Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization- A workshop review
It's all about the breath. That is the basis of dynamic neuromuscular stabilization, or DNS, a movement philosophy based on Pavel Kolar's work as a physiotherapist with a PhD in pediatrics (more info on Dr. Kolar can be found here: http://www.rehabps.com/REHABILITATION/Kolar.html). DNS focuses on reestablishing proper breathing patterns using the entire diaphragm to create intra-abdominal pressure (IAP). Once IAP is established and joint centration has occurred, movement can take place (joint centration refers to the proper position of the bone in the socket). Movement patterns that are grooved use a developmental kinesiology approach, i.e. legs in the air, diaphragmatic breath, a caudal rib positioning, similar to a 3 month old baby, with the arms and legs then moving in various patterns while maintaining IAP. This is far harder than it sounds and was a bit eye opening for those who consider ourselves strong (and there were a few of us in there). Our instructor, a physiotherapist from Prague named Zusana, was fantastic- patient, with an obvious mastery in the information she was conveying. The class consisted of people from all over the US (Baton Rouge was the furthest anyone had travelled) and diverse backgrounds. Some of the people in attendance were a Pilates instructor, ATC from a physical therapy clinic, Stanford athletics ATC, Feldenkrais practitioner, ortho bionomy practitioner, Football strength and conditioning coach, and massage therapist. I felt the content had wide reaching application and I appreciated Zusana's approach to the material. When someone asked her "how" to sequence an exercise program, her response was, "there is no cookbook approach. You all do what you do. The goal is to incorporate some of the principles into your approaches." She wasn't trying to change how any of us do things; rather, the goal was to simply get us to think about things a little bit differently and give us more tools so we could do our jobs a little more effectively.
I was familiar with the principles of DNS, thanks to listening to webinars with Charlie Weingroff and reading/watching presentations by Dr. Evan Osar, both of whom have a more integrated approach than many strength and conditioning coaches. One of the hardest things for me within the personal training field is there are so many different ways of doing things and no "expert" has resonated with me enough for me to want to "study" with him. This is different than yoga, for instance. There are many different types of yoga. Once you find a style that speaks to you, you can take workshops or classes with senior teachers. I have learned a ton of both practical and conceptual aspects of Ashtanga by attending workshops with a number of senior teachers and it has always made me a bit sad there is nothing like this in the personal training world. The DNS approach feels like what has been missing, at least for me. It is a fundamental concept I can thread through my sessions that makes sense. I will take Sports Course part II in November if Zusana comes back to SF (there were rumors she will come up to the bay area after teaching in Phoenix), and from there, I might consider moving into the Basic Courses. While I am unable to do soft tissue work, the better understanding I have of how the body works, the better trainer I will be. I feel like many trainers get stuck. They learn how to move, figure out what works for them, and never really expand past that to learn more techniques and apply new principles. This doesn't always address some of the more basic stability problems and often allows individuals to continue adopting efficient compensation patterns. I strive to help people move better and move more, and I think DNS might help me do that.
Yours in health and wellness,