Pieces. Patterns. Movements.

By: Coach Paul

I wanted to share a little insight today about how the gears turn inside my head when a member asks me to coach them through a particular movement. There is a process I always follow, whether sometimes it is very fast in my head or it occasionally takes a little more time and analysis. Here is how the fun works!

  1. Perform: A member will first be asked to perform the movement to the best of their current ability.

This gives us a starting point to work together from. I have now seen a quick overview of their coordination and understanding of a movement. It develops initial points of performance I want to work on with that person based on their first glance needs

  1. Guided Movement: With my help and watchful eyes, I will make a quick attempt to guide a person through the entire movement.

Now I have gone below the surface to uncover more limiting factors in the movement. These could be:

  • Mobility - too much or too little range of motion

  • Strength - a particular area isn’t strong enough to perform the movement

  • Coordination - struggling to move their own body how they envision or not knowing the areas that should be acting to perform the movement

With that information I move into the most important part.

  1. The Breakdown

Every movement we do has more than just one area to focus on. Even something as simple as a bicep curl, which primarily is just elbow flexion/extension based, has to have focus on the shoulder area being kept in good position and a stable core.

I work through identifying the most basic pieces in the movement and then make my selection based on what is the most pressing issue.

  • Safety is of utmost concern, so if a fault increases risk for injury – that is first to be coached. 

  • Easiest thing to fix then is second highest priority. Fix what is easy to fix and often enough, other parts begin to fix themselves.

  • Details come last and are the fine tuning of movement. These are fun because based on the movement, person and the fixes we have already made – they keep changing!

The breakdown is ever evolving and follows the Pieces, Patterns, Movements mantra I have. Once I have helped break down the movement into a piece for someone to focus on, we work together to master just that ONE piece. Upon mastery of that piece, we have a new habit that requires very little focus from them, so we work on another piece. When multiple pieces are mastered, it allows us to then build upon that piece into a pattern We add pieces into patterns and can even put multiple patterns together which is when the compounding effect begins to grow. Finally, patterns build upon each other in order to create the WHOLE movement. 

This is how my brain works when I am analyzing movements – from as simple as a bicep curl to our very crucial squat or bending patterns. It is a never ending cycle that allows for continued growth in exercise and life! No matter if someone is brand new to physical activity or a professional level athlete. 

So if you ever wonder when you ask me to coach you on a movement, it feels that I avoid the movement and have you do something that is just a small piece…you can wonder no more. I want to build the foundation that gives you longevity.