By Coach Manny Alayon
Because it’s not unattainable for most of us. But that is not a reason to stop chasing (or dreaming). Sometimes as coaches and trainers we get wrapped into this “perfect movement” mentality. You know, it is when you don’t allow a person to progress without them showing flawless movement. We become “form Nazi’s” and think we are the best coaches in the world for having an eye for perfect technique and having a reputation of never letting anyone move past a PVC pipe. Some wear it like a badge of honor. I get why we do it. But I am here to say it is wrong. It is not realistic and can be very frustrating and detrimental to your members and their results.
Flawless movement is something we should strive for. However, if we set that as the absolute standard, then I don’t think any of us would move past a PVC pipe for a very long time, maybe a lifetime. A good coach must find the balance with movement that is progressing in the right direction, while also getting them towards their fitness goals. For example, if your goal is to get strong, but your form on say, a back squat, is poor the solution is neither to allow you to load the weight or have you work with just your bodyweight. Both of those answers fail the member. Loading weight with poor form not only reinforces bad habits, but puts the person at risk of injury. Working with bodyweight only, is great for reinforcing good habits but it may be years until they actually become stronger. It seems like a catch 22, doesn’t it?
Good thing that in fitness there are endless ways to get a fitness goal accomplished. Understanding balance and being creative will best set the person up for success. The key is not to avoid movements that you have bad form in. If we avoid it completely, then how would we ever fix it? Start with fixing the movement with no load, fresh and with manageable reps and sets. The next step is to substitute the movement with another that matches the muscles being used or the stimulus that is trying to be achieved. This can be VERY tricky. Creativity is a huge player in this.
At NECF, we will tell you when your form isn’t good. We’ll tell you when it is time to dial back the load and work on better movement. And you bet we will substitute a movement to get you the results you want. The only thing we ask, is to give us your trust and patience. The process can be frustrating, but fitness is all about the journey. Enjoy the ride and don’t be shy to reach out to your coaches for help!