Not everyone has a gym membership or trains to achieve specific goals, yet we all experience movement on a daily basis. The least active people in the world are likely to wash, sit down and get up, eat and drink, get in and out of bed regularly, and even when it comes to these simple tasks of life, it quickly jumps to the eye that some do it better.
We all have experienced the feeling of awe looking at a high-level athlete or performer perform their routines.
What drives superior movement and why should we all strive to move well regardless of our athletic goals?
Quality of movement is the result of strength, flexibility and coordination combined. We are lucky enough to be exposed to movement throughout our lives, every single day. Have you noticed what differentiates the beginner (the person who hasn't performed the movement much) from the master (the person who has practised the movement for 10,000 hours)? First and foremost efficiency -or lack thereof. A great mover saves energy and often takes the path that is the most efficient to achieve the goal. The more efficient we are the less we fatigue and the more we can achieve. This may seem counterintuitive to someone new to training, someone who thinks training is only effective if it smashes them into the ground in a puddle of sweat. But what did you observe from your movement quality and physical actions in your workout? Experienced movement is minimalist, accurate and will cause less fatigue to the practitioner in virtue of its energy-saving efficiency, a true craftsman is never in a rush to finish his masterpiece, he is more concerned with details.
Quality movement looks good even to the inexperienced observer. Grace and ease of motion are the manifestations of mobility, strength, speed, power, balance, and coordination. At TSTM we encourage our clients to develop unloaded movement patterns until they are performed with confidence and as part of a naturally absorbed vocabulary. The ability to express strength in the range of motion is what will minimise the risk of injury and will translate into better body mechanics, strength, power, fitness, longevity and wellbeing.
Quality movement demonstrates control. In the last two decades, Crossfit has promoted the use of kipping movements, and many have adopted momentum as a shortcut to success without understanding the real consequences of its choices. Control is the ability to stop at any point during the performance of a movement thanks to the management of coordination, balance, strength and flexibility. But when we take shortcuts - add momentum - we fail to develop these attributes, and we often find this path leads to nowhere.
Moving well means different things to different people, but we all can benefit from putting some effort into saving energy and build strength and flexibility. We have only one body for life, and it's in our best interest to take care of it, so we stay active and play with the grandkids in the future.
What movements would you like to improve? What is stopping you from learning?
At TSTM, our job is to assess your starting point and get you where you want to be as safely and quickly possible, but there are no shortcuts in this journey, and no elevators.