Updated: Sep 13
Human movement is a complex area of study. The human body can do a wide variety of different movements, ranging from simple things such as walking or sitting down, to more complex and athletic movements. Unfortunately, it is also very easy to get into nasty habits and adapt poor movement patterns that can hinder our movement performance or lead to pain and injuries. I have seen all kinds of people, from elite athletes to sedentary people and children, having poor movement patterns, with the most common being poor posture. However, doing simple mobility workouts and removing joint and tissue stiffness can go a long way in helping solve all these problems.
Often, inexperienced coaches and athletes simply find different exercises they can do off the internet, and implement as many as they can in their training program. However, without a complete understanding of how and why an exercise should be selected, this can lead to poor results. Each exercise should be selected based on the application to what you want to achieve in your life, goals, and sport. It is also very important to perform each exercise with the correct technique. This is achieved only by having an understanding of how the body moves. You will never solve a movement problem or any pain you might be having if you cannot find the root of the problem. Often people apply short-term solutions such as taking painkillers. These however treat the symptom not the problem. By understanding how the body moves, you will know how to work all the muscles collectively, stabilize the spine, and keep a good posture during a variety of different movements. This will also allow you to create stability in your joints and achieve the best possible performance from your body including generating maximum force, power, and speed.
The beauty of it all is that you will also start producing correct movements even during everyday movements of your life. You will understand how to sit properly at your desk, how to pick up and carry your grocery bags or a heavy object, or playing with the kids safely. It is important to master the correct movements of the body in a correct way and a safe and controlled environment. For example, understanding how to do a deadlift with a barbell using the correct form will help you transfer the skill needed to lift a heavy object like a shopping bag off the floor.
With the right knowledge of human movement, you can predict movement outcomes, determine which movements can lead to injuries, and resolve any dysfunctional movement patterns that can lead to pain or these injuries. Routinely working on your mobility is very important. I consider mobility work as maintenance of the body to preserve and even improve the structure and function of the body including joint and tissues, address sore, short, and tight muscles, reduce soft tissue and joint restrictions, and improve poor motor movement control and range of motion at the joints. Regardless if you are an elite athlete, a fitness enthusiast, or a sedentary person, young or old, male or female, it is important to keep a healthy body.
Knowledge of the human movement is vast and can be a bit daunting at first. However, the principles are very similar across a variety of exercises. For example, keeping a braced core and spine so as not to round the back is important across many different exercises. If you perform each movement correctly, you will soon start seeing positive changes. You will look and feel better, and also move better. It is important however to remain consistent. If you cannot achieve something at first, don’t get discouraged. Many people cannot squat low at first. This could be due to very tight muscles which you won’t solve overnight. Although you won’t be able to squat deep from day 1, you will start seeing improvement after a few sessions as you start to rewire the nervous system to perform correct movements. You will eventually end up performing proper movements without actually thinking about it. Once you start understanding human movement, you will be able to generate better training programs. Try spending 10 to 15 minutes each day working on your mobility.
The most frustrating thing I often witness is when people have learned something the wrong way. This will take some time to re-learn the proper movement until you can unconsciously perform the movements correctly. Often your performance will deteriorate before it can improve and that is ok. Remember that when you perform something with good technique, you are engaging more muscles so it will be very beneficial in the long run.
Thanks for reading, and as always stay fit!