Coupling Exercises on the Gait Cycle Continuum

newsletter Mar 25, 2022

By James Thayer

James is an Assistant Director of Fitness and Wellness, educator, presenter and Pre-Script Coach. He believes the best approach to learning is to engage, educate and empower individuals and communities. James utilizes coaching, programming, performance and movement proficiency to set a standard for conversation to application.

Coupling Exercises on the Gait Cycle Continuum

Pre-Script utilizes a warm-up pattern called the Gait Cycle Continuum which integrates gait cycle mechanics in preparation for lower body training days. The Sprinter Pose, Single Leg RDL, Hip Airplane and Forward Lunge comprise the continuum and uses mobility, stability, strength principles to prepare for the exercise demands and positions experienced during a training session.

The priority should be placed on becoming proficient in the movements individually before progressing to coupling the exercises. The proficiency of each sets a foundation for performance moving forward into more complex and greater intensity exercises like the squat.

Coupling exercises is a progressive tactic to integrate movement efficiency in preparation for the demands of the upcoming workout. Pairing exercises in the continuum should follow the order of operation making sure to reestablish the stability and held positions needed to transition from one exercise to the next seamlessly.

  •         SP -> SL RDL -> HA -> Forward Lunge

Once the skill and stability has been developed in transition between paired exercises the couples can combine into a movement continuum lowering the reps and duration of the warm-up and basing quality.

Sprinter Pose: One leg stabilizes the body in an aligned stack position while the other leg holds a hip flexed position.

Single Leg RDL: Moving through hip flexion and extension on the stabilized loaded leg as the other leg acts as a lever of difficulty based on position. A bent knee shortens the center of mass (COM) while an extended leg lengthens COM making the exercise more challenging.

 Hip Airplane: In the flexed hip position of a SL RDL the pelvis will tilt towards and away from the stabilized leg for internal and external rotation at the hip.

Forward Lunge: Utilizing all actions of the hip flexion/extension, IR/ER, Add/Abduction in locomotion to produce force and absorb force this is the most advanced movement in the continuum.