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3 Better Ways To Advance Your Workouts

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It would be great if I could tell you that I knew all these better ways of training since I began working out or from being in the fitness industry. The truth is I have made literally ALL the mistakes, through those mistakes I learned so many valuable lessons to help others get better results and myself too. While those of us in the industry want to help others, we also have motivation to be a good role model as well. That is why I want to share three important ideas for advancing workouts that I WISH I had known so much earlier. However, I do love the Maya Angelou quote…

Unknown 6 - 3 Better Ways To Advance Your Workouts

#1: Real World Is As Much Resisting Force As Producing It!

I’m fortunate enough to have several friends that are academics. Listening to them do research, scientists obviously go after things they can measure. When it comes to strength training workouts, the easiest things to measure are how much we lift and how much force we produce. That leads us to thinking the only avenues we have to get stronger is lifting more and finding ways to produce more force.

While I am ALL for lifting heavier and force production, what is much harder to do is measure how much force we can resist. That doesn’t sound nearly as “sexy” until we look at how many of our structures in the body are designed for force resistance. For example, many of the gluteal muscles can help and do with hip extension, but they are also shaped and designed to resist lateral motion. Yes, lateral band walks are good to help build a foundation of strength with these muscles, but as physical therapist, Jessica Bento shows, they are more about resisting force as we walk, run, etc.

This goes too with muscles like the adductors and Quadratus lumborum (which is a muscle in the low back that people often hurt that feels like a back injury) are designed to resist a lot of lateral motion because allowing a lot of excess motion would be an inefficient way to move. The drills that Jessica shows below are that great combination of force production and force resistance.

Even most of our core is designed to resist motion so that our arms and legs can “talk” to one another. Remember, our body is designed for efficient movement, not isolating muscles. Does this mean we don’t build muscle? Quite the contrary we can build MORE muscle because we train muscles in the right way. When it comes to the core renown physical therapist, Shirley Sahrmann says it best, “”during most daily activities, the primary role of the abdominal muscles is to provide isometric support and limit the degree of rotation of the trunk…A large percentage of low back problems occur because the abdominal muscles are not maintaining tight control over the rotation between the pelvis and the spine at the L5- S1 level. ” (2002 p.71)

Jessica gives us a great way to get your body prepared for intense workouts and getting your core to work correctly, in some cases these will be the strength exercises too!

#2 Mobility At One Place & Stability At Another

If the first two (I’m sure the third as well) don’t sound like familiar strength training concepts to better workouts, it is because they aren’t. That doesn’t mean they aren’t super important, it just means we are pretty stuck in a bodybuilding world even those that believe they are performing functional training workouts. So, what in the world can I be referring to as mobility in one area and stability in another?

Take walking as as simple example, if we tightened up our whole body like most do when we deadlift and squat, then we would look like the mummy or Frankenstein’s monster walking down the street. Real world movements are much more fluid and when we walk we want to create stability at the lumbar spine and pelvis because that is our foundation for having good movement of the lower body. However, at the SAME time, we get some rotation of the thoracic spine which brings in a lot of different chains of the body that use big muscles like the lats, obliques, and so on. If you look at most of the diagrams of concepts like fascial lines, what I love most is that they are of people walking and running because that is what makes us uniquely human.

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This is definitely an advanced idea because if we don’t control our body well and have foundational strength to do these movements, then just like anything else, they can be counterproductive. The easiest way to show how we accomplish this idea in our DVRT workouts is through our MAX (multiple axis) series where we aim for stability at the lumbar spine/pelvis and a slight rotation of the thoracic spine (see the madness does have purpose).

 

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Coach Peretz Scheinerman does a great break down of the MAX lunge and when you know the why, the how’s become more obvious. However, most people miss these concepts and that is evident when people perform our front loaded MAX lunges and they lunge down then twist, which isn’t what we are looking for as DVRT UK master, Greg Perlaki shows.

While we typically show a lot of lunges this way, it also can apply to hip hinges. What is great about what DVRT Master, Cory Cripe shows below is progression too! So, we will use our Core Strap to give lateral resistance to teach how NOT to over rotate and then as people become stronger we can move into those more advanced concepts.

 

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While these are great ways to introduce with lower body dominant movements, we can do the same with the upper body as well.

#3 Using Planes Of Motion Incrementally

I’m happy to see that the idea of using the different planes of motion as a means to make workouts smarter is catching on. Of course, as any new idea for many goes through, people are using them, but have no real purpose other than variety. In order to understand how this helps our workouts we need to first now there are three planes of motion whenever we move in life.

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Far too often when we talk about planes of motion, or the sagittal (up and down plane, or forward and backward) become the villain. The sagittal plane is great, in fact, most beginners should spend considerable time in sagittal plane movements. Over time though we want to introduce the other planes so how do we do so?

I’ve found people are way more successful when they learn how to RESIST the other planes of motion, before we move through them. So, drills like I show below are a great example…

 

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Jessica shows the difference in producing rather than resisting rotation as well…

There are so many great ways to use this concept to build progression and meaningful variety. My hope is that you see building advanced strength training workouts, you get so much MORE out of your training. Understanding how the body functions doesn’t take away from goals of looking better. In fact, it allows us to help people achieve cosmetic goals as well as moving and feeling better. If we want people to fall in love with the workouts we create for them, then we have to help them find success. Having more ways to develop better movement only allows us to create better success.

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