Friday, January 28, 2011

Movement Based Training

In the strength & conditioning and personal training world, we at seem to get a lot of inquires about what the purpose of training is, how is a certain exercise different from other exercises, and how important is the application. We want to take this time to really explain our concepts and strategies behind movement based training and how it really relates to people's functional lives and athletes' performance capabilities to create a balanced and effective program.

First, let's talk about variations for the general population and how different exercises would be selected to accommodate different needs and demands. One example is a mother who needs a program to deal with the strength demands of keeping up with a young child. Muscular strength, lower body & core strength, and cardiovascular conditioning should be a very important part of her program. In order to be able to pick up her child without risk of injury, exercises like deadlifts, squats, and core-focused lifts should be incorporated. In order to be able to play soccer or frisbee with her young child, metabolic circuit training will also be a focus. Another example is a middle-aged gentleman who sits at a desk most of the day, but who enjoys cycling on the weekend. He will have different needs than the mother. His program will require more postural strengthening due to long bouts of sitting in his daily life and in his sport. He will also need more muscular endurance, specifically in his lower body, and core based endurance. Lighter weight and higher reps will give him the stamina he needs to keep up with his riding buddies without having to fear gaining too much extra muscle weight.

Next, let's talk about the competitive athlete. Simple variations in exercise selection can make a big difference in improving the specific mechanics needed to play a sport well. An example of this can be demonstrated within kettlebell training. If we are working with a basketball or volleyball athlete that is looking to develop more explosive lower body power, the use of a rectilinear snatch variation (pulling the bell vertically from the floor) will mimic movements used in their sport and potentially have the best carryover in performance. Whereas if we are working with a baseball player or a golfer that needs to generate power from their hips, a curvilinear snatch variation (swinging the bell out and up) would be preferable as this more closely mimics demands in their sport.

These small variations can be integrated into a comprehensive program that help create balance and optimize performance in any person. We do this by ensuring equal amounts of pulling and pushing exercises, stabilization exercises, and single leg/single arm exercises. All of this together gives the training and overall purpose and really creates the value our clients are looking for. For us training with a purpose is what it's all about!    

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