Back to Basics

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Sticking to the basics is something that most of the strong people that I have ever been around seem to resonate. Yet the problem is, people have a hard time determining what the basics are. Most people consider themselves more “advanced” than they are when the are selecting movements or programs. I feel like I have the most success with making improvements in people when I step all the way to the very basics of movement and re-master it. I think that people are so quick to make the jump to something that they don’t get as much benefit out of it.

1- Lifting Shoes

This one has been on my mind lately because I have really been obsessing over correcting foot position and the profound effect that it can have on the quality of a person’s movement. I saw an article on the internet last week entitled “squat therapy”. The article is self was fine and I had no issue with what they were saying, however I was just driven a little crazy by the fact that in all the demo photos, they had someone doing them wearing oly shoes. Anyone who works with me will learn to do things barefoot. It is going back to the basics of learning to feel the ground and control your body. Too often I see people wanting to get Shoes to fix their squat, instead of just learning to squat and going back to the basics to do so.

I am not saying that you can’t do squats if you can’t squat without your shoes. I do promise you that you will see a profound improvement in your movement if you add some simple barefoot movements from a half kneeling position focusing on your foot position and you will see an improvement in your performance.

Check out this short 7min video of me and Dr. Quinn talking about feet…

 2- Belts

I coach at a local high school and I love to hear some of the things that those kids tell me in the weight room about what the guy at Fitness 19 told them and the thing that I hear the most is about the bro who told them how to use the belt and what it is for. The belt is to help you create intraabdominal pressue. Therefore, first you must learn to create that pressure first. You have to master your breathing pattern and learn to create circumferential expansion. I see people all the time do a horrible job using the belt, and they have no business having the damn thing on. I hate hearing when people tell me that they are putting the belt on to protect their back, and then they don’t even take a breath before they lift. Or worse, they take a big breath in their chest and arch their back real hard. A belt is a fantastic tool once you learn to use it correctly. Go back and lean the basics before putting it on.

Here are a couple of drills that you could add in to help your better learn to use your belt. (they also come into play for number three)

3- AB work

People are always going to want to do situps and no matter what you say they are going to stay convinced that they need to do situps, and all sorts of other ab exercises. I will go ahead and say that I think that farmers walks and other types of loaded carries and thing are far better ab exercises. However, I do believe that at some point, once you have learned to use your abs correctly, that there is a place for some hypertrophy type work, and that many of those exercises work just fine for that. Here is what suggest, spend a little more time adding in some basic ab exercises, and some breathing patterns drills. Even if you just couple them with your current ab work or cycle them into your program for 4 weeks at a time you will see some benefit from mastering more basic movements. For example, if you were going to do 5×10 situps, before each set, knock out a quick set of 10 breaths in a dead bug position, or in a basic 90/90 postion focusing on setting the correct pattern and I promise that you are going to tell an improvement in your performance. This is also an easy way to add some work in that will help you to better use the belt. These movements may turn out to be harder than you think if you focus on getting as much air as possible and exhaling as hard as possible.

Learn more from Ryan at and check out his webinar Breathe Your Way To Better Movement

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