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Anatomy Trains & Exercise

Anatomy Trains is a holistic model of human anatomy that was developed by the renowned therapist and author (and my good friend), Tom Myers. This approach views the body as a single interconnected system of fascial networks, rather than separate individual parts. Fascia is a type of connective tissue that wraps around and supports muscles, bones, organs, and other structures in the body. It creates a continuous, three-dimensional web that links everything together and helps to transmit force and movement throughout the body.

Rather than thinking about the body in terms of isolated muscles and bones, Anatomy Trains looks at the body as a whole and focuses on the relationships and connections between different structures. Tom describes these connections as "lines" or "trains" that run through the body, forming functional units that work together to create movement and maintain stability. Instead of thinking of working singular muscles, we think in terms of lines of tension and motion.

There are twelve myofascial lines, or trains, that Tom has identified in the Anatomy Trains model. Each of these lines corresponds to specific movement patterns and functional units within the body. For example, the Superficial Front Line runs from the toes to the head and is involved in movements such as walking and running. The Lateral Line runs from the foot to the shoulder and ear, and is involved in side bending and rotation. The Deep Front Line runs from the pelvis to the ribcage and is involved in breathing and core stability.

Understanding these myofascial lines and how they work together can be helpful in developing exercise programs that improve movement patterns and prevent injury. For example, if a client is experiencing knee pain, we look beyond just the knee joint and consider how the surrounding myofascial lines may be contributing to the pain. We develop exercises that address the entire kinetic chain, from the foot to the hip to the core, in order to improve movement patterns and reduce the risk of further injury.

Understanding the Anatomy Trains model can be useful in exercise for several reasons:

  1. Movement patterns: Anatomy Trains can help us understand how different parts of the body are connected and how movement in one part of the body can affect other parts. This can help us identify movement patterns that may be causing pain or dysfunction and develop exercises that address these patterns.

  2. Functional training: Anatomy Trains can help us understand how the body works as a whole and how different parts of the body work together to perform tasks. This can help us develop functional training programs that mimic real-life movements and improve overall function.

  3. Injury prevention: Understanding the interconnectedness of the body through Anatomy Trains can help us identify potential areas of weakness or instability that may lead to injury. By addressing these areas through exercise, we can reduce the risk of injury and improve overall performance.

  4. Movement efficiency: Anatomy Trains can help us identify inefficient movement patterns and develop exercises that promote efficient movement. By promoting efficient movement, we can improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.

Anatomy Trains is a model of human anatomy that emphasizes the interconnectedness of the body's fascial networks and the importance of functional movement patterns. By understanding these connections and patterns, we develop exercise programs that improve overall function, prevent injury, and promote optimal health and well-being. We believe the key to healthy aging is based on efficient global movement patterns and improving our relationship with gravity.

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