Park Core this week is a variation of the thigh stretch. A key element of a dynamic thigh stretch is GROUNDING.
Grounding, or rooting, is a term used by movement practitioners to describe the body applying an active pressure into the ground.
In physics, there is a concept of Ground Force Resistance (GFR). It’s the force exerted from the ground onto a body in contact with it. It's equal to a person’s weight.
In much the same way that a change in skeletal alignment can be beneficial to a movement, a change in how the GFR is distributed can also benefit a movement. You can manipulate the GFR through actively choosing to "ground."
The following is an example of a hand which is not grounded to the floor :
And here's an alternate example of a hand which is actively grounded into the floor :
How does this change in pressure benefit the exercise?
By choosing to press down in the floor from the whole hand, the GFR distributes throughout a greater surface area. The hand corresponds with muscles in the arm, shoulder and torso and applying pressure will engage those muscles, distributing the work even more. The result is more muscles taking the pressure of the body weight and the pressure of the ground force. More work in the muscles results in less work for the joints.
Back to the thigh stretch : ground down into the shins and tops of the feet in order to bring the body back upright.
This effort will signal the hamstrings and hips to help lift the body. Instead of mostly the knee making the effort to pull the body back up. With help from the hamstrings, the knee can now function more smoothly in it's intended role : a hinge.
Always look for opportunities to ground because grounding is a simple way to trigger more muscles to work. More muscles working equals less ware and tare on the joints. Less ware and tare on the joints keeps them functional. Functional joints keeps you out of the Operating Room longer.
Let's hear it for the power of small changes!