“Strength” in most gyms in the ability to move load, lift heavier and you will get stronger; easy enough but is that really the only thing you need to know about strength?
The foundation of strength is movement. We often want to skip the whole “training movement” part and jump right into the “how much weight can you move” section. Movement training is often viewed as easy or low intensity by those who are only interested in workouts that stimulate the vomit response. Just because a contractor does not like to pour foundations does not mean he can skip that crucial step and just start building a house. Movement training is vital to vitality and longevity in a strength program and essential for increasing performance. Great quarterback watch crazy amounts of game film to prepare them to perform, think of movement training as watching film. Physically it is not as demanding as practice but will give you the edge you need to be great when it is time to perform.
If we decide still to try to skip the movement training piece there is a massive problem that develops, adding load to a movement has the ability to “lock in” a current movement pattern and forms a habit. We have all seen people lifting too much weight and it never looks pretty, these flawed patterns become a bad habit we will have to eventually break it to move forward. To make a movement pattern a habit it must be done around 400-500 times, to fix a faulty movement pattern (or to relearn something a new way) it takes around 4000-5000 repetitions.
Let’s look at how we can avoid this situation and help our clients form good strength training habits.
Strength is first increased by the neuromuscular system before there is any physical change to the muscle fibers or cells. That means when you teach the brain how to better communicate with the muscles it results in increased strength and performance. The key to teaching proper movement is to understand with any exercise what should be stable and what should be mobile. In any type of squat for example we are looking for stability in the core (neutral spine / stable pelvis) & mobility in the hips. As we watch someone squat at any level we want to make sure that all the movement and range of motion is coming from the hips while the core exhibits very little to no movement at all. Beginning with assisted and bodyweight techniques and exercise we teach the body how to perform the squat with stable core and mobile hips. Once a client has achieved that we begin to add progressions or load to the movement but always look for execution where the core is stable and hips mobile.
Teaching movement THEN adding load will give your clients amazing results because it is working with the natural progression of the human body, not against it.