2-disc DVD set—1 hour, 45 minutes in duration, 2008
In this 2-disc set, Secrets of Primitive Patterns, number four in the Secrets Series consisting of Secrets of the Shoulder, Secrets of the Hip and Knee and Secrets of Core Training, the Backside, Gray Cook and Lee Burton teach how to uncover asymmetries that forewarn of future risk of injury. They follow the simple screening process with techniques they’ve developed to help people instinctively correct core stability and motor control issues. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll find in this powerful DVD set.
Introduction, 15 minutes
In this discussion, Gray and Lee mine the Functional Movement Screens based on primitive postures of developmental human movement milestones, soil for the functional patterns of the other three Secrets DVDs. As babies, we have mobility first, then we learn to stabilize. Later, as we begin to move poorly for whatever reason, the brain sacrifices mobility to supply stability. To regain the missing mobility, we need to reestablish stability first. This DVD set is designed to teach us how to do just that.
Here’s an example of the type of tips woven throughout the discussion: Tonic holding is what the sedentary culture does when it’s not prepared for activity. Rather than jumping into the gym without preparation, we need to start with core stability and motor control before moving to extremity training. For instance, the core needs to be firing properly before we hit the bench press. When we bench without good core motor control, we’re building exterior musculature the interior can’t support.
Screening review, 17 minutes
Focusing on the pushup and rotary stability screens, the final two of the seven parts of the FMS, they show the exact positions and movement of the screens, showing what to look for and how to score. The pushup screen includes the pain provocation hyperextension test, and the rotary screen includes a flexion pain provocation test.
In rotary stability screening, they show the elbow-to-knee test many people don’t know to use, and explain what’s happening in the torso, including subtleties to watch for during this stability movement. Gray discusses rotary stability modifications specifically for youth and mature populations while suggesting hesitation in using these adjustments.
Pushup Corrections, 14 minutes
Pushup corrections in a nutshell: Do more pushups. Using a variety of pushup positions, a number of which are demonstrated, simply practice stability pushing. Here the key: Stimulate the pushup pattern. You’re not looking for failure: Challenging, not difficult! Pick the one that makes the pattern look best —corrective exercise is for correction; it’s not the workout.
Gray offers neuromuscular mechanisms to teach the pushup activation in unusual positions, side-lying against a wall, eccentric work with a Cook band, stimulate reflex stabilization via finger engagement and uses a core board in various positions for more advanced activity. Pay attention here. You’re looking for automatic responses!
Rotary Stability Corrections, 6 minutes
Here they’re teaching us to look for dissociation of the upper to lower body, something few people are aware of, either the ability or inability. This one was amazing in its complexity while appearing very simple.
Rolling Pattern testing and modifications, 5 minutes
Gray coaches his wife Danielle through the rolling patterns, demonstrating the rolling axis using primitive reflex action and includes modifications that provide a headstart for individuals who struggle.
Quadruped corrections, 11 minutes
With the intension of regaining core stability as screened in the rotary stability test, think regression: This doesn’t go right to a diagonal—Gray starts with a single-arm lift while watching the stability of the other shoulder and both hips. Then he has Danielle reach out with one leg, watching the other hip and shoulders independently. Only after success with the single extremities does he move her to the diagonal.
Assessments, 11 minutes
This is a discussion of the differences between screening, testing and assessing, followed by quality assessment of rolling and the quantity value of side planks. In this section, Gray explains his verbal cues in depth, showing what to look for in both the upper body and lower body strategies, supine to prone and reverse in all four quadrants. Lee kicks in with a conversation on the available research on rolling, side planking and asymmetries, and they continue with their work in side planking, including regressions. Gray points out the number one problem in most of our corrective exercise programs: We start with planks and side planks before achieving a successful rolling pattern. His instructions are for us to establish a symmetrical all-quadrant rolling pattern before side planking.
Rolling Corrections, 10 minutes
Here Gray demonstrates his step-by-step corrections that trigger the reflex-generated core stabilization sometimes lost after injury, surgery or a lifetime of desk jockeying. He uses tools such as a BOSU, Airex pads, a stability ball and a rolled towel to get Lee to instinctively load the spine and get into the deep squat position from all-fours without rounding the spine. They then move to supine and a prop to chock the body in a pre-loaded position, a Cook tubing band and a few bits of Gray’s tricky RNT finesse cuing. Of special note: the star fish drill Gray and Greg Rose developed for Titleist. That one’s wild!
Side Plank Corrections, 10 minutes
In this section the guys work the side plank position using different tools and angles that engage side-position core stability.
Conclusion, 6 minutes
Here we discover the basis of their thinking about motor programming and neurodevelopmental programming and a plan to further our skills in this arena. Theirs is a new approach built on the foundation of earlier philosophies you’ll enjoy studying if corrective exercise is a cornerstone of your work.
Get your copy of Secrets of Primitive Patterns from this link via Perform Better.