My Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter client and I had a recent exchange about single leg jumps and their efficacy for him. He was under the impression that I thought they were not very useful for him, which sparked a long response about the specificity principle of training.
Below is my response. I thought it would be a good piece to share and would love to hear your thoughts in the comments if you want to chime in.
Warming up is about preparing your body for the things you’re about to put it through. A good warm up makes exercise safer and more effective.
But if you don’t know what you’re doing, your warm up might be a waste of time, or, in the worst case, also detrimental to your goals. I thought it might be helpful if I wrote a basic post about warming up for people just getting into exercise.
Maybe the gym isn’t the place you should be going.
Yesterday, I convinced my siblings to go to the nearby school with me and play soccer. Then I made them pose awkwardly so I could tell the internet about it.
I wanted to exercise, but I didn’t want traditional gym stuff. I needed something fun and unpredictable.
Stuff like this 2v2 soccer game gets undervalued by the analytical-minded. I’ve fallen into this trap before. But if four unskilled Goykes can go play soccer and get their hearts pumping, maybe that’s a viable substitute to structured training.
It doesn’t matter what skill level you are; it’s still fun, and you still get a workout. So feelings of incompetence are not valid excuses. NOT IN MY HOUSE!
Take my youngest sister, for instance.
Rylie very much dislikes exercise. She’s even told us, “Face it, guys. I’m just not meant to exercise.”
If you want to ride a roller coaster of emotion, listen to your sister tell you that. Gives me shivers just thinking about it.
This was her last night at my Team Training group class (yes, we got her to get up and move around twice in one day).
The fact that she’s capable of that fake smile while doing a plank shows how far she’s come. Someone who has never liked exercise is started to think maybe it could be okay.
My goal for her is NOT perfect exercise technique, but enjoyment of the exercise experience. Does technique play into that? Yes, because I need to manage the pain she feels. This negative emotion combats the positive emotions I want her to have. Otherwise, technique is on the backburner.
I wanted to share an exercise that I’ve been using as part of my warm up for a while now. I love this thing. I call it Pistol Squat Walking.
Pistol– like the one leg squat.
Squat– it’s a full squat.
Walking– it alternates side-to-side, just like walking does.
This is a great exercise to use in your warm up. The weight shift from side-to-side teaches you to open up the back of your hips and being in the full squat position helps shut off your back.
1) Exhale, then round your back and reach forward.
2) Squat down, still reaching forward.
3) Straighten left leg off ground and reach forward with right hand.
4) Take a breath in the nose and out the mouth.
5) Switch and repeat.
6) Hold your hips underneath you as you stand up.
I usually do about five reps each side before I stand up.
There are two reasons I love this exercise so much:
It works the hip through full flexion range of motion without loading and moving too much. This saves my old person hips.
Walking is so important to humans. Being able to control side-to-side movement reinforces our ability to walk.
Now, I know the latter sounds weird. “I walk all the time,” you say, puzzled.
It’s important to understand that as humans, we’re built asymmetrically and tend to retreat to our right side. You might even say that some people have trouble getting off of that right side; they’re stuck over there. So sometimes, even though you’re moving, one side doesn’t look nearly the same as the other.
What this exercise does is it gives you an opportunity to make the right side and the left side look at little more similar. So when I’m squatting on my right foot, I need to find my right inside foot arch, then push my knee out. Otherwise, I fall too much to the right. Conversely, when I’m squatting on my left foot, I need to feel my left heel in the floor or else I get pushed back over to the right.
Experiment with it and let me know what you think!
P.S. Who is this NOT for? People who can’t get down there. I want you to maintain pressure on your heel at all times. If you’re forcing it, it’s not for you. Thanks for playing, try again later.