I feel like its been a while since I’ve written about training tips, so I figured this would be a great opportunity to talk about something that resonated with me recently. Not too long ago our resident P.E. teacher Erin Halonen (you can find her dashing down the 403m course in her signature aviators), sent me an instagram post that her old coach, Jeremy Jones, had posted on his instagram. It was short and sweet but packed a good punch. It reads: “Accessory work” isn’t a replacement for the basics. First of all I want to thank you Erin for sending me this! I think this post rings very true for many people (including myself). Too often people are trying to do the next cool exercise, or jumping to progressions they aren’t quite ready for. As with many things we do there are ways to properly progress up to certain exercises. We should always master the fundamentals before trying to progress up to a tougher variation in order to maximize our improvement and the exercises effectiveness.
Instagram is an incredible tool…when used correctly. When it comes to training, there are a lot of knowledgeable people out there who put out amazing content. I am a firm believer that you can learn a lot from watching their videos, and reading their posts. But while there are a lot of positives to having such a mass of instant information, it obviously comes with a downside. People generally post the sexy, or flashy exercises, because tit generates the most interest from people. This means that people get exposed to these high level exercises and in turn makes them think that doing said exercise will allow them to look like these instagram famous people. This is where we run into trouble. What you’re usually not seeing is all the work the person has done to be able to now perform this flashy exercise. They’ve usually started with the basics, become excellent at those basics, and then progressed up to tougher movements. For the most part though, the basics don’t get as much attention as the flashy stuff, because they are just….well, basic.
Now I am not blaming anyone for trying what they see on social media. Social media is where I get a lot of stretching/technique concepts I use in my coaching. But I am advocating that you seek out guidance from a coach if you are unsure as to whether or not you should you are ready to perform a movement. We can let you know if you have the foundational capacity to perform a more advanced movement. If you don’t ask for help and decide to skip over the basics, it can slow your progression down, or force you create in-optimal movement patterns. And while it’s not guaranteed to be detrimental to your health necessarily, skipping over basic movement patterns can increase your chance for injury if you haven’t developed your musculature correctly.
A good example that comes to mind is the L-sit (since it was in the programming this week). I saw a lot of people doing L-sits which is great! So I figured I would outline the progressions necessary to attain a solid L sit. The L-sit requires a lot of midline and shoulder stability and is considered a pretty high level core movement. The most basic position to start working on the L-sit would be the V-sit. If you can nail that for a good 20 seconds, you can go to the extended V sit. If thats manageable to 20 seconds, you can try a tucked L sit (you can also do this on a box to make it a little easier). If the tucked position is easy money for 20 seconds, go ahead and give the full L-sit a shot. If you are going for the tucked L or the full L sit, then be sure to be cognizant of your shoulder and torso positioning. You want to have shoulders down and back and your torso as vertical as possible to attain optimal positioning. Check out this awesome video I found showing and explaining all the progressions I found the other day.
The point of these progressions was not just to show you how to properly progress into an L-sit, it was to show you that there are a lot of necessary steps to doing this movement. This goes for a lot of movements as well, it’s not specific to just the L-sit. There are ways to properly build up and execute more advanced level movements to ensure that you are getting the intended effect from the movement (gainz bro), and are minimizing your risk of injury in doing this movement. If you ever are in doubt on whether you should be doing a movement, or are doing it correctly, just ask a coach! It will take all of 30 seconds, and if you are doing it correct awesome🙏🏻 ! If not, no worries! We will give you the correct progression and ensure that you’re doing that correctly, so you can progress up to your desired movement. Also if you haven’t already, check out some of Jb and I’s Movement: Refocused content. Its pretty in line with the theme of this post. We as coaches are never trying to keep you from performing certain movements. We always want to make sure that you are doing what will give you the most benefit for where you currently are in your fitness journey.