Just the other day I posted an article on Facebook by one of the brightest minds in the fitness world. I read the article written by him and got excited, because it gave me some good ideas to help with some of my personal fitness “shortcomings.”  As I stated earlier this lead to me sharing this article believing that it would help other people get even fitter. (In this case it was purely aesthetic.) It looked like a few people read it, but one particular comment that a person made about the article got me thinking about something very important that I have learned over the years as a strength coach and personal trainer.

First of all we need to realize that everyone is an individual and that every program and exercise that is prescribed doesn’t necessarily fit their goals and needs. Also there is the fact that not every exercise is safe for everyone all of the time. There are many reasons for this fact from the difficulty of the exercise movement quality and  the ability of the person. There are also their particular imbalances, mobility restrictions as well as their joint types. (This mostly comes into play in the shoulder and hips joints. I will discuss that further another time) and many other potential reasons.

 

We oftentimes aren’t aware of these facts and as a result we label certain exercise as bad and dangerous to our health. Then before we know it we have things being said about movements that should be practiced, not being done and the result is poor movement patterns and a lack of the awesome results that these movements can help you achieve. I am sure that if you have been around the gym and fitness world for any period of time that you have heard them: “squats are bad for your knees etc.” ”dead-lifts are bad for your back” and many more. Usually the people who perpetuate such myths are beginners and or people who are stuck never getting fitter and stronger as they could if they just understood basic human movement.

 

Then after that they probably have never learned to do the exercise with proper technique and if they have, this type of person hasn’t found and dealt with any potential imbalances in the movement. I believe this is a huge reason why certain moves hurt people and not others. (Besides the reasons that I mentioned before.) Think about it the best squatting technique is more often than not seen in babies.

( Is your squat as good as this little guy’s?)

Now of course our lives go on and we get injured and just stop moving, create imbalances, develop bad posture, get tight, sit too much and so on. The result is often less the desirable exercise technique as we try to put fitness on our dysfunction.

(He doesn’t look very happy. Does he?!)

This fact will not only make the exercise completely miserable (as seen above) but also very dangerous to the health of the exerciser. No wonder such a person would think that squats are bad! (by the way if you need help with squats, check out his post that I wrote on it) It is possible that they may need medical help such as physical therapy and so on. But they could also most likely benefit from some corrective strategies as well as a regressed movement such as a goblet squat. Also finding and correcting potential imbalances in the body can make a difference as well. A good example is the dead-lift, (since that seems to have a worse name than the squat.) a lifter may feel the move in their lumbar area, due to not using proper bracing techniques. But  they also may have a negative strength difference between their low back and glutes.

( The good old Goblet squat. Making people squat better for years!)

This can be dealt with in one way by foam rolling the low back erectors and firing up their glutes. Finally they should practice proper technique with a bit lighter weight to re-pattern their glutes and the lift. Lastly in time they need to get strong while continuing to practice the proper form. There also may be a need to go through those steps in the beginning of each dead lifting workout to keep the person mindful of the need for better form and to enable them to move better.

Following these correctives doesn’t mean that it will work for everyone and if you have problems with form you may need some form of movement assessment and then more individual corrections based on the findings by it. The goal of this post is help you my friends realize that there is not an easy one size fits all answer or exercise; also just because a move may not feel so great, doesn’t make it bad, it just may not for you. Lastly, one can get great fitness results by training the basic human movements and sticking to the basics. So don’t feel pressured to do all of the “advanced” moves, especially if you aren’t ready or built for them!

 

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