5 min read.
I always try and think of ways to get around peoples egos and the belief that because you can lift heavy weights, you must be strong. Due to this mindset, a lot of people bury their heads in the sand and continue to injure themselves regularly for several years before biting the bullet…. and getting a foam roller… then making everything worse and getting more injured because they start giving themselves sensual massages before lifting…
…Hard as nails.
It’s not your fault if you like to foam roll, it’s not mine either. The simple fact is that if you cannot do basic body weight warm up exercises, a foam roller will do nothing for you… nor ice baths, sports massages or any of that stuff. Those things should only be to aid recovery – not mask symptoms of bad movement. Sometimes I feel like I’m repeating myself but I do think I’m getting better at it, better at it.
Over the past few years I keep seeing the same things happen, again and again:
Someone comes in, can deadlift tons of weight, has constant back pain – can’t do a Single Leg Glute Bridge on one side.
Someone comes in, can squat 2 and a half times their bodyweight, has an agonising pain in one hip – can’t balance on either leg for more than ten seconds without falling over.
Someone comes in with a bodyweight strict press for reps – can’t hold a side plank on one side, at all… not even a wee bit.
If you remember nothing about this blog please take away this one thing:
YOUR BODY CAN LEARN HOW TO DO THINGS WRONG AND GET GOOD AT DOING IT WRONG!
The exercises I use aren’t revolutionary, in fact people have generally “seen” them before (well, apart from the ones I created in End Range Training 😎) but this itself is often the main issue, people deem these basic exercises as ‘too easy’ and ‘not important’, they just want to lift bars and crush numbers. How is doing these silly bodyweight exercises going to help that? Well..
What is a single leg glute bridge? It’s a hip extension exercise with core tension that uses the glutes individually to encourage range of motion & movement.
What is a deadlift? It is a hip extension exercise that should use both glutes in unison to drive the hips forward.
(yes there’s hamstrings and all that jazz but let me prove my point Jenni! I know you are judging me!!) Editors note: I never judge you Tom, you’re doing great.
Imagine that only one glute has the capacity to hold your hip up and the other doesn’t – what happens? You are lifting on one leg! There is a massive disconnect between your hamstring and glute on the other side and your lower back is going to freak the fudge out. I have lost count of the amount of times this has been the case. They’re doing everything “right” have all the range of motion needed, their deadlift technique appears to be solid but they keep falling back into the pain wagon of doom.
Thankfully when I meet someone in person and explain it this way, a few weeks of working on it and they are happily forgetting they ever had any issues and also find that they recover better. Though… I’ll admit there are a few people that try the drills once, refuse to admit that it’s hard, they don’t think it should be hard so the exercise is probably stupid, so ignore the advice. I’m ok saying this because I used to be one of them too – my go to was just “well I’m not flexible” and never fully accepted responsibility for the way I moved.
Yes my friends, I was a big strong weakling.
After my serious back injury my weaker glute became permanently weaker, nowadays because I am fully aware of it and know that I need to give that cheek extra attention, it doesn’t hinder my training at all. However, until I realised this, the effects were horrible: constant tightness, flare ups, scared to lift, every time I thought I was getting somewhere I would have a major set back… but I was still managing to increase my numbers. Visually things started to change… I’ll not get too much into detail but my left glute significantly reduced in size and my left erectors became highly overdeveloped to compensate. I was hammering myself into the ground even further and not even knowing it.
All of the foam rolling and massages in the world weren’t helping me, and trust me, I did a lot of foam rolling and massage. When I started dabbling with different theories and techniques the more I creeped towards stability and joint strength. This was my turning point and the more I focus on this, the better I felt. I can’t remember exactly when the lightbulb moment happened but I have been reaffirming these concepts ever since, seeing the same patterns happen again and again with people and helping them to do what I have done worldwide with the exercises in The Simplistic Mobility Method.
Since you’ve read this far, I can elaborate more on the other examples to show how important the ‘easy stuff’ is to work on. For the squat, single leg balance is incredibly important – if you cannot balance on one leg for an extended period of time, your feet are weak and your core has no ability to think for itself. The biggest cause of knee and hip issues is because people don’t activate the muscles in their feet correctly, the biggest cause of butt winks and forward leans in squat is because people cannot brace correctly.
I think for some reason as adults we become very disconnected with playing around and doing things that challenge us just for the sake of it, instead we look for the easiest superficial technique to give us big muscles.
I could elaborate on the strict press too… but it’s nearly midnight, I’ve just had a hot chocolate and I’m feeling quite sleepy……..
Have you ever been a big strong weakling? What was your defining realisation point in your own training?