It is funny how I get reoccurring themes throughout my day when training people. For example, I’ve been explaining to several people over the last few days the importance of “pulling” yourself down instead of just controlling a fall.
Most people simple unhinge their joints and free fall for a second before catching themselves towards the bottom when lowering down into a rep. I had one client who had a distinct popping sound coming from her left knee as she did some split squats – the same knee that has been giving her a lot of problems lately.
After watching her for a second I saw that she was “unhinging and falling” down rather than staying strong and tight. I told her to get her core braced tight and then actively pull herself down into her next rep. Her control and balance were vastly improved and the pop in her knee disappeared.
I had a similar experience last night with a client and their squats. By being strong on the way down as well as on the way up bad movement was improved and strength levels went up. I just figured it would be a good time to remind everyone about this point.
Be strong from the moment you start a set to until the end of it. Beware of your body’s tendency to find ways to relax at the expense of high quality movement. Strong is a mindset – if you are strong you are strong all the time.
Someone watching you should be able to tell that you are in complete control of your movement from start to finish – or at least that is the goal. Yes, some exercises like single leg squats will make you wobble at first but knowing the standard you are seeking will push you to get better.
Anyways, some words of wisdom from the trenches…