Ever wonder why those around you seem to be making progress with their training, getting stronger and faster, while you feel like you are being left behind? Or why you have done mobility drills every single day for the past 6+ months without any apparent gains being made?
It comes down to what I call Training With Purpose or otherwise stated as ‘purposeful movements.’
It is so easy to let yourself go through the motions when doing different activities. You do the workout that is programmed for the day, get a great workout, and feel exhausted afterward. The question, though, is ‘were you aware with how you were moving during the workout?’ Were you just moving habitually because you have done the movement hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times? Or were you focusing on how you were moving?
When doing stretches or mobility work before or after a workout, are you focusing on what is being stretched or mobilized to really isolate the area and do what the movement was intended to do? Or are you just getting into the positions based on something you saw, not actually thinking about what the purpose of the drill is?
Unfortunately, just going through the motions isn’t going to get you anywhere. In fact, I could almost say you are wasting your time, but that is probably not fully accurate. Focusing on how you are moving when training is a key element of your training and often a significant contributor to the progress you make, or lack thereof.
Like anything in life, you cannot improve on something when you are not aware of what you are doing. If you do not know how your body is moving or what muscles are being worked or stretched, how do you expect to make any progress? Only by having the awareness first can you improve upon things.
Body Position During Workouts
When we move with good mechanics, we generate more power naturally. Good mechanics allow us to maximize the use of our larger muscle groups that were intended to move us powerfully. Many times, moving with good mechanics also generates better forces in the body using the ‘core to extremity’ principle, meaning we are stronger and more powerfully when we generate power from the core first and then use the arms and/or legs to finish a movement.
If you have never paid attention to how you are moving with different activities, I highly encourage you to start paying attention. Discover where you are generating your forces from and consider whether there could be a way that you can generate more power if you did something just a bit different.
Focus Of Mobility Work
Our bodies typically will move in the path of least resistance if we allow it to. Any time you do mobility work and are not focused on purposeful movement, a couple things could happen: 1) you will go to a range that feels like it is the end, but is not actually the end range, and/or 2) your body will compensate due to joint or soft tissue restrictions like it always has rather than moving how you want it to.
This is not the only reason that you may not be making progress with your mobility work, but it is a significant contributor to the lack of progress you are seeing. I bet if you start paying attention to what your body is doing during your mobility drills, you will see some significant gains in a short(ish) amount of time.
Written by Brianne Showman. Brianne is a physical therapist and running coach with Get Your Fix Physical Therapy And Performance. Her focus is on helping athletes resolve injuries in less time by getting to the root of the problem, improving movement patterns, and incorporating proper training to help the body to move more efficiently, more powerfully, and in less injury-prone ways.