Part of my philosophy as a coach is to be a student first. As I dig deeper and deeper into movement, fitness and wellness, I certainly discover how much more I need to learn. Being a student helps me be a better coach. At the RKC seminars I have attended, they talk about how the movements are an “inch wide and a mile deep. “
Easy to Learn
We have a huge arsenal of movements that we use at CrossFit West Houston. For the most part we can get anybody moving in the right direction on day one with a movement. Learning to perform a movement is pretty easy. An athlete can scale the load to a manageable load even if it is a PVC pipe in order to learn the exercise. Mastering a movement is hard.
Lifting weights is all about leverage. Finding the best leverage will help you move the weight better. This is why we stress mobility and proper positioning.
Hard to Master
Once an athlete is moving in the right direction, the exercise has been learned. Again that is the easy part, mastering the movements takes practice. Every time you perform an exercise it is an opportunity to deepen your knowledge of it.
As my friend, very talented coach and incredibly strong dude, Max Shank Master RKC says, “you cannot truly own a movement until you own the bottom and the top position of the movement.” For instance, with a squat if your hips are not lower than your knees and tall chest at the bottom of the squat and your hips are not completely open at the top then you do not yet own the movement. There is still some work that needs to be done to own the movement, by working on the mobility to achieve the low position (ankle work, hamstring work, thoracic work) or for the top (glute activation, hip flexor work, psoas work). Understand where you are limited and your practice will be more focused.
The More You Know
NBC has long standing Public Service Announcement called The More You Know, the same can be said about strength training. The more you know about the movement, your own mobility, your own recovery the better and stronger you will be. Each time you perform a rep of any movement is a great opportunity to gain feedback and to learn about the exercise and your ability to perform it. There is a constant feedback loop between your Central Nervous System and Muscular System, be aware of it and use it to learn.
I certainly understand that many exercise to shed off work stress, life stress what have you. That can still happen by applying a little focus into your effort. Realize that for many of us, we have really just scratched the surface of the movements.
Practice vs Workout
Too often athletes focus on working out, but is it really a workout? The former Eastern Block Nations (Russia, Bulgaria, etc) dominated weightlifting in the 70’s and 80’s and never “worked out”, they practiced. The more the practiced, the better their skill became and it translated to success. Similarly, swimming coach Terry Laughlin, who wrote Total Immersion Swimming, said “Fitness is something that happens when you practice good technique”.
Instead of spending hours of working out mindlessly, spend the time practicing good technique. Obtain deep understanding of the individual movements that you perform. You may just find more PR’s and better performance.