The blog on individualizing every program discussed all of the Functional Nomenclature components of a movement (10 observational essentials in CAFS) that can be altered/adjusted/tweaked.  The purpose of tweaking can be to refine a movement used to assess function.  Tweaking also transforms a client’s present success into more global success.  As the client’s needs change, movements are tweaked to be goal-specific.

Practitioners of Applied Functional Science, armed with all the components that can be tweaked, must learn to sequence the order of tweaks if they want to maximize their skill sets.  Three components essentials of any movement are rate, load, and duration.  Lets look at each one of these in terms of sequencing, and then finally consider how each one can be used with the others.

The rate/speed of a movement often is, at least initially, determined by the client.  This self-selected speed can be tweaked either up, down, or both.  The strategy behind the tweak becomes important.  Is the client moving successfully, but has lowered the speed to maintain balance?  Would more speed actually generate more muscle power to create more success?  Does the desired functional task require faster execution than the client is able to produce?  Logic would suggest that staring slow and increasing the speed is a proper sequence, but sometimes a faster rate of movement creates more success.  In these cases the strategy might be to tweak the movement to a slower speed requiring more muscle control.

The amount of load/weight/resistance is an important tool in successful training and rehabilitation.  What type of resistance should be used?  Should it be a free weight, or attached to the body by a cable?  Is a wearable weight better? No matter what loading strategy is used, if the resistance is to be tweaked, should the sequence be low-to-high, or high to low?  A logical warm-up progression might be low-to-high.  But maximum effort sets could be more successful with a high-to-low sequence.  If a cable is attached to the body, should the point of attachment be altered, and what would the sequence be?

Duration can be set by time, or by reps and sets.  The client’s desired function, and the specific deficits will go a long way in determining the “duration strategy”.   But the duration must also be tweaked in conjunction with rate and load to create a logical and successful sequence of training.

Since everyone is an individual, the most effective strategy will be different for each client.  The optimal program not only utilizes tweaking of the components, but also considers whether the rate, load, or duration should be tweaked first.  So there is a tweak sequence within each movement component, and a tweaking sequence between components.  An example can provide some practicality to this discussion.

My grandson wants to be a better hitter in baseball, so how do we design a program?  Rate equates to “at what speed” should the swings be taken?  Ultimately fast is better, but are there motor training benefits to progressing from slow to fast?  We decide on a sequence starting normal, then slower than normal, then normal, then as fast as he can swing. Then we decide to use load with two tweaks: a normal bat and a weighted bat.  Should we use the weighted bat first, and then the normal?  That seems logical.  What about duration?  Continuous swings for 60 seconds? Or does quality go down?  So we choose 2 sets of 15 swings.  If we compute the swings that is 4 speeds X 2 bats X 15 reps X 2 sets. Wow, that’s 240 swings. Maybe we should cut back to 5 reps per set so the total number of swings is 80, but we really won’t know until we start the program and then adjust.

So what does the first round of swings look like: 5 swings at normal speed with a weighted bat. Success! Quality looks good and speed is normal with the weighted bat.  Here is where the sequence BETWEEN the movement components impacts the strategy.  What should be tweaked first?  Should we have him repeat exactly the second set of 5 reps. Or should be switch to the normal bat? Or should we tweak the speed? This decision will totally change the training program even though the total number of swings will remain 80.  There are actually 6 different sequences using rate load and duration.  One is not better than the other, but one might be best for my grandson.  Maybe one is not better, but we use a different sequence for each of his 3 training days.

Please consider leveraging all of the Gray Institute website content and online certifications to become a master tweaker.