Movement at a joint requires the bones to rotate, spin, roll and slide smoothly and safely around other bones, tendons, ligaments, joint capsules, muscles, cartilage and most importantly nerves. As we age, many of these “obstacles” to safe movement become rougher and larger through injury and normal degenerative aging processes. Performing a full range of motion movement at a joint without bumping or grinding any of these obstacles might require a very subtle and precise movement. The more accurate the movement, the less bumping and grinding. The less precise the movement, the more wear and tear on the joints, causing irritation to nerves, inflammation, microtrauma, stress, loss of energy, etc.
So how do we train precise joint movement? One simple way is by paying very close attention to what is happening in the joint
during movement and using that feedback to improve the quality of the
motion. This necessarily requires doing simple movements very slowly and
should be curious about the following questions Is there any pain with
the movement? Is there even the slightest discomfort? Is the movement
arc smooth or ratcheted? Do you need to speed up and use momentum to
skip over an uncomfortable part of the movement? Is the movement smooth
and easy or labored and filled with tension? Are you moving with the
effortless quality of a great athlete, a dancer or a little child? What
would it feel like to move perfectly? Do you feel tension in non moving
parts of your body such as your face, jaw or hands? Can you do the
movement incredibly slowly? As fast as possible?
You can apply these question to any type of movement or school of movement when it comes to thinking about how you move and what you want those movements to look and feel like in the future.