Gary Gray headshot

Dr. Gary Gray PT, FAFS

On 9 and 10 September, the leading authority in the world of functional human movement, science and application – Gray Institute® – will be coming to town. Teaming up with FitPro, Gray Institute will bring its world-renowned Chain Reaction® seminar to the good folks of London.

Gray Institute was founded by Gary Gray (the father of function). His belief, which is now scientifically proven, was that traditional training and physiotherapy was heading in a direction that was actually taking patients and clients further away from their goals and rehabilitation.

Back then, isolating muscles into separate structures and viewing them in only one plane of motion (the sagittal plane), and lying on the floor to test muscle function and range of motion, was considered the norm. Until Gray brought forward his integrated view of the human body (one part affects all parts), how the body and its musculature is responsible for controlling all three planes of motion (not just one), and that human anatomy, form and function should be viewed, studied and trained in a standing upright position (as well as locomoting to and from this position). Gray believed this would bring an authentic transfer of training ‘that’ way into the person's real life/sporting needs/requirements.

This unique way of looking at the body is founded upon scientific principles that ViPR™ uses as part of its ‘anchors’ to validate the tools used to enhance function and strength of all those who engage in sequences using the tool.

Those scientific anchors/principles (which Gray Institute calls the 'truths' of human movement) are as follows:

  • Gravity
  • Ground Reaction Force
  • Mass
  • Momentum

ViPR validates all of these principles in so many ways.

Firstly, it falls under the validation of a ‘functional tool’ because it first and foremost is a ‘gravity enhancer’. ViPR takes gravity and gives the body ‘more’ gravity, thus ‘loading movements’ that in turn train, condition and turn on the muscles and fascia of the body to strengthen those movements (whatever they may be) so that they become more effective and efficient in their execution.

This is really only 100% authentically functional when we add that force coming up from the ground into the mix. In true function, we are standing (as 99% of ViPR programming exercises are) to fully capture the ‘energy’ in the tissues of the body (muscles and fascia) to use that elastic component of ‘free’ energy in all that we do. The different body systems become integrated and function optimally so that we live a healthy, happy life, absorbing forces and stresses in everyday movement. Enjoy life to the max and be resilient to enjoy its many wonders!

Chain Reaction workshop in action

So what can participants expect to experience with ViPR in the Chain Reaction workshop… without giving too much away?

At Gray Institute, we talk about the three big rocks of the body that need adequate mobility and stability in movement. They are the foot/ankle complex, hip complex and thoracic spine.

During the seminar, we will talk about and then invite the delegates to stand up and go through a practical experimentation of what motions a thoracic spine has to ‘access’ in order to live its life to the fullest. We will talk about simple side motions in all three-dimensions, as well as feel and go through these. But the real power of the thoracic spine comes when you ‘feed’ it combinations in motion.

However, true to Gray Institute's principles in motions, we will follow this by talking and showing ‘tripled’ motions, so movement occurring in all three planes at the SAME time – as in many aspects of reaching, pushing and pulling in our day-to-day lives.

On completion of all this, we will introduce ViPR and show how this tool can enhance and strengthen these thoracic spine motions. ViPR is, first of all, a gravity enhancer, so feeding the spine more gravity will load the muscles and joints to strengthen collagen as well as making it more elastic. This equals a stronger fascial system in the spine, which in turn feeds more information to the proprioceptors to synergise the brain, nervous system, joint/tissue systems so that any/all movements become more ingrained and skillful. ViPR also plays well as a loading device for movement as there are 44 different holds (places to grip) so that different leverages are imposed on the body to increase strength, mobility or stability demands upon the tissues and tensional aspects of the body.

We will utilize its ‘holds’, gravitational enhancement and extra imposed leverages. We will talk speed, rhythm and timing, and how this influences functional capacity. Lastly, we will combine all of this to show how leverage can load/unload certain tissues in certain planes to systematically regress and progress exercises that train and condition those that we serve.

It's safe to say it is a great marriage between ViPR and Gray Institute – and we can't wait to bring Chain Reaction to London in September.

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By Paul Edmondson, The Gray Institute

Paul Edmondson headshot