Louisville personal trainer Chance Cianciola of Everyday Athletes shares thoughts on improving your movements everyday.
Through my years of training and coaching I have never found anyone who is a perfect mover, including myself. We all have issues whether it is weak muscles, tight and restricted joints, or lack of coordination through specific movements. At Everyday Athletes we start all members with an assessment to find these areas of focus to create a plan to fix them. However, the assessment continues every single workout. Everyone improves week to week and month to month, but along with these improvements other weak links may become visible. Depending on how movements can be improved really controls how training should be directed. The issue comes into play with the fact that movement errors have been developed over years and to correct specific issues is going to take some work. A very well respected strength coach, Dan John, has always said, “If it’s important, do it every day.” I have never really let this sink in until lately by paying attention to my own training as well as seeing more and more people come in the doors of our facility. If there are movement errors needed to be corrected to make one stronger, free from pain, or better at their daily activities, then these movements need to be worked on every single day.
Let me clear this up a little by saying I don’t think someone should train heavy and hard every single day of every single week. If you want to squat better I don’t think you should squat heavy every day. The body needs rest and recovery and these two aspects of training are just as important as the training itself. What I do think though is that we as people move every single day with and without load, so why should we not work on “gym specific” movements every single day.
Using the squat as an example, let’s say you have trouble reaching parallel. Your hips are tight and your back side is weak. You get hints of back pain while at work every day and after squatting heavy you noticed some pain in the front side of the knee. There are some issues causing this pain and preventing you from getting stronger at the squat. Should you put a heavy bar on your back every day? Absolutely not, but what you should be doing is working on hip mobility, glute activation and strengthening, and core stability EVERY DAY. Foam rolling the quads and hips daily will help loosen up restricted muscle. Mobility and stretching exercises can be done every day to get more movement through the hips. Light hip bridges will teach your body how to turn on your butt and get it doing its job without taxing your system too much. Planks, breathing, and other low grade core exercises will teach you how to use and strengthen your abs so that they can do their job and give the lower back and hip flexors a break. Bodyweight squats daily will also help groove a proper squat pattern. These could be one or two sets of five to ten reps with perfect form just to get your mind aware of how it should feel. All of these things are not that taxing on the system, take only 10-15 minutes and will help you feel better, move better, and get stronger.
The squat is just one example. Similar things can be done for every movement to help improve quality of that movement and the quality of daily life. Better movement equals better numbers in the gym and less pain in your daily life. Foam roll restricted areas, improve mobility through tight joints, and activate and strengthen weak muscle groups daily. Again, this doesn’t mean go all out every single day. Push yourself at the gym when you are training and take your off days and time at home to do some light work to improve your quality of movement. You will feel better and be better.