What is Intuitive and Reflexive Exercise?

Intuitive and Reflective Exercise

Intuitive exercise. Reflexive exercise. As Strength & Fitness Coaches, we’ve all heard these terms before.

Intuitive exercise allows the body to “load into dysfunction” in order to permit the neuro-muscular system a chance to discover functional pathways, or strategies, to complete the task, with correction of the postural or movement pattern dysfunction becoming part of the strategy.

Reflexive exercises place the mover in a position which, while challenging to possible dysfunction or movement pattern deviations, is inherently safe to one or more self-limiting aspects. The CNS and neuro-muscular system then work to find postural and movement efficiencies that create the structure that permits and supports successful function.

Here, my client, Ryan, is an example of these ideas at work. His challenges include a specific postural distortion (Upper Cross,) as well as low tone and weakness in the hips and legs.

Sled drags are intuitive, reflexive and improve lower-body strength. In this case, the first two characteristics help correct his UC distortions.

The upper two pics are round 2, the lower, round 3. After describing and demonstrating, I gave almost no cues, other than to keep his head up.

Compare the photosets. The improvements are clear and noticeable.

Where can you use intuitive and reflexive activities with your athletes and clients?

(As an aside, I’m incredibly proud of Ryan, who continues to improve and surprise me as we take this journey together!)

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