Movement is Medicine 2: The Objective Defines the Movement

Personal Training Program

I posted a video to my Instagram and Facebook of a Pushup to Downward Dog Pose, with the objective of integrating mobility practice with strength training. For those familiar with Yoga, you’ll know Chaturanga.

What is Chaturanga?

For those unfamiliar with Yoga, Chaturanga is a movement from Plank, that in its basic form you bring the knees, chest and chin to the ground, but in it’s more advanced form you lower the body just above the floor before moving into Upward Facing Dog and then usually back into Downward Facing Dog Pose.

One of the commenters, with a snarky response stating, “Here’s my push-up variation… touch your chest to the floor each rep.” I asked “Why?” to which his response was “Complete range of motion. The same reason you touch the bar to your chest when you bench press.”

Fitness is changing as people begin to think outside of their boxes and explore new ideas and possibilities. It is through exploration that we discover and through discovery that we advance.

Well first of all, I’m not doing a bench press, nor am I trying to achieve the perfect pushup. The objective of the movement is to improve strength for Chaturanga.

With that said, can a Strict Pushup variation which includes touching the chest to the floor help?

The answer is yes it can. However, the goal of this particular movement is to mimic the movement that would be done in Yoga in a variation that is a hybridization between the two worlds of movement.

This leads me to the point of this post.

The Objective Defines the Movement

In the realm of fitness, we often deal with “Right” and “Wrong” and we often deal with systems and people who have Dogmatic approaches to doing things. But not everyone believes in all of the teachings of the Church of Fitness Cross.

Fitness is changing as people begin to think outside of their boxes and explore new ideas and possibilities. It is through exploration that we discover and through discovery that we advance.

So is there a “Right” or “Wrong” way to do things?

I explore this concept a little bit in my article “The Hinge to Squat Continuum” where we discuss the differences between the Squat and the Hinge and why a person may choose to use a Squat versus a Hinge.

Some movements can be more “Right” than others for the desired outcome, but that doesn’t mean that doing the lesser of the two is “Wrong”.

“Wrong” is when the activity doesn’t match the Objective. For example: If I’m trying to maximize posterior chain engagement (Hamstrings, Glutes, Back) with a kettlebell, but I’m doing squats, that would be wrong. A hinge would be more appropriate.

“Wrong” is when I’m unprepared physically for the activity that I’m doing, goofing off and unfocused, which puts me at higher risk of injury.

“Wrong” is sometimes subjective, even when it comes to technique. Phillip Rivers has a shitty throwing motion, and I’m not just saying this because I’m a Raiders fan. Everyone knows he has a terrible looking throwing motion, but it’s highly effective at getting the job done.

What is Right?

“Right” is knowing and understanding the WHY behind what you are doing? If you can explain to me why you’re doing it then you at least have some basic level of understanding.

“Right” is a matter of effectiveness and efficiency. Does the movement effectively target the desired outcome? Is the movement efficiently targeting that outcome? In other words, how close does the movement come to mimicking the actual goal movement or targeting the muscles necessary for the goal movement in the manner in which they need to function?

Some movements can be more “Right” than others for the desired outcome, but that doesn’t mean that doing the lesser of the two is “Wrong”.

What do I mean by that?

There are people who say you should always do a full squat, or always do a strict pullup.

I don’t subscribe to the school of “ALWAYS” anything except for when it comes to always being “SAFE”.

Go to a safe range for you. Maintain good form for safety. When fatigue is greater than ability to maintain proper form, stop. Simple stuff…

In my opinion it’s variety that is the spice of life. Variety in movement is no different. Explore your strength in different ranges. Find weaknesses, sticking points and new challenges for yourself.

Learn new things about yourself, and remember that if someone says you’re doing something wrong to ask WHY? Then you’ll find out whether their reasons match your objectives or not, and whether you need to be doing what you’re doing “More Right” or “Less Wrong” or some combination of the two… LOL

What do you think?

 

Rich Thurman

Coach Rich Thurman has over 15 years of Coaching and Personal Training experience. With a Bachelors in Physiological Science from UCLA and as a NSCA Strength & Conditioning Coach, Rich takes a scientific approach to improving your athletic performance and overall Longevity and Durability. Whether you're a competitive or casual Golfer, Adventure Racer, Fighter, Desk jockey or just generally looking to be healthier, Rich can help you. Structural Integrity and Postural Awareness are the keys to getting the results you want. Check out the services offered to find out more.