Such a complicated group of words for a simple concept. Load order sequencing teaches you how to create tension and organize your body into a good position to avoid movement errors (doing it wrong). Basically, the joint you move first will carry the biggest share of the load. For example: when squatting, if you bend your knees first then your knees will be loaded maximally vs if you push your hips back first then your hips will be loaded maximally. Yah, yah, yah – what does this mean in real life?
Using proper load sequencing will decrease injury and increase your ability to use your body properly for YEARS and YEARS! Your body is a machine so if you try to run the machine incorrectly, it won’t last as long as it’s built to. It’ll work, but not optimally. Your body is the same. Using myself as an example, I’ve been working out since I was 18 years old (nearly a 1/4 century!). I’ve beaten my body up with heavy loads, repeated pounded on my joints, repetitive movement patterns and sacrificed form to “get the job done”. Not a great track record, but at the time I didn’t know any better. Now, I know better! Thank goodness for wisdom and knowledge! I am NOW trying to correct poor movement patterns that have made my hips tighter than a drum, which limits my mobility (visualize me in pigeon- eek!). Thinking about body positioning before doing a movement makes a big difference.
The concept of load order sequencing requires thought and repetition at first, but it will become a habit – a good habit. Below are some examples of how to position your body for optimal movement patterns going forward.
Notice the position of his hands in the push up. His hands are directly under his elbow keeping his forearms vertical. This places the major emphasis of the movement on the shoulders and chest. The incorrect positioning places more tension on the elbow, which can lead to joint issues and injuries.
In the squat position, you want to push your hips back first before you bend your knees. This places the emphasis on your hip joint. The incorrect positioning of bending your knees forward first leads to increased tension and shear forces in the knee. This can cause pain and injuries over time.
Using a real life example to further explain this is the motion of getting up from a chair. Seated, you are starting from a squat position. Ideally you want to keep your shins vertical and drop your chest slightly, which transfers weight to your hips as you stand up. Using the incorrect position with your feet behind your knee places too much tension and shear forces on the knee and ACL.
You want to shift your weight into your shoulders or hips when they are involved in a movement. They are the bigger movers and can withstand the forces if they are made stable. In order to make them stable, you create torque. I’ll talk more about this next week, but this is the reason I’ve been asking you to externally rotate your legs in a squat and arms in a push-up movement. These are simple small tweaks, but they make a huge difference in the life of your body and your mobility.