You’ve likely seen a video of a “Rube Goldberg machine,” where a bowling ball rolls down a ramp, knocking over a precariously balanced chair, which causes a lever to release some marbles which roll down a plank and into a bucket that tips over. The first movement, the rolling of the bowling ball, might seem unrelated to the final action, whether it’s pouring a glass of milk or firing a cannon. However, that first action is essential to the final result.

The human body is the same way: it’s a Chain Reaction! Our body’s movements can affect seemingly unrelated parts of the body. From plantar fasciitis to pregnancy-related issues, you need to understand how Chain Reactions impact your clients’ performance.

What Is Chain Reaction?

In the acclaimed Chain Reaction seminar, Gray Institute® outlines our functional approach to movement, known as Applied Functional Science® (AFS). With a thorough understanding of Chain Reaction and AFS, personal trainers can better assess their clients' movement, create the right workout programs, and markedly improve their outcomes.

Three essential truths guide our Chain Reaction seminar, as well as AFS in general. These truths then influence how we assess, plan, and implement our clients’ workouts.

RELATED: How to Understand and Address the Hidden Causes of Plantar Fasciitis

1. Our Bodies’ Systems Are Deeply Connected

There is a misconception among some movement professionals that joints and tissues must be adjacent to have an impact on each other. However, when we view the body’s muscles and joints as a Chain Reaction, we learn that there does not need to be a “direct connection” for the actions of one joint to affect another. For example, dysfunction in the hip can affect the foot’s motion (or lack thereof), resulting in plantar fasciitis.

Similarly, pregnancy can impact a woman’s pelvic core neuromuscular system (PCNS), leading to an increased likelihood of orthopedic injuries and other issues. To address these challenges, you need to understand these unique Female Chain Reactions.

2. Movements Are Never Isolated to One Plane

Conventional treatment suggests that injuries and rehabilitation only happen on one plane of motion, rather than on all three planes. These planes of motion are the sagittal, frontal, and transverse: forward and back, side-to-side, and twisting motion, respectively. However, we know that all joints and muscles function in three planes simultaneously. Evidence of the complexity of motion is evident in joint structure, muscle architecture, alignment of fascia, and neuro-perceptual coordination.

During Chain Reaction, you’ll learn how to consider all three planes of motion in your practice, helping you build more effective workouts for your clients.

3. Exercises Should Resemble Real-Life Movement

Because the body is so complex, practitioners should use exercises that are as close to the actual activity as possible. This is not to say you should immediately jump right back into “real life” movements, especially after an injury or surgery. However, when your client is ready, your rehabilitative exercises should be as close to their real-life activities as possible.

For example, a lateral ankle sprain is one of the most common injuries for basketball players. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (R.I.C.E.) is an effective treatment, but it’s not all that an injured player needs. Controlled motion, exercise, and walking that doesn’t exacerbate the injured ligaments can help a lateral ankle sprain heal more quickly and thoroughly than by the R.I.C.E. protocol alone.

How should these truths influence your personal training practice? At Gray Institute, we focus on process, rather than protocol. We believe that when you learn how to observe and assess your clients’ Chain Reactions, you’ll be able to improve almost anyone’s outcomes and performance.

RELATED: Why R.I.C.E. Alone Won’t Fully Rehabilitate a Lateral Ankle Sprain

How Personal Trainers Can Learn More About Chain Reaction

For over 30 years, we’ve seen Chain Reaction transform the personal training, coaching, and performance industries. Chain Reaction is our longest-running live seminar, empowering thousands of trainers like you with the tools they need to understand the truths of the human body, and how to apply those truths to their practice.

When you enroll in one of our Chain Reaction seminars, you’ll learn real-life, functional applications. Beginning with a solid understanding of Applied Functional Science, this seminar educates and equips you with content pertaining to the three-dimensional interaction of the primary joint complexes of the body and how to strategically leverage principle-based techniques for any function, any individual, and any purpose.

Chain Reaction is also CEU eligible. To learn more about our courses and decide if Chain Reaction is right for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Gray Institute: Ground-Breaking Personal Training Education for Over 40 Years

At Gray Institute, we’ve been pioneering ground-breaking personal training practices and techniques for over 40 years. Our courses equip you, the movement science professional, with real-world techniques that elevate your skills, rather than simply fulfilling a requirement. If you’re ready to push yourself and learn more, please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or to enroll today!