The Reflexive Performance Reset: The RPR Wake Up Drills™

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Though perhaps cliche, it is true that when it comes to running injuries—or athletic injuries in general—prevention is the best medicine, and that’s where the Reflexive Performance Reset Wake Up Drills™ come in.

But what is Reflexive Performance Reset training? How do you do Reflexive Performance Reset Wake Up Drills™? What are the Reflexive Performance Reflex benefits?

In this guide, we will look at: 

  • What Is Reflexive Performance Reset Training?
  • What Is the Purpose of the Reflexive Performance Reset Wake Up Drills™?
  • What Does the Reflexive Performance Reset Technique Involve?
  • How Do You Perform Reflexive Performance Reset Wake-Up Drills™?

Let’s get started!

A physical therapist working on a patient.

What Is Reflexive Performance Reset Training?

Reflexive Performance Reset, also known as RPR training or the RPR Wake-Up Drills™, is a specific combination of breathing techniques and acupressure designed to treat imbalances in the muscular and nervous systems to help prevent injuries, improve movement mechanics, and facilitate workout recovery. 

The reflexive performance reset technique has three main pillars: durability, performance, and mental state.

The Reflexive Performance Reset technique for injury prevention was created by three athletic coaches—Cal Dietz, JL Holdsworth, and Chris Korfist—in 2010 in collaboration with Douglas Heel. 

Douglas Heel has published numerous articles on RPR training for runners and athletes and conducts Reflexive Performance Reset seminars for running coaches, physical therapists, and other sports coaches to help their athletes understand proper breathing and acupressure techniques to help support optimal movement mechanics for injury prevention.

A physical therapist working on a patient.

What Is the Purpose of the Reflexive Performance Reset Wake Up Drills™?

Although you can perform Reflexive Performance Reset workouts or RPR training at any time in your workout program, many athletes do an RPR warm-up prior to strength training or some other type of workout to prime the body for optimal performance.

Reflexive Performance Reset exercises are particularly helpful in helping ensure that your muscles and joints aligned in the kinetic chain are balanced in terms of their mobility, flexibility, strength, and coordination.

The kinetic chain refers to the connectedness of the muscles and joints, particularly in the lower body, and how movement or lack thereof in one joint or muscle group, or an imbalance between the agonist and antagonist muscle group controlling a joint will affect the joints above and below the problematic area in the kinetic chain.

For example, consider the kinetic chain of the lower body, which consists of the foot/ankle complex, the shin or shank leading up to the knee, the femur, and then the hip joint connecting to the pelvis.

A physical therapist working on a patient's knee.

Suppose there is any muscular imbalance, structural abnormality, postural deviation, weakness, or difference in mobility between the right and left side of the body or at one joint somewhere along the kinetic chain in the lower body. 

In that case, there will be compensatory problems or manifestations either above or below that area or on the opposite side of the body, and potentially both.

The purpose of Reflexive Performance Reset training is to help reinforce the ability of your muscles to work together in a sequence by properly activating them not only at the right time for each movement pattern that you are trying to perform but also with the right force.

Using RPR training and RPR Wake Up Drills™ can help you identify and correct weak links in the physiological and biomechanical kinetic chain of your body to help prevent injuries and compensatory movement patterns.

Generally, Reflexive Performance Reset training is used as prehab exercises rather than a rehab approach.

This means that Reflexive Performance Reset exercises are supposed to be a proactive approach to preventing injuries and muscle imbalances before they persist and cause abnormal compensatory movement problems or poor movement mechanics rather than used to fix muscle imbalances once they have occurred.

A physical therapist working on a patient's knee.

This is why incorporating RPR Wake Up Drills™ into your weekly workout routine is a great way to proactively prevent musculoskeletal injuries and keep your nervous system, muscular system, and mobility optimal before problems occur.

That said, if you do have chronic or acute injuries as a result of muscle imbalances or weak links in your kinetic chain when you run, squat, cycle, walk, or perform some other type of workout, you can certainly include RPR workouts in your rehab program.

Just ensure that you have started to treat any underlying injury and target the root cause of your muscle imbalances or weaknesses.

RPR exercises look and feel different from many typical strength training exercises or mobility exercises in that RPR Wake Up Drills.™

RPR workouts primarily consist of breathing and acupressure applied strategically to help prevent running injuries or injuries in other endurance and strength athletes.

Ultimately, the main goal of the Reflexive Performance Reset technique is to get the runner or athlete to breathe and move properly to prevent injuries from occurring in the first place; RPR training is not designed to treat or fix running injuries or athletic injuries once they have occurred.

A physical therapist working on a patient's leg.

What Does the Reflexive Performance Reset Technique Involve?

The Reflexive Performance Reset technique is a method of tactile inputs, known as acupressure, along with a specific method of breathing that is designed to “reset“ the athlete’s body from a fight-or-flight mode to a high-performance mode.

This is why RPR training is known as Reflexive Performance Reset exercises because it resets the athlete’s nervous system state for optimal performance.

The Reflexive Performance Reset breathing and tactile inputs are thought to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system to turn on and calm the stimuli that may cause a heightened state of sympathetic (“fight-or-flight”) nervous system activation.

In doing so, Reflexive Performance Reset acupressure and breathing techniques can help shift inefficient movement patterns to efficient and effective performance to help the athlete get into a better mental and physical state while also reducing the risk of injuries. 

A physical therapist working on a patient's shoulder.

How Do You Perform Reflexive Performance Reset Wake-Up Drills™?

So, what does a Reflexive Performance Reset exercise entail? How do you do a RPR exercise?

The primary Reflexive Performance Reset exercises are the Wake-Up Drill Sequences. 

Performing the Reflexive Performance Reset Wake Up Drills is actually quite involved and requires proper instruction, but to get an idea of what to expect from RPR Wake Up Drills, we’ve provided an overview of what the Reflexive Performance Reset drills entail:

How to Do the Reflexive Performance Reset Wake-Up Drills Sequences:

Breathing 

Rub the bottom of your ribs and the front of your sternum as you breathe.

Psoas

Acupressure is applied one inch above and below the belly button on both sides.

Glutes

Rub along the base of the skull where the back of the neck and head meet, the point right under the earlobe along the bottom of the jawline, and along the jawline under the ear. Then, press your jaw forward for a few seconds.

A physical therapist working on a patient's arm.

Quads

Use 2-3 fingers to rub the soft tissue between the bottom of the ribcage and the top of your hip bone and press between the quads on the inner thighs just above the knees.

Hamstrings

Rub along the outer edge of your sacrum.

Hips

Rub all along the front and sides of the hip to the back.

Calves

Rub up from the belly button at a 45-degree angle up to one inch below the base of the ribs. Replicate the same sequence and positioning on your back.

Rotation/Anti-Rotation of the Spine

Use the heel of your palm to rub circular motions along both sides of your spine up and down three times, and then vigorously tap the areas up and down three times. 

A physical therapist working on a patient' shoulder.

Lats

Rub the front and back of the third rib up from the bottom of the rib cage (ninth rib).

Abdominals

Perform a vigorous karate chop along your inner thighs from the knee up to the groin three times, and then rub the area vigorously. 

Neck

Rub the hollow and soft tissue just below the collarbone.

Supraspinatus (Rotator Cuff)

Use the side of your hand to rub the junction where the arm connects to the torso.

Shoulders

Form your hand into a claw and “scrub” the front of your rib cage down each pec muscle, then across the bottom, up the armpit, and then back down, making a full circular motion around the pectoral muscle and axilla (armpit).

A physical therapist working on a patient's knee.

Keep in mind that properly doing the Reflexive Performance Reset Wake Up Drills™ Sequence reality is best reserved for coaches, clinicians, and athletes who are trained in RPR Wake Up Drills™ and the entire practice and theory behind the Reflexive Performance Reset.

There are Reflexive Performance Reset seminars for different audiences, including coaches, runners and other athletes, athletic trainers, physical therapists, etc. 

The price of attending an RPR training clinic and getting certified in Reflexive Performance Reset Wake Up Drills™ is $250.

For more information, visit Reflexive Performance Reset.

A physical therapist working on a patient's back.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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