Are You One Dimensional?

Being truly one dimensional is rarely a good thing.  In fact, I might argue never.  Not only in the game of life but also as an athlete or Average Joe that wants to feel better and look good naked.  Although it is not important to be great at many things I believe being good at a few things as well at least practicing a few others is most optimal in life and, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, performance.  Here are a few ways that certain people can avoid being one dimensional.

The Runner:  I think we have all known the person that loves to run, run, run.  There’s nothing wrong with this but, my experience over the years has shown me that runners tend to have movement restrictions and lack strength.  With even a slight improvement in these two things (movement quality and strength) the runner can be less one dimensional and more athletic with the goal being to become faster and less prone to injury.

yoga flexible

The Yogi:  Many people thrive on the practice of yoga.  I respect this but also understand that lots of movement without necessarily having control or strength is not a long term plan for success.  That’s not to say that a yoga master isn’t strong but many times people that are great at being flexible practice more being great at being flexible.  To be less one dimensional this person could practice loading the body with external resistance like a farmers walk and/or practice more dynamic movements and displays of power through sprinting, jumping and throwing.

Upper Body Gym-Goer:  Traditionally this is most men at your typical large chain gym. This person is very focused on the muscles that we can see in the mirror and much less concerned about those twigs some of us call legs.  Simple answer here: lift things with your legs, run a sprint or walk with something heavy in your hands and do less bench press, bicep curls and crunches.

Big Arms

The Lifter:  Maybe you already lift weights regularly.  That’s awesome but to keep from being one dimensional you must train unilaterally sometimes, run some sprints, push a sled and do some focused mobility.  There is nothing wrong with your typical meathead lifts (I love them) but there is much to be said for things like unilateral strength and daily mobility.  Neither may be fun or impressive but they are necessary.  Being one dimensional will only get you so far.

Everything Guy/Gal:  What about being every-dimensional?  On some level this is equally bad.  If you are literally doing everything then you will be good at none of it.  Specific practice and movement mastery is important.  Remember what I said at the beginning, you only need to be good a few things and practice some others.  If you fall into one of the categories above this isn’t a bad thing, I’m just asking you to understand the importance of the rest and it’s potential to help you reach your goals faster.  This will not only make you a better athlete but also a more efficient human being.

Finally, if you are a coach it pays to not be one dimensional either.  You may have an expertise in something specific but at least understanding many different training systems and thought processes means you are bringing a lot more to the table for your members and athletes.  If the only tool you have is the proverbial hammer, than everything looks like the proverbial nail, and well, we all know the hammer doesn’t work for every job.

– Mike Baltren