Take your time, master the basics
In today’s fast pace world of ‘want it now’ and instant gratification, it can be challenging to maintain the practice of patience. Many things we experience give you instant positive feedback, progress is measured in continually shorter periods of time.
Development of human movement is not something that can be rushed. Taking time to train the basics often offers only subtle moments of gratification. Developing patience, persistence, and tenacity is crucial to all long-term athletic growth or weight loss. In the end, persistence beats intensity every time. It can be said that the saying ‘go hard or go home’ means you’ll be going home a lot sooner than expected and most likely with injuries, chronic or acute.
At Movement Co, we take pride in mastering the basics.
The basics aren’t basic, the air squat, hang and hollow body positions are the foundation for athletic development. Our clients and coaches aim to attain proficiency in the basics – mastering mobility, technique, strength in that order. If we get the order wrong, the chances of injury become much higher. Movement Co coaches are in the this for the long haul, we want to progress you properly. Our people come in wanting to better their lives somehow, live a healthier, fun life, not do a bunch of exercises that may end up injuring you. Take the time to build a foundation, you can never be too good at the basics.
This approach takes time, but time will pass anyway… in 5 years where do you want to be? Building an athletic body takes time. Don’t compare your 1-year achievements to someone else 5-year achievements, it’s not fair. Also, it doesn’t recognize all the hard work someone put into where they are currently at.
So what is a progression? In simple terms, it is breaking up a difficult exercise into an achievable exercise that when mastered will form the foundation upon which more difficult exercises are built. Look at a baby learning to walk (or foot balance), first there is the crawl, then the supported stand, the stagger, then finally the walk. This is progression. Progression is breaking a movement up into tiny achievable pieces or deloading a movement. Progressions are important, so you don’t get hurt and so you can do this longer.
The hollow body position is by far the most important position in human movement that you will ever learn. In order to hold a full hollow body position you require core strength, otherwise referred to as midline strength and / or trunk stability.
Why is core strength important? How many people have you heard talking about a sore lower back? The progressive weakening of the core this is partly a result of the chair sitting epidemic in the western world. Really, how much work does the trunk of your body really have to do in daily life?
Many people mainly ignore core development (other than beach abs) then load up a squat or deadlift, drive hard with the legs and gluteus (if they are working properly after all that sitting) and after a few reps discover our lower back is a little sore? Moving out of the weight-lifting world and into the body weight world of gymnastics and calisthenics – how many of you are interested in working towards mastering a free-standing handstand? Maybe you have tried hand standing against a wall, very soon you will discover how heavy your hips and legs really are are you struggle to maintain a straight line and engaged core.
So what is the common theme here? Weak core.
Quite simply many of us are seeking athletic gains while grossly neglecting our relatively weak core, why? well because training core is hard, few people I’ve met enjoy training it. But it is massively important, if you neglect your core not only will you struggle to attain smooth progress toward your goals but you run the risk of injuring yourself as well.
The squat position for most humans on earth is a resting position. Unfortunately for us in the global minority – the developed western world – have replaced squatting with chairs and force our children to sit still in chairs for a large part of their development. So most of us at the age of 2 had perfect hip mobility which steadily declines throughout our life.
So why do we need the mobility for full depth squat – it allows the spine to maintain its natural curvature while moving through the squat position. The squat position is used extensively in weightlifting and is the landing position of jump. Full flexion of the knee joint is required to maintain long term knee health and reduce the risk of chronic injury developing over time.
Work hard to develop the hip mobility to enjoy resting in the squat, your knees, back and hips will thank you for it, as will your progression within weight-lifting, climbing, gymnastic conditioning and parkour.
Shoulders – sadly neglected and notoriously weak in the majority of adults. For many people the thought of strong shoulders conjures up images of large deltoids and oversized traps. What people tend to neglect is the strength and mobility of the connective tissue. Quite often in gyms all around the world people are choosing to train strength over head before truly having the shoulder mobility to achieve a sound position, most adults are simply unable to put the arms straight above their head. This is a mistake and will result in shoulder injuries.
While many shoulder stretching exercises are available, by far the simplest and most effective exercises is to hang from a bar (or any anchor point). Rock climbers have known the health benefits of hanging for many decades, however only now are the mainstream fitness community starting to understand the effectiveness of hanging. Gravity will work its magic and slowly but surely open and stretch your shoulders. As a very useful by product you will also develop your grip strength and endurance which is very useful in many athletic and life endeavours.
And remember – Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.
See you in the gym,