Make no mistake the primary purpose for the typical exercises we do in the gym (whether at home or in a club) is to reinforce good patterns of movement that we need for every day life. Think about it, squatting is simply sitting in a chair, lunging is what we often do to pick things off the floor, pushing and pulling relate to a wide arrange of daily tasks such as lifting objects over our head and opening doors. These movements are also common to sports whether it be golf (rotational movements) or skiing (lateral lunges). In essence everything we do in the gym becomes an expression of what we do outside the gym. If we do things in the gym with proper alignment and form we train our body's to minimizing the loads on our joints and then we are more likely to repeat the same patterns in daily life. Most of the ailments people suffer from, ailments such as low back pain, hip or knee arthritis, tendonitis's , are simply because they performed the movements i discussed above the wrong way over and over again. Think about it, how many times have you squatted in your life, if you are around my age of 48 or older do you think a few hundred times, a few thousand times perhaps, think again. How about a few hundred thousand times to possibly over a million times. Same goes with lunging and these numbers probably only factor into daily life. If you go to the gym and work out with weights or machines add onto that the strain of performing these movements under loads and stresses that accelerate the wear and tear on your joints. That is why the blue print matters. Hey, think about it, have you ever picked up a hobby such as dancing, golf, or even something as simple typing. Imagine if you were taught the wrong steps in the tango, the wrong grip for the golf swing, or the hand position on the key board. Now imagine you rehearsed these skills the wrong way for several years. How much harder would it be then to correct these dysfunctional patterns. Probably be better if you started from scratch all over again because the original blue print is faulted. That is just the way our brains work, always has since the time you were an infant. Remember when you first learned to walk. If you don't simply watch a one year old going through the process. Every step is conscious effort, the step length, the width, the arm position, thousands and thousands of step analyzed by our main computer frame work the brain. Then over time the process of walking no longer becomes a conscious effort but rather automatic. I would hope that none of us really has to think about walking any more and that it is an ingrained soft ware pattern in our brain.
So where am I going with all of this. Squatting, lunging, rotating, pushing, pulling, etc. should be ingrained software patterns in our brains. The problem is that for many people the software is flawed because for years (decades) we have been doing it the wrong way. Not only that but those who exercise reinforce these poor patterns under loads and stresses. No wonder their body's eventually break down. It's time to learn how to walk all over again, to move away from task completion mentality to one of conscious effort of how we move. It should not simply be about simply going to the gym to lose weight or to lift weights to make our muscles bigger and stronger. On the contrary it should be all about performing purposeful movements that transfer over into everything we do in life. Of course we can still get fit along the way and develop muscle mass in a proportionate manner. However these are the byproducts of performing movements with correct alignment and form especially when under the loads of weights.
In some of my upcoming blogs I will explain the intangibles on how to do this and where to begin. It takes a little bit of work and some open mindedness but the benefits far outweigh the ease of repeating the same old stagnant program that will only break your body down. If you want to jump ahead and get started with a little bit of study feel free to check out our two DVDs, Thinner This Year Preparation for Movement and the Sacred 25 and Beyond.
I think you will the find the information precious to your longevity,
Bill Fabrocini PT, CSCS