Posted: April 20, 2012 in Uncategorized
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I feel it is important for me to address training topics. This is something that has been bothering me more and more as time has gone on. Too many times I see people and fitness professionals alike misguided in their attempt at achieving personal fitness goals. I am not writing this as a snark article putting others down, but instead I hope people read this and think about the material contained within it.
Gray Cook, a leader in the human movement world, said “move well before you move more.” Words cannot describe how important this statement is. Whether we are trying to obtain performance goals, or just move pain free and efficiently. Proper movement is the foundation on which we build all other physical qualities. You will never run to your potential, jump to your potential, or live mobile into old age if incorrect movement patterns are not addressed.
In this age of fitness we gauge workouts too often by how intense they are, how sore they make us, or how many calories they burn. These scenarios have many other negative implications in other settings, but mostly it doesn’t address our fundamental problems and can actually do more harm than good.
The body will always compensate to be able to function properly. If a muscle becomes stiff it is generally to compensate for a lack of stability somewhere else. Just correcting the stiffness will not alleviate the lack of stability and correct the underlying issue and the risk for injury is still present. Think of it logically, how can we perform anything better if we move incorrectly?
Scaling weights and exercises also does not take proper movement into consideration. I have been guilty of doing this myself. A new client comes into the gym and is not competent in the movements so you give them less weight. In essence we are telling them that “hey, you move poorly, but continue to do so just with less weight.” As fitness professionals how are we helping our clients improve by doing this? That client should be assessed to find the inconsistencies in movement patterns and a program should be designed to help eliminate those flaws. This decreases risk of injury and increases performance. That same client will be able to increase the weight just scaling the exercise after a while, and this is just showing that they are getting better at moving poorly. Where is the breaking point where they actually get hurt, and plateau in performance?
This does not mean go grab a stability ball and stand on it. Basic movement patterns need to be addressed before we start doing circus stunts. This even goes for the people who think they can do it. Your body may be able to stabilize you on top of a stability ball, but it may be doing so with a tight thoracic musculature and weak core stabilizers. We will never know if we do not assess this client in the first place. The first problem I have with these kinds of exercises is the whole risk vs. reward. High risk exercise that has very little reward in the real world, but this is a completely different topic.
Movement needs to be assessed and addressed if we want to decrease injury risk and increase performance. Continuing to move improperly can cause our body to compensate even more then it already has and it can lead to further complications down the road. I encourage all to seek a well educated professional to assess and address your movement needs. Beware of personal trainers. There is very little required to become one and most do not have the knowledge base to correct movement. Educate yourselves and ask them questions to get a feel for how much they know about human movement. is a good site for more information as well.

  1. CultFit says:

    As fitness professionals this is paramount. The most basic test one can administer is to simply ask a client to walk all the while wathcing how they move.

  2. tlbflowllc says:

    This is something that has really confused me about the gyms/health spas that I’ve encountered so far. Typically, they either have trainers who do everything on the BOSU ball or trainers who do everything on machines. Both extremes are ignorant when you’re dealing with the general public.

    Also, I really don’t know why “personal trainers” can’t understand that the main goal should be making activities of daily living as easy as possible prior to aesthetics. Who cares if you look great but you can’t go into a jog without pulling a hamstring?

    Oh, and your comment “Beware of personal trainers” is well-warranted. I actually found a certification I could get through only using the process of elimination. No actual knowledge was required, but if I had been willing to input my credit card information I could have become a “certified personal trainer” through their idiotic organization.

    I wrote about it here:

    Anyway, great post! It’s a breath of fresh air in the fitness field.

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