Elemental exercises of gym


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Book about the fundamental principles of the Corrective Biogym. The printed version comes together to a video to show the movements described.

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Elemental exercises of gym

  1. 1. Dario Palhares José Antônio RodriguesElemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogym
  2. 2. Dario Palhares José Antônio RodriguesElemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogym
  3. 3. NOVEMBRO, 2010 Direitos de Publicação Reservados Editores Gina Cordeiro Silva Ricardo Henrique de Brito e Sousa Assistente Editorial Assistente de Produção Moreno Cordeiro Carvalho Luanna Cordeiro Revisor Arte da Capa Prof. Dr. Omar Silva Lima Estúdio Ex Libris Conselho Editorial Ada Augusta Celestino Bezerra Doutora em Educação – USP (SP) Antenor Rita Gomes Doutor em Educação pela Universidade Federal da Bahia - UFBA (BA) Gina Cordeiro Silva Mestre em Educação, Comunicação e Administração – UNIMARCO (SP) Harrysson Luiz da Silva Pós-Doutor em Ergonomia Cognitiva - UFSC (SC) José Rodorval Ramalho Doutor em Ciências Sociais – PUC (SP) Omar da Silva Lima Doutor e Mestre em Literatura pela Universidade de Brasília – UnB (DF) Ricardo Henrique da Costa e Sousa Pós Doutor em Ciências Biológicas pela Harvard University (EUA) Ricardo Vélez Rodríguez Pós Doutor pelo Centre de Recherches Politiques Raymond Aron, Paris (França) Samuel Pereira Campos Doutor em Lingüística Aplicada - UNICAMP - Campinas (SP) Valeska Zanello Doutora em Psicologia pela Universidade de Brasília (DF) Vladimir Stolzenberg Torres Doutor em Informática na Educação pela UFRGS (RS)Palhares, Dario & Rodrigues, José Antônio.Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogym. Dario Pahares & José AntônioRodrigues. Brasília-DF. Ex Libris, 2010.Bibliografia1. Exercícios de Ginástica 2. Bioginástica 3. Ginástica CorretivaISBN 8590 287-72-6 EDITORA EX LIBRIS (61) 3522-5196 e (61) 7813-2176
  5. 5. Presentation Prof. José Antônio Rodrigues is the creator of theCorrective Biogym. He first developed the Biogym for himselfto find the cure for his knee and back pain related to anextranumeric vertebra. He then administered gym classes atthe Clube dos Previdenciários de Brasília from 1982 to 2000.His knowledge and experience have been taught to manypractitioners. Nowadays, the two other authors keep the gymgoing with continuous advances in practice and theoreticalbases. Dario Palhares was a pupil of José Antônio Rodriguesfor 11 years. He was at the same time a practitioner and apatient of the Corrective Biogym: through the Biogym, achronic plantar fasciitis was finally resolved after years andyears of visiting various orthopaedists and attending severalsports classes. Nowadays, he is a paediatrician and thesupervisor of medical students at the University of Brasilia. Healso specialises in sports medicine. He teaches the CorrectiveBiogym at the University of Brasília. His complete academiccurriculum is available in English and Portuguese from theLattes platform of CNPq (National Counsel of Research ofBrazil): http://lattes.cnpq.br. For this book, he is thecorresponding author. Any comments and messages arewelcome to dariompm@unb.br.
  6. 6. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodrigues ‘Thaís Coury Piantino is graduated in PhysicalEducation by the University of Brasília and teaches Arabiandances. She takes part in the video containing some of theexercises of the Corrective Biogym. We are grateful to her forthe participation in the video. Any contacts with her can becarried out through the e-mail thaispadma@yahoo.com.br We are also grateful to Proof Reading Services(www.proof-reading-services.org) for the English review andcorrections and to Paky Produções for the video.8
  7. 7. PREFACE This book presents some of the theoretical andpractical advances that have been proposed by our method.Thus, the first part of the book is a brief review of the mostpertinent concepts of the fundamentals of the CorrectiveBiogym. The Corrective Biogym is greater than a series ofexercises to be repeated indefinitely: the instructor must keepin mind all the postural physiology and systematicobservations of difficulties and limitations in practitioners,and then propose corrections in the posture, way of steppingand so on. This way, we strongly suggest that readers arefamiliar with the basic textbooks in the fields of the physiologyof exercise, musculation, stretching, kinesiology andbiomechanics. The benefits of good physical activity are well knownand documented. Gyms focus on the amelioration of thelocomotor system; however, they continue to develop atheoretical and practical basis and paradigms. Anyway, werecommend the reader consults texts on toga, tai chi chuan,pilates and global posture re-education. Considered as agroup, they form the theoretical basis of functional gyms, onwhich our work finds support and then presents someadvances.
  8. 8. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodrigues Reading and consulting ancient books is alsoimportant. In them, there are descriptions of many good andcreative exercises, but that for some unknown reason havebeen lost over time or, at least, not cited in recent texts. In ourreferenced bibliography, we accessed the Portuguesetranslations of these cited books. To help the readers, weadded the original title and, when possible, the originaleditor, so these books can be found in other languages. We hope that readers enjoy our ideas. More than that,we want to inspire you to search for advances, for example,the use of weights during circular movements, research withsemi-professional athletes or manual labourers andobservations about diverse clinical situations. All comments, all criticisms and all suggestions arewelcomed: the e-mail of the corresponding author is there.We really want to improve our book in future editions.10
  9. 9. INTRODUCTION Since the beginning of time, humans have preparedthemselves to reach high levels of ludic and competitivepractices. Documents from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamiahave been uncovered concerning techniques for physicalimprovement, tips on planning gymnastic programmes andhygienic and nutrition concepts to achieve fitness for thesports events of those times. Since at least 2500 BC, Chinesescholars have said that the body must be continuouslyexercised to achieve harmonic development. Indeed, the musculature only stays strong and flexiblewhen used. For example, if an adult stays in bed for just a fewweeks, they would suffer an atrophy of the leg muscles thatwould eventually impede walking. Therefore, even afteryears and years of using leg muscles to walk, in just a shortperiod of time this ability can be lost. Clearly, with exercise themuscles can recover their memory and the person inquestion could walk again. During daily activities, the solicitation of themusculature is very restrictive and must be worked in anorganised and well-guided manner to stay active and retain alarge functional reservoir.
  10. 10. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodrigues The manner of exercising, however, strongly variesaccording to time, place and culture. In ancient Greece, fourtypes of gymnastics have been described: the Medicinal thathad a prophylactic aspect, the Therapeutic that cured specificdiseases, the Martial that prepared warriors for battle and theAthletic, which is the origin for modern artistic gymnastics.These basic elements are still valid nowadays, and recently,the aesthetic aspect of gymnastics has been more recentlyvalued by practitioners. The scientific knowledge of physical training hasallowed talented professional athletes to reach the maximum(or at least the sub-maximum) performance of thephylogenetic abilities of the human locomotor system.However, for the great mass of people, gymnastics representsa symbolic value, expressed in attitudes, corporal expression,aesthetics and physical and mental well-being. The body,thus, receives and emits information through the motorcommunication. To be concise and precise body movements need aself-image of the body, perception, ability and ease. In thisway, the practice of gymnastics contributes to the self-knowledge of the body and the development of variousabilities that influence the corporal expression andparticipation in games and thereby facilitate socialrelationships. Functional gyms, also known as corrective gyms,treat people with psychomotor disturbances and morpho-functional disharmonies. In a greater sense, their aim is thefull expression of psychomotricity. From the study of thebiomechanics of the body levers, exercises are described andexecuted. The automatisms decurrent from regular andcontinuous practice are gradually applied to daily gestures. Functional gyms do not only focus on the damagedpart(s), but the whole body as well. This explains theirprophylactic aspect: the individual is seen as a psychophysicalbeing searching for its own equilibrium.12
  11. 11. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogym Musculature malfunctions can be distinguished aspsychomotor disturbances (bad habits) or dysmorphisms(structural alterations in musculoskeletal elements).Structural alterations need orthopaedic treatment and inadulthood the exercises are not able to induce permanentstructural correction. The exercises promote neuromuscularand motor-sensitive optimisation and can compensate for thedeficiencies of the affected parts. So, functional gyms mustnot create false expectations about a cure or definitecorrection for people with severe structural injuries and mustnot delay searching for a qualified orthopaedist. In all cases,however, functional gyms bring about muscularimprovements and facilitate orthopaedic treatment. Theclassic example is the idiopathic scoliosis of teenagers, whichis painless and affects girls (80% of cases) more frequentlythan boys; here, orthopaedic treatment is essential andfunctional gyms can be used in all cases. Functional gyms are also for the great mass of humanpopulation. In principle, any person of any age can undertakea well-guided programme. For that, however, a qualifiedinstructor that supervises and corrects practitioners duringclasses and the self-respect of the individuals limits arefundamental. 13
  12. 12. THE HUMAN POSTURE The human posture is characterised by bipedalismwith the upper members free and effective for precisionmovements. Walking is the most usual and simple everydaymovement. However, the body structure allows us to run,climb, jump, swim, walk on our hands, jump with one footand many other variations. In general, the musculoskeletalsystem is directed to self-locomotion in diverse environmentsand situations but not to lifting weights: the joints used forlifting and transporting weights are very inefficient, whichlimits the weight that can be handled without provokingirreversible lesions. Such a posture is recent in the phylogenetic scale andis still in evolution, needing to conciliate antagonisticmechanical functions such as flexibility, weight support andthe passage of a baby through the skeleton. In this way, thereare as many erect postures as people. The erect posture canbe understood as the individual manner of reacting to thecontinuous stimulus of gravity. In an erect posture, the basis must be large enough forstability. Compared with a quadruped animal, the ratiobetween the circumference of the thigh and the ankles isaround 4.5, whereas in human beings this value is around 3.0.
  13. 13. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodrigues So, the erect biped posture, in its evolution, reallyneeded a bigger support basis. However, the strongest structures of the locomotorsystem are not the feet but the pelvis. To explain this, let´srecord that in each lever there is one point of support andcomponents of tension and resistance. The pelvis is acomponent of resistance, whereas the feet are points ofsupport. So, the thighs are naturally the most developedregion of the legs because they exert more muscular work.The pelvic region is the fundamental structure for the generalhealth of the locomotor system because it supports the spine,the weight of the trunk and the objects handled by the uppermembers, with the feet as flexible support. Most body movements have a principal muscle, butin general, and especially in the trunk, there are groups ofmuscles that move in the same way. The coordinated actionof these various muscular groups is synergic: the effect of themuscles working together is greater than the mere sum ofeach isolated muscle. For each movement, there is a neuromuscularcoordination that prevents an articular injury. Also, there is anaxis and a plane of functioning that allows the best yield ofeach joint, where the pressions are equally distributed acrossthe contact surfaces, so the friction is processed slowly andevenly. In this sense, a good postural muscular tonusfacilitates all motor actions. An equilibrated posture results inmore efficient, more precise and less fatiguing movements. The posture undergoes multimodal controldepending on the vision, the feet, vestibule and muscularproprioceptors. The proprioception is divided into threecomponents: the static conscience of the body position, thekinaesthetic conscience and the unconscious reflexes ofmuscular contractions. Thus, educating the posture involveseducating the sensations since the muscles act according tothe processed information from the sensorial organs.16
  14. 14. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogym To keep the body equilibrium, any disequilibrium inone region must be compensated by an inversedisequilibrium in other regions in order to keep the gravitycentre in a stable position. In an orthostatic position, there isno disequilibrium without compensation. So, misalignmentsor asymmetries in the muscular tonus in one region of thebody create compensations in distant anatomical segments.For example, while lifting a small weight with one hand, themusculature at the opposite side of the hips enhances itstonus. Asymmetries exist when the centre of the resultantforce is not the gravity centre of the body. Asymmetries in themuscular tonus result in abnormal patterns of globalmobilisation, such as sitting and walking. Limitations in any joints, such as congenitalabnormalities, bad postures or external injuries, imply a lackof function in this joint. One region with a lack of functionprovokes asymmetrical muscular tonus, bringingdisequilibrium among the muscular groups and overloadingthe regions responsible for the compensation of such adeficiency. This process continues in such a way that thewhole locomotor system can be seriously damaged and losethe ability to move and support the bodys weight. In a limited way, the musculoskeletal system reacts toaggressions and can regenerate some injuries. Cartilagesthicken and become more resistant in the regions of highertension, but faced with excessive stress they can present signsof destruction, degeneration or calcification. Articular ligaments can strengthen when solicited.However, they are unable to regenerate if they arecompletely sectioned, and even after partial lesion they cantake three to six months to heal. The bones continuously remodel, reflecting thehigher or lower solicitation on them. They react to abnormalconditions in three manners: local necrosis, modifications in 17
  15. 15. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodriguesbone deposition and modifications in bone reabsorption.Bone deformities are difficult to correct and include the loss ofalignment, abnormal length and bone protuberances. The bones react to exercise with hypertrophyinduced by work or disuse atrophy. In children, intermittentpressions related to normal physical activity are good stimulifor normal bone growth, but the epiphysary cartilages react ina limited way against a large number of abnormal conditions.They can accelerate growth, retard growth or generateasymmetrical growth. The capsules reduce the excessive mobility of thejoints. There are situations that weaken them such as traumasand genetic disorders that predispose joint lesions and bringabout deformities generated from the healing response. A person with musculoskeletal deformities should beanalysed not only regarding the affected structures, but also inthe sense of the effects of the abnormality over the wholelocomotor system.THE FEET The complex made up of the feet and anklesgenerates a stable basis over a large range of positions forsupporting the body weight. It acts as a lever for propulsingthe body while walking. It is a region mostly used for stabilityrather than mobility, but is flexible enough to absorb theimpacts of body weight and the rotations of the legs duringwalking, allowing the feet to adapt to any irregularities whilekeeping stable. The plantar surface continuously receivesstimuli, guiding the responses of muscles, ligaments andtendons through triplane movements. The musculature of the foot is made up of intrinsicand extrinsic muscles that functionally link the feet to the legsand hips. The soles present a lipidic cushion that absorbs theimpact of the feet on the floor, but that also suffers18
  16. 16. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogyminflammation if the load and/or volume of solicitationsurpasses the resistance capacity. In an erect posture, the calcaneus takes 53% of thebody weight and the metatarsals, 43%. The distribution of thepressures over the feet is dependent on the shape of theplantar arches and the position of the centre of gravity at agiven moment. In this way, manners for exercising the feetinclude walking over irregular fields (grass, sand, pebbles)and positional variations during gym exercises (outwards,inwards, one foot in front of the other). In the case of theCorrective Biogym, the proposal is that classes are takenbarefoot to exercise the ability of the foot to adapt to differentfields and body postures. The abduction and adduction of the foot areconsequences of the medial and lateral rotation of the leg andnot the intrinsic movements of the foot. When ankles and feetmove, the fibula also moves in a harmonic way. Thus, thetorsion of the fibula is a limiting physiological condition thatalso depends on the internal or external torsion of the hip. Inother words, the position of the foot generates forcesthroughout the inferior member, not only in the ankle. The main musculature for walking is located in thethighs and hips. The legs and feet act as supports, reducingthe balance and the impact and making the centre of the massof the body adjust for smooth changes. The feet make themovement of the body mass a smooth curve instead ofintersection arches, allowing the knees to be horizontallypositioned. The forces for generating such smooth curvesactually originate in the legs. As walking is an activity that requires thecoordination of practically all the body parts, we canunderstand how each person has a peculiar way of walking. Itis often possible to recognise someone at a distance throughthe manner of their walking. 19
  17. 17. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodrigues Foot pain generates antalgic gaits, resulting inabnormal patterns of movement and alignment in thecomplex make up of the foot, leg and hip. Such abnormalpatterns can result in stress and overload across thelocomotor system and can be responsible, for example, forshoulder or elbow pain. During childhood, the growth of the inferiormembers is not simultaneous, and differences of up to 5 mmin the length of the legs are physiological. Over this value, thedifferences of length provoke disequilibrium in the wholebody.THE KNEES The knee is the biggest and most complex joint of thehuman body. Like the spine, it conciliates two opposingfunctions: flexibility and stability. However, whereas the spineis protected and covered by strong and potent muscles, theknee is protected and stabilised only by tendons, capsules andligaments, and these are all tissues with the reduced ability forregeneration. This explains why, especially for professionalathletes, lesions in the knee are prevalent and a major causefor stopping participation in competitive sports. The knee reduces and stabilises the bouncing of thegravity centre, being both under forces originating from thefoot towards the pelvis and vice versa. This modulates theimpact such that modifications in the neurologic pattern ofthe patellar reflex can indicate biomechanical dysfunctions ofthe pelvis. The knee works under the compression of the bodyweight. The basic movement of the knee is that of flexion andextension. When the knee is flexed, it allows rotation over thelongitudinal axis of the leg. In the flexed position, the knee isparticularly unstable and exposed to lesions in the meniscus,whereas in extended position the knee is more vulnerable tolesions in the ligaments.20
  18. 18. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogym Knee ligaments are naturally solicited tocounterbalance forces. Like every mechanical structure, theyhave a utile life, suffering ruptures and signs of fatigue throughthe excess of misuse. They also have proprioceptors thatmodulate the contraction of the leg muscles. So, the reflexarches between the ligaments and legs are lost when they areinjured, thereby predisposing to momentous discoordinationand risking the other ligaments and menisci. However, training muscular coordination caneventually replace good ligaments. Solely strengthening themusculature is not enough to enhance reaction quality andspeed, but dynamic training can reduce the response time ofthe musculature and the lessen the risk of lesions in otherknee structures. Corrective exercises for the knees include exercises ofequilibrium on just one foot, equilibrium over unstablesurfaces such as an elastic bed or tatami, global exercises ofcoordination, strengthening the legs and gluteus andmodifications in the position of the feet. When the axialmuscles are weak and unconditioned, the knees start to besolicited not only as a point of support, but as a propulsionspring, which overloads the ligaments, reducing their utilelife.THE PELVIS The pelvis is the region of the trunk situated below theabdomen where the trunk and legs are linked. The joints ofthe pelvis are very stable and strong. The pelvis contains thereproductive organs and inferior parts of the urinary anddigestive systems, supports the body weight, is the place forthe delivery of a baby and is the point of origin of manymuscles. The pelvis is the most important element for posture.Human bipedalism has positioned the gravity centre close to 21
  19. 19. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodriguesthe S2 vertebra, thereby inside the pelvis. The action of thepelvis in sustaining the body explains why the handling ofweights in the sitting position is more stressful to the spinethan in the standing position. In the standing position, thepelvic structure counterbalances the handled weights,whereas in the sitting position almost all the pressures aresupported only by the spine. The pelvis moves to keep the equilibrium betweenthe upper and lower body. The forces originating in the legsare transmitted to the pelvis before reaching the spine. Thus,the pelvis is crucial for the equilibrium of the column. Anymalfunction of the pelvis lowers the ability to compensate theforces that reach the spine. The strong muscle groups of the pelvis areresponsible for the high muscular tonus during rest periods.Situations where the abdominal pressure increases (such ascoughing or sneezing) are counterbalanced by a reflexcontraction of the muscles of the pelvic floor. Chronically, allsituations where abdominal pressure overloads themusculature of the pelvic floor, which can weaken andbecome exhausted, result in a loss of function. Bipedalism is a condition of unstable equilibrium thatneeds continuous control and adaptation. Walking is acontrolled fall. In normal walking there is a coordinated flowof muscular activity that begins proximally and then goes intoa distal direction. This is the physiological basis of the idea thatstrengthening the musculature is better started with exercisesthat work the proximal regions so that the structures arestrong enough to sustain more distal muscles that thenstrengthen. In other words, the distal muscles are notnaturally able to get more powerful than the proximal ones. The centre of gravity is continuously moving, evenwith respiratory movements. Thus, the whole body has thenatural tendency to lower the centre of gravity to facilitate theequilibrium: the head is projected towards the floor, the22
  20. 20. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogymabdomen protrudes because of lumbar hyperlordosis, theknees are projected backwards and the plantar arches arecompressed. These compensations alleviate the generalmuscular work, but overload the ligaments. In this way, thedeconditioning of the muscles is a major cause of bad postureand painful symptoms.THE SPINE AND UPPER MEMBERS The spine is submitted and responsive to complexforces, since it not only conciliates contradictory mechanicalproperties – stability and flexibility – but also half of the bodyweight is equilibrated over the lumbar portion. Stability isprovided by its strong structure and flexibility is given to thestructure of superimposed vertebras. The spine presentsthree functions: static equilibrium, dynamic equilibrium andspinal cord protection. It also transfers the forces originatedby the movements of the head to the pelvis, allowing thecoordination of the movements of the head, trunk and legs. The anterior portion of the column is structured insuch a way to support the body weight and reduce shocks.The anterior elements – vertebral body and vertebral disc –sustain the body, whereas the posterior elements – joints andneural arches – are responsible for mobility. In a static erect posture, the spine presents twoflexible curves (cervical and lumbar) and two rigid ones(thoracic and coccyx). In a normal and healthy situation, allthe curves are placed at the centre of the medium line ofgravity. The spinal curves give the anti-gravitational action ofthe erector muscles that are developed when learning tostand in childhood. The physiological curves allow the spineto have a higher flexibility and ability to absorb shocks at thesame time as keeping the muscular tonus and providingadequate stability for the intervertebral joints. 23
  21. 21. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodrigues T h e a n t i - g r a v i t a t i o n a l m u s c u l a t u re w o r k scontinuously, i.e. during rest, during movement, during sleepand during wakefulness. At each instant, muscular action isstarted and corrected by proprioceptive stimuli thatimmediately try to keep the gravity centre in a stable position. However, since bipedalism is still under evolution,physiological weaknesses of the anti-gravitational musclescan be found in the abdominal and neck musculatures,indicating the continuous need to strengthen. The resistance of the spine is grown by the vertebralligaments. These ligaments are present longitudinally in thespine and reduce the excessive mobility of any vertebra byimpeding significant sliding. The physiological flexion of thespine requires from the posterior longitudinal ligament thesame degree of resistance as that from the paravertebralmuscles. In the spine, there are three lines of forces: theanteroposterior line that originates in the foramen magnumand goes to the coccyx, the posteroanterior line thatoriginates in the foramen magnum, passes the anteriorborder of L2–L3 and is halved in the acetabulum and themedium line of gravity that forms an upper triangle in C3 to C6and an inferior triangle in L1 to L4. If one triangle moves toone side, the other moves to the opposite side to compensatefor the deviation. Then, the gravity centre is kept inside thebasis provided by the feet. The whole spine is equilibrated over the sacrum.Thus, a hyperlordosis can only be achieved by movementsfrom the pelvis. The angle of the pelvis is the key for posture.The movements of the spine are a complex of neuromuscularactivities over a mechanical structure. Thus, bad postures canresult from a structural deviation or a repeated bad habit. In the same way, a good habit can be learned andperfected by well performed exercises and corrections indaily attitudes. The neuromuscular work must be precise and24
  22. 22. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogymperformed together with a perfect mechanical action of thespine. The cervical spine supports and provides movementsto the head. This region has the greatest amplitude ofmovements of the spine. In this way, since an alteration in oneof the spine curves results in modifications in the other curvesand also since part of the cervical musculature originates inother portions of the spine, there is a clear intrinsic functionalrelationship between the neck and back. To emphasise, aprogramme for correcting problems in the cervical spinemust include exercises for the back and consequently for thepelvis. Notwithstanding, abnormal kyphoses are hallmarks ofweakness of the whole body musculature. The spine, being the support of the body, is frequentlyexposed to overloads. The lumbar region is particularly anorgan of shock and a precocious indicator that the locomotorsystem is under fatigue and/or overload. Functionally, the vertebral lesion is characterised bythe abnormal position or movement of one vertebra over theother. Basically, there might be local or global impediments ofextension, flexion and lateral flexion. In cases of slight lesionor fatigue in any structure of the spine, the surroundingmusculature enters into a tetanic contraction, which is at thesame time painful and protective, acting as a physiological tie.In fact, all the mechanisms of lumbar pain, such asdistensions, disc hernias and traumatic bone lesions, resultfrom the tetanic contraction of the paravertebral muscles. The most obvious cause of lesions of the spine is anexcess of work. However, inactivity is more prevalent andmore dangerous than effort. Inactivity results in muscularatrophy and neuromuscular incoordination. An inactiveperson is then exposed to the fact that the simple daily use ofthe spine becomes an excess of work. In other words, thesenility of the spine is mostly due to inactivity than to thesimple passing of years. 25
  23. 23. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodrigues The shoulder is the connection zone between thetrunk and hands. It allows both the refined gestures ofprecision and the lifting of weights. It is the articulation withthe most diverse amplitude and types of movements.However, it is the most unstable and has the worst mechanicalefficiency. The functional unit of the shoulder is a complexmade up of suspended articulations, which is related to thedescription of numerous syndromes of lesions of thesurrounding muscles. Generally, the point of support and thepoint of effort are close to each other, which explains the lowmechanical efficiency for lifting weights and the highprecision of movements. The movements of the arms generate forces that aretransmitted to the spine. The predominance of one arm overthe other provokes in the clavicles a tension of torsion that ispropagated over the whole locomotor system. In bipedalism,this aspect demands continuous exercises to compensate. The bilateral symmetry of the body demands thepredominance of one side over the other to quicken themanipulation reflexes but this also generates asymmetricalforces that overload the system, reducing its utile time.THE MOTRICITY Since the first texts on gymnastics in Ancient Greece,exercises have been classified as a simple combination ofpreparation and application. Using the correct technique hasalso been emphasised, which represents at least the beauty ofa determined movement. Also, analytical descriptions ofexercise amounts and targets have been organised accordingto the resulting effects (development of shoulders,development of legs, flexibility). The exercises weregraduated in terms of difficulty and complexity and dividedinto series. Summarising, the basis of modern gymnastics hasbeen described since then.26
  24. 24. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogym Regarding the types of exercises, the development ofphysics in the 17th century raised a mechanicist vision of themusculoskeletal system: the paradigm that persists nowadaysis that the locomotor system is a machine of force with simplelevers. This paradigm is reflected when exercises areperformed only in straight and simple directions, theprogression being essentially the relationship betweenvolume and intensity. In human motricity, five components areinseparable: coordination, flexibility, force, speed andresistance. In each exercise, physical diversification isfrequently observed, which is why the predominant modes ofmotor solicitation are deployed. Each movement is the resultof a coordinated interaction among the muscles, localneurological control and brain control. Although motoractions are classified according to the emphasis on force,speed, coordination, the activation of the cardio-respiratorysystem or the mobilisation of one or more modes of energy forthe work, there are no precise limits among the groups ofexercises that pertain to more than one group. Coordination is the synergic action of the central andlocal nervous system and the musculature in a sequence ofmovements. The better the quality of the coordination, theeasier and the more precise is the movement. This lowersenergetic consumption, fatigue level and the risk of lesions.Precise coordination is even more important in morecomplex movements. There is an intramuscular coordination, expressingthe neuromuscular activation, inside the muscle andcoordination for the whole musculature. Many muscles covermore than one articulation, sometimes exerting antagonisticfunctions according to the angle, degree of contraction ordegree of elongation. Even more localised movements areinfluenced by the muscles and close articulations. Thecoordination, thus, is not just a sequence of muscles to besolicited, but a complete whole that must act synergically. 27
  25. 25. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodrigues When learning and adapting to a gym program,motor and respiratory coordination is increased. Thebeginner experiences a rapid growth of force soon after thefirst classes, and this is conditioned exclusively to theamelioration of intramuscular coordination. Thehypertrophy induced by the exercise is a slow and continuousprocess related to the progression of intensity and/or volume.However, exceeding a determined limit causes the exercisesto become hurtful and the practitioner experiences signs offatigue and loss of the previously acquired performance. Thisis known as overtraining. Muscular fatigue is the reversible reduction infunctional ability due to an excess of work. The time intervalfor the appearance of fatigue varies according to the qualityand quantity of muscular solicitation. Characteristic signs offatigue include a reduction in the ability to exert effort,delayed and insecure motricity, incoordination and anincrease in reaction times. Regarding manual labour, theMedicine of Work defines the limit of fatigue as the amount ofwork that can be completed continuously for eight dailyhours. Flexibility is related to the amplitude of articularmovement. In general, these articulations allow movementsthat are much greater than usual daily use. High flexibilityreduces the risk of injuring muscular fibres during abruptmovements. Furthermore, women are naturally more flexiblethan men for the same level of fitness. Higher bodytemperatures favour this flexibility.A gym that trains only force reduces flexibility because ofmechanical reasons. Flexibility must not be mistaken forhypermobility. Hypermobility is the flatness of the ligamentsthat, although allowing high amplitudes of movements, isinefficient at restricting an excess of mobility, therebypropitiating the chance of injuries.28
  26. 26. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogym Regarding the speed of exercises, slower movementsare safer and this should be indicated to beginners. In fact,independent of the speed of a movement, the search mustfocus on refined and perfect control. The refined control of amovement is obtained through a continuous and supervisedpractice and is the best factor for ensuring the safety ofphysical activity. 29
  27. 27. THE POSTURAL EXAMINATION Although the human posture varies every second, theterminology postural examination is used to mean a personin a standing position with their feet together. This is a positionwhere body deformities can be evidenced, but in the generalpractice this does not seem to be a good method. Basically, aperfect posture is imagined and the person is compared to thisperfect image. Also, keeping the feet together is not a dailycommon posture. So, in research about postural deviationsusing this method, the control group presents an incidence ofup to 95% of deviations, and it is not clear if they are realdeviations or an adaptation to an unused posture. Evenconsidering that the human posture is still under evolution, toconsider that almost the whole population presentsdeviations from the normality does not suggest anysemiological information. Methods for the static postural examination includethe square and the automatic step. Dynamic evaluationsinclude computerised analysis that describes the angles of thefeet, the knees and so on. In the context of a gym class, the postural examinationis undertaken in a dynamic situation. Is the body correctlyaligned? Is the practitioner correctly performing the exercise?
  28. 28. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodrigues By the way, what exactly is the correct execution of anexercise? To answer these questions, two basic concepts ofpostural physiology must be borne in mind: the integrity of theposture and the compensation of deviations, whereasymmetries represent a harmful element to the whole body. We have proposed and published one method forpostural analysis, the Method of the Imagined Square. Thestatistical indexes of concordance point out that this methodis useful (as are practically almost all manoeuvres of physicalexamination) for detecting conspicuous deviations. In thecontext of functional gymnastics, evident deviations must becorrected. The detection of the details of angles is notreproducible by unarmed eyes. Anyway, there is nocorrelation between postural deviations and osteomuscularsymptoms. For example, idiopathic juvenile scoliosis is adeforming condition that is painless. In the Method of the Imagined Square, the examinerdraws, mentally, a square over the examined person (Figure1). They then look at these principal lines to see whether themovement in the shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and so on issymmetrical. So, not only in a standing position, but alsoduring an exercise, body segments can be observed andevaluated. In particular, running and jumping exercises aresimple manoeuvres for highlighting weakness and globalmuscular asymmetries. The examiner should keep in mind that when adeviation is observed in any region that all the structure isunder tension and that it is highly probable that otherdeviations in other regions will be seen. Body movementsoccur in a triplane: scoliosis, for example, is accompanied byaxial rotations, not only by lateral torsions. Figure 2 illustratesa person who has suffered an acute torticollis or an acutetorsion in an ankle. The diagram shows that line by line thebody presents deviations to compensate for this problem.32
  29. 29. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogym This can explain, for example, situations where oneknee develops osteoarthritis before the other or one shoulderis weaker than the other. These situations represent individualreactions to postural deviations. The Method of the Imagined Square can be appliedto people that present at least one healthy vertical line and anintact nervous system. Figure 2 cannot explain, for example, aperson that has fractured both ankles. In the case of severenervous injuries (generally in automobile accidents), theposture behaves in a different manner from the instantaneouscompensation of deviations. In the absence of a nervoussystem integrating the musculature, the compensation ofdeviations is lost. In the context of functional gyms, the evaluation ofstructured lesions should focus on the limitations theyprovoke. For example, how does this varus interfere with thepersons life? What exercises will present more difficulties? Inwhat sense does this disc herniation impede movement? Isthere a difficulty flexing the spine? In stretching? Thus, the Imagined Square is useful for detectingasymmetries, and the excess of curves can be highlighted tothe practitioner and systematically corrected, especiallyduring static positions. It can also quantify gym progress tocorrect the functional disturbances of lesions. Eyes Shoulders Hips Knees AnklesFigure 1: Diagram of the Imagined Square. The body is representedby a cylinder to remind that the postural exam is done in threedimensionas. The examiner draws imaginary horizontal lines over 33
  30. 30. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodrigueseyes, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. The vertical central linerepresents the spine and the lateral vertical lines are the lateral limitsof the body. Eyes Shoulders Hips Knees AnklesFigure 2: Diagram showing the compensation of deviations. Thisdiagram can be applied to a person with intact neuronal reflexes anda strong lateral vertical line to support the damaged vertical line. Forexample, a torticollis, a scoliosis or a torsion of the ankle: thedeviations are compensated line by line, in a tridimensionalmovement.34
  31. 31. PRINCIPLES OF FUNCTIONAL GYMS Gyms can methodically and progressively increasethe abilities of the locomotor system. The less desenvolvedthe muscular resistance, the less the time before a givenmuscle presents signs of fatigue. The absence or inefficiencyof a tired muscle overloads other muscular groups, whichthen also suffer fatigue, producing a cascade effect.Moreover, the less flexible the muscles, the greater theprobability of suffering from excessive tension during dailyactivities. Sedentary persons from the point of view of thecardio-respiratory system are also sedentary from the point ofview of the musculature and joints. Persons with bettercardio-respiratory conditioning present fewer osteomuscularsymptoms. In addition, the greater the variety of movements,the greater the possibility of learning and developing newmovements. Besides the preventive aspect, gyms can also betherapeutic. Treatments for acute muscular pain are very oldand include massages, heat, cold, cataplasms and rest.However, people suffering from chronic painful syndromescan benefit from functional gymnastics that aretherapeutically indispensable and, in many cases, the onlypossibility for the definite alleviation of the pain. Progression
  32. 32. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodriguesis personal and continuous. It is not possible to expect perfectresults over a short period because functional correctionsneed a complete rearrangement. A peculiar situation is pregnancy, when lumbar andcervical pain is frequent and follows an individualisedpattern, with some pregnant women suffering moresymptoms than others. During pregnancy, the analgesicfunction of physical exercise is ambiguous: some pregnantwomen show maximal benefits after adhering to a gymprogramme. In general, a pregnant woman must not be inertbut also must not submit to extenuating exercise. The safestexercises are those of low intensity and volume. Professionalsthat work with pregnant women should keep in mind that if aproblem in the pregnancy occurs (bleeding, miscarriage,placental abruption) the vigorous exercise will be pointed outas the causative agent of the event, even if it had nothing to dowith it. Pregnant women that exercised in gyms for at least twoyears before the pregnancy can continue with their programsof exercise, but should avoid any progression in volumeand/or intensity. Ideally, pregnant women after the firsttrimester should go to classes specifically for them. Regarding the musculoskeletal system, the aims of acorrective gym program are analgesia, gain of movement,gain of muscular force, proprioception (self-knowledge of thebody), muscular resistance, functional motor learning andbody equilibrium. In particular, the Corrective Biogymproposes general physical preparation to develop globalmotor abilities and a harmonious development of the bodymovements. Besides harmonising the development of themusculoskeletal system, the effects of the exercises includethe enhancement of the glycolipidic profile, cardiovascularresistance, arterial function, venous return and pulmonaryfunction as well as the flexibility of the vestibular system.36
  33. 33. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogym A child has a great flexibility of the tissues andvestibular system. During childhood, rotation is usuallyfollowed by pleasant sensations, whereas for adults rotation isfollowed by nausea and deeply unpleasant sensations. Theless the vestibular system is worked, the faster it will lose itsflexibility, until an end point where slight corporal rotationsare followed by body disequilibrium, vertigo and nausea. Allhead movements mobilise and exercise the vestibular system.In this way, proprioception (on which the body equilibriumdepends completely) can be worked both in static anddynamic situations. The intensity for challenging the bodyequilibrium can be varied according a reduction in thesurface of support, an application of an external weight or aposition that moves the centre of gravity of the body. The sequence of a functional gym is started bywarming up, continued by global exercises, followed byspecific exercises and ended with relaxing and mentalconcentration exercises. In gym classes, some exercises aredesigned for couples or groups, but the safer way to mobilise apainful joint is active movement within the amplitude that awarmed body can allow. The corrective gym program should not focus only onthe specific problem of the practitioner, but strengthen andstretch the musculature as a whole, in such a way that theperson finds its own axis of equilibrium. Therefore, the following programs are inadequate:programs to correct only the feet without working with thepelvis; to strengthen the arms without strengthening andstretching the shoulders and neck; and to strengthen theupper members without strengthening the pelvis, the inferiormembers and the spine. In a holistic vision of the locomotor system, the initialforce provided by the gyms is concentrated on the pelvis.Then, the force evolves towards the feet and the neck. At thesame time, the shoulders get stronger and the force evolves 37
  34. 34. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodriguestowards the hands. This means that for alleviating painfulsyndromes in the wrists and hands, sometimes an overallworkout is needed. Local treatments might not be enough. The organism weighs and so the muscular work tosupport this weight must be constant. Body positionsrepresent many diagrams of forces that the musculature mustsupport, such as standing, dorsal decubitus, ventraldecubitus, lateral decubitus, sitting, on all fours, and so on.Each of these demands detailed and distinct manners ofmuscular work. The body can and must be light. A light body meansthat the body weight represents a light load for a givenmusculature. The exercises turn the body parts that initiallyare heavy into the self-musculature, allowing just a fewrepetitions of movements, into a lighter load, allowing 30, 50or 100 repetitions of a given movement. Diverse positions can be sustained for seconds,minutes or hours. If a given posture represents the maximaluse of muscular force of a given joint, only a few seconds aresustained. As the body becomes lighter, the self-weightrepresents lighter loads, allowing it to keep a position forminutes or even hours. Resuming, the lightness of the bodyrepresents a good resistance to fatigue in situations where themusculature must overcome the force of gravity. Also, this self-lightness must present a symmetricalaspect: equilibrium between right and left, between anteriorand posterior, between agonists and antagonists. If thisbalance is not developed, injuries can arise such asmorphological alterations or bad joint positioning, with ahigher probability of lesions in tendons and cartilages. Regarding the regimen of muscular work, theexercises can be static (or isometric), where no apparentmovement occurs, dynamic (or isotonic), where there is anarticular movement or a composition of both. Circularmovements, involving semicircles and clockwise and38
  35. 35. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogymanticlockwise circles, are essential for the body to slowlyrecover its axis of equilibrium, since the circle is a simple,smooth figure with a well-defined centre. The symbolrepresents, schematically, the majority of the movements ofthe joints: backwards and forwards, right and left, semicirclesand circles. In this way, each body segment can be exercised. Every musculoskeletal activity is preceded byanticipation and preparation. In appropriate conditions,imminent tension will make the body react with the tonus andform the correct contraction to support it. So, the practitionermust concentrate on the execution of the exercise, especiallyin the body region being worked. The ambience shouldfavour concentration. Noise, loud music, strong lights,uncomfortable temperatures, dusty floors and badlyventilated rooms do not combine with corrective gymnastics.The mind should be free of externally exaggerated stimuli toobtain the most correct and well-drawn exercises. Anyway,motor exercise can be helped by mental exercise. Previousimagining of the movement improves performance. Goodmusic at a comfortable volume helps gym classes but is not avital element. The preparation for the exercise involves thefollowing stages: explanation from the teacher (when themost relevant details should be highlighted), demonstrationof the correct execution of the exercise and routine correctionof the practitioners during the class. When learning a newexercise, attention is focused on the rational execution ofeach single element of the motor act so that it becomesautomatic, light and simple. In our experience, in the first twoclasses of a new pupil, corrections are made only for verywrong movements. The first classes are an adaptive period.As the practitioner continues with the classes, the correctionstend to be more constant and systematic. Beginners shouldnot be pressed to present the same performance as veteranpractitioners. 39
  36. 36. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodrigues Slight variations in the exercises give dynamism to themuscular work. To the frequent question are closed legs orstraight legs the correct position for abs, the answer is both arecorrect. The wrong way is to work repetitively with only oneof them. The least efficient mode for structuring classes iswhen the same means are applied repetitively in the sameway; very quickly an organic adaptation occurs andprogression in the results stops. There is not a single exercisethat can work the musculature in its complete plenitude.Rigid programs of exercises are inadequate, exactly becausethe basic need of the human musculature is the one ofworking in a great variety of exercises. There are an infinite number of possible classes. In agood sequence of exercises, one movement pulls the other.The movements can be slow and smooth or quick andexplosive. Beginners should do them slowly and smoothlyand, according to the results, start with the quick andexplosive ones. Theoretically, corrective gyms use only thebodys own weight; however, some external weights can beused after the first period of adaptation to the gym. This mightbe the weight of another person, especially if the aim of agiven exercise is to free force-velocity. In all cases, self-knowledge and self-respect with regard to the limits arecritical. In a way that is more evident in the trunk, themusculature presents functional redundancy: more than onemuscular group can generate the same type of movement.So, there is a large variability of muscular solicitation amongpeople and, as training evolves, there is also variability withinthe same person. The concept of the association ofmovements, which means the musculature as a whole worksfor a given movement, explains why different pupils perceivethe intensity and effect of the same gym class in different ways.According to the general and specific conditioning of each ofthe practitioners, a given muscular group can beproportionally more solicited than another.40
  37. 37. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogym The description and development of new exercisesfollow these steps: 1) analysing the possible movements of ajoint; 2) imagining an exercise; 3) applying this exercise to agiven program; and 4) evaluating the ease and effect ofpractitioners. Common variations in a gym program includevariations in the intensity and number of repetitions, use ofdifferent materials of support (bars, steps) and stimulus tocomplementary training in other physical modalities. Owingto human behaviour, adherence is greater if classes are takenin groups and led by a teacher. The isolated prescription ofexercises is accompanied by abandonment by practically allpatients. With a number of repetitions from 20 to 40movements, the gain of resistance is linear and continuous.Obviously, if the practitioners tolerate 100 to 150 repetitions,there is once more a quicker gain of force and resistance.However, greater volumes than that limit are frequentlyassociated with fatigue and overtraining, showing decreasingeffects, becoming similar to the mechanism of lesions fromrepetitive movements. Each body lever presents a distinct degree ofmechanical efficiency. So, 30 repetitions can be enough for agiven exercise, excessive for others and insufficient for therest. The teacher, personal perception, aim of the class andyield of the practitioners should guide the number ofrepetitions. If the practitioner cannot complete the series, thenthe repetitions must be done correctly. Doing a few correctmovements is much more important and efficient than doinga lot quickly and wrongly. If a practitioner cannot complete agiven exercise, then an alternative should be proposed.Generally, more simple movements can prepare a beginnerfor the desired exercise. 41
  38. 38. LESIONS A constant preoccupation for whoever is responsiblefor a group of gym practitioners is the occurrence of lesionsderived from the exercises. Apart from accidents, lesions inthe musculoskeletal system can derive from, among otherthings, sudden overload, excessive repetition of movementand insufficient rest. In general, the majority of lesions occur during thesimple daily work. A lesion that suddenly appears derivesfrom the accumulation of work undertaken inadequately. All practitioners of physical exercise feel painfulsymptoms. The physiological response to exercise derivesfrom small lesions, sometimes perceptible only underelectronic microscopy. If the human body presents a lesion,an inflammatory response is started, the basic perception ofthis inflammation is pain and the final result is the formation ofa stronger tissue. So, as the exercise starts a reparativeresponse, it makes the locomotor system gain strongermuscles, bones and tendons and stronger and more flexibleligaments. When a process of body correction is started througha gym program, forgotten structures are suddenly mobilised.The organism perceives that something has been injured and
  39. 39. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodriguesit starts a reparative response. This initial phase isinflammatory and thereby painful. In this way, gym class beginners feel pain in themusculoskeletal system. If the lesions pass a given biologicallimit, the physical exercise is not beneficial and is malefic,bringing about progressive degeneration. All gym class professionals will have pupils that feelstronger or lighter pain. The question is to know thesemiological profile of the pain, including associatesymptoms and limitations. In general, veterans know how todifferentiate the good little pain of the gym from a moreserious lesion, for example a muscular distention. The typicalpain of good exercise only starts after an overnight period,lasts for two or three days and then gradually disappears. Signs that the pain indicates a more serious lesion or aprocess of lesions for repetitive work include continuous andrecurring pain in a same region (knees, shoulders, elbows,spine), pain worsened by the execution of a given exercise,pain during or immediately after the gym class and pain that isnot alleviated by the initial warm-up period. If a movement orposition feels painful during a class, the person mustimmediately stop. Ignoring the pain significantly enhancesthe risk and the degree of lesion. The behaviour of the gym teacher should varyaccording to the expressed pain of the practitioner. As ageneral principle, the beginner should not ignore the pain,but respect it. If a given movement is painful, then completeonly a few repetitions, stop, rest and continue. If a givenregion starts to show signs of suffering, relative rest can beprovided by reducing the intensity and/or volume of exercisesin that region. So, a painful region or a painful movementindicates that this region must be worked. But the teachershould think about the volume, intensity and amplitude ofmovements for that region. A previously painful region canoften present a rapid amelioration with the frequency to a44
  40. 40. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogymcorrective gym program. Some weeks later, that region againpresents intense pain, as if the original lesion has returned.When this second pain disappears, this finally indicates theend of the reparative process of the lesion. The beginner has not accumulated enoughexperience to differentiate between physiological pain and amore serious lesion. Some teachers have the habit ofstimulating the beginner to ignore such pain, but the saferpractice is to respect the pain. Limits exist for our self-existence. Gym work aims to expand these limits not rupturethem. For example, if there were no limits, then the headwould easily detach from the neck and the feet would goaway from the legs, which means the integrity of the bodywould be endangered. The rupture of limits is harmful. Theenlargement of limits is desirable. Children can heal and recover faster from lesions, buttheir smaller size and development exposes them to cartilagelesions that could seriously harm the adult corporal structure.Avoiding lesions needs force, resistance and muscularflexibility, such as in adulthood. In preadolescent athletes, thedevelopment of the musculature is a factor of protecting itduring games. Much is discussed about the ideal time to startbuilding the body musculature of children with externalweights. But exercises that involve the childs own bodyweight are certainly safe. It is very important that the teacher observes carefullythe practitioners during the gym class and corrects them oneby one. This correction is based on the analysis provided bythe Imagined Square Method. In this sense, the participationof the group is important. Practitioners should be stimulatedto counter the repetitions of movements, so that the teachercan walk across the room and individually correct thepractitioners. Here, we point out again that beginners shouldnot be aiming for perfection but serious mistakes should becorrected. 45
  41. 41. Dario Palhares & José Antônio RodriguesWhen the teacher observes that a given practitioner cannotcomplete the exercise in a 100% correct and coordinatedmanner, then the next class should be used for thatpractitioner learn the most important aspects of the exercise.Sometimes a practitioner presents a particular difficulty in theexecution of certain movements. This is derived from gaps inmotor learning, something that has slowly been installed andthat will disappear gradually. For example, a practitioner thatis not able to jump on alternate feet while moving their armsin a circular direction can be simply a victim of the terriblewalkers during the period of the second semester of life. So,continuous practice will develop better motor coordination,if the practice is supervised and corrected. No pressing. Eachone evolves in a particular moment. Some authors of books on gymnastics describe theexistence of dangerous exercises, which are potentiallyharmful and therefore forbidden. As a contradiction, many ofthese exercises are described in yoga, a millenar practice, andmany others appear in texts of corrective exercises. However, in principle, there is no posture ormovement that is harmful by itself. There are certainly morecomplex movements that should be performed morecarefully and with good concentration. For example, a personcan be injured when trying to handle excessive weightswithout a good ergonomic position. Regarding active movements (those performedspontaneously), the literature has never shown an evidentcausative nexus between a given stretching exercise and aserious muscular lesion. Practitioners with previouscomplaints do not present higher risks than asymptomaticpersons. However, the appearance of pain in the bodyregions that are naturally overloaded is common,corresponding to the initial reparative response triggered bygym. The first trimester of a new gym program is the periodwhere pain is more likely to arise, whereas after six months themost common pain is from muscular fatigue. Empirically, six46
  42. 42. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogymmonths is a general period of learning and motor adaptationto a new gym. As seen in the biomechanical study, the lumbarspine is the shock point of all the body weight and is the mostfrequent site of complaint, followed by the knees, ankles andfeet. In general, sporadic cases of serious injuriesprovoked by gyms are more likely to be related to the lesion ofrepetitive work than the type of exercise. The best way toavoid such a possibility is variety. In general, practitionersdislike similar classes, and this aspect is not just a demandfrom the market, but a deep theoretical view. Variety servesboth for a broader work of the musculature and enhancessafety during medium and long-term programs of exercise.Our experience with lesions We will now show some cases of where theCorrective Biogym apparently provoked a lesion. We will alsodescribe manual techniques for overcoming acute torsion inthe ankles, wrists and fingers and acute torticollis. The reasonfor showing these cases is to demystify the taboo exercises andremind that no exercise is always harmful. The danger isincorrect execution with inadequate supervision (or,generally, without any supervision). Case 1: a 48-year-old man, with cervical disc hernias in C5-C6 and C6-C7, diagnosed 10 years before. Over the past three years, he had not used analgesics and kept to light physical activity (irregular walking). During the Biogym classes, he tolerated well the exercises for neck, including the Bridge and the Meat of Neck series. However, a slight reduction in the mobility of his left thigh was noticed during the series from Light Legs to the Body. After three months of gym, he had developed 47
  43. 43. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodrigues a bursitis in the hip that, after 20 days, finally receded and did not recrudesce in at least the following four months. Case 2: a 43-year-old woman, practitioner of yoga, runner and member of her local gym. She presented a slight scoliosis (idiopathic juvenile scoliosis) and chronic tendinitis in the right elbow and wrist related to her work with computers. She also had previous tendinitis in the trapezoid muscle and had been plastered on two occasions: one year and six months before beginning the program. After about 60 days of regular frequency to the classes, she developed a chronic torticollis while on holiday. She returned to the Corrective Biogym and was treated with physiotherapy and Global Posture Re- education. During the classes, she was good at the Series of the Table and at the push-ups, but the Bridge and the flexions in the Bridge triggered needle-like pain in the neck. Subsequent classes planned to prepare her to support the Bridge, including the Inverted Table, the Meat of Neck and the elongations of the bow and of the boat. After two weeks, she did a perfect Bridge and flexions in the Bridge. In the next four months, she presented no more painful limitations during the classes. Case 3: a 57-year-old man, practitioner of yoga and walking. He had his thyroid removed 10 years before and was using thyroxin and had regular medical assistance. After three months of regular practice of the Biogym, he presented suddenly with thoracic pain after the Series of the Locust. The pain was described as a sudden cracking noise in the 12th left rib. He sought no further medical assistance. The pain worsened in the first four days and then gradually disappeared. Four weeks after this48
  44. 44. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogym episode, he returned to the classes. Three weeks later he went for a bone scintigraphy as part of his medical routine that showed a hypercaptant area compatible with the consolidation of a bone fracture in the region in the rib. In the following year, he presented no similar symptoms, including during classes with the Series of the Locust. Case 4: a 29-year-old man, practitioner of gym and fitness work. After nine months of regular practice, he presented bilateral lumbar pain after a class that had the stretching of opening the hip with the Pose of the Turtle. The pain worsened during the following day, with spastic contraction of the lumbar musculature, a typical presentation of acute muscular distension. He presented a partial recovery after four days and a complete recovery after seven days. He never presented symptoms in subsequent classes with the same exercise. Case 5: a 37-year-old woman, practitioner of walking. She had suffered a fall in her teens and had fractured her right humerus. During the classes, the movements of the arm were preserved, but she had a habit of always keeping her right elbow flexed. She was oriented towards keeping her arms as extended as possible. After nine weeks of regular practice, she woke up with an acute pain close to the right elbow, described as a similar pain to when she suffered the fracture. The pain worsened in the first five days and then gradually disappeared. She noticed that the mobilisation of the right arm enhanced and the habit of keeping the elbow flexed was abandoned. She never presented a similar pain again. In all of these cases, the Corrective Biogym curedhidden lesions. As seen, all these cases presented a limited 49
  45. 45. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodriguesclinical course that did not repeat afterwards. The exercisesdid not provoke a lesion, they rather revealed lesions andunderlying weaknesses. The inflammatory response is apainful response that repairs an injury. Since the musculatureis not solicited in its complete plenitude, at the beginning of acorrective gym session, a previously forgotten region starts tobe recruited. This forgotten injured portion then triggers aninflammatory response, thereby generating a strongerhealing and a correction in the structure. Empirically, after a wound, the body develops aprotective cover over injured muscles, tendons and joints.With the massage provided by the Corrective Biogym, thiscover one day is broken, the lesion returns to its beginning, anew inflammatory process is started and a new cicatrix,stronger and more functional, is formed. In the cases cited, the events occurred mostly withinthe first six months of practice. The first six months are aperiod of adaptation to a new routine of exercises. The mostcommon lesions in gyms are torsions of ankles, wrists andfingers. Generally, these torsions do not present a seriousrupture of ligaments. Torsions provoked by mild forces (badstepping, holding a ball at high speed) can be immediatelyundone in a smooth manner, and for this the symbol Å mustbe remembered: delicate passive movements forwards andbackwards, side to side and in a circular motion. When thismanoeuvre is performed immediately after the accident, itreduces the posterior edema and eases the recovery of thejoint. However, it should not be done if the torsion occurredmore than half an hour earlier or if there are signs of bonefractures. The CD that comes with this book shows achiropractic sequence for the acute suppression of torticollis.Acute torticollis is not fully understood, but it is a situationwhere the local neuronal control activates a titaniccontraction of the cervical musculature. According to thepostural diagram, not only the neck but all the musculature is50
  46. 46. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogymunder tension. The following manoeuvres relax themusculature within 20 minutes, but the painful sensation canlast longer. They can be applied to children over two yearsold, but the effects are less clear in children because of thehigh flexibility of their muscular system. a) In ventral decubitus, with the face turned to the side, is the most difficult. The patient inhales and exhales deeply. When exhaling, the therapist presses the thoracic vertebras with their wrists, from bottom to top. Three pressures follow: one in T11, another in T5 and another in T1. A loud cracking sound is generally heard; b) Then, the therapist pulls each leg, kindly and firmly, posteriorly in the direction of the opposite shoulder. Cracking sounds are common; c) With the arms extended and opened laterally, the therapist holds the hands of the patient and kindly tries to make one wrist touch the other. The patient then turns the head to the other side and this manoeuvre is repeated; and d) The sequence ends with the therapist holding the hands of the patient and lifting the trunk. The patient should try to sit on the ankles and then stand up. Acute torticollis occurs idiosyncratically. Thosesuffering from recurrent acute torticollis will benefit fromfunctional gyms. 51
  47. 47. STRETCHING Flexibility is a fundamental property of the musculartissue that allows the execution of movements with ease,optimised coordination and the exploitation of the totalamplitude of the joints. A rigid musculature is paradoxicallyfragile and liable to ruptures because one of the mechanismsof muscular lesion is that the muscle must be forced morethan its amplitude and shortened rigid muscles present areduced ability of distension. Force and flexibility must beexercised together for harmonic muscular development. The amplitude of a stretch exercise can present twoaspects: only keeping the existent arch of movement andamplifying the arch. Such a distinction is sometimes found inthe literature as a definition of stretching and flexing. Thebasic movements are the same, only the executionprocedures are different. The best stretching schools come from yoga. Yoginsbelieve that youthfulness is a synonym of flexibility, which isfundamental for the body to be light. A baby is born with ahigh flexibility and the optimal age for starting systematicstretching is around 3–4 years, when the musculature is veryflexible and the child has the maturity to execute simpleexercises. According to the biological law of use and rest, if a
  48. 48. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodriguesflexible ability is not worked, it will be lost. As a consequence,the amplitude of possible movements is reduced. Smallamplitudes of movements, repetitive movements andexhausted movements are the basic mechanisms of lesion tothe musculoskeletal system. Since daily activities arerestrictive, there is a need to continuously stretch in aconscious and well-guided manner. The level of flexibilityvaries along the day: inferior values are observed in themorning and throughout the day the values are enhanced,reaching their peak at twilight. This is reflected in the habit ofpractitioners of gyms: approximately 85% of people prefer toexercise at midday or in the afternoon and around 15% like togo to the gym early in the morning. Limits exist and must be respected. Our existencedepends on the limits our body imposes. Exercise aims toamplify, to enlarge the limits. If today the limit of stretching of agiven joint is X mm, next week the limit will be X + 0.1 mm, sothat slowly the musculature acquires great and beautifulflexibility. The tendons are inextensible and are not liable ofstretching. In the mechanism of stretching, the generation ofmyofibrils is done by the synthesis of new sarcomeres close tothe junction between the muscle and the tendon. So, from thepoint of view of a gym exercise, the stretch should beimagined as to elongate the tendon, which means, joints arewell extended. Stretching shows four phases: (1) an initial phase ofrelaxing the muscular tonus that is facilitated by the warmingup of the muscle; (2) an elastic phase where the musclequickly returns to the initial position; (3) a plastic phase,where the muscle is deformed and after some applicationsthis deformation becomes permanent; and (4) the rupturephase (lesion). Experiments with fragments of musclesconfirm the ancient teaching of yoga: with a stronger force,the elongation is higher. However, the plastic deformity afterthe removal of the external force is greater if the traction is of54
  49. 49. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogymlow intensity and long duration. To the gym principles, astrong and sudden stretch exercise can rupture and injure themusculature, whereas a comfortable position sustained forenough time leads to extremes of movements. So, for the plastic action of stretching occurs, aminimum time is needed. In general, a minimum of 15seconds is indicated, but there are yoga practices thatindicate several minutes in each one of the poses. The plastic action of the stretching occurs only fromthe maximal amplitude of the joint position. The minimumtime for stretching is referred to as the time after thepractitioner reached the muscular limit. For each muscularchain, the series must include at least two repetitions, ideallythree or more. The first repetition of the series serves to relaxthe muscles. In the following repetitions, practitioners reachthe maximum amplitude slowly and continuously. In general,more than four repetitions do not add further elongation. Inthis case, classes that use a greater number of repetitions areworking with other aspects from the gym, such asconcentration, resistance or variation of the classes. Only onemovement in just one series is frankly inefficient forstretching. Stretching exercises can be in a spontaneous staticposition, ballistic movements, passive static positions or asequence of neuromuscular facilitation. The ballisticmovements do not induce good elongation, but they serve toprepare for sudden sports movements and for warming up.The passive positions are more frequently related to lesions.The spontaneous static position is efficient and safe. Theneuromuscular facilitation is a sequence of positioning in agiven amplitude of movement, followed by an external forceagainst the movement for three to five seconds and a rapidremoval of this force. This can provoke muscular relaxationand a slightly greater amplitude of elongation. 55
  50. 50. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodrigues In a stretching position, respiration must be smoothand the practitioner should smile. Stretching is relaxation: ifthe position is tense and uncomfortable the exercise is doingno good. Signs that the stretching is being performed badlyinclude discomfort, blushing, dyspnea, pain, fatigue andpalpitations. The muscle being stretched is under a reduced bloodflow. At the beginning of a stretching program the practitionercan feel the muscle pain and burn that are signs of theaccumulation of lactic acid. With practice, these signs slowlytend to disappear. It is important to be aware that one side of the body isoften more elongated than the other. In this way, theequilibrium is reached with symmetry of amplitude ofstretching. Flexibility must not be confused with hypermobilityor the lassitude of the ligaments. Good flexibility is associatedwith strong resistant muscles and ligaments, whereashypermobility and lassitude are clinical conditions where aperson can reach dangerous amplitudes of articularmovements. For these persons, stretching exercises should beslower and more conscious. The joints should be mobile toallow the necessary movements but they cannot be so mobileas to induce the instability of the joint. In general,hypermobility is expressed in the shoulders and kneesbecause these are the most unstable joints of the skeleton. Below, we list the principal basic stretchingmovements of the joints that more frequently tend to shorten.ShouldersThe shoulders continuously tend to move and stand onwardsand upwards, going with the movement of kyphosis. Theyshould be worked in gym programs in order to be openedbackwards and downwards. The main stretching exercisesare:56
  51. 51. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogym a) The pose of the Inverted Prayer; b) The pose of the Horn; c) To cross the shoulders behind the back and hold the hip in the opposite side; d) The pose of the Plough; and e) To hold the hands behind the back, then to bend the trunk forwards and lift the arms. This position can be performed in a straight or diagonal direction.Elbows The stretching exercises for the elbows are similar tothose for the shoulders. Using the idea of the centre-to-extremities development of the force, an elbow withrestricted movements limits both the movements of theshoulders and those of the hands and wrists. Basic exercises: a) To hold the hands behind the back. The wrists can touch or just the fingers can be holding; and b) In the pose of the Plough, the hands hold each other and stay in contact with the floor.Wrists Stretching the wrists is particularly important forpeople who work with computers or other precise manualjobs. The basic movements are lateral extension, posteriorextension and inverted extension. The inverted extensionworks with the elbows that must be kept as extended aspossible. 57
  52. 52. Dario Palhares & José Antônio RodriguesPosterior muscular chain While walking, the posterior muscular chain is keptunder tension to maintain the bodys equilibrium. The backmusculature must be tensioned to avoid falling. The posteriormusculature of the legs and the musculature of the spine thentend to progressively shorten. The basic movement for stretching the posteriormuscular chain is to bend the trunk forwards as the headtouches the extended knees. The feet can stand in plantarflexion or dorsiflexion. The position can be carried out in astanding position or on the floor. If done on the floor, it isimportant to sit over the ischiums not over the sacrum and tokeep the spine erect. A hint for this position is to lift the hips forabout 10 seconds, supporting the body with the hands andankles. This manoeuvre facilitates this exercise. Although the basic movement is simple, this is themost important stretching exercise. This basic position alsoallows a great variability of movements and positions.Standing up or sitting, drawing an inverted V (the position ofthe Inverted Dog), standing on just one foot and extendingthe other leg are just some of the many variations for theelongation of the posterior muscular chain. The descriptionof exercises for this area is vast in the literature, and a goodsample can be found in Battista and Vives (1984), Alter(1990), Fernandes (1992), Hermógenes (1995), Anderson(2000), Voigt (2002), Dantas (2005) and Kaminoff (2008)among others.Trunk: lateral rotation The lateral rotation of the trunk is the ability to leanthe axil against the opposite side of the flexed knee. The basicexercise is the pose of the Lord of the Fishes. Variations in thisexercise can be done in the dorsal decubitus. Combinedexercises can be performed for the dynamism of the classes.58
  53. 53. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective BiogymExtension of the spine The extension of the spine also elongates theabdominal musculature. Basic movements are the pose of theBow and the pose of the Bridge. This is a particularly beautifulelongation, essential for artistic gymnasts. In a correctiveprogram, it is important for the rehabilitation of thelimitations imposed by disc hernias (always within thepractitioner´s limits).Opening of the hips Keeping the hips opened is important for a light andhealthy walk. As time goes by, the ligaments and musculatureof the hips shorten, which results in a senile pattern of walkingbased on short ant-like steps and can create difficulties forclimbing stairs. The opening of the hips involves: a) The lateral aperture, mainly the pose of the Lotus. Preparation for the Lotus involves the half-lotus pose with one leg extended or the movement of the Moth; b) Lateral aperture of the Cow Face pose; c) The classic aperture of 180°: lateral and forwards and backwards; d) Combined exercise with the stretching of the postural muscular chain: sitting with open legs, bend the trunk forwards and touch the floor with the chin; e) Squatting, which is a very important exercise. According to the yogins, the squatting position, also known as the Fetal pose, places all the musculature and pelvic organs in the correct positions; and f) To sit down over the ankles and then bend backwards to lie down. 59
  54. 54. Dario Palhares & José Antônio RodriguesKnees Any restriction of movement in the knees preventsexercises that stretch the hips. The stretching of the posteriormuscular chain needs the knees to be extended. Thestretching of the anterior musculature of the thighs can beimpeded when the knees cannot be totally flexed. Anyimmobility of the knees must be carefully respected: thecontinuous practice of a corrective gym will slowly release themovements of the knees. If a given exercise is particularlypainful, the practitioner should carry out just a fewrepetitions, gradually increasing the repetitions according tothe therapeutic response.Feet The feet must be stretched in dorsiflexion, plantarflexion and lateral flexion (this one particularly worked in theLotus pose). The stretching exercises of the feet usually followthose of the legs, and the variations in the positions of the feetgive dynamism to the gym classes. The stretching abilities ofthe feet are important for correct functioning, where the feetneed good flexibility in the direction of the triplanemovements.60
  55. 55. EXERCISE CLASSES We now describe the exercises to show thetheoretical proposal of the symbol Å in the drawings. Thevideo that comes together with the book shows many of theexercises of the Corrective Biogym. However, it is notexhaustive and there are movements that don’t appear in thevideo. Anyway, the idea of applying circular and diagonalmovements to the exercises is well documented in the video.To demonstrate our experience and clarify the nature of theclasses of the Corrective Biogym, we will then illustrate somesequences. We know that different instructors create differentclasses and this is the beauty of going to gym classes. Thecombinations of body movements are infinite; all thetextbooks on exercises do not even exhaust all thepossibilities. In this sense, we urge the reader to continuouslysearch for the described exercises both in ancient books andrecent videos and publications. The principles of the Corrective Biogym can beperformed personally. However, our classes are organised ingroups. Each day is different, and there are days with greateror fewer practitioners depending on the climate, schoolvacations, season and so on. Some practitioners really like
  56. 56. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodriguesour proposal and never miss a class, whereas others are theopposite. However, we believe this happens with all gyms. Performing classes in groups reunites motricity withsocial participation. Our classes are planned according to theneeds of each one of the practitioners. The gym classes workwith the whole musculature. However, we emphasise thatsome exercises could benefit a particular practitioner. In thisway, we can attend to any specific demands. Some practitioners of the Corrective Biogym are in arehabilitation phase, whereas others are still developingcoordination and force. Therefore, our experience withgroup exercises is limited. For more advanced classes, werecommend the cited literature, such as Netto and Beresford(1978), Kos et al. (1979), Battista and Vives (1984), Kucera(1983, 1984), Nespereira (2002) and Foquet and Balcells(2003) among others. Our proposal is basically to work against gravity. Weleave here the idea of experimenting by adding externalweights to the exercises. In this sense, exercising in doublescan represent an external force to be overcome. In athletic training, exercises are first performed inhigh volume and with moderate intensity. In the CorrectiveBiogym, the intensity provided by each persons weightvaries. Advanced practitioners might feel that the exercisesare less intense than beginners. The volume of repetitionsused in our experience characterises the Corrective Biogymas a method for resistance and flexibility training, therebyserving as a basis for more specific training regimens. Since body weight does not change quickly, there area number of ways to improve muscular training. Theseinclude improving of the speed of execution, adopting posesthat reduce the mechanical advantage of a given joint,suppressing the support given by one side of the body,improving the number of repetitions and improving the timein isometric contraction.62
  57. 57. Elemental Exercises of the Corrective Biogym Isometric exercises are a technique to be used, not inexclusivity, but as a useful complement for resistance trainingto fatigue. Healthy musculature can compensate the loss of onesupporting member. For example, there are people that playsoccer with just one leg. People born without hands havedeveloped delicate and precise coordination with their feetand are able to write and paint with their toes. This principle isroutinely used in the classes of the Corrective Biogym, withthe suppression of the support given by one member (e.g.squatting over just one leg, push-ups without one of the handsor feet). Overcoming gravity works with practically all thebody musculature. Notorious exceptions are the biceps andthe posteriors of the thighs, which are typical levers for themobilisation of weighs. In the Corrective Biogym, theseregions can be worked either by simple flexion with a highervolume of repetitions or by modification in the origininsertion: for biceps, exercises for lifting the body; for theposterior of the thighs, the Series of the Inverted Table. Exercises are classified by the greater movements andonly for didactic purposes, since although each one of themuscles presents a particular action of the bone levers, noneof them works alone. The given names are presented to makeremembering the exercises easier. The symbol Å represents the diversity of the jointmovements. In general, the muscles are prepared in a specificway for the solicited work. So, if a great variety of movementis needed, the musculature becomes prepared for greatermotor abilities. Please respect your individual limits. The response totraining varies according to age, previous physical condition,quality of sleep and so on. Each practitioner will present apersonal rhythm of progression that should be stimulated butnot underestimated and never overcome. 63
  58. 58. Dario Palhares & José Antônio Rodrigues The classes of the Corrective Biogym take between 60and 90 minutes and are divided into 11 parts:a) Pre-warming upb) Warming upc) Legs Light to the Bodyd) Body Light to the Legse) Hips/shoulders/climbingf) Transition to the exercises on the floorg) Miscellaneous stretchingh) Series of the Tablei) Abdominals/gluteus/neckj) Final stretchingk) Mental relaxation Such divisions are not rigid or unchangeable. Theyare, as previous stated, a didactic organisation to guide theexercises. In general, each movement is repeated 30 to 50times. The static positions vary from 20 to 50 seconds. Moredifficult exercises (for example, push-ups) are repeated fewertimes, say 10 to 20. A same movement can be repeated morethan once (two repetitions of squatting, for example), butclasses tend to work the same region in a distinct way. Only the feet are naturally developed to sustain thebody. The hands can also support the body and this requiresspecific training to develop such ability. So, the CorrectiveBiogym follows the yoga doctrine by starting a class withexercises in the standing position. However, this idea is, again,not rigid.64