A lot of us can relate to that one workout up on the board that we all dread. We probably all have that goat of a movement that really can throw a wrench in our plans for a solid fitness session. Whether it's, squat snatches, handstand push ups, or pistols, we just dread seeing that in the workout of the day.
However, movement variability and conquering new challenges is one of the things that drew us into this style of training. But you can’t just “keep trying” and have something click. It takes a planned and progressive approach to achieve that movement.
Tips for avoiding movement roadblocks:
- Don’t just do it in a W.O.D.
- Now most of us have had to study for a pretty hard final right? When you had that calculus final, did you take your notebook and study materials to a raging frat party? NO WAY?! You went to a library had some nice tea and some binaural beats on youtube (Check it out), you set up the right circumstances for learning.
- Movement is the exact SAME thing. Fatigue, a jacked up heart rate, tense muscles are just like the frat house. Your body needs a calm structured way to learn and figure out movement. Using pieces like EMOM, or Map 10 to introduce skills is a great low stress strategy to learning new movements.
- Check Your Structural Balance
- A lot of times a stiffness at a joint down the chain is the result of instability at the center. If you can’t center your spine and abs your brain is smart enough to shut down how much shoulder or hip range of motion you have.
- For example, imagine you have a hard time with a handstand lock out. Lay on your back with feet in 90/90 and really really BRACE your abs. Slowly let your arms fall overhead while braced. I’ll bet you find that you get more range when your core is braced/stable. Core activation in warm ups can be a great way to show your body you can control the range.
- Spend Time at the Edge
- Your body is not really going to trust you at ranges of motion you don’t spend a lot of time in. So If you only ever bounce in and out of the bottom of that tough squat your body has no chance to learn to control that zone of movement.
- My two favorite strategies for slowing things down and exploring are:
- Tempo training: 5-6 second eccentric + 3 second pause at the lengthened position. Go slow then HOLD that squat or press and week by week extend that time under tension. This not only allows the brain to learn the motion it also helps with tissue remodeling. This can be pretty self limiting because going slow and pausing limits the load you can move and really helps to regulate the load while your body learns and becomes comfortable in this new range of motion.
- End range lift offs: This is setting up right near the end of your range of motion then doing a very strong isometric contraction.
- Using the squat example imagine laying on your back with your feet against the wall in a squat position. Pull your knees deeper into the squat and hold aggressively for 10 seconds. I love this strategy as you are lifting into the end range.
- Is It Necessary?
- The beauty of individual design is you get exactly what you need nothing more, nothing less. If you tell me that you’ve had three shoulder surgeries and heavy snatches never work. I would tell you if there are other ways to keep you healthy and to reach your fitness goals.
- You can live a long, wonderful, fit life without heavy squat snatches, pistols, assault bike sprints or myriad of other motions. Sometimes these complex movements can actually take away from vitality and ability to recover based on structural limits that we can’t change. Our job isn’t to shove a square peg into a round hole, it’s to serve you and your unique needs as best as possible.