Fitness advice: Propioception, your first fitness goal

Fitness Advice: Propioception, Your First Fitness Goal

Once you start exercising, your first goal should be to improve your

Proprioception

From Latin proprius, meaning “one’s own”, “individual”, and capio, capere, to take or grasp, is the sense of the relative position of one’s own parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement. Proprioception, simply put, means “sense of self”. Proprioception is the capacity of the body to determine where all of its parts are positioned at any given time, and it plays an important role in the world of sports.
 
The International Association for Dance Medicine defines proprioception metaphorically as the sixth sense, extending the classical five senses to include the body. This body sense is more than just a feeling of movement. It is intimately tied to our feeling of muscle tone, perception of effort and, most importantly, our perception of balance.
 
A professional athlete has a high degree of proprioception awareness, just watch this:
 

While one’s proprioception may not mirror a professional athlete’s, working on your proprioceptive skills will make a difference in your day-to-day activities. There are a number of exercises to train your proprioception.

Balancing Exercises

Good exercises for proprioception development would be activities that challenge balance and equilibrium. Balance exercises help your body and brain to control the position. You can improve proprioception using a balance board, a Swiss ball, a Bosu or/and a medicine ball.
 

Strengthening Exercises

As you build strength in the muscles, the brain begins to understand the request of this strength more and more. As strength builds, it helps improve proprioception awareness with the mind and body and also allows you to continue/hold a movement or action longer in proper form.

Exercises While Closing the Eyes

You can gain the ability to inform and trust your muscles to perform different exercises with the eyes closed. This enhances the communication between the brain and the muscles so that you are able to perform activities properly without watching the movement take place.

Plyometric Movements and Drills

Exercise involving coordination and movement patterns enhance the kinesthetic awareness. Vertical jumps, running figure-eight patterns, change of direction drills and crossover walking help to establish the connection between muscles and nerves. As you are asking the body to perform certain movements, it trains the brain to respond to these movements.
 
It is always important to seek expert training support whenever possible. Work with a fitness professional or physical therapist with these types of exercises as they will be able to individualize a program for your specific needs, whether elderly wanting to gain a better sense of balance and basic day-to-day functions or an athlete wanting to enhance performance and prevent injuries.
 
 

12 thoughts on “Fitness advice: Propioception, your first fitness goal”

  1. We used to do a lot of proprioception-based training when I was learning Chinese martial arts. Many of our exercises involved balance, jumping, and holding strenuous positions for long stretches of time. My balance definitely improved during that time, as did my awareness of my lower body. Unfortunately the combinations of jumping on hard surfaces and holding strenuous postures wasn’t kind on my knees.

    1. Martial arts develop propioception like no other discipline (maybe ballet could compete). Unfortunately, martial arts training requires so much time every day, that it leaves no room for exercises that strengthen your weak points, such as your knees, shoulders or elbows. But believe me, there are exercises that could help you strengthen those weaknesses. A few specific exercises for your knees would have helped you a lot.

      1. Martial arts training is incredibly time consuming: I spent at least two hours on it every day, and I wasn’t doing nearly enough. I’d still be interested in learning some knee-strengthening exercises, because my knees still haven’t fully recovered from all the abuse I put them through.

      2. I will send you an email with those exercises 😉 Now that you don’t spend two hours training martial arts you can spend some time recovering.

    1. Hehe! Yes, the name is a little bit pompous, and the exercises don´t seem a big deal, but definitely works :D

  2. Pingback: The importance of exercise still underrated ~ Dreampack

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Lower Back

The Erector Spinae is not just one muscle, but a bundle of muscles and tendons. Paired, they run more or less vertically. It extends throughout the lumbar, thoracic and cervical regions, and lies in the groove to the side of the vertebral column.

Latissimus Dorsi

The latissimus dorsi is the larger, flat, dorsolateral muscle on the trunk, posterior to the arm, and partly covered by the trapezius on its median dorsal region.

Deltoids

The Deltoid muscle is the muscle forming the rounded contour of the shoulder. It is divided into three portions, anterior, lateral and posterior, with the fibers having different roles due to their orientation.

Infraspinatus

The Infraspinatus muscle is one of the four rotator cuff muscles crossing the shoulder joint and is commonly injured. It is the main external rotator of the shoulder joint.

Biceps

The Biceps brachii is  actually two separate bundles of muscles (heads). The two heads of the Biceps vary in length and as a result, are called the Short and the Long Biceps heads.

Triceps

The Triceps Brachii muscles  have three muscle heads: Lateral, Medial and Long head. Primarily responsible for the extension of the elbow joint. The lateral head is used for movements requiring occasional high-intensity force, while the medial fascicle enables more precise, low-force movements.

Forearm
(Anterior muscles)

The Pronator teres pronates the forearm, turning the hand posteriorly. If the elbow is flexed to a right angle, then pronator teres will turn the hand so that the palm faces inferiorly. It is assisted in this action by pronator quadratus.

Forearm
(Posterior muscles)

The Extensor Digitorum muscle helps in the movements of the wrists and the elbows. It extends the phalanges, then the wrist, and finally the elbow. It acts principally on the proximal phalanges. It tends to separate the fingers as it extends them.

Pecs

The pectoralis major makes up the bulk of the chest muscles in the male and lies under the breast in the female.

The pectoralis minor is a thin, triangular muscle, situated at the upper part of the chest, beneath the pectoralis major. 

Abs

The Rectus Abdominis is the most superficial of the abdominal muscles. It is this muscle which forms the six-pack shape! It is a paired muscle running vertically on each side of the anterior wall of the abdomen. There are two parallel muscles, separated by a midline band of connective tissue called the linea alba.

Obliques

The External Oblique is situated on the lateral and anterior parts of the abdomen. It is broad, thin, and irregularly quadrilateral. It is the largest and the most superficial (outermost) of the three flat muscles of the lateral anterior abdomen. 

Glutes

The gluteal muscles are a group of three muscles which make up the buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The three muscles originate from the ilium and sacrum and insert on the femur. The functions of the muscles include extension, abduction, external rotation, and internal rotation of the hip joint.

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Quadriceps

The Quadriceps Femoris is the knee extensor muscle.  As a group, the quadriceps femoris is crucial in walking, running, jumping and squatting. It´s subdivided into four separate “heads”.

Hamstrings

A hamstring is any one of the three posterior thigh muscles in between the hip and the knee (from medial to lateral: semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris). The hamstrings are quite susceptible to injury.

Lower Leg

The gastrocnemius and the soleus form what we know as calf. They are involved in activities such as walking, running, jumping… 

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Trapezius

The trapezius is a broad, flat and triangular muscle. The muscles on each side form a trapezoid shape. It is the most superficial of all the back muscles.

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