Think about all the different ways we are comforted by rocking. Rocking chairs, rocking a baby, front porch swings, rocking to some great music. All pretty awesome ways to soothe our body and souls.
Well today we are going to focus on a slightly different type of rocking, quadruped rocking. (Oh, and if you aren’t familiar with this term, quadraped rocking refers to getting down on your hands and knees, while keeping your chest and head up and shifting/rocking forward and back.)
This type of rocking is one of the Original Strength System resets and probably my go to reset. Whether I’m resetting in the middle of a training session, or just upon waking up, I immediately feel the benefits of this awesome reset; Actually, it’s also one of the resets that tend to have the biggest impact on most of my clients too.
Did you know all the benefits rocking really has?!
1) Rocking is soothing. As it stimulates your vestibular system it is also stimulating and soothing your soul. Sure, maybe that sounds a bit deep, but try it and tell me it doesn’t just make you feel a little better? There are various studies out there showing us that different methods of rocking can help ‘rock away’ depression and anxiety, people with ADD/ADHD adapt and focus in their learning environment, help restore an astronaut after months of no gravity, and calm your mind during times of high stress. If you’re pregnant and rocking, it can stimulate your unborn child’s vestibular system too.
2) Rocking restores good posture. While rocking can sometimes make you look a little silly, or maybe even be misinterpreted as some sort of foreplay by your spouse, it is a great way to help realign the spine. As you are rocking you are working on keeping your chest up, shoulders back, and head forward. Imagine if you just practiced rocking a few minutes a day… not only would it feel good, but you’d be reversing all the damage you do to your body while sitting at a computer all day or staring down at your cell phone or whatever. Pair some nice rocking with head nods and walking with a purpose and you’ve got a great posture restoration program!
3) Rocking strengthens the pelvic floor. Move over Kegels. Now introducing rocking. Rocking is a gentle strength training exercise which gets all the way to your insides by engaging the pelvic floor muscles and helping to strengthen your abdominals which will hold your organs and pelvic region together. This prevents extra pressure on the bladder and surrounding areas causing incontinence issues. Pregnant ladies, yet another reason to rock especially! And you guys can try this before going to bed. Rock 10-20 times and see if you have to get up less frequently to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night or early mornings.
4) Rocking can help relieve back pain. When you are in the quadruped position you’re spine is able decompress a bit which allows your spine to assume a more optimal alignment. Next time your back is a little sore, consider rocking forward and back. This is also awesome (I seriously know this as I am 32 weeks pregnant) for pregnant women to help relieve pain and stiffness in the hips and back! Oh, and rocking has been known to help relieve gas pains and aid digestion too.
5) Rocking develops reflexive stability. And reflexive stability is key to us (and should be to you too!). This is your original strength. This is how we get your body moving and working together as it should With every rock you are engaging the deep muscles of the pelvic floor and abdomen which help connect your body together. Often times we see a squat go from ick to awesome during workshops as participants learn to engage the core fully and loosen up their hips. It’s a great way to get rid of that unimpressive butt wink. Rocking also works on the upper body too as it strengthens the shoulder girdle and gets your lats and pectorals firing simultaneously. Again, this is safe, gentle strength training at it’s best. (Note for you pregnant ladies again, It’s great for building up muscles used during labor and delivery and getting the baby into the right birthing position too. )
I’m sure I could go on with more reasons why you should rock, and honestly depending on your age, physical state, and needs at the time I can think of many more specific benefits of rocking.
Alright, well get to it. Start rocking. Play with the different positions. Rock at night, in the morning, during your training sessions, at work, with your kids, with your spouse, or wherever you see fit, and start feeling the effects. Test your squat. See if you can feel an improvement. Let us know how it’s helping you.
Dani Almeyda is a Movement Specialist and OS Master Instructor. She has been working in the health and fitness industry for about 10 years and has worked with clients of all ages and abilities from elite athletes and fire and rescue personnel to seniors, pregnant women, and those suffering from physical and mental disabilities. Almeyda has a passion for life and movement and believes we were all truly made to move.
Almeyda is a devoted wife of a fireman, and mother of 2 (a two-year-old boy, and expecting a little baby girl this Fall), and is co-owner with Tim Anderson of OPT Fitness in Fuquay-Varina, NC.
Dani is available for distance training or private training sessions. If you are interested, email Dani@originalstrength.net.