Training with poor form in the gym can lead to injury over time, but I can almost guarantee, if you’re training with poor form, your daily activities and movement are negatively affected as well.
“Functional training” should, first and foremost, be about training for functional daily living.
Sure, poor exercise form increases risk of injury and reduces the effectiveness of your workout, but poor movement is not limited to your training.
Not by a long shot.
Spirits in the Material World
Technology allows us to accomplish a lot these days without moving very far, but life as we know it still requires getting up and interacting with the physical world, so it behooves us to consider how we can make that interaction more efficient and effective.
For example, you should be able to comfortably run to catch the bus, walk your dog, climb the stairs, and lift your kids.
If you can’t do those things without pain or discomfort, who gives a damn if you can squat while standing on a swiss ball?
Look at people who move through life with grace, poise, and confidence in their physical presence. They exude mastery over themselves and their environments.
And they don’t trip over themselves when they step over a crack on the sidewalk.
Even if you’ve been training for years and can do impressive tricks, if you can’t do the basics with ease – if you can’t control your body – you’re going to move like crap.
Below are 5 reasons you still move like crap, even after training for years, and what to do about it.
1. You’re Training For Ego
This is the exercise equivalent of “keeping up with the Joneses” and it’s something most fitness buffs have dealt with at one time or another.
It’s easy to get caught up with ego, especially when it comes to training, since we know intuitively that our bodies are capable of amazing things. But getting hung up on lifting the most weight or doing the most reps won’t lead to good movement. And neither will focusing on having the best physique.
Not only are each of those things wrapped up in ego, focusing on them alone will make your movement abilities worse.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look great, but at some point, simply standing around and looking good is going to be insufficient. If your training doesn’t improve your movement ability, it’s probably hurting it.
You may look good, but you’ll move like shit.
Focus instead on functional movement, and the physique will follow.
2. You’re Too Stiff
I probably don’t need to spell this out.
If you’re honest, you can feel it. Your body fights against you when you try to move in a way that’s slightly out of the ordinary. You have pains when you push your body beyond it’s typical patterns.
Almost 100% of people who are dissatisfied with their movement skills lack flexibility in one area or another.
Figure out where you’re stiff and you’ll see that it’s holding you back in ways you probably never realized. But once you address it with some targeted stretching, you’ll be amazed at the doors it opens for you in terms of movement ability.
3. You Don’t Have A Coach
Most people, even those who have been working out for years, lack a complete understanding of basic anatomy and physiology.
And even if they do have a good understanding of how the body works, they don’t have the same level of experience and understanding as someone who exercises and coaches others for a living.
You can probably benefit from having a coach, especially if you’re having trouble improving your level of functional movement.
But not all coaches are created equal.
Just because a personal trainer has big muscles does NOT mean he has the knowledge and expertise to give you proper guidance.
When looking for a coach, make sure to find someone who is an expert in the type of movement you want to master, and make sure this person has a lot of experience teaching others.
Our Alpha Posse members benefit from the coaching advice of Ryan, Jarlo, and Andy on a daily basis – that’s A LOT of combined years of experience right there!
Find a coach that’s right for you and that you can trust. Don’t blindly follow magazine workout routines or haphazardly make up your own if you have no real experience.
Learn to benefit from those in the know.
4. You’re Weak
Ever heard the saying, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link?”
This holds true for fitness as well. In general, training programs should either be holistic and work the body as a whole, or be unbalanced (temporarily) in favor of your weaknesses (and only until those weaknesses are shored up and strengthened).
And don’t keep doing the same familiar and easy movements each week. You build strength and reach a flow state by progressively increasing the difficulty of the movements you work through. Challenge yourself – you’re worth it!
5. You Workout But You Don’t Practice
Like anything else, movement is a skill. It can be learned and perfected with time, effort, and PRACTICE.
Many people simply work on a move until they “get it,” but the real skill is developed in the process of making the movement “pretty.”
Doing as many push-ups as you can (often with terrible form) is a great way to make yourself tired. But does it actually make you better at anything? Not really. anything worth doing is worth doing well, so stop judging your workouts on how tired you feel when they’re over.
Focus on perfecting your form during each movement and watch your increased abilities transfer to your movement patterns in your day to day life.
Improving the range of motion you can access with ease is one of the few things you can do that will translate into greater efficiency and control in every physical action you make.
Most people don’t need to stretch very much either – that is, if they choose the right areas to focus on.