The longer I’m in the health and hotness game, the more I appreciate the infinite detail of the basic human movements: the subtle nuances of the angle of the knee in relation to the foot in a lunge, the various versions of an anatomically neutral spine in different people, the wrist alignment in a dumbbell press. There are entire universes of complexity in the simplest movements.
On the other hand, I preach simplicity till I’m blue in the face. A large part of the fitness industry gets bogged down in minutiae. I have great sympathy for this as most of my non-client time is spent wrestling with the types of things that just won’t be relevant for most people. However, if you’re pounding three Cokes a day, we may not want to get overly concerned with finding the correct carb-cycling, dieting protocol just yet.
However, as a point of philosophical anchoring for ourselves and our clients, we believe the best use of a fitness ninja’s time is to seek to be world class at the basics.
If this looks acceptable to you… you should probably email us.
Put down the barbell and email us.
I beg you on behalf of your lumbar spine.
Yes, I’d love to see you squat 405 for reps. That would be rad. But how does your bodyweight squat look? Are your feet caving? How’s your spine alignment? Where are your eyes focused? What’s the angle of your spine? Are you getting to the appropriate depth for your current mobility level?
Sure, let’s do clap pushups and land with alternating asymmetrical hand positions. Sexy, right? But how’s your regular push-up? How’s the core working in that pattern? What’s your neck alignment like? How about the angle of your arms?
I believe being world class at the basics is the best way to build a foundation for long term fitness glory. It helps prevent injury. It demands more mental engagement. It burns more calories (since the brain burns 20% of calories, and you’ve GOT to be engaged to be excellent at the basics). It’s harder, yes. But in this situation, harder IS better.
It’s an oft quoted truism that under times of stress, we revert to the level of our training. And sinceexercise is by definition a stress, we are often painstaking and demanding and borderline annoying when teaching new clients the basics of movement technique. I can’t push you to heights of health and hotness victory unless we’ve built a foundation for your citadel of glory (WOW… metaphors in the hiz-ouse).
This is a picture of RoboCop riding a unicorn.
It doesn’t really have anything to do with this article.
I just thought it was important for you to see this.
So the next time you’re getting after it in the gym, be honest with yourself. Are you getting better, or are you getting tired? Are you being a craftsmen, or are you just “burning calories”? Are you honoring the miracle of human movement, or are you flailing about?
Listen, if you’re trying to work out at all, you’re already winning. But if you’re not getting the results you want, or if you’re plagued by injuries, I challenge you to take it further. Keep getting better. Keep getting after it. Keep fighting for your goals and don’t stop until you win.
And if you’re not totally sure what good technique is… we’d be happy to help and look forward to your email at [email protected]!