When you train with me, you will learn, practice, work on, and practice some more……on basic movement patterns before you EARN the right to do more complicated stuff. Our bodies need movement. We need movement to become strong. We need movement to function efficiently. But we need GOOD movement. Effective and fluid movement. If you neglect any of our bodies’ basic movement patterns, you will develop weak areas…..weak “links in the chain”.

Most people come to me with a goal to “get in shape”, “lose weight”, etc. The list of individual goals that are presented to me when I first meet someone goes on and on……yet they are all similar. Most of the goals are extremely general and vague to be honest. And that is ok! I can help them with that later on. But what some people don’t realize is when they come to me for the first time, I am already taking mental notes when they walk in the door on how they move. I could care less what they weigh or look like. What I am concerned about is: Can they push? Can they pull? Can they hinge? Can they squat? Can they touch their toes?? Can they walk / stand with good posture?? What “kinks” are obvious (to me anyway) during their initial evaluation? What areas need to be worked on so that they can work toward mastering the basics?

What do I mean by basic movement patterns??

Upper Pushes: Push ups, Pressing weight overhead
Lower Pushes: Squats, lunges, pushing a prowler
Upper Pulls: Rows, Pull ups…or in some cases, can they even hang from a bar?
Lower Pulls: Deadlifts, swings
Mobility: Can you move well? (mobility limitations with shoulder, thoracic , lumbar, hip, etc.)

And within each of these movement patterns are TONS of variations of each that I will progress clients through WHEN THEY ARE READY. But you have to start with the very basic form of each. You have to develop a strong foundation. You have to EARN moving on to the next progression.

What does all this mean?

If someone doesn’t have the shoulder mobility/range of motion to press a light weight overhead (or even bring their arms overhead for that matter)…..good chance you won’t see them performing heavy barbell push presses, snatches or handstands.

If someone can’t hinge (deadlift) without arching their backs, or rounding their shoulders, you probably won’t see me encouraging them to set a new PR on their barbell deadlift or teaching them to swing a kettlebell.

If someone can’t complete a single modified push up, you most likely will not see them swinging from a bar trying to master a pull up. (don’t put the cart before the horse….)

So what is my point? You HAVE to master the basics first. You HAVE to be willing to put in the work on all the little things to train and/or re-train your body to move and perform with good range of motion and safe movement patterns. You won’t be performing the “cool” stuff until you can safely perform the simple stuff. Be ok with the basics. Besides…..becoming a master at the basics will put you on the road to doing some super cool tricks, gaining some street cred in the weight lifting arena, and you will look & feel great in the process.

People think they are coming to me to lose a few pounds…..but what they don’t realize (yet) is they are paying me to train them towards achieving mastery of their body’s movement patterns. And I will get them there if they allow me to lead the way. If they stick with me, the weight will take care of itself. Like I’ve said in another blog…..screw the scales. If you’re looking for a 6-week makeover, look elsewhere. There are plenty of trainers out there that offer fast, easy weight loss programs who don’t mind if you don’t master the basics first. I don’t want fast and easy. I don’t want mediocre. I want clients who want… listen, to learn, to work hard, to train for strength, mobility, “fat-loss” vs “weight-loss”, grace……confidence.

Be ok with simple. Practice the simple stuff. Train your body to move. Make it so that the basics become effortless……second nature even. Then learn the progressions that lead to the “fun” stuff. The result?? True strength. Real “weight-loss”. And a new outlook on what being “fit” and “strong” really means. Become a master of the basics!