"What I see, feel, and hear, determines how I move".
Sensory Input = Motor Output
Sensory input dictates motor output. In other words, what we see, hear, and feel, dictates what we experience and therefore, how we move. Range of motion and the stimulation that we get through our feet determines the amount of feedback we receive. This feedback tells what muscles to fire, in what order, at what time, and at what intensity. When this is off, injury potential increases, while performance potential, decreases.
The muscles in our body want to fire in a specific sequence, at a specific time. For example, as our foot everts it loads muscles in the lower-foot, sends a signal to muscles in the lower leg, and muscles fire accordingly. It is this sequence and timing that produces the most force and resiliency. When we lack mobility these signals are blunted and delayed. Meaning certain muscles may not fire in the right order, or at the right time. This changes the way we produce and absorb force for the worse. How do our bodies know when and how to load? The feedback that we get comes from pressure and vibration on our feet and in our joint capsules. The amount of mobility we have in a joint dictates how much information we receive from that particular joint.
We want rowing and all activity to feel effortless and automatic. However, you don’t have that option when your range is limited. Imagine that you’re deaf and you’re trying to experience a concert, or that you’re blind and you visit an art museum. Your experience is going to be limited compared to someone who has those senses. No matter how much you coach a rower with a movement limitation, you won’t see change. When you coach someone with a movement limitation, they want to change, but they’re unable. They’re not getting the same amount of feedback as a rower with clean movement does. They’re rowing with headphones on. THEY CAN’T HEAR YOU. Take off their headphones by improving their range of motion and improving the feedback through their feet. Rowers who have clean movement, see, hear, and feel more. Which results in better technique, higher efficiency, and better performance.
Blake Gourley holds a Masters of Science in Sports Performance Training and has over 12+ years of experience working with rowers. Read more