Jessica Bento, Physical Therapist (Creator DVRT Restoration Certification, Knees Over Toes Course, DVRT Rx Shoulder, Knees, Pelvic Control, & Gait Courses)
People often tell me how much they love body weight training. I get it. It is super accessible to most people, the cost is right, and people like to feel in control of their body.
However, when people often tell me that body weight training is where people should start, I often say, “well, it depends.” Many naturally assume that bodyweight is the easiest form of training and yet, it also requires the most amount of body awareness. The reality is that most people need some feedback upon where their body is in space and where to apply force.
Josh shows in his rehab how having feedback of weight actually teaches a better squat.
We see it all the time in the body weight squat. Ask a person off the street to squat and it is typically going to look like something in the picture below. However, give them some feedback (a DVRT Squat Press Out is a great example) and all of a sudden they squat really well.
That feedback taught them how to move, where to move, and how to create the right tension so they COULD move well. These lessons are things we want people to learn, but can be hard to communicate only upon. That is why using the right exercise is very helpful in not just training, but teaching people valuable lessons in movement.
This past weekend I was presenting at a fitness conference and was talking about these ideas and it was new to most in the room. The ideas stem from the principle of proximal stability for distal mobility and though we talk about that often here at DVRT it seems like people might still not be getting it.
Proximal meaning towards the center of the body, so proximal stability meaning a strong/ stable core or foundation. A strong foundation of our core musculature is needed in order for good movement patterns to occur. When we have this our distal extremities (meaning away from the center) feel free to move. If we lack proximal stability then our body will put the brakes on and our distal extremities won’t feel that safe to move. That is where you can start to see issue with range of motion or mobility problems plus another reason to never just look at the site of pain as it can be caused elsewhere in the body.
I know the typical question is “does the Ultimate Sandbag make a difference?” Yes! By the width and pliability of the USB we can actively grip and pull apart the USB to create connection to our core more effectively and keep this engagement through the duration of the exercise.
Ultimately PROGRESSION, not variety is the key in developing success in fitness. Here is the good and bad part though, most people can’t really distinguish between progression and variety. Of course the bad side is the fact that people don’t know WHEN to use an exercise or how it fits into the big picture of their training. By understanding simple concepts of progression you can build more effective workouts.
Now the squat is only one explore of where staring people with only body weight might not be the best beginning point for them, we can look at so many other instances but one I see a lot is the bird dog or dead bug and I can’t tell you how many times I attempted this back in my early days as a therapist with just body weight and my patients had no clue what they were supposed to be doing, it was a mess. I need to give them more feedback and teach them how to brace or how to create that proximal stability that is so needed in order for good movement.
Now this is just two examples of exercises that were body weight isn’t necessarily where people should start, it just not for these two example though. My hope is that you see that load can be a great teaching tool and it just not to challenge movements. It is how about we use load, using these DVRT strategies correctly helps us create better solutions and we see how load used in specific ways can be like having another powerful coach to help people learn to use their bodies smarter!
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