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Athletes, Injuries, and the Kinetic Chain

But who is an athlete?  Everyone is an athlete!  It doesn’t matter if you’re a great grandmother bending down to work in the garden, a child running and jumping on the playground, or the star of your team, we are all designed to move the same way.  Our musculoskeletal system works in a series of primal pattern movements that allow us to breathe, move and be functional.  Thus, true functional movements are rooted in the seven basic primal patterns:  squat, bend, lunge, push, pull, twist, and gait. 

Once the body becomes unable to perform these basic movements then injury is inevitable.  Once injuries happen, if not taken care of fully and properly then pain in a new area will likely begin.  This new pain will almost certainly be the result of compensating for the initial injury, thus making you aware of the break down in the kinetic chain.       

Sports and athletics have been an important part of my family’s lives for generations, on both sides. As a kid I remember hearing stories about my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins excelling in one sport or another. Competition at a high skill level was all around us and the environment was so much fun.  Although that competitive nature has served me well in most aspects of my life, it has also meant dealing with a myriad of injuries. Through the years of baseball, basketball, golf, tennis, training, running, etc., I’ve experienced foot and ankle sprains, torn facet joints around L5S1, shoulder surgery, knee surgery, a torn rhomboid major, and the list goes on.

As I consider these injuries and the impact they’ve had on my kinetic chain, I’ve come to fully understand the importance of listening to your body and not pushing too hard during the healing and training process. The old adage “no pain no gain” has certainly been disproved and will inevitably cause you more harm than good.  When training or rehabilitating, some movements may be intense but they should never cause pain.  There is absolutely a gut – brain communication that lets you know when things aren’t as they should be. 

In today’s world of competitive travel sports, longer school ball seasons, showcases, camps, etc., it’s particularly important to be balance and properly conditioned. Something as small as a broken toe or bruised ribs can lead to more problems than you might imagine. You see, the human body is an amazing machine. Your subconscious and autonomic nervous systems detect any imbalances you may have and automatically work to bring you back to health and center. Your body will also protect itself from pain, thus creating opportunity for injury or irritation on the opposite or “counterbalance side.”

Once injuries happen, it’s extremely important to take some basic steps to help get you fully ready to be back in action.  These steps also happen to be the same basic principles of injury prevention.  In addition to following a professionally designed rehabilitation protocol, hydration will be critical for both recovery and future prevention.  Our bodies are made up of roughly 75% water, and one of the main reasons for that is to help us maintain a stable environment inside and around our cells.  This stable environment allows us to acquire sufficient nutrition and aides in the elimination of waste in cells. 

To provide an optimal environment for life and recovery we should consume the cleanest water we can; in whatever we eat, drink or bathe in.  Thus, quality filtered with a pinch of Himalayan sea salt for minerals is best for drinking.  A general rule is drink half of your body weight in ounces of quality filtered water each day.  Remember, staying hydrated is a process and being consistent with quality and quantity is key. 

In addition to proper hydration, nutrition plays a tremendous role in injury prevention and recovery.  In today’s world of grab and go convenience, and buzz words like “natural,”  it’s easy to be confused when it comes to making healthy food choices.  Although it does take discipline and some planning, small incremental changes can eventually have a lasting impact on your overall health.  As a general rule, begin by becoming more aware of the ingredients in your foods and do your best to avoid anything processed or containing artificial additives.  This includes meats and seafoods so try to choose organic, grass fed, free range, non-gmo and wild whenever possible.  These are just some basic things to consider when selecting foods, but if you’re interested in delving a little deeper then I suggest “Spot On Nutrition” by Andrew Johnston. 

The good news is that your body is an amazing vehicle and with the right training, rehabilitation, and lifestyle choices it can perform optimally for a lifetime.  Attaining your performance or rehabilitation goals will take time so be patient with yourself.  Becoming more aware of things like posture, attitude, facial expressions, and thoughts can also have powerful effects and help to jumpstart your recovery and performance. 

So whatever your performance goals may be, consider yourself an athlete.  Athletes train to optimize their primal movement patterns and the formula is really quite simple.  Take a holistic approach, Become flexible where you’re tight, perform movements to build up energy, condition the core, train to function in the primal movement patterns.  Most importantly, trust your instincts, listen to your body, and give it what it needs.  In the words of Sturgill Simpson “if there’s any doubt then there is no doubt, the gut don’t never lie – and the only word you’ll ever need to know in life is why.” 

Kennon McArthur – CHEK IMS 1

@catchinglessons on Twitter

References:  How to Eat Move and Be Healthy 2nd edition by Paul Chek 2004

Six Foundation Principles of Health and Performance 

We live in a society that sometimes makes it tough to discern what a healthy choice looks like.  The truth is that a balance is all we really need to try and achieve and it’s not that tough once you know what to look for and be aware of.  These six principles will help get you on the right track to health and putting them all together can change the way you experience the world. 


Food provides our bodies with the energy we need to operate, and the quality of that food will have a direct effect on our feelings, emotions, and performance.  Nutrition is the fuel from which we run.  High quality food, water, and supplements is likely the most important choice you will make when it comes to overall health and performance. 

Without going into great detail, each person has their own genetically based nutrition and diet requirements, called primal pattern diet type.  Through some simple questionnaires and awareness of your current eating habits then they’re quite easy to identify.  Making optimal food choices based on yoation Principles of Health and Performanceur primal pattern diet type will bring about noticeable changes in the way you feel and perform almost immediately.  Stick with these choices for a month and you’ll wonder why you didn’t try it before. 


Hydration may be the most important piece of the health and optimal performance puzzle.  Our bodies are made up of somewhere around 60% water.  Maintaining consistent hydration is key for us to regulate temperature, eliminate toxins and waste, and provide a quality environment for our cells to function.  Throughout each day, people face a myriad of lifestyle choices and environmental factors that dehydrate our systems, and this water must be replaced. 

A healthy daily intake is half an ounce of quality, filtered water, per pound of bodyweight.  If you’re drinking sugary soft drinks or alcohol then you’ll need to increase that number.  It’s also important to remember that not all water is the same.  Adding a pinch of Himalayan salt is an easy way to increase the quality of your water, as it naturally provides minerals for your system.  


We all have a natural sleep / wake cycle which is designed to aid in our recovery.  Our bodies will naturally start winding down from sunset to about 10:00pm.  At this point, sleep and physical repair should begin, and will continue until around 2:00am.  From 2:00-6:00am is our psychological repair time, and thus representing the recommended eight hours of sleep. 


Breathing is a unique act, in the fact that it is performed both consciously and unconsciously.  Over time, many people will succumb to lifestyle factors that have significant impacts on their ability to get a quality breath.  It has now become much more mainstream to include some type of breathwork into our training routines and health plans.  Conscious and intentional breathing exercises can bring you tremendous benefits, including improved mood, improved cardiovascular capacity, better digestion, better posture, and much more. 


The human mind is a powerful and most curious place.  Our thoughts play a tremendous role in the way we behave as our own self, interact with others, and perform in specific situations.  However, simply being positive about yourself as well as the situation you’re in can help you achieve your desired outcome.  If you’re thinking clearly then it becomes much easier to stick with the other five principles of health, and they will in turn, help you to repeat the process        


It’s been said that movement can be some of the best medicine.  When your body sits or remains inactive for long periods of time then you will begin to suffer from loss of strength, decreased range of motion, and eventually pain.  Movement can help to combat those things, as well as help pump lymph and water from our muscles, joints, and organs.  Move based on how you feel, strive to be more efficient each time and always remember to stop before the point of pain.     

In addition to these six foundation principles, strive to follow the 80/20 rule.   Stick to the plan at least eighty percent of the time and allow yourself up to twenty percent leeway.   With a little awareness and some consistency you’ll be well on your way to being your best self.

Kennon McArthur – CHEK IMS 1

@catchinglessons on Twitter

References:  How to Eat Move and Be Healthy 2nd edition by Paul Chek 2004