Tag Archives: foundations

Some simple tests to try

Movement.
 
It’s kind of really popular now.
 
Like really popular.
 
However before you can move on to all the fancy stuff, form a lifters perspective, can you do the basics?
 
Squat-Hinge-Push-Pull-Brace
 
Most think they can
 
The truth is many can’t
 
Here is a simple yet effective movement screen I use with clients to assess their ability and see what we need to work on.
 
My basic movement screen is as follows:
 
– Standing on 1 Leg (eyes open, then closed)
– Goblet Squat
– BW Hinge (double leg & single leg)
– Press Up
– Bat Wing
– Floor or Wall Angle
– Plank
 
What do the above actually assess or do?
 
Let’s take a look.
 
Standing on 1 Leg (eyes open, then closed): Aim for 30 seconds without any movement with your eyes closed.
 
Balance/proprioception/posture 
 
Goblet Squat: Aim for a full ROM with no upper thoracic collapse.
 
The ability to stay braced and maintain upper thoracic extension/stability while achieving a full flexion of the hip/knee, it also highlights ankle/foot stability/mobility issues (weigh shifting, heels lifting etc)
 
– BW Hinge ( start with double leg & then single leg): Aim for a full hip hinge while maintaining solid posture, no rounding or loss of balance.
 
Full hip hinge while maintaining core bracing, natural posture, proprioception and stability.
 
– Press Up: Aim for full press-up with no break in form (elbows tight to sides, bum pinched.
 
Bracing, posture, while moving through time and space in a pressing fashion, full ROM through elbow flexion and also control of upper back (scapula) retraction/activation.
 
– Bat Wing: Aim for full retraction of shoulder blades and upper back contraction – do this against a wall.
 
Upper back control, scapula retraction and full ROM, plus bracing and good posture throughout the movement.
 
– Floor or Wall Angle: Aim to get your arms fully extended overhead with no change in your posture (excessive back arching).
 
Upper thoracic ROM, shoulder ROM, stiffness in lats/lack of core bracing.
 
– Plank: Aim to hold a solid position from head to toe,no sagging.
 
Core Bracing and posture consistency.
 
The above tests are an overall assessment to see if the person doing them can control their body correctly and move through time & space without any issue.
 
A lot of people struggle with these basic movements and worst of all ignore them, opting to go for more advanced movements that they’re just not ready for.
 
Basically building on disfunction.
 
Think of it like building a house, you wouldn’t do it if the foundations were crap of the area was known for subsidence, that’s just a recipe for disaster.
 
Now from an enjoyment stand point the train that these styles of assessment will require the client to do can seem very boring and basic, especially when we live in a world that demands MORE MORE MORE.
 
A lot of people fall in to the trap of wanting the fancy fun things to do and while there is nothing wrong with this it can cause a lot of issues later down the line.
 
For example:
 
Plyometrics (jump training).
 
Is it fun?
 
Hell yes.
 
Is it safe?
 
Yes, IF you have correct movement patterns and the strength/stability to perform the movements correctly, if you can’t hen it will lead to injury, especially in the knee, trust me I’ve seen it.
 
Did you know according to the research done by Prof Yuri Verkhoshansky, to do basic low level jump training you should be able to squat your bodyweight for solid reps – that’s bodyweight on a bar by the way.
 
For Depth Jumps and other more advanced techniques the recommendations are up to 2xBW on the bar, not many can do that.
 
^^ You will find this info in the book Super Training & also The Science & Practice of Strength Training if memory serves me correctly.
 
Keeping this in mind.
 
How many people do you know who do training that is far lack of a better term, way beyond their pay grade, a fair few I’d imagine. 
 
I know a few and I have even done it myself in the past, injury was my reward because like all competitive people I did too much of what I wasn’t ready for.
 
Building a solid and wide foundation will allow you to hit a higher peak.
 
Yes it may be a tad dull at the start, it can also be hard to hear, however it’s sometimes necessary.
 
Take a look at your own movements and patterns, are they solid or could they do with some improvement?
 
Truing hard and stay safe
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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Basic Mastery, Baby Steps.

“Progress is steeped in a mastery of the basics.”

Let’s face it, it’s true not matter which way you cut it.

Here, an example for you:

When you were born did you have the ability to walk straight away?

No, no you didn’t. You first had to master gaining conscious control and awareness of your limbs instead of look at your foot and thinking “What is this, can I eat it?” before sticking it in your mouth as babies do.

Next up was perhaps rolling over and pushing yourself off the floor, swiftly followed by flailing all your limbs around like a fish stranded on dry land, then on to sitting up by yourself along with other various nuances. Eventually that combination gave you the skill required to crawl.

After getting used to crawling around you start to grab on to anything to lift yourself up and stand, not long after this with some unsteady first steps where you fall down, then you get back up and try again, you keep trying, never giving up – funny how the only thing you lose as you age is the desire not to give up, ironic really, what helps you survive as a child is the very thing you hide from as an adult; effort and preserving at a given task until you succeed.

Could you imagine if babies had the attitude of most adults? They would never walk, ever.

Eventually, after many a failed attempt, SUCCESS!

You can now walk and from that day you were unstoppable, except for doors and other such baby restricting implements.

The point is this, without mastering the basics as a child you’d not be walking now, the same goes for achieving results in the way of fitness, health and aesthetics. You must first master the basics of nutrition and weight lifting form, you must also have the enthusiasm and determination of a child striving to walk. If you have those 4 elements then you’ll find you leave plenty of people in the dust with the outstanding results you achieve.

Just remember, once upon a time you didn’t give up, you didn’t let yourself get defeated or fall victim to the thought of “I can’t do it” you simply mastered the basics and kept going, if you approach you life with this attitude you will find it’s a far more successful one and by logic a happier one too.

Enjoy,

Ross

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