Have you seen the latest and craziest things are doing in the sport of functional movement? It’s been insane with back flip muscle-ups, pistol jump overs and all kinds of good things. While it’s been AMAZING to watch, it has ALSO been interesting to watch the trend of what is happening in Strength and Conditioning gyms as well as high intensity functional fitness facilities worldwide.
These movements are sexy to say the least, taking a high amount of skill and determination to complete. The athletes completing them are nothing less than excellent caliber. The challenge…. now we ALL want to try them…. but should we?
This is a simple reminder about the basic and fundamental movements of strength and conditioning. You see, many of the programs that are being written out there from the basic gym level to the competitor level have started to drift from the simple and most basic movements. When I started coaching over 2 decades ago, we focussed on the basics day in and day out. the fundamental and rudimentary skill sets that would allow our clients and athletes to test their abilities in a more complex pattern later down the line. We have become a very impatient industry expecting to get ourselves safely and effectively into a muscle up, bar muscle up, reverse musle up, butterfly muscle up, kipping pullup, back tuck and whatever craziness lays ahead right away. However for probably 80% of us (maybe more) we probably shouldn’t even contemplate trying these movements for quite some time, if ever.
Wait Coach, it sounds like you are telling me NOT to push myself out of my comfort zone? Absolutely NOT! What I am telling you is to consider what you are doing and to look at your fundamental skills FIRST. let me give you an example.
In order to perform a strict pull-up, we know that we may have to work months on end performing strengthening exercises, etc. to help develop the muscles required to perform this movement. BUT what most people do is SKIP this step and move right on into that more efficient movement- the kip. Now, don’t get me wrong, I use the butterfly kip ALL the time myself unless I am training for strength or I program Strict pull-ups (which is good to do for a change in your workout program here and there) BUT I have alos been performing strict pull-ups for a number of years in a previous fitness life.
The risk far outweighs the benefit in many instances when people begin to kip their pull-up too early. Let’s think about why this fundamental and seemingly easy (with a kip) movement may be detrimental later on IF you haven’t focussed on the fundamentals (and not with a fucking resistance band)
When we complete a strict pull-up, there comes a point where our muscles may disengage due to strength, mobility etc. If we don’t know what this point is, then when we go to “kip” there is a point where we will also disengage thus increasing risk to our shoulder joint. (remember I said increasing risk, not causing injury) As we Kip, if we “drop” to the bottom, it increase the amount of force applied across the joint and can increase risk. Notice again, i did not say NOT to do it, I am just warning of the risk involved IF you have not developed your strict pull-up first. The kip is actually a very technical movement requiring timing, power and proper structural integrity and activation of the “lats”, rhomboids , “traps” and even biceps, forearms and a whole heck of a lot of other muscles.
SO, let’s step back even further now that I have beat a dead horse with the pull-up. The fundamentals of movement come from a core set of movements. One agency’s view is much different than another, but I think you will find that most Strength and Conditioning coaches agree, that there is a core group of both lifts and bodyweight movements that will help to progress you further as an athlete by becoming an expert in those fundamentals. And it will vary for each athlete and their goals. this is why S&C Coaches are invaluable!!
Step back from your program for a moment and really examine if the core movements are being addressed weekly. I know for FTF, we address core movements all the time and mix it up a few times a week with the basis of the program STILL based in the fundamentals. Think of it this way, you have to learn to use your feet before you can walk or run. It may even take baby steps to get things accomplished, but don’t run away from the basics too early. Remember that this can hinder your progress.
One other thing, ensure you are throwing in accessory work on the smaller more intrinsic muscles used in joint stability and joint integrity. These muscles should be a priority a few times a week to ensure they are being properly engaged and not in a workout. They are like any other muscle and need progressive overload in order to make the appropriate growth to handle the loads the joint is able to sustain!
Also consider the movement pattern versus the movement standard in your training program. If the training program is built around how you move, and not the standard, it will more than likely be more successful for YOU. we do want you to move better and be able to function in the full range of motion of YOUR body, but that may take work and again, will come from working the fundamentals. If you try to practice a Snatch long before you have developed the mobility to move through a proper movement pattern of an overhead squat, then we have just increased our risk of injury. Catch my drift?
Want to know more? Stop by FTF and ask questions OR shoot me an email if you have some of your won fundamentals you feel you need to work on and I will ensure one of our amazing coaches helps you get what you need out of your program! We want you to succeed, but we want you to stay healthy and progress as your body sees fit (See what I did there)
More to come on this topic soon… as in how to start breaking up movements to start practicing the advanced stuff!