Muscle Control, Proprioception and Anatomy (Legs), exercises you can do while standing, no yoga poses required. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

Sensational Leg Anatomy

Muscle Control and Proprioception Exercises for Learning Your Leg Anatomy
by: Neil Keleher
Published: 2018 10 21

Muscle control could be thought of as a way of learning to feel your anatomy, and that includes bones, joints and muscles.

Sensational Leg Anatomy is a series of 5 minute or less videos each an exercise or set of exercises to help you both feel and control individual groups of muscles in your legs using simple muscle control exercises.

Exercise progressions are make it easy for you to learn to feel your anatomy by starting with bigger muscles, and from there learning to feel your joints, and bones with special attention payed to learning to feel your hip bones.

Not only will you learn to feel your muscles, you'll also learn to self adjust, for optimum muscle activation.

  • All exercises are done while standing (or sitting in a chair).
  • Flexibility is not a requirement for these exercises.

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Sensational Leg Anatomy, TOC

1. What is Muscle Control?

So what exactly is muscle control? It's basically learning to control the engines of your body. These engines are already in place. Muscle control teaches you how to use them. But these engines do more than create (or resist) movement.

They also create sensation. They give you the ability to feel your body.

So muscle control basically teaches you to feel your body and control it via your muscles.

You don't need yoga poses to learn your muscles.

(However, they do offer a good way of practicing muscle control in different postures.)

2. Why Bother Learning Muscle Control?

Why bother learning to feel and control your muscles?

So that you can become smarter in the way that you use your body.

The iPhone signalled the beginning of the age of smart phones.

The reason smart phones are smart is that they respond in different ways to touch. The iPhone is one big sensor. And within it are engines for responding to touch in different ways, depending on whatever app you have currently running.

Note that the touch screen and the machinery inside it is available to all apps.

Likewise, your muscles.

Your muscles are available for use in any exercise or movement that you do. In anything you do you can use muscle control to sense your body and what you are doing with it.

And you can use muscle control to control your body. And with practice you can use both to control your body with greater finess.

You can thus become "smarter" in the way that you use your body.

Learning New Activities

In most new activities you learn two things. You learn to use your body in a new context and you learn the skills of the new activity itself.

Generally you have to learn your body first, then as the necessary awareness and control is acquired the skills of the activity become easier.

The trouble is, the new body skills may be tied into the activity so that you can't reuse them. It depends on how the activity is taught.

Muscle Control Can be Applied to Any New Activity

With muscle control, you learn the body, and potentially learn it independent of any particular activity, or you learn it in such a way within an activity so that you can then apply that body awareness to anything else that you choose to learn.

The idea here is to learn muscle control in such a way that you don't have to think about how to feel or control parts of your body. You know it without thinking about how to do it!

3. Anatomy as a Road Map to Muscle Control

Anatomy could be considered a road map to learning to control your muscles.

However, muscle control could be thought of as a way of learning to feel your anatomy. In particular you can learn to feel muscles, points of attachments, bones, bony landmarks (which in most cases serve as points of attachment for muscles.)

In this case, the names of muscles are secondary to the muscles themselves.

You don't need to know the name of a muscle in order to control it.

However, if you are using anatomy as a guide, it's helpful to learn names of muscles, bones and landmarks so that you can search for information easily.

4. So What is "Sensational Leg Anatomy"?

It's a set of exercises for learning to feel the muscles (the anatomy) of your legs. Most of the exercises are done while standing. A few while sitting in a chair.

You don't need to be flexible to do these exercises. You could potentially do them anywhere while you are standing or sitting.

The video exercises teach you some basic principles of muscle control. And they teach you how you can use muscles more effectively. For example, you can use muscles to help reduce slack in other muscles making those muscles more controllable.

The intent of this course is to make it as easy as possible to feel and control your leg muscles. And that's made a little bit easier because the exercises are all done while standing. And so muscle control is covered in a lot more detail.

As well as learning to activate quads and hamstrings, inner and outer thighs (adductors and abductors), you'll also learn

  • knee and hip joint activation,
  • shin rotation control and
  • long hip muscle control
    (which relates to both shin rotation and hip bone rotation)

Learn Muscle Control and Muscle Control Principles

Muscle control isn't just a matter of turning muscles on or off. There are some basic principles that make muscle control easier and more effective. This workshop helps you to understand those principles and put them into practice.

Understanding these principles makes muscle control easier to learn. By the same token, you can infer these principles by learning to control your muscles.

5. Muscle Control Benefits

Apart from giving you better awareness and control of your body, muscle control can be used to improve flexibility. It's been the root of most, if not all, of my improvements in flexibility.

It can also help with some kinds of knee, hip or foot pain..

As a for instance of dealing with conditions that cause pain, I've been using muscle control to help deal with knee and hip pain and foot pain. Bear in mind, even with muscle control, it can still take some time, and some investigation to fix problems. And it can be a frustrating journey. But that's true of anything that is worthwhile doing.

While this workshop will not show you how to deal with specific types of pain, it will give you the tools that can help you work towards fixing joint pain (those tools being the ability to feel and control the muscles and joints of your legs).

With Muscle control, you can work towards being self-sufficient. Rather than relying on someone else to evaluate and decide what you need to do, you can learn to do all of this for yourself.

Again, this course doesn't teach you how to deal with pain or poor flexibility. It gives you the tools to work towards those goals. As well it teaches you some basic principles that may help you remedy joint or muscle pain.

(While I've had "loose knees" due to injury, I've had to wait for my knees to heal. After that, I've used muscle control to regain "pain-free" function.)

Stopping Your Thinking Mind

In some types of yoga class, the focus is on continually moving from pose to pose to help you get out of your "thinking" mind.

The focus in this workshop not on moving between poses but on feeling and controlling muscles.

It's a lot like focusing on your breath. However, with breathing exercises, you focus in general on the sensations generated by your respiratory muscles. With these muscle control exercises, you can focus on any muscles to help take you out of your thinking mind.

Because you are focusing on specific muscles, you'll practice being mindful while at the same time learning to feel your body.

How Does Muscle Control Train Your Brain?

Another benefit, or side-effect of these muscle control and proprioception exercises is that they train your brain. More precisely put, it improves the models or body maps that are built into your brain.

By learning to feel and control "isolated" parts of the body your brain builds a better model of your body. Better yet, it creates a modular model, one whose pieces can be reused in different combinations in a variety of different activities.

Note that any new physical activity will change your brain. Learning in general trains your brain. However, these muscle control and proprioception exercises are designed to train your brain to better sense and better control the parts of your body.

This is then something that you can use in any physical activity. Learning to feel and control the parts of your body can leads to better awareness and control of your whole body.

Making Your Muscles Memorable

Some people may have trouble remembering names and functions of particular muscle. By learning to feel your anatomy you may find that you have a hook for better remembering names of muscles..

And even if you forget their function, being able to feel and control your anatomy gives you an easily accesible tool that you can use to figure out the function of a particular muscle.

6. Some Challenges with Teaching Muscle Control

When I'm in a class I can see what works and and what doesn't for particular students and pick exercises based on what I sense. With a set of videos that's a bit difficult to do. That being said, the exercises in these videos have been organized and sequenced so that it is as easy as possible for you to learn the various muscle control exercises.

And modifications and "adjustments" are also included.

7. What Types of People Have Trouble with Muscle Control (and Proprioception)

Are there people who have difficulty learning muscle control?

The students who seem to have the most difficulty with learning muscle control are hyper-flexible or "floppy" people, students who can drop into the splits easily but can't lower into them slowly.

Ironically these are people who could benefit from it since muscle control not only makes you stronger and helps to protect joints, it also gives you the ability to feel your body.

I've spent a lot of time learning to effectively teach muscle control to students with this type of challenge. The exercises in this course are organized so that it is easy to learn to activate and muscles (and feel them) even if you are floppy.

At the other end of the spectrum are people who are really tight. Most of the exercises are done while standing upright so that most people can learn to feel and control their body even if they are "tight".

8. What Does This Course Focus On?

Note that the focus in this course is on feeling and controlling muscles of the lower body, from the hip bones down to the toes. Though because the sacrum and lumbar spine is important for some of the exercises, a brief video on spine muscle awareness and control is also included.

Self Adjusting

Perhaps one of the most important ideas you can learn in this workshop, apart from muscle control and proprioception, is the idea of "adjusting".

This is a lot like tuning a guitar. You don't just tighten the strings and get on with playing. You adjust each string till it sounds right and then you make further adjustments so that all strings sound right together.

Self-adjustment is can be used in muscle control to fine tune the feeling of muscle activation. It can also be used to enable muscles to activate. And like with muscle control in general, the way to get better at self-adjusting is to practice it.

Giving Yourself Room to Fail Safely

So that you can experiment with muscle control safely, the chief safety mechanism is moving slowly and smoothly.

This might seem tedious, but one of the advantages of moving slowly and smoothly, and of self-adjusting is that it forces you to become present in your body. You think less because you are focused on feeling and controlling your body.

Under these conditions, developing muscle control and proprioception can become an exercise that feels good, even meditative in nature.

9. How is the Course Taught

Exercises are taught using simple and easy to remember instructions. You can watch the video, do the exercises along with the video, then pause the video.

While the video is paused, try the exercise by yourself to make sure you understand it. If not, replay the exercise.

Once you have a grasp of the exercise, restart the video for the next exercise.

Course Content

The course is divided into 4 Parts. Each part is made up of a series of short videos a maximum of 5 minutes long. Each video focuses on 1 or more simple exercises.

Videos can be streamed (using the gumroad app) or downloaded. (Downloads are 1280x720 MP4 files.)

There is also a "quick guide" pdf.

It includes bullet point instructions for each of the exercises.

10. What's the Best Way to Do The Course?

It depends on your time constraints.

You could focus on watching one video a day. Watch it in the morning, then practice the exercises throughout the day whenever you have a moment to spare.

If you have a bit more time, you could possibly cover each part (there are 4 parts) in an hour. And so you could go through the whole set of videos in less than a week.

In either case, rather than rushing through the exercises, focus on feeling your body and controlling it while you do them. Move slowly and smoothly so that you improve your ability to feel your body and control it.

Note that some exercises may be a little bit challenging, so may require a bit more time. If you understand the basic instructions, then you can practice whenever you have free time.

Note, when experimenting with muscle control in different activities, find a way to gently implement muscle control.

If you are a yoga teacher or have your own yoga practice, you can play with any of the muscle activations in your yoga poses.

Guarantee

Muscle Control and Proprioception for the Legs is covered with a 30 day guarantee. Try it out and if you aren't satisfied, my email address is included at the back of the accompanying pdf (the Quick guide). You can also contact me using this Contact Form.

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