Technique is the most important and yet often the least appreciated part of an exercise program. It is not just important for strength training as many people think; it plays a vital role in even everyday tasks. So, what techniques have you lost?
First off, technique is defined by Merriam-Webster as the manner in which basic physical movements are used. It is also defined as the ability to use such movements. What movements are these?
This has been a popular term and the myriad of programs associated with it center around basic movement patterns. What basic movement patterns do these include? Well let’s think about an infant and how pliable and flexible they are. They can roll over, crawl, hinge at the hips into a downward dog or deadlift position, perform a deep squat, press and pull with their arms, and create enormous amounts of tension throughout their bodies as they try to wiggle out of your arms. The ability to perform these movements never leaves them or you. Or at least it shouldn’t.
As we age we tend to sit more and move less for a myriad of reasons. As this becomes more of our norm the muscular/joint relationships that kept us loose and pliable begin to adapt (i.e. to stiffen up). What’s beautiful though is our profound ability as humans to adapt back. Simply put, one of the most powerful principles, the SAID principle, is always at play.
What is SAID? Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. This principle is powerful for numerous reasons, but let’s just focus on the one related to regaining lost technique. Remember the infant analogy, we’ve all had an enormous amount of mobility and ability to perform basic movement patterns at some point in our lives, the question is; do you want to regain it?
Here are two ways regaining motion through basic movement patterns can positively influence technique:
1. Injury Prevention
It makes sense to most people how important technique is when lifting weights. Even distribution of weight during any lift is critical for injury free success. If you’re doing an overhead press you need to have the shoulder mobility to get the weight right over your head. Otherwise your back will take a lot of the force during the lift. Likewise, if your performing a back squat you need to have the shoulder mobility to hold the bar at the appropriate height securely to your back and have the hip hinging to actually squat. Else, your knees and back will take a beating. Now this is a very basic breakdown, but the list can go on and on. If your mobility is out of whack, some other segment is going to take the load. When correct movement patterning (i.e. technique) is utilized the risk of injury decreases.
2. Greater Strength Gains / Greater Ability to Complete a Required Task
Another nice side effect of mobility and correct movement patterning is that less work is typically required to complete the same task. This often equates out to being able to lift and move more weight. Technique is tricky and often hard to perfect on your own. This is where having someone versed in movement patterns comes in handy. It can be in the form of an athletic trainer, personal trainer, or sports coach. The point is, seek out an individual who has the knowledge required for the tasks you want/need improved and then put in the work.
- 1. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/technique?utm_campaign=sd&utm_medium=serp&utm_source=jsonld