Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Best Place to Start Is At the Beginning


Today, I was at the local gym working out, and I saw a middle-aged woman that was, in many ways, someone that should be held up as an example not only to her peers, but to many of the younger generations.

Firstly, she was working out - which already earns her some props - but she was also had a lean, strong build and was amongst the weight racks, rather than simply spinning absently on a recumbent bike while reading the latest issue of "Hello, Canada" magazine.  I watched with a bit of admiration and respect as she walked over to the open part of the floor, got herself set... and suddenly, the  situation went sideways.

It was a flurry of disconnected arms and legs that, I think, were supposed to be some sort of jumping split-squat... but the whole thing was such a tragic lack of coordinated movement that I can't even be sure.  Do you remember when you were in high school and that uber-hot guy or girl steps onto the dance floor and suddenly loses any and all appeal because they move like someone in the midst of electro-shock therapy?  Yeah, that's what this was like.

The dangers of a lack of coordination in those around you.

How does this happen?  I think it's because all too often we try to skip steps.  It may be because we overestimate ourselves, lack patience, lack understanding - or, sometimes, because we haven't been taught properly from the start.

Now, to clarify - I'm not suggesting that everyone has to stop doing strength and power training and reduce everything to "corrective" or "rehabby" exercises - but you may need to simplify what you're doing for a little while and become more extraordinary at movement.  Or, to put it another way (in the words of strength coach Dewey Neilsen) become "...brilliant at the basics".  Before you start jumping onto high boxes, doing hang cleans or attempting a kettlebell snatch - master the squat, hip hinge, push, pull - and learn how to translate those movements through your core.  Teach the body how to move as a cohesive, coordinated machine - rather than a number of independent parts.  

Suddenly - not as much fun as it should have been.

After all - nobody wants to be that person on the dance floor.

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