It has been 4 weeks since I started coaching Movement Group Class at Aspire. I usually don’t coach my Movement Method as Movement Group Classes. I prefer to coach as One-on-One Private Movement Class Sessions, since my coaching requires absolute, undivided attention to the slightest details in my client’s movements and bodies.
But since I want to bring awareness and the benefits of Movement Practice to more people, I decided to open a small Movement class in Aspire.
Most of the attendants of my Movement Group Classes are committed athletes who do either CrossFit, Strength Training or HIIT (High Intensity Training). All of them women so far, and these are the result of our experience with movement together.
Before I proceed I want to clarify the following points:
Warning One: This blog isn’t about criticizing those who have been brave enough to venture into my movement class, quite the opposite. It is about sharing knowledge and feedback, so others can learn from them.
Warning Two: I am convinced that my findings are not particular to Aspire or CFBK, quite the opposite. Aspire have some of the best coaches around and they pay particular attention to quality of movement and smart programming.
The shortcomings I have seen with my students are more a result of modern exercising, which is an artificial way of keeping the body active and healthy as well as the unreasonable expectations that people put on sports and exercising.
Our society is driven by “quick fixes” and “quick results”. We screw up our bodies 23 hours a day and try to fix them in 30 to 60 minutes, every other day.
The blind pursue of a “bikini body” or a “perfect body”, “burning the alcohol” or “burning the fat” have cornered the sports industry. The results are crazy protocols that damage bodies instead of repairing them. But people sweat and are happy with the punishment.
No one is talking about how to keep and further develop the physical characteristics that allow a functional, dignifying, healthy and pain free life.
This imbalance is what my Movement Method, my One-on-One Private Movement Class and my Group Movement Classes are trying to address.
Women, The Only Students So Far In My Movement Group Classes
As stated before, women were the only brave and open minded enough to join my group movement class.
Since women are less emotionally invested in being strong and their egos aren’t based some much on physical performance, they are more willing to try things that are alien to them.
This is obviously positive since they will always find more avenues of exploration. The more wholesome your life is the richer and joyful it is. Women are real agents of change.
Most of the girls attending my classes are coming back after trying their first time. That’s great news! I appreciate their commitment, efforts and patience to pull through the most difficult part of the Movement Practice, the beginning.
The Shortcomings of Strength Training, Crossfit and HIIT
You would believe that working with people who have consistently been working out for months or years would be functional and performing above the average. That is not the case. Quite the opposite.
I was lucky to have one attendant who is brand new to exercising. She has become the “control” in my experiment. She allows me to compare a “normal”, sedentary person, to highly active people. Through the blog I will call her “Control Girl” for reference.
Outstandingly, she is the one with better mobility and overall less compromised function in her body. She does have slightly less Body Awareness, but none of my students have significant Body Awareness to begin with.
The Findings After 4 Weeks Of Group Movement Class
These facts are that, facts based on observation. By no means they are criticism to my beautiful students.
Compromised breathing. Not a single attendant to the Group Movement Class has a natural, unrestricted breathing technique. They all use and abuse their secondary breathing muscles – face, neck, chest and shoulder muscles to breathe. Their diaphragm – the main muscle responsible for breathing -, barely works.Since oxygen is the most essential element for human life, I can’t stress how bad this is for them, short and long term. Inside and outside the gym.
Non-existent core muscles. Literally there is no development of the core muscles. Excessive efforts in HIIT, Strength Training and CrossFit, with zero attention and understanding of how to engage the core muscles, have left them with unresponsive, atrophied core muscles. Interestingly “control girl” had more core muscle development that everyone else in the class.
Rigidity. Following the point above, I have seen only rigid rib cages, necks, jaws, ankles, wrists, fingers, toes, etc. The only way to generate “strength” without core muscles is by creating tension by rigidity. Unfortunately rigidity puts people right on their way to injury, arthritis, etc.
Zero Body Awareness. You would imagine that people who “use” their bodies to do highly complex movement every single day had some connection between their minds and their bodies, but this isn’t the case. Things such as how to “feel” or “activate” certain muscles or structures were answered by confused looks.
No Muscle Development or Strength. CrossFit, Strength Training and HIIT are not delivering any significant increase of muscle mass, strength, or endurance. Since rigidity is their main way of delivering power, they are using their joints rather than their muscles for action. Muscles then go practically “unused” during their sessions, while tendons and ligaments get rigid and locked. Even something as simple as staying in the “All Fours” position, exposed their adductors weakness, when their legs kept sliding off to the sides after only a few seconds holding the position.
Scapular Function And Stability Compromised. Either overly “quiet” scapular function or winged scapula. Not a single healthy, functional, stable scapula has been spotted.
- Compromised Spine Flexibility. The spines of each of the attendants of the Movement Group Classes share another dangerous characteristic: their spines are rigid. Spine mobility is an indicator of longevity. Spines that are rigid, locked into hyper flexion, compromise natural movement. The rigidity and the hyperflexion damage the discs by compressing them constantly. I believe the constant, “misunderstood” cueing of keeping a “straight back” is what is damaging these ladies. Lordosis and Kyphosis are present in different degrees in all attendants.
- Anterior Pelvic Tilt. Because of the excessive flexion of the lumbar spine, shortened hip flexors, overly-elongated hamstrings, among many other reasons, the pelvis is tilted forward excessively. This tilt completely inhibits core muscles engagement, including pelvic floor, affecting the glutes, and causing flared ribs, permanently locked knees, ankle mobility, sternum rigidity and protrusion, thoracic and cervical spine rigidity, etc. None of them were able to move their hips into a posterior tilt at will. That is how locked they are and how poor their Body Awareness is.
- Locked knees. All my students have “locked” knees as their default position. Every time the Core Muscles were called into actions, the knees went locked. This is a failure of coaching. Most coaches aren’t even aware, or they don’t care to correct while coaching.
- Rigid, protruding, elevated sternums. Another one that can be traced to poor coaching everywhere. Starting from our parents really, when they ask us to “stand up straight” and then they show us this “soldier like” position, where the chest is up and the butt is popping out and up. It is also a natural result of lordosis and spine rigidity. Bad coaching enhances this problem when telling students to end their deadlifts with the chest up.
How Does My Movement Method Address These Problems?
The Movement Method I teach in Movement Classes can’t be called exercise neither sports. It truly is human, natural movement. My Movement Method was developed to open a gentle space for the body to heal and recover its natural capabilities.
Therefore, all the findings above can be reversed with patient, intelligent, guided, and purposeful practice.
This is a simple way of visualize the process of fixing all the shortcomings I found with my Movement Method:
- Developing Body Awareness
- Loosening rigidity
- Separating function
- Relearning function
- Sequencing function
What does it exactly mean?
When Body Awareness is developed, we can call the right muscles to do the right job.
Muscles that shouldn’t be recruited to perform certain movements or to stabilize can be quietened. They go back to the natural length and tension.
When the right muscles are doing THEIR JOB and not, the job of their neighbors, they can work and develop correctly.
Muscles become naturally relaxed while holding correct tension – not rigidity -.
Once deep skeletal muscles unlock, ligaments and articulations start going back to their neutral positions.
Fascia adapts to the new positions the body is finding itself.
Reintegration and function then can be relearned.
If you want to learn more about my Movement Method you can click here.
Why You Should Be Taking My Group Movement Classes?
Because most likely, you suffer from the very same problems I just described above.
You could be thinking, hey, I better stay like “Control Girl”! But Control Girl has a set of problems not described here, that she can fix by practicing Movement, rather than engaging in HIIT, CrossFit or even Strength Training. All of these practices have their own positives, but only after the body is primed and capable of natural movement, NEVER before.
I also must say that I have a second “Control Girl” who can be described as the fittest, strongest and most committed to hard-core training. She is by far the most affected by all the problems I described above. I have then a micro-cosmos of statistical data with both extremes represented in my Movement Class. My Second Control girl recognizes her problems and is working hard on reversing them. But she is conflicted because to improve she will have to back away from hard training, and SHE IS very invested emotionally on performance.
So you should be taking my Movement Group Class or One-on-One Private Movement sessions, because every individual sample in Aspire’s “population” that decided to take the movement class, has seriously compromised mobility and is moving in ways that are conductive to injury or disability. Every single case. Perhaps talking like a financial professional bullshitter will give me some extra credibility.:p
The Movement Group Classes are sensitive to what the students are in need of. They are design to heal and to teach the body how to move correctly. They aren’t designed to entertain or punish the body. They are tough and require patience, attention, discipline and great intelligence, BUT THEY DELIVER INCREDIBLE RESULTS!
I know that starting something new is intimidating. Sucking at stuff isn’t pretty. Risking to look like an idiot either. Venturing and doing new things isn’t inviting, unless it’s in a brochure and has a big price tag.
Benching, squatting and growing biceps are most people’s comfort zones -. But these practices rarely deliver real health, real mobility, real quality of life, longevity, and a life free of pain.
So I invite you to take one of my Group Movement Classes at Aspire, or a One-on-One Private Movement Coaching Sessions. They are not threatening, they require no flexibility, balance or coordination above average, and they aren’t girly. Unless you make them 😀
Thanks for the beautiful women that have decided to join my classes, as they allow me to continue learning about the beauty and complexity of the human body. And thank you for reading this blog.