I am often asked, “What should I do for workouts?” My basic answer is “something that achieves your goals”.
I write workouts for specialized athletes as well as general fitness athletes. For specialized athletes my objective is based on what mo
vements they need for their competition and other movements they need for health is supplemental. For a White-water kayaker he needs explosive pulling with the arms and shoulders with a well timed propulsion of the hips. Dynamic pullups are a fantastic way to achieve this. Though a kayaker does not push I program some pushing activities to avoid overuse injury.
The general fitness individual however is looking to improve their lives… make their everyday activity easier. For this I typically do not need to focus on certain movements, but instead need to take a broad scope understanding of what their daily activities are. This equates to a few necessary ideals that each individual should take into account for their movement health.
1) You must lift, squat, push, pull, run and jump. These are the basics of human movement and you MUST engage all of these to be healthy. No amount kasyna of “machine” workouts will give you the health incurred by these movements. Has someone told you not to squat or jump because they are bad for you? Not true… you just need to do them correctly.
2) Move slowly for long periods of time. This is something I cannot help you with and is just something you need to do. Whether swimming, biking, or hiking it needs to be slow, easy, and of significant distance. Notice I did not say “jog”. In another post I will discuss why jogging is terrible for you.
2) Move heavy things. You MUST move heavy things. When something is heavy, we use a greater percentage of muscle tissue. This is NOT possible lifting something light a lot of times. ONLY lifting heavy will allow you access that portion of muscle.
3) Move fast for short periods. This goes along with lifting heavy things. By moving fast we access more muscle tissue which is not the same as moving slowly for long periods.
4) Do the above through your fully accessible joint ranges along multiple planes. This is VERY important. By avoiding your normally available ranges you tighten joints and muscles. Now, when your life NEEDS that further range your body has to find a compensatory way to move which leads to injury.
5) Do this correctly. Old injuries, sustained postures, and repetitive movements will lead to restictions and compensations in movement. Any of the above causing you discomfort is NOT reason to stop them, but instead reason to do them BETTER.
To summarize: Lift, squat, push, pull, jump and run; move slowly for long periods; move heavy things; move fast for short periods; do this through full ranges along multiple planes. If you are not doing all of this, or any of it causes you pain, your movement is not healthy.