by Dr. Maury Hayashida & Dr. Jeremy Bettle
Living pain-free and performing at higher levels usually boil down to how well someone moves. Developing a consistent and customized movement practice gives you the possibility to not only extend your lifespan but also your health span, i.e., the amount of vitality you live life with. The definition of “moving well” for you is different than for someone else, as our genetics and environments all vary. Establishing a movement practice that is not only personalized but also effective requires a Test-Treat-Train (aka T3) process like the one we’ve created. Your best life depends on your ability to comfortably move through it with as much efficiency as possible.
The trouble is that many people don’t move well and usually don’t know it, and then they layer speed, power, and strength on top of dysfunction. This leads to acute soft tissue injuries like hamstring and shoulder strains and chronic conditions such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, and tennis/golf elbow. These issues compromise performance, cause pain, and prompt movement compensations that further alter biomechanics and keep you from the activities that you love.
A Multidisciplinary Method for Better Movement
Motor development is a field of study that looks at the changes in the way we move that occur gradually over our lifespan. Premature motor decline or what we call “movement aging” is a rampant issue, particularly in post-modern, first-world societies. It leads to decreased total activity, increased metabolic diseases, and overall lower performance in almost all aspects of life, including mental/emotional, social, physical, and even spiritual.
We came up with the T3 model to overcome the kind of challenges that we see everyday folks facing. At Variant, we created a system based on clinical and scientific reasoning and believe that you should have access to the same services and multidisciplinary approach as our founders provided to athletes in the NBA, NHL, Olympians, and other pro sports leagues. We’ve applied clinical reasoning and scientific innovations to create a novel approach and distilled it into a three-stage method that allows you to move, perform, and live better.
The T3 model is an ever-evolving, applied-science endeavor to translate data from constantly emerging technologies and apply them to tried and true clinical reasoning and principles in an interdependent fashion. The goal is to attain the specificity needed for each individual person’s “movement signature.” To understand and optimize their function within their given environments, tasks, and personal goals. Achieving movement specificity also requires a team of professionals who each have specialized training. It takes more than one level of expertise to help you achieve your full movement potential.
Testing, Treating, and Training
The T3 approach begins with the test phase. To tell you how to train effectively tomorrow, we first need to know how well and sustainably you move today, and we can only improve what we measure. Our assessment combines traditional, manual, and physical exam methods with technology that objectively evaluates your current movement “style” and capacity to see if you can achieve the outcomes you seek without biomechanical challenges. The goal is to identify any movement patterns that are restricted or causing you pain, so we can remedy them.
The second stage of the T3 approach – treat – sounds like what it is: we address movement limitations and tackle pain head on through manual physical therapy and other modalities. If you can move well with optimal mechanics and be pain-free while doing it, you’ll be able to train more consistently and productively with longevity. We can help you unlearn counterproductive movement patterns and replace them with optimal new ones, as well as addressing joint, muscular, and connective tissue limitations. Treating movement first allows you to train movement safely and with better outcomes.
Movement limitations come in many forms, but most often the limitations are not visible and require skill hands of a manual therapist to feel and restore “accessory motion” that exists within joints so that they can move at a greater scale when performing exercises and tasks that are at greater speed and under more resistance.
That’s our definition of performance at Variant – being prepared and able to live a full, active lifestyle for the rest of your days, with the accelerator pedal pushed to the floor and without the brakes of pain, injury, and movement dysfunction slowing you down.
Taking a Lifelong Movement Journey
Once we’ve removed such obstacles with treatment, you’re ready to enter the train stage. This is where we create and deliver a program that’s individualized to your goals, abilities, and the amount of time you have to devote to training. Training involves learning and exploring new movement patterns that engage both physical and mental components in your overall function. Our aim is to expand what Rob Gray, PhD refers to as a “perceptual motor landscape” which is essentially your ability to perceive your movement options and select the best one for each situation.
Don’t think of this third T3 phase as a destination, but rather another part of your ongoing movement journey. Movement is a lifelong pursuit, which requires constant refinement and expansion to minimize motor decline and dysfunction. With our team of experts alongside you every step of the way, you’ll continually cycle through the T3 stages, and with every cycle, you will become fitter, healthier, and more capable.