everything that your coach, physical therapist or personal trainer is telling you to do, yet you’re making very little progress or even worse…you feel more pain or are weaker than before you started your program.

Well, you are not alone.

It’s all about figuring out a person’s correct progression. In a previous blog, I mentioned that if you are unstable and are training on a Bosu ball for stability, then the end result is just more instability. Why does this happen? Well, its because you started with the end goal. You started with the toughest thing to do in stability training. It’s as if you were training to get better at bench pressing and you could only successfully bench press 150 llbs. Then, in your first session your trainer puts 300 lbs. (your goal weight) on the bar and says, “Bench press this. You’ll get to where you can do it.” Well, that’s the same kind of poor progression that happens when you start with standing one legged on a Bosu Ball.

Bosu Ball Stand

You had to learn to crawl before you learned to walk didn’t you? Yes. That’s the point I’m making here – proper progressions. You don’t start with the hardest thing to do. Instead, you start with what you can do and then increase the challenges from there. THAT is how you reach your goals successfully.

For example, I had one of my athletes come in and complain to me of knee pain. When I asked him if he had been doing anything different lately in his training, he replied, “Yeah, we’re doing stability training this week.” When I asked him what exactly he was doing in stability training, he replied, “we’re standing on one leg on Bosu balls” (Now, you can just imagine what I was thinking).  With athletes who are continually pushing their bodies to their limits,  training like this before assessing if their muscles can handle the stress load is reckless!

A prerequisite to any training or rehab is having all of the needed muscles functioning with a degree of integrity. In other words, your body can’t use something that is not available. The brain cannot build solutions to the challenges you give it with contractions that don’t exist or muscles that cannot handle the load being placed upon them to get the job done. When you train or rehab and put demands upon your muscles that are not capable of at that particular time, then your end result is compensation. When compensation occurs, the overworked, tight muscles and inflamed joints are being subjected to the same exercise as the weak underused joints.

Unfortunately, when these changes go uncorrected or undetected, compensations and their associated movement dysfunctions can and will eventually disrupt human body movement. Even slight changes can increase injury risk and damage the body (even if the individual is unaware) and it can happen to anyone…even elite athletes.

With human movement, various patterns of compensation and their associated movement dysfunctions could be limiting your progress. Most compensation patterns are very subtle. Over time, they grow into larger scaled compensations. This ‘domino effect’ is harmful to a person’s biomechanical integrity and overall quality of movement.

Here’s a list of common Patterns of Compensation and Movement Dysfunctions:

Pronation Distortion Syndrome
Valgus Knee
Patellofemoral Tracking Syndrome
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
IT Band Syndrome
Posterior Pelvic Tilt
Anterior Pelvic Tilt
Lower Cross Syndrome
Sway Back – Excessive Lordosis
Upper Cross Syndrome
Rounded Shoulders
Excessive Kyphosis
Forward Head Posture
Shoulder Impingement
Winged Scapula
Elevated Shoulders
Uneven Shoulders

Tight Quads or Hamstrings

Any of these sound familiar to you?

The solution is to recognize the dysfunction in your body, not mask it with purchasing another “copper fit” or some sort other kind of compression gimmick. Instead, find a qualified performance therapist or qualified strength and conditioning coach and invest in your health. It’s way better in the long run and cheaper too than ending up on a surgeon’s table.


Can you imagine what happens to your body after surgery or an injury? You guessed it…the topic of my NEXT Blog!

Cheers, Drock


Want to learn more about improving your functional movement and sports performance? Then follow Dianne’s blog:

Dianne Rockefeller is a Athletic Performance Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist, National Academy of Sports Medicine – Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist, Certified Myoskeletal Therapist, Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner, Certified Cupping Therapist, and Muscle Activation Techniques Practioner (MAT). She has treated athletes of all levels, from youth to professional, from all sports. She brings a very unique perspective to manual therapy utilizing her experience with motion analysis and sport. Her blend of advanced integrated skills along with practical and rehabilitation experience deliver exceptional results. Dianne is a self-proclaimed scholar of “Applied Performance Manual Therapies”. Contact Dianne at or 210-973-4848.


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