Strength Training: Move WELL First

As someone who has been training both individuals and groups for a LONG time, I try to say the same thing to everybody:? MOVE WELL FIRST.?

Focus on that BEFORE you start to consider increasing the intensity, duration or the weight of what you are doing.

EVERYBODY can Move Well

There’s a common misconception that I hear from a lot of people when I ask them to do something that they don’t think they can do it:? ? Oh I can’t do that because I hurt my?..?

We’ve had clients with a HUGE array of physical issues that have started with us who eventually moved extremely well.? These included reconstructed knees, torn achilles tendons, surgically repaired shoulders, scoliosis (unnaturally curved spine), hip surgeries and many others.

It true, it absolutely took some people much longer than others to noticeably improve their movement patterns.? But they all had the same thing in common:? They WANTED to move well, so they FOCUSED on moving well.

Moving Well Is HARD

For those that said they just couldn’t move well, the issue ISN’T with their physical ability.? Instead, it is actually just a way for people to let themselves off the hook of moving properly.?

The truth?

Moving Well is HARD.? In fact, it’s MUCH HARDER to move well than it is to move fast, or often or heavy.? It usually takes discipline and commitment.? It means swallowing your ego and taking 2 steps back before you can even fathom a single step forward.

I bet any coach can tell you- they also see people cutting corners on their movements because they want to get a better workout?.? Essentially- do more reps and move faster.

But that is NOT a better workout.? If you have ever taken the time to do FULL range of movement squats, push-ups, pull ups and lunges (no kipping for all you CrossFitters) you know that it’s much harder to do them than to kip, do half reps or worm? your way through them.

 

VIRTUOSITY

Virtuosity means:? ?Doing the common uncommonly well.?

Is that something that you focus on?? When you do an air squat, how perfect do you make it?? What about a push-up from your knees or feet?? How about a plank hold?

Most of us let our minds wander while we do the simplest of tasks (another hint: none of those movement are simple when done correctly).? We often tell ourselves, in the back of our minds, I’m not doing a full squat because it?s just an air squat, it doesn’t really affect my workout.?

 

But it DOES affect your workout.? In 2 extremely important ways:

  1. You would actually get more fitness, strength and health gains from full, perfect movements
  2. That lack of focus on movement WILL translate to everything else you do.

In the world of weightlifting, CrossFit, Powerlifting and many other fitness regimens, you?ll see just how much the lack of focus on MOVING WELL through the basics affects everything else.

Take the squat:? Have you ever seen someone that does poor air squats be able to back squat 400lbs?? Or in fact, if they occasionally don’t go through a full range with no weight, what inevitably happens when they add weight?

One of my favourite coaches, Greg Everett with Catalyst Athletics often says, If you can’t perform a perfect squat without any weight, there is no reason at all to add weight.?? The same should hold true with push-ups/bench press, pull ups/kipping pull ups and many others.

 

Most important:? It’s DANGEROUS

But we haven’t even gotten to the main reason you HAVE to move well first:? that’s what prevents injuries!?

The truth is, if you’re reading this, it’s unlikely that you’ll be entering a professional sport.? Which means that you probably don’t have time for any kind of injuries because it will affect your daily work, your ability to play with your kids, your transportation and a bunch of other things that are much more important than how many squats you did in a minute.

The reason that we, as coaches, keep going on and on and ON about your movement patterns is that we have seen others move poorly and it pretty much ALWAYS leads to injury eventually.? It might not hurt now, or tomorrow? but it’s coming somewhere down the road.

So when we ask for as full a range of movement as possible- that’s means your muscle goes through a larger contraction for more strength, the joint goes through a broader range of movement in order to improve flexibility and strength around it and the body maintains a healthy position throughout.?

These things don’t just prevent injury DURING a session- that strength helps prevent injuries for the rest of your life!

Plus, the GAINS are awesome!

Finally, let’s circle back to the original statement we often hear as coaches, I can’t do X because I hurt Y and I still want to get a good workout.?

Here is a more specific example: I can’t squat all the way down because I hurt my knee.? So I’ll just do more reps.??

But this is missing the point.? This person should do LESS reps, but take real time to focus on a great movement pattern.? Depending on the injury, that might take time (you might have to start by only going parallel with your back against a wall).??? But that?s better than doing 100 half/reps or putting 60kg on the bar for 5 reps where the knees barely bend.

TONS of bad reps help reinforce 1 thing:? you will continue to move badly.

5 full range of movement reps will recruit more muscle fibers (more strength), burn more calories over time (fat/weight loss), increase joint strength and mobility (reduced pain) than 100 half reps ever could.

Be honest with yourself, be humble and take a step back.

MOVE WELL FIRST, then you can worry about everything else.

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