The three C’s of movement (and cool isn’t one of them)

“The three C’s of movement” (and cool isn’t one of them)

Everyone wants to do the “cool” exercises. The Power cleans, snatchs, clean and jerks etc. It’s pretty awesome to do something in the gym and have everyone watch you in, well….awe. However, if you are in such a hurry to do the “cool” movements, and forget about the foundational movements that allow you to do the “cool” movements safely and effectively, you leave yourself at risk for injury and wasted time in the gym. The three C’s of movement are IMG_1645Control, Competency and Confidence. If you cannot perform a Turkish Get Up or a single leg deadlift or a crawl with Control, Competency and Confidence, what makes you think that you are ready to ballistically put weight over your head? The answer is you aren’t.

Control is of the utmost importance. If you can’t control your body you will never truly be able to control added resistance to an exercise. Controlling your knees, hips and spine during an Active Straight Leg Raise or Leg Lower, translates to standing on one leg in a hip hinging straight single leg hold position (I call it an L-Hold) which translates into anything you can think of that involves hip hinging ie deadlifts, cleans, snatches, bent over rows, picking up a bag of dog food….you get the idea. I’ll be the first to admit that these aren’t the most exciting exercises to do, and many of my clients may tell you the same, but they serve a greater purpose than being entertaining. Without the ability to control your body or light weight in various positions that require an attention detail, like a bottoms up kettlebell position, you have no hope of performing more complex movements with an acceptable level of Competency. What a segue into my next point, all those essays paid off haha.

Competency can be defined as the ability to do something successfully or efficiently. However, when we speak about movement competency, just doing something isn’t enough, that ‘something’ must be done right. Just because you can lift 400 Lbs off the ground, doesn’t necessarily mean you successfully deadlifted it, If you had to lift it at the expense of form and safety. If you are competent with a movement then you do not have to succumb to any compensations in order to perform it. Movement competency also takes into account pain with movement. If a basic movement like putting your arms over head causes pain, it is no longer a “basic” movement for you, and it is now a movement that you are not competent with. Remedial or therapeutic measures may have to be taken in order to “clean” this movement up. We put up with pain far too well for our own good. I am a perfect example of this, for a long time I have had shoulder pain with many “basic” movements, including things like putting on my jacket. I have recently given my head a shake and have been putting a lot of work into making movements such as putting on my jacket or reaching into the back seat of the car competent, pain free movements. It can be a slow and at times boring road but what is the alternative? Pain for the foreseeable future? Surgery (which still includes rehab)? No thank you. I’ll keep working through my corrective exercises and earn pain free range of motion. The presents of movement compensation whether through a lack of control or pain avoidance does not show movement competency, and compensation does not lend itself to confidence.

As a Certified Personal Trainer, when a client demonstrates confidence with a movement is when I am comfortable with them doing that movement without supervision. I realize that this statement may seem a bit excessive to some, but when we are talking about movements like deadlifts, squats or overhead pressing it is a must. Confidence is empowering,  and only when confidence with a movement is present should additional weight be added. There is too much emphasis on moving heavy weight these days. As Grey Cook says, you have to “earn the right” to move forward. If you skip a step in the process of gaining confidence, chances are you haven’t earned the right to lift that weight off the ground or worse yet put that weight overhead. This is when injury becomes a real threat. Confidence isn’t given, it’s earned through perfect practice and time. Don’t rush it.

Watching someone who is truly comfortable with a movement is a great thing as a trainer. And knowing that client realizes that they have earned that confidence through exercising control of the parts involved, and demonstrating competency in all of the movements leading up to it is an extremely rewarding experience. Life is about movement. Being able to move through your life with Control, Competency and Confidence is living. The stronger your three C’s are with basic, foundational movements the greater your enjoyment of the little, and big things in life will be.

Thanks for reading. Until next time

Matt Kingstone

King Cobra Fit

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