What is your main objective for your workouts? Do you seek the intense sweat that leaves you drenched or do you look to perfect movements to optimize your body’s mechanics? This has become a growing debate in today’s fitness industry. The term “gym” comes from the word “gymnasium.” Yes, the same place that you might find petite athletes flipping and soaring through the air. Back in the day, individuals would not only train to put up insane numbers in strength and time but would also work on perfecting different skill based movements such as balance, coordination and mechanics such as hand stands, ring holds and deep knee bends.
Now, I am not here to tell you that you are wrong if you want to leave the gym with sore muscles and a soaked t-shirt. Hell, I love me a good sweat and muscle fatigue, but I don’t forget that my movement performance is just as important. Taking the approach of first perfecting my movements such as a proper hip hinging in my dead lifts, scapula activation in my upper body lifts and hip mobility in my squats has allowed me to put up better numbers and leave with the sweat that I desire. Without proper form, you cement in your muscle imbalances and put yourself at a greater risk of injury; which I know you do not want. There is a reason why us as humans have to capability to dead lift over 500 kg (1,100 lbs) and bench press over 450 kg (992 lbs). Do you think these individuals use improper form while performing those lifts? I didn’t think so. We are built to be extraordinarily strong but only if we know how to use our bodies the way their were designed.
Some of the skills that have been practicing to improve my movements consist the 90-90 hip stretch to improve my hip mobility in squatting, hip hinge exercises with a PVC pipe to aid in maintaining a neutral spine and core engagement in dead lifting and scapular retraction for shoulder stabilization.
This brings me back to my original question, “Skill or Sweat?” While leaving with a sweat is nice, we should not forget the movements that produce those results. I challenge you to take the extra time to perfect your movements first and use the goals of weight loss and speed and strength gains as a product of proper form.
For demonstrations of these movements, please view my Instagram page at @chriskadingCPT