Friday, May 20, 2016

Work hard but also work smart and results will come

Lately I have seen many social media videos of sloppy exercise technique with these various movements: muscle-ups, handstand walks, handstand push-ups, power cleans, pull-up and chin-up variations, etc. 

The above-mentioned movements are complex and difficult to master and when performed with careless technique can be harmful, even detrimental to the body.  For example, doing a poor/kipping handstand push-up can put the shoulders, cervical spine and neck at major risk.  With vital nerves going up and into the head, major injury can be caused when poor technique is utilized.  If you cannot do a smooth and fluid handstand push-up, continue to work on isometric holds and controlled negatives for a longer period of time.  Patience, consistent drill work and persistence will lead you to mastering the movement you are working towards. 

My recommendation for any exercise is to learn the progressive steps to achieve the final product.  Do not move on to a more advanced variation of a specific exercise unless you have truly mastered the step you are on.  Something I tell my clients is to be aware of what their body is telling them.  If you feel out of control and uncomfortable performing a specific movement, it may be out of your movement capacity.  Take a step back, move to the step below, continue to work on that progression and be persistent with your practice.  You will get there; you just might need more time. 

I also do not recommend any complex and technique driven exercises (power cleans, heavy squats, muscle-ups, handstand variations, etc.) to be implemented into a circuit type workout.   It is a recipe for disaster and injury when combining high degree of difficulty movements with high intensity routines.  Your technique will be compensated when your heart rate is too high.  These complex movements need focused attention during a workout routine.  Stick to simple exercises in a circuit style workout (push-ups, medicine ball slams, sled pushes, lunges, inverted rows, etc.). 

In my programs, I am always asking myself the “risk vs. reward” question.  If the risks outweigh the rewards, I will implement a safer variation.  Exercise should be about gaining performance, improving the body, staying away from pain and injury and staying safe in the gym.  This philosophy does not equate to being soft and comfortable in the gym.  It represents a more sophisticated approach, which speeds results and helps you achieve your performance goals.  When you get hurt, training stops and when training becomes inconsistent, you now cannot push to your desired levels.   

Work hard, but also work smart, you will benefit so much more!

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