Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Eyes have it II

Following on from the piece I put up a couple of weeks ago after the seminar with mc, I found this article by Eric Cobb on Dragon Door.

Reflexive Lifting: How To Make Your Neural Reflexes Work With You And Not Against You!

In almost all sports, including lifting heavy weights, the eyes play a vital role. While a heavy deadlift doesn't require much in the way of great vision, it does require great eye position! Let me explain.

The muscles that surround the eyes, called the extraocular muscles, are all innervated by small nerve endings. These small nerve endings provide propioceptive (body awareness) input to various neuromotor sensors in the spinal cord and the brain. The primary reason for this is that the eyes and the inner ear work together to create balance and stability in virtually all of our movements.

How does this apply to your lifts? It's quite simple, really. The small nerve endings in the extraocular muscles actually create full body muscular responses to help guide movement. Practically speaking, what this means is that if your eyes are moved up, the small nerve endings in the extraocular muscles facilitate the extensor muscles of the body, creating a simultaneous inhibition of the flexor muscles. Conversely, the eyes down position will create flexor facilitation and extensor inhibition. Put simply, the eyes lead the body.

Make eye position your first priority. Understand that eyes up = extensor facilitation and that eyes down = flexor facilitation. Depending upon your personal challenges in your lifts, use the correct eye position to facilitate the movement you most need to make. It is important to play with these concepts in a variety of lifts to feel the effects.

The article is pretty interesting as Cobb applies this principle to lifts

1 comment:

John Sifferman said...

This is very evident in weightlifting, and often responsible for poor technique in deadlifting and swinging type movements. Many new trainee's have a tendency of tilting their head and neck backwards during these exercises, creating an unnecessary risk of cervical spine injury.

Another common one is turning your head slightly to the side during a bench press exercise. While the lifter is checking out their hyuge guns, they're also shifting the load slightly to one side of their body, putting much more stress on one shoulder.

This is why I teach crown to coccyx alignment, because it cue's a long spine, from the top of the head to the tailbone. And we all know a long spine is a strong spine!