We all have areas that need improvement. Long term progress requires us to address our weaknesses and find solutions. Avoiding these weaknesses will eventually cause progress to slow down or stop.
Here are a few examples:
- If someone has trouble performing a body weight squat correctly, they will not be able to perform a weighted squat correctly. Over time they may get injured due to poor mechanics.
- Taking time to improve technique will increase exercise effective and safety; helping them progress further.
Range of motion restriction
- Missing range of motion at the shoulder joint makes pressing over head difficult. This could lead to injury or lack of progress.
- Taking time to improve shoulder mobility will make the exercise feel better and promote strength gains.
- If someone becomes easily frustrated and impatient when learning new movements it will be difficult to progress.
- Developing a growth mindset will make the learning process more enjoyable – leading to progress in other aspects of life.
Choosing quality over convenience is important when it comes to nutrition. Foods that take time to prepare are generally healthier and contain more nutrients. Yes fast food is convenient (especially for those with a busy schedule), but it comes at a cost.
Consistently consuming these foods negatively impacts your health. Preparation is the key to limit times where a “grab and go” meal is the only option.
Plan your meals in advance. Pick a few days out of the week where you have time to cook – prepare meals for the next fews days and you’re set. Having a schedule written out removes the need to stop at a convenience store on the way home.
Quality food is important for long term health. Give your body what it needs. It will thank you.
Improving your mobility takes daily practice. A few minutes a day can make a big difference in how your body moves and feels. Here are 5 drills you can perform any where to increase range of motion and improve movement quality. Perform 3 or 4 rounds of 10-15 reps of each exercise.
This drill promotes spinal health. Begin in a quadruped position – round your back bringing your spine towards the ceiling, then reverse the motion and arch your back, reaching your sternum towards the ground.
Hip flexor stretch
Our hip flexors get tight from sitting in a flexed position. This stretch puts our hip into extension which is important for walking, running and single leg variations. Keep your core braced and tuck your pelvis under (glute squeezed). Gently rock forward until you feel a stretch in your upper thigh/hip region.
Wall T spine
Our upper backs get stiff from sitting in a rounded position. This drill puts your upper back into extension and improves thoracic spine mobility. Place your hands on the wall and drop your head and chest towards the ground.
Split Stance Adductor
This improves the mobility of your adductors – the muscles that run along the inside of your leg. Begin with one knee down and the other leg out to the side. Keep your core braced and rock back and forth maintaing a neutral spinal.
This drill promotes proper breathing mechanics and body alignment. Press your low back into the ground and raise your hips slightly off the floor. Breath in and expand your trunk 360 degrees. Avoid breathing with your chest.
Its important to become proficient performing basic movement patterns before progressing to more advanced variations. This is a lengthy process that requires hours of practice – repeating the same exercises over and over again.
Thinking of movement as a skill will make this process more enjoyable and lead to more sustained progress. Jumping into advanced exercises without spending time with the basics won’t get us very far – it could potentially lead to injury.
Think of how many swings a professional baseball player has taken off a tee (millions). To you that may seem boring, but to them its a time to refine and improve skills – leading to increased performance on the field. They understand and respect this process.
Trust the basics, they work. Practice them with intent. Trying to perform them perfectly should keep you busy for a while.
Our daily lives are full of distractions. These distractions interrupt and slow our progress. Some we can ignore, but some we give into.
Its difficult to fill out paper work when your phone is ringing every few minutes. Its difficult to eat healthy when your pantry is full of cookies. If you find yourself distracted by something consistently – get rid of it. If it is slowing your progress towards reaching a goal – get rid of it.
If its not there how can it distract you? Until we can learn to say no to distractions or find balance while still make progress – we need to get rid of it.
The bodyweight squat is an excellent tool to teach proper squatting mechanics. It builds lower body and core strength while improving mobility in the hips, knees and ankles. It can also be used as a conditioning tool to improve aerobic capacity.
Developing proper squat mechanics increases the effectiveness of the exercise. Learning this technique will carry over to other loaded squat variations.
Begin with your feet just outside hip width. Screw your feet into the ground (squeeze your glutes), brace your core and sit your hips back allowing your torso to lean forward slightly. Push your knees out as you lower yourself into the bottom position – your upper leg should be parallel (or slightly lower) to the floor.
(Reaching your hands forward helps with balance in the bottom position)
Your weight should be evenly distributed throught out your foot. Push through the middle of your foot rather than through your heels or your toes.
The deep lunge position improves hip mobility – hip flexion (front leg) and hip extension (back leg). It allows us to find imbalances and areas that are tight. Spending time in this position will improve your squat and single leg movement patterns.
We can perform several drills while in this position to increase range of motion. Through out all variations keep your core braced (ribs pulled down) and rear glute squeezed. This prevents us from extending through our low back.
Deep lunge elbow drop
Drop your inside elbow down towards the middle of your foot. Hold this end range briefly, then repeat.
Deep lunge with reach
Reach your inside arm up towards the ceiling – this will add rotation through the upper back and increase demands of the back hip. Then return to the start position.
Deep lunge with hip lift
With your hands just inside your forward leg push into the ground and raise your hips to the ceiling. You will feel a stretch in your hamstring (front leg). Hold briefly, then return to the start position.