The primary reason that I love unilateral training is that it helps to identify strength and flexibility differences from side to side. I see these across all types of people, but especially among those who play a sport that uses one side more than the other. If you think about it, this is almost every sport with the exception of running, swimming and cycling (If I missed one please let me know in the comments below). Even those sports will tend to have a unilateral element to it:
But deadlifts are a different kind of awesome. They are functionally awesome. Everyone deadlifts. In life, that is. And because everyone deadlifts in life, virtually all of my clients deadlift in the gym. Whether you are 16 or 76, if you train with me for long enough, you will deadlift. And odds are, you will probably love it.
Think about what you will do with your TRX suspension trainer. You are literally hanging from it. Is that really a product for which you want to gamble on poor quality manufacturing that typically comes with illegal goods?
Without proper cueing and instruction, it’s entirely possible that the exercise given to correct a dysfunctional movement will encourage that dysfunctional movement if done poorly.
Before heading out, start with a warm-up in the house. It doesn’t have to be long, but make sure you get some movement in your legs, your hips, and thoracic spine area. I have two warmup options for you, each one takes between 5 and 10 minutes:
Looks aside, for many people, anterior pelvic tilt can cause or contribute to low back pain, either on a regular basis, or while trying to perform ab exercises. Raise your hand if you yourself or any of your clients have complained that they feel planks in their low back more than in their abs…
It’s a concept of how we should position our shoulder when doing any sort of lifting with our arms. Now some will say that this is ridiculous – we just move our arms and that’s how they should move. I could get behind that line of thinking. Except for one thing: many of the people that come and train with me don’t actually position their shoulder properly when moving their arms, and then they complain of pain or discomfort in their shoulder or neck when doing exercises like pushups, rows, and planks. But when I help them to position their shoulder properly, they proceed to exercise without pain or discomfort.
What is it that makes us ignore the very clear signals our body provides? I talk about this without judgment, as I have been there. I know what it’s like to include “vitamin I” as part of my daily nutrition (in fact for me it evolved to Celebrex). But most of these long term injuries are completely preventable. If we listen to, and respect, the pain signals our body gives, we can avoid months (sometimes years) of pain and medical expenses. The irony of course is that our effort to not miss a few days or weeks of our beloved sport leads to missing weeks, months or even years of our beloved sport.
I compiled the FMS results for all of the people above, and tied it to their gender, and whether they are athletes. I have the FMS results tied to age as well, but have not yet done that evaluation (who’s kidding who – I’m going to do it tomorrow now that I think of it). For those not familiar with the FMS, it is a set of 7 movements that trainers and therapists use to identify weakness or imbalances in the body that can help guide how we train people. Out of the 7 tests, we look for the two tests that cause the most difficulty or have the biggest difference from left to right, and put appropriate corrective exercises in the programs we create for these clients.
About an hour later I started thinking about the many, many people who train themselves. In some cases, people who train themselves have good and smart programs; in others, not so good. If you train yourself, hopefully you fall into the former category, but either way, the quality of the movement is very important. When was the last time you got an objective view of your form?