Martial ARFS™ Canine Conditioning Principles Introduction

By Jeris Pugh (Owner, Martial ARFS™)

Over the next few weeks and possibly months, The Martial ARFS™ Blog will be posting a series of entries. These entries will be based upon the conditioning principles that we use to improve performance and prevent injury in canine athletes and active companions.border_collie_balance_fitpaws_donut

Though many people talk about canine core conditioning and body awareness we have taken the tedious process of specifying what that means and how you can apply it to a specific conditioning program for your dog.

Getting your dog on stability equipment you will strengthen core muscles and improve your dog’s body awareness. However, to make significant gains in strength and body awareness that translate to the activities of sport or life, you must categorize and apply these exercises and activities specifically in order to see “real world” improvement.

At The Martial ARFS™ we call this “building functional strength”. In shiba_inu_K9_Fit_Boneorder to properly condition your dog to build functional strength, you have to be able to specifically define what that means. At The Martial ARFS, we use a definition I learned when training human athletes.

Functional Strength: The ability to maximally contract any muscle, throughout its full range of motion, at multiple angles of limb placement, amid wide ranges of eccentric torque, without fear of injury.

Through subsequent blog posts, we will deepen your understanding of what “Functional Strength” means, but that definition is the foundation of conditioning dogs at The Martial ARFS™ and should be the foundation for conditioning your dog too. But how do we apply that definition to exercises in order to achieve our conditioning goals? In other words, how do we build “Functional Strength”?

  • Key Points To Building Functional Strength:
  • Actively stress  the specific muscles being trained.
  • Throughout their full range of motion.
  • In the manner in which they’re intended to be used.
  • Using specific controlled exercises.
  • At multiple angles of limb placement.
  • And with a continued progression of difficulty.border_collie_fore_limb_stretch

Now what part of putting your dog on a peanut achieves that goal? I’m not saying it can’t be done. I’m merely asking, when your dog is on a peanut, what muscles are you actively stressing, throughout their full range of motion, in the manner in which they are intended to be used, with specific controlled exercises, and with a continued progression of  difficulty?

Keep in mind, not every strength exercise will work a dog’s limb throughout its full range of motion, but this is the foundation that you must build your dog’s strength upon. If not, you risk missing the entire point of conditioning your dog.

shihtzu_balancing_donutSo how do we build upon this foundation? We categorize the exercises that achieve the goal of functional strength, and we apply them to a conditioning program that improves our canine athlete or active companion health and/or performance. At The Martial ARFS™ we’ve categorized these exercises the following ways:

6 Essential Exercise Types: 1. Extend & Connect  2. Strengthen & Stabilize  3. Balance & Coordination   4. Speed & Endurance  5. Full Body Power  6. The Vital Link.

4 Elements To A Conditioning Program1. Power  2. Athleticism    3. Speed   4. Endurance  (P.A.S.E.)

Our future posts will completely define our 6 Essential Exercise Types along with the 4 Elements To A Conditioning Program. In addition, we will include exercise examples, so you can start building functional strength in your dog. If you are serious about conditioning your dog, continue to follow this blog and like us on Facebook. This is information that you won’t want to miss.

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