We all love getting new PR’s. Whether it’s a heavier 1 rep max, a faster Grace time, or being able to run further distances, PR’s are tangible and definitive markers of improvement that make us feel good about ourselves – and they should. But what about moving better? We all know it’s important to improve our technique, range of motion, and quality of mechanics but how many of us actually dedicate time to focus on this? It’s not sexy, it’s a slow process, and there’s no tangible way to measure or see your progress. We are humans = we are motivated by REWARD.
If we can’t grasp the importance of better movement – let’s take a step back and consider why it may be worth prioritizing. Placing a greater focus on moving better will help you build a stronger and more solid foundation to avoid plateauing or worse, getting injured. When you correct bad movement patterns – whether it be too shallow of a squat, an early pull on a snatch, shoulders rounding on a deadlift, or elbows dropping on a thruster – you will be able to do these movements better, faster, and heavier than you ever could before. The process can be slow and painful because you often have to workout backwards – nobody likes having to go lighter, or move slower to simply focus on technique – but if we do so, it will be WELL WORTH the reward in the end.
Here are some suggestions:
- During any lifting cycle, focus on one particular lift and don’t think about or reference any previous PR’s. Instead, focus on moving slowly and deliberately – not allowing yourself to compromise in any position. For example, if during heavy back squats, your knees tend to buckle on the way up and you lose midline stability – focus on these pieces every time you back squat for the next several months. Only allow yourself to increase load if you can keep your knees out and midline tight.
- Only record lifts that you did correctly. If you hit a new deadlift PR but you know you rounded your back – don’t record it. Change your mentality to, “Crappy lifts don’t count.”
- Go lighter! When cycling reps in workouts, make a decision to go lighter than you normally would. Not only will this allow you to hone in on your technique but it may also help you learn how to move faster.
- Spend time doing mobility and improving range of motion in the structures that are tight and stiff. SERIOUSLY, DO IT. Ankles, thoracic spine, and hips are the biggest culprits of limiting proper movement and need to be addressed repeatedly.
- Play around with different set-up positions. Pay attention to your typical positions – where do your feet/toes/knees go on a squat, hand placement on a barbell, or hip position in a deadlift. Experiment with different stances, widths, and set-up positions and try to optimize the perfect position for you!
Take the time to prioritize BETTER MOVEMENT and it will PAY OFF!