Love your weight machines and your routine? It doesn’t take long before your body nods off. Results stall. Sure you can still feel a burn when you do your favorite exercises, but where it counts at the cellular level, your body needs muscular and neural confusion to adapt and get stronger; become more responsive.
In the conventional strength-training world, many exercises are performed seated often with using some kind of pad to brace against. These 2 aids (the seat and the pad) rob the core of its potential to activate and stabilize by using internal, muscular core bracing in response to the overloaded movement. Not to mention that most machines set the joint action to follow a specific line, at a specific angle to the joints, in a specific range of motion. Since life is never going to follow those kinds of rules, once a fundamental strength base is achieved, the next logical step is to ditch the aids.
- Are simple patterns that are used in life constantly. Every time you stand up and sit down, you are using a squat pattern.
- is used when stepping over things (think walking through a forest over tree branches or rocks). Lunges are used when going up stairs, when picking up things from the floor (used with a hinge).
- A version of the hinge, the deadlift, is a great glute/posterior chain exercise, with the strengthening results running up the chain through the back, and down the chain through the hamstrings and even to the calves. A hinge can be combined with a squat (picking up a laundry basket) or a lunge (picking up a box of books in a staggered stance). The hinge, if done correctly, with the back in neutral and core braced is arguably one of the most important patterns to keep strong.
- Can easily be trained through the classic push up. Another great variation is to use a resistance band while standing. A standing resistance band press forces the core to activate and stabilize while improving balance. Progress it to standing on one leg and you should feel the core fire up even more.
- Although the classic pull up is too difficult for most people initially, the goal of training should be, at some point, to be able to move your mass. In other words, you need to be able to pull yourself up. We need to work up to being able to move our bodies upwards against gravity.
- Through time, our cores become non-reactive and sluggish. Rotation is one of the most powerful generators of strength and power and it is essential for good function. Rotation can be improved through standing resistance band exercises, chop exercises, planks with rotation, cable chops and rotations, and all kinds of ball exercises. Additionally, most people do not rotate properly when they walk. Which brings us to our final primal pattern, walking.
- Is fundamentally important, and yet largely overlooked. Those looking for a big calorie burn will run: nothing wrong with that, but it is not the same as the walk pattern. Running is not fast walking. When you walk, unlike running, both feet are in contact with the earth at the same time allowing your trunk to rotate. Try this exercise: walk the line. Go slow and put one foot in front of the other and as you do, pull in your abs a little. You should feel the rotation coming from the core and the exaggeration of the rotation. Whether you run or not, you should be walking.
Recommended Goal: be strong enough to MOVE YOU. Your mass, your weight. That means be able to:
- Do 1 pull up (at least).
- Do 1 perfect military push up (at least)
- Each leg should independently be able to lower you all the way down and raise you all the way back up.
- Walk 3-5 miles without a problem.
If you can move your own mass in this way, you have a very good start to having awesome functional fitness.
If you need a tune-up in your fitness routine, want the tools to achieve the goals discussed above, or need ideas on how to vary squats, lunges, hinges, pulls, pushes, rotations, and proper walking technique, find your club at pivotalfitness.com or justfitness4udallas.com and call the front desk to make an appointment with one of our certified trainers.