Smarter Muscles? Yes please!

When “movement” became a fitness “buzzword” it was an exciting and sad day. The world was plummeted into a stream of overthinking, overcorrecting, forced “play” and deep Instagram posts. People started trying to be the next innovative genius to revolutionise the fitness industry and change everyone’s way of thinking….

Like me.

But I’m different you see, because I say so.

My standpoint on dorky “movement” based drills and sequences is that you gain enhanced proprioception for PERFORMANCE – not just to be a better one legged, wobble board juggling, man bun wearing Jedi wannabe wearing sandals and socks at the same time. Not that there is anything wrong with that… but other than work I do to remove and retrain pain, I just like lifting and enjoy training people that want to push the boundaries of what they can do.

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A cool conversation I had the other day was about the single leg deadlift. It is a fantastic diagnostic tool AND a great corrective exercise, but is it something that is valuable for a beginner to train? At such an early stage it’s hard to say if it is a hip stability or trunk stability issue, or simply a “new to training” issue. Will training the persons ability to react and rebalance in ridiculous situations actually be more beneficial than spending time progressively loading a movement that they find challenging? Getting some damn good training in whatever way possible that “fixes” along the way is probably the most beneficial thing for people that can only donate a few hours a week to training.

These days I’ll always pick playful exercises that correct dysfunction that the person doesn’t even know they have, so they can get the most gains from the stuff they CAN do rather than focus on what’s “wrong” with them. Says the guy with a website page is full of scaremongering for injuries…. Tom Morrison, the walking hypocrite!

I think a lot of people are getting confused with the way some people train, for instance here are some examples of “playing” with a sledgehammer. It’s a bit long but you can get the idea (that’s what she said):

Is that my entire training session done? FUCK NO! You crazy?? I’ve just warmed up my shoulders and “woke up” my core …for want of a better description. I’m gonna snatch or lift heavy shit! I’ll put another video at the end too.

The reason I like to play around with what a lot of people would say is “dumb” or a waste of time is for neurological adaptation. I need to warm up anyways and as I have stated before that there are no perfect warm ups, your mobility is what it is, your active ranges are what they are. Spending 5-10 minutes doing something ridiculous (and fun) is going to make your body think AND make it better at reacting.

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I like to break it down to my Olympic lifting athletes like this, when you do a heavy ass clean and catch at the bottom, what kind of core strength is that?

REACTIVE

If you brace too soon you’ll not get under, brace too late and you’ll be crumpled and lose the lift. Your BODY has to know when to switch on, you don’t have control over that shit, it happens in a millisecond. Will juggling balls and hopping make you better at Olympic lifting?

No. Olympic lifting makes you better at Olympic lifting.

But can you train an element in a safe non taxing way that makes your muscles react better and therefore smarter?

Yes.

Is that beneficial?

In my eyes, yes.

In my experience, everyone that I train that comes on board with doing silly things and joins in on games and having fun, seem to pick up more advanced movements faster. It’s like doing crosswords, I suck at them, but if I stick at them for a few weeks, they get easier. Did the crosswords make me smarter? Or did I just get more efficient at remembering information that was already in there? (food for thought)

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So for a glimpse into the way I train now, which I am not saying is the right way or the best way, it is just my way is:

  1. Warm up with “silliness”
  2. Train properly with weights, conditioning, old school methods that have stood the test of time.
  3. Cool down with experimental movement stuff or “really bad break dancing” as I like to call it

I am really enjoying my training more than ever and everyone that I meet seem really intrigued and interested it what I do which is awesome! Will I change what I’m doing someday? Probably. But am I happy? Yes! And that at the end of the day my friends, that is all that is important! Now go enjoy some gains and THRUST YOURSELF UPON THE WORLD LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW!!!