FLEXIBILITY & THE MECHANICS OF MOVEMENT TRAINING

In your day to day life, are you able to comfortably perform all the physical tasks your lifestyle requires? Here at All Elements Fitness we makes the case that focusing on movement based exercises gives the largest benefits for overall health and longevity. Muscle growth, physical ascetics and that “beach body” comes on top as a bonus.

From a mechanical point of view, the body is a  3 dimensional structure capable of performing amazing combinations of movement. Muscles, joints, tendons and bone make up bunch of levers and pulleys  that need regular maintenance. You do not get the most out of the body if you exercise only  focusing on one component of the mechanism such as muscle strength.

• TRAINING MOVEMENT PATTERNS
If you are looking at designing a fitness and strength program, then you need to work smart and understand what is important for right now and for the long term. A basic knowlage of kinesiology (study of human movement) is essentially what should be at the forefront of your program design. If you can’t properly perform a squat (and most people can’t) you shouldn’t be attempting a heavy barbell back squat.

Most people fall into the trap of following what looks good online or something designed for a specific sport. Thats all very well but if you are not a pro athlete, its likely that much of what you see will have little long term benefit and can even cause injury over time. 

The simple act of taking your body through patterns of movements or movement drills can be hugely effective. The misconception that strength is only built by pumping iron is in the psyche of many gym goers. But you only have to look at a gymnast performing the high rings to see incredible strength.

Yoga, Pilates, martial arts, gymnastics and other some exercise disciplines (under good tutelage) often require the practice of movement patterns. In movement training we focus on movement patterns with different benefits depending on what our body needs and what your personal goals may be. This could be strength flexibility mobility etc..

• MOVEMENT, LIFTS & EXERCISES (MULTIPLE JOINTS)
We are not by any means saying forget weight training but is it the most efficient way to exercise for you. Isolation resistance training does have its place if you are body building for sport or competition. But if you want abbs abbs, there is something to be said for exercises that utilise movement. Banging a sledgehammer on a tire or driving a stake in the ground for example.

Why?…You activate the whole core including the rectus abdominis. The bonus is it also works cardio, shoulder mobility and sharpened motor skills. In other words, it’s more efficient and highly functional as the benefits carry over into your day to day life. Let us also not forget that abbs usually hide under a layer of fat. Crunches don’t do much for fat burn.

• TO TRAIN MULTI-PLANAR MOVEMENTS IS THE KEY TO DEVELOPING BETTER SYMMETRY 

Another important thing to consider about the body is that because we have the ability to move along 3 different planes of motion. The 1st plane of motion is called the sagittal plane which basically divides our bodies into right and left halves. Kettle-bell swings move along this plane. 

The 2nd plane of motion is the frontal plane. This divides your body into front and rear halves. An exercise such as pull ups would follow along this plane. 

The 3rd plane is the transverse plane. It divides your body into top and bottom halves. Any rotational type of movement such as Russian twists follow along this plane. 

Some of the most effective exercises involve movement along 2, or all 3 planes at once such as a turkish get ups. If you don’t currently design your workouts to focus in on all of these planes, then its something we encourage you to take a look at. The trend for exercising like this is growing and all our workout programs here do the same.

• ALIGNMENT 

For years we have seen how there has been huge emphasis of training using “proper alignment”. This works well and prevents injuries but if you are looking for strength and mobility that truly caries over into performance, It is our belief that this mindset may need a slight rethink.

Weather you are a top athlete or simply navigating the physical requirements normal life requires. It’s likely that you are constantly moving in and out of perfect alignment. Twisting turning on variable surfaces and environments with obstacles is simply going to require moving joints and activating muscles is all kinds of different and unique positions.

As we believe you should train in the conditions that best match the environment that you seek improvement in, it’s up to you to create conditions as similar when exercising. The challenge is how can this be done safely.

Like anything else we advise that you approach with caution (especially if you are inexperienced). The idea is to test the boundaries slowly increase incrementally to see your range widen and straighten. A steady and consistent approach to exercise with this mindset should see guide you well.

• FLEXIBILITY

Flexibility is huge when it comes to protecting the joints and muscles. In 90% of cases, regular flexibility work is going to have a much more beneficial long term effect on your longevity and quality of life than resistance training. The ability to adjust balance in order to prevent things like falling over on slippery surfaces or navigate and unexpected optical can be widened massively.

Whatever fitness goals you have, we you can benefit from this often neglected area. If you are looking for a great program to help you with this particularly in the hips, click here. Well worth giving it a try.

We have an ever growing library of movement based workouts here on the site that you can use to begin or build upon your movement, mobility. Movement patterns, alignment, mobility, strength and flexibility are covered across the workouts. 

How much mobility work do you put into your sessions? Let us know in the comments

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