Training = Efficiency + Intensity + Progression + Longevity + Goal
What does a 27-year-old know about longevity? Let’s think about it like this… I like training and I want to keep training for a long time. Look no further than the likes of LeBron James and Cristiano Ronaldo for examples of longevity.
We can achieve this by considering the factors that can influence longevity,
Movement, resilience and suitability
How does movement contribute to longevity in training? Well, before an exercise is an exercise… it is a movement. For example, a squat is what you perform when you’re sitting down and getting up from a chair. A squat can also be loaded and performed for reps in the gym.
Each exercise can be broken down into some fundamental patterns:
Squat or hip hinge
Gait (carrying, running, walking)
Gaining movement proficiency contributes to training longevity.
How do we gain movement proficiency? First, you need to understand how to create an optimal environment with your body that can store and transfer energy. But this is not possible without adequate mobility nor whole body stability.
What is mobility?
“Mobility is the potential for movement.”
What is stability?
“Stability is the ability to offset external forces.”
We can achieve both through proper positioning. Proper positioning is dictated by a stiff core and the creation of motion through the hips and the shoulders. The spine is not designed to bare load so we must move in a way that facilitates this.
What is stiffness?
Stiffness is achieved via diaphragmatic breathing. This ensures an alignment of breathing mechanisms which allows us to “stiffen” the core. Imagine bracing yourself in reaction to a punch in the gut. In a nutshell, that is stiffness.
This is a fundamental to the next factor, resilience.
It takes 1000 hours of applied practice to achieve mastery and exercise is no different. Over time as we gain movement proficiency, physical and mental resilience should ensue. But what is resilience?
“Resilience is a by-product of efficient movement”
Sounds boring, but it is important. Let us consider one of the most mis-executed exercises in the gym, the deadlift. Loading this exercise excessively and moving with a lack of movement proficiency, would greatly increase the likelihood of injury. Overtime, this would continue to chip away at your potential for longevity.
To understand the suitability of an exercise, we need to understand the concept of risk/reward and how to modify an exercise to make it more suitable to an individual.
Risk/reward = The relationship between the exercise and the individual’s ability to perform the exercise
A squat is an exercise which is commonly mis-executed. There’s one team that seeks to go ass-to-grass on every rep and there’s the other that seeks to load the heck out of the bar and move 2-3 inches. The answer lies in understanding that everyone has a different hip structure, so we all perform a squat differently.
What comes with movement proficiency is the understanding of your own anatomical structure. Once you understand this you can begin to adjust exercises to make it more suitable to yourself. Is it worth going ass to grass on a squat when you can limit the depth to your own structure and extract the same reward with less of a risk?