The world of fitness is growing. As it grows, we as coaches have to keep up and keep learning if we expect to be able to continue to produce the best human body possible. 90% of us who train others do it with the goal of extending the athlete's healthy life; to be able to physically perform at the athlete's best level.
As I have grown as a coach, I’ve focused on building the human body from the ground up, no matter the person’s skill level or goal. The first step I take is looking at Movement Variability. Movement Variability is defined as the normal variations that occur in motor performance across multiple repetitions of a task (Stergiou & Decker, 2011). Bernstein described movement variability eloquently as “repetition without repetition”.
You can learn a lot by being present in how you move in everyday activities. Many people have really bad movement variability in everyday life, from sitting down at work and getting up and down, to driving and sitting in a car a certain way, to squatting, pulling, and pressing. Over time these poor movement variabilities can lead to injury or even death.
Now think about your movements when your heart rate is spiking. You are trying to stay alive because you are deep into a 10 min workout, or chasing down a bad guy, or being chased by someone or something that is trying to kill you. You end up getting a horrible time on the workout, lose the bad guy, or worst, you are caught and killed, all because you weren't able to maintain the power output overtime. You are not efficient, using more energy over time, and not able to sustain that power output needed.
Steps for Improving Movement Variability
Here are the steps I take as we look to correct movement variability for everyday life so that we are able to perform to their fullest.
- Movement Quality
- Skills / Technique
- Energy Systems / Production
- Autonomic System
- Motor Control
- Movement Variability
Movement quality is something that we can breakdown from the ground up because we are able to build it back up. The process starts with creating better positions that we are putting our body into at all times. Being able to fix positions will create better movement variability overtime which will turn into creating better skill and technique.
Once we look at correcting the movement quality of the body we then look at improving skill and technique. Skill and technique will dictate how much power output the human is transferring during that movement at higher levels of stress. The goal is to create proper skill and technique in a lower stress environment.
With better skill and technique, we are now able to improve energy production. Energy systems are just as important for the body. To create movement, we must produce energy. The human body and mind require energy to stay alive; this is why energy is the driving force to produce longer durations of power over time (or the fight to stay live).
When put into a high stress environment, your body is requiring higher levels of energy to help keep it going. With proper movement qualities, skill, technique, and increased energy production, we are now able to handle higher levels of stress and promote better recovery long term.
This leads me to understanding the “Wiring of the Athlete”. The body’s Autonomic System is the driving force behind how the body coordinates energy production, coordinates movement patterns, and coordinates the new skills you are working on. These new skills will help promote better energy so that we are able to sustain longer durations of power.
This leads to the motor control of the human, and how the central nervous system (CNS) is a big part of our everyday life. Motor Control is pretty much how the CNS reacts to different situations, it is what controls the firing of all muscles, learning new movement patterns that will promote proper movement long term, and being able to executing skills and technique you have acquired over time at lower levels of stress that will become second nature when put into a fight or flight mode.
Rewiring the Athlete’s Mind and Body
When learning new movements and skills, the goal is to stay in a parasympathetic state. This will teach the mind to take the new positions and skill we are learning as good stressors. Over time the mind ends up rewiring how the body controls positions, movement, the skills and technique the athlete has been working on, which will help promote better energy production and being better at sustaining and create power output long term.
Creating better movement qualities, better skills and technique, and increased energy production, leads to being rewired to better handle more load and stress over time. This will inevitably lead to better movement variability at higher levels of stress.
Now ask yourself: Are you capable of staying alive if being chased by a tiger?