There is a paradigm shift happening in the world of sport, exercise science and allied health that has been slow to occur. However, you are about to see this revelation take the world by storm. Some physios and professional sport coaches and scientists are already secretly embracing these extraordinary techniques and including them in their athletes programs. So too are the allied professionals such as physios and osteopaths.
Antigravity muscles are the ones we see slowly attacking us by dragging some of our muscles that support our posture towards the ground. This starts happening even early now as we tend to be creatures that are intent on sitting down more and more. This all starts to happen in our early 20’s, where we see our midsection, our thoracic and lumbar (backs) start to become less up right, and our cervical sections of our spine making our heads move further forward. So we all end up with saggy tummies and backsides. What is still more concerning is that some of our traditional exercises we have done for years are also exacerbating the situation for us.
As we have progressed in the world of exercise we have seen machines take the place of good posture whereby we complete exercises sitting or lying down. While many of these exercises make our chest, arms, legs etc look great, they do little for our posture and antigravity muscles. In fact these antigravity muscles stop working and become dormant. While we are not advocating stopping these major movement muscles we need to serious address the antigravity muscles to prevent joint, bone and back pain from our lives as well.
Why are we so hesitant to embrace these new concepts?
I think the main reason we are hesitant is for two reasons, firstly we have been so conditioned to doing the big compound movements we have totally lost sight or in some cases have no idea, what antigravity muscles are and in fact what they do for us.
The exciting thing is we can function better, have less back, neck, bone, and joint pain as we age by including these antigravity exercises in our day to day routines. Injury is also less likely to occur when we start to activate the anti-gravity and core muscles. Our now more sedentary lifestyles is making us sit more with the very young now hunched over the computer more hours than they are active.
Just look around an office environment to see the curved backs and rotated shoulders on nearly ever office worker. We then come home from a day’s work and slump ourselves in our lounge chair and watch our favourite television shows.
Our seated postures will cause hip flexors to shorten, our upper back muscles to be become long and weak, and our chest muscles to become shorter and tighter. While we think riding our bikes is a good thing we again put ourselves in a seated position.
The “GravityFit” Exercises were developed by world renowned Professor of Physiotherapy, Carolyn Richardson (PhD) – the former leader of the acclaimed research team that introduced the concept of “Core Stability”.
With two functionally different muscle groups in the body in relation to gravity (“Movement” and “Antigravity” muscles), Professor Richardson found the addition of a simple exercise plan that promotes healthy joints and bones and deals with the forces of gravity on the body can complement cardiovascular exercise and play a major role in decreasing the risk of pain and disability associated with ageing.
This insight wasn’t an overnight revelation, but the product of extensive research into how the human body works and how its muscle systems respond to, and deal with, environmental and lifestyle changes.
Professor Carolyn Richardson has been at the forefront of musculoskeletal research for over 20 years. With studies involving subjects at zero gravity and those dealing with the rigours of professional sport, the findings of her decades of work tell a fascinating story.
1980s – PhD research
Fast repetitive knee movement with the effect of Gravity removed found that the multi-joint muscles of the knee were activated but NOT the single joint muscles.
1990s – Lumbar stabilisation research (core stability)
The theories of two functionally different muscles of the knee was applied to the low back and pelvis to reveal that the stabilising muscles don’t perform adequately when low back pain is experienced. This research has formed the basis of the ‘Core Stability’ concept of exercise.
Early 2000′s – Space (microgravity) research
Studies in situations with zero gravity revealed that the loss of Gravity Sensory Information (GSI) causes atrophy of the Antigravity muscles and gradual deterioration of the bones.
More Recently – European Space Agency research
Research on the trunk muscles changed identification of the two functionally different muscle groups (i.e. they differ in their functional relationship to Gravity) and demonstrated that the lack of GSI in our modern western lifestyle on Earth contributes significantly to the loss of joint stability and bone strength.
Stay tuned for more information on this exciting topic that will be embraced by the exercise and allied health sectors.
*Information for this article has been extracted from Dr. Carolyn Richardson website with her permission.
“Master’s In Education” (Disability) Newcastle University Australia
“Grad Cert Education” Newcastle University Australia
“Cert 4 Personal Training”
“Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Coach”