It’s just like getting rid of raggedy old underwear

By Coach E

I bumped into a fellow named John, who follows Precision Movement and after a bit of small talk he asked, “I’ve heard you talk about something called DISSOCIATION, but I couldn’t figure out what it means. What is it?”

I was about to go into my usual explanation, but I’d just recently did some hard core tidying and had a different example for him that I thought I’d try to help make it stick.

So I figured I’d share it with you, too, so you never forget this little-known but powerful concept for a body that moves better.

My home office is in a little nook in my basement and it was filled with a pile of receipts to send to my bookkeeper, printouts of journal articles I’ve read and highlighted, a couple of dirty coffee mugs that have helped fuel my brain and folders and random papers oh my!

After I finished I was still stuck in (power) cleaning mode so I proceeded upstairs to tidy up my clothes.

I pulled out this old pair of grey and black boxers that had a hole in the left butt cheek and a waistband that was stretched to the point where when I put them on it’s all loose and flops out over the top of my pants.

Everytime I wear them I hate myself, but in fairness it’s usually because my hand is forced and they’re the last clean pair I have and it’s either that, turn a (gently) used pair inside out or go commando.

I come from immigrant parents that pinched pennies and never put anything to waste or threw anything out, so getting rid of them wasn’t easy.

But this day, I was filled with courage and after I gave myself a little pep talk I took them downstairs, got some scissors and cut them in half. When the scissors made the first snip, I think I heard an angel sing.

This, my friend, is akin to dissociation – it’s the literal breaking of movement patterns so that you’re no longer stuck using the old, habitual, dysfunctional pattern.

I program dissociation techniques in every Control series course and there’s a specific protocol that I teach, but the basic concept is that if you have an associated movement pattern – which is where movement at one joint is coupled with movement at another joint – you consciously perform the opposite.

An example I’ve shared before comes from Shoulder Control, where we dive into the full benefits of dissociation and I teach you how to dissociate shoulder flexion/extension from spine movement.

If you just try to use a different movement pattern, it’s just like me trying not to wear these raggedy old underwear them. And failing.

Eventually, my hand is forced and I’ll find myself cursing the Hanes company for manufacturing such a terrible product.

Same goes for eating junk food – you can try not to eat it, but if it’s in the house sooner or later your brain will trick you and you’ll find yourself with a mouthful of chips (note to self – junk food is probably a better example to use to teach dissociation LOL).

The important takeaway here is if you want your body to move better so you can move freely and without pain – now and when you’re the one that’s old and raggedy – the concept of dissociation that I teach is very useful, so put it to work for you.

If there’s any area of your body that’s not working quite right, the best place to start is likely the Control course that targets that area.

In each course you’ll find dissociation techniques that will help you break old, dysfunctional patterns so you can create new, functional ones.

You can visit the store page here or follow one of the links in the footer at the end of this email to get started and you might just hear angels sing, too.

Coach E

P.S. Here’s feedback from Sophie who really benefited from a specific dissociation technique in Shoulder Control:

“Hello Folks,

Pain has disappeared!!! and I am not done yet!

I took quite a long time with phase 2 and have just begun with phase 3. So far i love it. Thanks a lot!!

My shoulders are looser (I am mostly a desk worker unfortunately) and old soreness /constant bit of pain between shoulder blades DISAPPEARED!! while doing the dissociation (raising arms while flexing spine forward), so cool!

Seasonal greetings from Austria!

– Sophie
(Female, 43, 2 kids taking up my time)”

About the Author

Eric Wong (aka Coach E) is the founder of Precision Movement and has a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo. He's been a coach since 2005 and spent his early career training combat athletes including multiple UFC fighters and professional boxers. He now dedicates himself to helping active people eliminate pain and improve mobility. He lives in Toronto (Go Leafs Go!) with his wife and two kids and drinks black coffee at work and IPAs at play. Click here to learn more about Eric.