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Mastering the basics
by Orlando Griffith
In my intro I stated that you should desire to improve your athleticism and I also indicated that changing how you
structure your training can develop how you physically adapt, thus improving your body composition, strength, speed, power, agility and overall fitness. By seeking this change there are basic but fundamental movement patterns that everyone should master in the initial stages of a reconditioning program that should be kept throughout your training lifespan.
These fundamental movements are:
• Squats (or any variation thereof)
• Lunges (all planes of motion)
• The Push Up (or any pushing exercise) • The Pull Up (or any pulling exercise)
• The Deadlift (or any variation thereof) • Rotational Core
• Bracing or Trunk Stability
When I develop an exercise prescription program for clients I like to include all elements and variations of these movements to ensure that the body gets what it needs to mimic activities of daily living. For example, the squat shows up all the time; when one sits and stands, the lunge shows up when climbing stairs and the deadlift shows up when lifting something heavy off the floor. All these movement patterns should be continuously trained especially where for the most part most folks work and live quite sedentarily. For Personal Trainers and Strength & Conditioning Coaches alike it is important to initially evaluate each movement pattern along with other physiological data to get a complete profile of the client.
When training someone or being trained the emphasis shouldn’t be so much on the reps and sets but the quality of the movement with the maintenance of good posture. Theoretically using ranges between certain numbers can determine hypertrophy or huge gains in power etc. but if you were to be evaluated and you had to complete 30 push ups as part of a strength assessment and you did 10
perfect reps and the other 20 looked like garbage, did you really complete 30 reps?-Of course not. Not being able to maintain postural integrity in any circumstance leaves you vulnerable to injury and it tells me that something is wrong during the assessment.
Like one of my mentors would say “training is testing and testing is training”, therefore every training session has some level of assessment directed toward progression. If you’re a trainee don’t settle for trying to get into shape on a machine, especially if you can’t master your body weight, and if you’re a trainer don’t underestimate the basics.
Some of the best Strength and Conditioning coaches and Personal Trainers start with the simplest progressions of all these exercises and use very little to maximise what the client brings to the table. So do note, at all levels of fitness and ability there is some dysfunction that should be corrected therefore one should strive toward physical competency by mastering the basics. Good luck!
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