Thursday, December 09, 2010

Fundamentals First

The truth could not be simpler when it comes to beginning a new training program. It does not matter if you are an elite athlete looking to improve performance in your sport, or if you are completely new to exercise. The reality is that it is human nature to want focus on developing our strengths instead of addressing what we are not effective at.

Consider this – the purpose of training is to;

  1. Improve efficiency (skill or movement based)
  2. Improve durability/prevent injury
  3. Improve performance

Where do we always gravitate to immediately? Performance, which usually translates as strength and power exercises.

But where do we begin then? How do we establish a starting point?

The answer lies in understanding the foundation of human performance – functional movement.

The requirements are simple – please read carefully because these are the fundamentals of movement and therefore training;

  1. Mobility – which includes joint ROM and muscle extensibility
  2. Stability
  3. Proprioception

Our bodies were designed to work as a stack of joints from the ground up with an alternating pattern of stability and mobility.

When dysfunction disrupts this pattern we develop movement inefficiency and compensations. This leads to micro trauma and pain with the volume and repetition of movement.

Injuries are the result and these do not get anyone to the start line. And guess what? The higher the level of the athlete the greater the stakes – athletes are mentally driven, physically strong, and frequently have higher pain thresholds. This is a recipe for pushing through compensations until something gives

What if we could objectively screen for these dysfunctional patterns, and then work on correcting them before we move into strength and power work?

Clearly we would be able to reduce the incidence of pain and injury, right?

But we would also get the benefit of free speed with improved movement efficiency. That dear reader is improved performance.

So why then are we so quick to skip over the fundamentals when we are looking to improve performance?

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