Joint-by-Joint Approach: Why We Train Movement, Not Just Muscle!

Why we Train Movement, Not Just Muscle: A Joint by Joint Approach

Welcome Back!

Let’s dive into why we approach training Joint by Joint as well as…

  • Define Stability & Mobility when talking about functional movement
  • Why evaluations are necessary to prevent injury
  • How our Training will lead you to Move Well and Move Often!

Why Evaluations are the First Step…

At Align, our approach to your training follows a systematic approach that involves a functional fitness evaluation prior to beginning training. Exercise is often thought of for all of its positive effects including improving fitness, physical well-being, mental well-being, strength, etc. but exercise can have negative consequences if we attempt to put our bodies through movement and stress that it is not physically ready to properly receive. We use our evaluations to collect data regarding where you are currently regarding physical readiness, so that we have a better opportunity of helping you to reach your fitness goals in the safest, most effective and efficient manner.

Our focus of your evaluation begins with looking at the body by what has been referred to as the joint by joint approach. The Joint by Joint approach, which was developed by physical therapist Gray Cook, looks at the body from a functional perspective of how our body is comprised of alternating regions of mobility and stability.

Why Mobility and Stability is Important…

Most people are familiar with the “core” in the training and rehabilitation world; however what is the importance of our core? The core is primarily compromised of our lower back and the muscles that surround it. It is our foundation that provides a stable base for proper function of the regions above (mid back, shoulders, etc.) and below (hips, knees, etc). Many of us think that training our “core” involves exercises that strengthen our abdominal muscles like sit-ups, crunches, twists, etc; however, though these exercises may strengthen our abdominal muscles, they actually do very little to help core stabilization. Think of the core as something that limits movement, not creates it. Stability is our ability to properly control movement, which requires proper control from our brain to our muscles, also referred to as motor or neuromuscular control. There are regions of our body, like the core, that are also predominantly stabilizers and there are regions that are predominantly mobilizers. Let’s look at the chart and diagram below to get a better understanding of how our body truly functions:

Low BackStability
Mid BackMobility
Shoulder BladeStability

As a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician and a Certified Functional Strength Coach, this view of how the body functions, makes a lot of sense to me and passes the DIMADS (Does It Make Any Darn Sense) test. Our focus on training the body at ChiroFitt focuses on training movements and not muscles. This method of training movement, not muscles allows us to be more functional in our approach with a focus on improving stability in the areas that require more stability and mobility in the areas that require more mobility.

Why Training into Dysfunction causes Injury…

This brings us to the need for a proper functional fitness evaluation prior to beginning your training. This evaluation provides us the information necessary to determine if any regions have any noted dysfunction, i.e. a mobile area being immobile or restricted in its ability to move or a stable area not being able to be properly controlled resulting in access or sloppy movement in an area that should be more stable, prior to beginning training. This is extremely important as we often find dysfunction in one or multiple regions of the body during our assessment. Areas that should be more stable can start to become sloppier and more mobile and areas that should be more mobile start to become tight and less mobile. This can result from a current or previous injury, prolonged postural stress, repetitive stress, improper training techniques (Yes, you can actually be training into these dysfunctions which can eventually lead to an injury, lack of use, etc).

These issues compound one another as a loss of proper function in one region, will lead to a reversal of function in areas above and below the area that has lost its proper function. In other words, if we lose “core” stability as a result of a low back injury, we will find that hip mobility and mid back mobility starts to be lost as there is no longer a good foundation for proper movement of these regions, which could lead to hip pain or problems and mid back pain or problems.  This is what we refer to as regional interdependence of the body, which explains how a loss of proper function (be it mobility or stability) in one area can cause pain and dysfunction in another. For example:

  • Lose ankle mobility, get knee pain
  • Lose hip mobility, get low back pain
  • Lose mid back mobility, get neck and/or shoulder pain or low back pain

Why having a Trainer is Important…

This is the importance of working with a trainer who understands these important concepts and knows how to evaluate for them through a proper functional fitness evaluation prior to training. Training with dysfunctions can have significant negative consequences and strongly increase your risk of injury.

The great news is that once a dysfunction is found through a proper functional assessment, we can use corrective strategies and techniques that can assist in restoring proper function. Restoring proper function and getting your body to the point where it can move well is key to an effective fitness program. A training philosophy that we live by is Move Well. Move Often; in other words, we want to make sure that you are moving well before we begin to load or add repetition to a movement. Training you to be more functionally fit will greatly reduce your risk of injury during training and lead to gaining true sound fitness. In the coming weeks, we will unveil the evaluation techniques that we use to properly assess functional movement along with corrective strategies we use to correct any dysfunctions that we may find through our assessment.

Till next time!!

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top

Get In Touch

Fill in the form below and our team will be happy to assist you

Contact Information


Opening Hours

Monday – Friday 9am-5pm 
Weekend – Closed


524 Railroad Street, Jacksonville, Florida
%d bloggers like this: