While the sport of interest within the article is “Synchronized Swimming” both authors, Dr. Alandi Stec DC and Coach DJ Lynam believe that the fundamental principles discussed (balance, symmetry, mobility, flexibility, passive default states, activation patterns) apply across sports, active individuals and even into individuals who are looking for greater health and wellness within their life. Athletics are the ultimate expression of what’s possible within the boundaries of human physiology, and synchronized swimming is an athletic endeavor full of asymmetrical movements, for these reasons (combined with Dr. Alandi’s experience as a former elite synchronized swimming athlete and coach for the Walnut Creek Aquanuts1) the authors have chosen to write about “Movement Intelligence For The Synchronized Swimmer".
In the sport of synchronized swimming, there are high demands of the athlete to have explosive power, dynamic (and creative) movement, control and stability, as well as tremendous flexibility. Perhaps more important but far less addressed, the synchronized swimming athlete has a high demand for mobility (the ability to move freely, easily and fully). For the synchronized swimming athlete to have complete access to the demands of the sport, it’s imperative that the athlete has complete access to the biomechanics within their body. The biomechanics supports symmetry within the body, which in turn supports the development of strength (control and stability), which translates to power. Additionally, access to mobility within the biomechanics results in a fuller active range of motion. All of which drives: a higher level of technical execution of movement, can aid in the prevention of injuries and elevating the athlete to a higher performance level.
Through the work of chiropractic and functional mobility exercises, the synchronized swimming athlete can be better prepared for the demands of their sport. While both chiropractic and functional mobility exercises aspire to create a functioning body through restoring balance and symmetry, chiropractic works with the blocked passive pathways of imbalances while the functional mobility exercises work with the activation pathways of imbalances.
Within chiropractic, the assessment of care includes looking closely at the relationship of tension distortions that are creating imbalances derived from the soft tissues (fascia, muscles), skeletal structure, spinal cord tension, cerebral spinal fluid pulse, as well as other energetic systems within the body to restore balance.
Within functional mobility, exercises are geared towards physical movement, biomechanic activation, mobility for strength and flexibility. Combining all these facets of functional mobility training will teach athletes how to actively inhabit their movement patterns.
The combination of chiropractic care and functional mobility exercises create the perfect complement for the synchronized swimming athlete through accessing the whole functional system of the athlete’s body: the passive default state of imbalance (chiropractic) and the active state of imbalance (functional mobility).
Utilizing chiropractic during the offseason of synchronized swimming will better prepare the athlete for the competitive season through restoring balance and symmetry within their body, which increases range of motion, which increases flexibility, all the while reduces the risk of injury and simultaneously increases performance capacity. Continuing chiropractic during the competitive season is critical to sustaining the improvements that have been made, while continually working towards improving the athlete’s balance and symmetry, as it relates to maximizing their physical performance while reducing their risk of injury.
Engaging with functional mobility during the offseason of synchronized swimming will enhance the mind/body awareness of muscle activation as well as access to mobility (activated flexibility), all of which will aid in the development of balance, symmetry, strength, and flexibility. Continuing functional mobility during the competition season is critical to further the improvements that have been made, while continually working towards improving the athlete’s mobility, as it relates to maximizing their physical performance while reducing the risk of injury.
At the end of the day, what matters most for an athlete is to be able to participate and participate fully with their sport, fully in body and fully in mind. For the athlete, the sport is an extension of their life expression, their life force. Through the work of chiropractic and functional mobility, the athlete will have a powerful tool to enhance their life force.
About the authors:
Dr. Alandi and Coach DJ greatly care about the health, wellness, and performance of athletes! Together they hope to make a positive and impactful contribution to athletes and coaches alike through their passions with the mind-body connection as it plays into performance.
Dr. Alandi Stec DC, Reiki Master believes that movement is intelligence, the sensation is information, and awareness is the vehicle between the two. She uses breath, postural positioning, stretching, tissue work, cranial-sacral technique, reiki, and traditional chiropractic adjustments to guide the body through the integration of stored tension patterns.
Coach DJ holds a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology, emphasis in health and human performance. For the last 5 years, Coach DJ has been a personal trainer and CrossFit Coach, working with all levels including Division 1 athletics. Coach DJ primarily utilizes strength training and functional range conditioning to maximize strength, stability, and mobility. Coach DJ intends to empower those he works with while aspiring to improve their lives physically, and mentally.