I had a special Father’s Day post all ready to rock for you all but in the midst of writing it Sunday evening my computer ate it.  It had something to do with outdoor training and I would have re-written it except I passed out since Lindsay and I spent the day driving home from her place of birthing, Burlington, VT.  We spent the weekend with her family enjoying the gorgeous Vermont presummer weather and for once I left the laptop and books at home.

It couldn’t have come at a better time either as it rounded off the end of my recovery week (no lifting) after 4 long and extremely productive months of Eric Cressey’s Show and Go Program.  This is round two of the entire program for myself and besides a few minor bumps along the way I completed the program down to a T and reaped the benefits.  My deadlift went from 335 last September to 425, my bench went from 285 to a solid 300 and my backsquat went from 305 to 355 (amazing since I don’t train with it).

Not only did I get stronger, but I got bigger and faster and waaaaay more mobile and flexible then I have been in my entire life.  Who knew that by actually following a great program you gain epic results?  I diiiid!!  Winning!!

Anyways, I highly recommend checking it out (both men and women) as results will vary depending on how you approach it.  Ladies, you will not get “bulky” but you just might get lean sexier muscle and some functional strength to boot.  Gentlemen, chances are you need this product A.S.A.P.  Get Show and Go Training System HERE.

I would really love to go through the entire program again but it is time for me to do some experimenting with strength programming so I have decided to go with Jim Wendler’s 5-3-1 program between now and my next powerlifting meet in November.  I am keeping it basic and finishing each workout with either sled pushing, stair sprints, or some kettlebell schmeschmortion finisher.  Time to get a little leaner for the summer months.  I can be vain too.

And I digress, well really digress with what I wanted to talk about today which is taking shortcuts with your fitness.  This practice is happening right under your nose and is becoming extremely deleterious to your health without you even knowing it.  I suppose you want to know what exactly a shortcut is and who is to blame huh?

In this case a shortcut is putting fitness over dysfunction or a poor movement foundation.  You know all those Crossfitters and P90Xers that appear to be in phenomenal shape?  Chances are that beneath that exquisite exterior there is a movement foundation that looks something like Smeagol trying to get out.

Your inner movement dysfunction

The fact is that specific activities serve to undo a basic functional level, forcing the body to work in only certain patterns.  Whats worse is that putting fitness over a poor base you WILL develop imbalances as your body will automatically go into survival mode. In this instance several things will happen without you knowing it.  They are:

  • your body will avoid unfamiliar movement patterns (weakness in your core…)
  • avoid pain and stress (more imbalances…)
  • compensations (more imbalances…)
  • conserve energy at all costs (trying to lose weight?)
  • avoid positions that cause restriction (imbalances…)
  • take the path of least restriction

What do all of these effects have in common?  Eventually they will produce pain and injury in some form.  Back pain, knee pain, or shoulder pain either from time to time or chronic.

If you ask me, the reason we exercise in the first place is to avoid such pain and operate at a higher functionality.

Who is to blame for this mess?

The two culprits tend to be the media and lazy trainers.  The big one being the media and not because they are unaware of movement dysfunction or the effects of putting fitness on dysfunction.  It is because 9 times out of 10 they want to sell you a shortcut because it is the fastest way to them making a quick buck.  Unfortunately, someone will always be ready to sell the consumer the shortcut to performance, fitness, or wellness.  I mean, who wants to work on the basics in an I want it now society when they are unfit and 100lbs overweight?  Not many.

The other problem is the lazy trainer who in many cases may also be seeking the fastest way to make themselves a quick buck.  The easiest way to spot these trainers is when you first meet them.  They will initially meet you and seem to care and listen but once they have you hooked they will start to make promises of losing 30 lbs in one month and showing you pictures of what you will look like by summertime (which is only a few weeks away).

Have fun with this asshat...

Another red flag (and a huge one) is their fitness assessment and screen consists of you doing pushups and leg presses as well as bending over and touching your toes.  This is the easiest way to spot a shitty trainer: There is no movement screen or physical assessment before they create a program for you.

They will have you doing burpees in no time which might seem fine for the first few weeks but once new pains and injuries start to reveal themselves you have begun to get fit and think that this MUST be the path to fitness.  Gray Cook MSPT, OCS, CSCS says that even though specialized movements can promote movement and some degree of fitness, they may have a limited holistic effect or long-term benefit.  High levels of fitness and activity will often disguise basic dysfunction.

My final thought for you is that most modern exercise techniques and conveniences will allow you to put fitness on dysfunction but does that really make you fit?  This “blanket” will most times mask internal dysfunction and an unbalanced system which will slowly erode your attempts at conditioning and cause movement deficiency and reduce your fitness level.

Now if you are a fitness professional and have no clue what I am talking about then do your clients a great service and go out and read Movement by Gray Cook.  You will be doing yourself as well as your clients a favor.

Written by Steve