What is DWMA?
DWMA is the fastest and most logical way to execute a movement screen with an entire group or team at once. DWMA does this by creating artificial (controlled) obstacles via dynamic warmup movements that are NOT outside normal ranges of motion. DWMA looks at ranges of motion in different patterns to see how your brain and body function in a realistic situation where multiple joints are simultaneously being stable and mobile (i.e., agonist-antagonist).
DWMA does the above mentioned by examing movement in three different ways:
- Pass = functional movement
- Fail = movement dysfunction
- Pain = refer out to a specialist
When examining movement, be mindful the athlete doesn’t need a perfect movement — instead, they can’t move dysfunctionally with pain. By comparison, you don’t need the athlete to have the world record in body composition; they need to have a healthy, optimal body composition for their sport.
Along with the same order of thought, sprinters are typically lean and muscular; distance runners are smaller with little body fat, while throwers have the highest amount of body mass. Inversely, variance in body composition serves as an equivalent reminder that not all athletes require the same movement function either.
For instance, a basketball player versus a sprinter; each share resemblances in movement function for acceleration but differ significantly relative to top-end speed. A sprinter, much like a basketball player, needs their body’s anterior kinetic-chain (i.e., quads, hip) to have optimal strength and movement efficiency to boost quickness and acceleration. However, the sprinter also needs optimal strength, endurance, and movement efficiency in the posterior kinetic-chain (i.e., hamstring, hip) to attain top-end speed. The basketball player never reaches top-end speed because the court length is only 96-feet with changes of direction occurring an average of once every 2-seconds. As a result, basketball athletes might not need optimal hamstring mobility (can’t move dysfunctionally with pain) because the movements of their sport get dominated anteriorly in the kinetic-chain.
Relevant to pain and movement, when one of the DWMA movements is dysfunctional and causes pain, you should immediately refer out to a specialist. The reason: joint restriction and pain are two inhibitors of movement that distort motor control. When pain is present, it is impossible to know if the athlete’s pain is because they move poorly or poor movement is causing the pain?
Moreover, when an athlete has pain and restricted mobility, they are not in a position to learn motor-skills efficiently. As stated above, pain affects motor control inconsistently and unpredictably, and mobility compromises biomechanics, as well as the input. Therefore, if the athlete relies on input, then the coach must clear the learning pathway and resolve the cause of pain before the athlete can “upload” new motor control information (i.e., speed and agility training).
Ironically, not until the pain begins or injury occurs, do athletes become aware of dysfunction. Even when they are conscious of it, many do not know how to fix it and resort to temporary compensation methods that reinforce the dysfunction. For instance, when an athlete initially rolls their ankle, its taped to reduce pain by compression and limiting a range of motion. However, seldom is the athlete weaned off the tape through a progression of musculoskeletal screening and rehabilitation. Instead, it becomes the athlete’s ritual — a routine they do before every practice or event. Such convention compromises foot intrinsics and glute-ham firing, further prolonging the dysfunction and “upload” of distorted motor input.
I intently emphasize pain and movement because as a society, we commonly deal with it like a crying baby — it’s annoying. Think about it: when something hurts, we’ve been primed to take a pill to manage it. Doctors, more often than not, designate drug companies and prescribe their products to manage pain; not the system that’s causing the pain. Instead, as a coach, pain should signal a sign of responsibility to refer out to a specialist to determine if the pain is musculoskeletal or structural.
Athlete’s train with pain every day, but are they getting better?