By: Will Sunner

At One on One, we train like we are athletes, even though most of us aren’t.  We think this is important because the ways that athletes understand exercise and movement can form a good foundation for anyone’s fitness routine. For this week’s Focus Point we are going to discuss “BRAAD,” a term coined by Juan Carlos Santana (Med, CSCS) that highlights components of athletic movement that can benefit all populations.

According to Santana, BRAAD is a multi-factorial approach to performance enhancement. The acronym calls out five important skills for any athlete to focus on: balance, reaction, agility, acceleration, and deceleration. The sequence of the words is also important. Taken together, they remind us that:

  1. You have to be balanced before you can effectively react, or move with a purpose.
  2. You use agility in order to situate yourself in an effective position to accelerate towards an intended direction.
  3. Lastly, you must be capable of decelerating, or stopping all of this athletic movement you have developed.

Let’s now take a look at how BRAAD can be applied to non-athlete populations. Being well balanced allows you to move with great control. Your ability to respond to an unexpected stimulus (whether you are an athlete catching a football or a non-athlete negotiating a patch of ice) requires you to have balance.

Reaction, which is defined as a combination of reaction time and response time, was once thought of as a genetically determined trait. However, we now know that reaction time is trainable. Just like athletes must be able to react on the playing field, we all need to be able to react to everyday obstacles.

Agility is the ability to change direction of movement or body position in a fluid and rapid manner. As you can imagine, agility is closely intertwined with balance and the response or ‘reaction’ to a stimulus. As an individual responds to an everyday task, it is balanced agility that will result in a position of control and successful action.

Acceleration is the ability to quickly increase speed, moving from a slow or standing position to an increased pace. In life, you need to be able to move at more than one speed, so training your body how to accelerate is key. The counterpart to acceleration (and the last component of BRAAD) is deceleration. In order to remain balanced and agile, you will often need to change direction—and to do that, you will need to be able to slow down.

Whether you are running through the agility ladder or working on single leg balance, for this week and moving forward let’s focus on the five components of BRAAD. And let’s continue to train like we are all athletes!


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