Don't be left out!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Focus On Basic Movements First

Last week one of my favorite trainers, Molly Galbraith posted this on Facebook…

Performing exercises that are way too advanced/complicated for your current ability level won't make you "better" more quickly. It will likely lead to one or several of these things:
1. Performing those exercises incorrectly
2. Failing to perform the exercise at all
3. Feeling frustrated with yourself/like a failure
4. Injury
I liken it to putting a Kindergartner in a Calculus class. They have no foundation upon which to understand, perform, or excel at Calculus. They have no context for it. They will not get "better" at math faster because they are in a harder class. They will not thrive.
Strive to master the basics first, then slowly challenge yourself with activities and exercises that are *just beyond* what you have already mastered.
Give yourself a chance to succeed and thrive.
If you haven't worked out in ages, start slowly. Don't throw yourself into a 90 minutes high intensity group class. That's unlikely to be beneficial or safe.
It's tempting to throw yourself into something extreme when you're feeling really motivated, but it rarely leads to long-term results.
Commit to something small and sustainable and build from there.

Boom.  Molly nailed it. 

Weather you're trying to keep up in a group exercise class or mimicking a cool move you saw a gym regular doing, people tend to want to skip ahead to more advanced moves before they're really ready, and performing moves you're not ready for is getting the cart before the horse.  

There are a few foundational movements that should be made a priority to master before progressing to more difficult variations of these exercises.  These basic movement patterns include the squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull, and twist/rotation.  

While there are tens of thousands of variations of each of these six movements, most exercises boil back down to these patterns, and performing these correctly helps to build a strong foundation for exercise.  Master these movement first, and work from there.  I understand that focusing on form isn't as exciting as getting out battle ropes and doing jump squats with them, but it's important nonetheless. Trying to perform moves that are too advanced is like building a house, and starting with the roof.

It baffles me when I see someone put one foot on a BOSU ball for lunge jumps when they're basic lunge stinks.  I'm not sure how to put this softly, but if you can do a lunge, you're not ready for lunge jumps on a BOSU ball YET.  As Molly said above, this is a good way to get good at the exercise with poor form, or worse, get injured.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again…there is no shame in regressing/modifying an exercise, so quit looking at what your neighbor in group exercise or the girl in the squat rack is doing and focus on what YOU can do.

Here are a just few suggestions of how you can build on basic movements to increase the difficulty.  Focus on perform each movement with great form before moving onto the next.  If you find one variation is too easy but the next is too difficult, try adding weight (dumbbells, kettlebells, etc) to keep it challenging.

Get really good at the basics and remember great things often come from small beginnings.

1 comment:

  1. I love this Annie! I've had long conversations with my orthopedic doc about this exact thing and the great risk of injury.