I’m always learning. Or, at least I try. And by that I mean, sometimes I have to read or see something related to training upwards of 50 times before it really clicks for me. Such is the case with what I’m referring to as “movement sessions”.
Over the years I’ve worked with a lot of people that are, let’s say, not in their 20’s anymore or slightly past their athletic prime. What I’m still learning every day is how critical movement is and how beneficial these training, or more specifically movement sessions, can be for a certain population.
For some people it is simply learning the most efficient and safe way to move. It’s quick and easy. You show them, they execute. Pretty much no problem. Just practice and you’re good. For others it’s working on improving range of motion in movements, joints, etc. And in some cases simply maintain what ya got. Move it or lose it sister.
What I have learned from my younger days as a coach is that it’s not about the squat or deadlift, or the push up. Yes, those are all awesome. However, to steal a term from coach Charlie Weingroff, movement competency, comes first. Teaching an adult who has trouble with any of the above movements, possibly due to stiffness or pain and then seeing them make progress prior to worrying about adding any sort of load (weight) is awesome. Lifting weights is fun but when you literally struggle to move your body, for any number of reasons, movement rules first.
Is this always easy? Nope. Sometimes pain will set you back as a coach and you have to dig deep into your bag of tricks. Other times you’ve got to find the right words to elicit the right movement response from someone that forgot how to move their body decades ago. And finally, some people will come to ready to sweat to the oldies at a effort level of 10 on the 1-10 scale and you find out pretty quickly that they should more likely be at about a 6. That’s a topic for another time but a consideration as well.
What does it all mean? Assess people. Find out what their goals are. Re-assess every now and again to see if you are making progress. Equally as important, talk to them about how they feel on the regular. Often times they will let you know that things are going great and have been able to this, that and the other outside of the gym like never before and that’s when you know you’re doing something right.
– Mike Baltren