Think of your body like a race car. If you are going to take it to top speeds, everything in the car must be in sync and working properly. You may be able to drive the car around slowly without noticing any issues, but we need to put stress on the car to see where it starts to break down. You are the same way and your home gym is your controlled laboratory where you apply stress to your body to identify and fix the issues you find.
Have you ever said, “At least I got it” or “It was nasty, but it was a PR” when talking about lifting weights? With my athletes, these comments mean they owe themselves a re-do. Nasty reps may happen in competition when you are out of gas and need to push on, but they should be very limited in training. If you never have any nasty reps, then you are not pushing yourself hard enough. If you have too many nasty reps, then you are teaching your body that that is an OK way to move under extreme stress. We want you to learn from your nasty reps and attack the weaknesses that cause them.
Back to the race car…if your tires are a little flat, you can still drive around and even take the car up close to a top speed. But, once you take it to top speeds for a while, you will likely have a major issue. The hard thing is, if there is nobody checking the tire pressure, you may not know you are headed for a disaster. Our movement is the same way. We need all of the appropriate muscles to work together. If something is weak or tight or loaded incorrectly, the system is compromised. Your body will still figure out how to allow you to move which can get you into some major trouble over time. If you continue squatting above weight that allows everything in your body to do its job correctly, you are never going to fix the underlying issue and are just a ticking time bomb.
Accessory work is crucial to catching weak areas of your body up. This can be skill work, mobility work, or body building exercises. If you have trouble with your knee rolling inwards on a squat, eventually you are going to pay the piper and get injured unless you fix the issue. Unfortunately, everyone is different and this issue may be caused by coordinating muscles incorrectly, tight muscles or joints, and/or weak muscles. What we do know, is you must address the issue. Right now, your body has found a work-around for whatever your limitation is and simply squatting more is only going to make you better at your work-around.
Pay attention to technique issues because they will lead into fixing your weaknesses and you will see benefits in your fitness that reach further than you will expect. Fixing a pelvic floor issue may stabilize your hip and spine better allowing you to hold that knee, hip, and ankle in a stable position through-out your squat. This same pelvic floor issue may not have been noticed in your split jerk or running, but you will have immediate improvement in these movements as well.
There are some great apps out there that can help those who are not physically being watched by a coach. Coach’s Eye is just one example. At WOD at Home we offer personal consultations to help address your specific training and movement issues and concerns, as well as provide our members with the online WOD Foundations Course which allows our athletes to learn to perform movements correctly and consistently, then, incrementally, increase the intensity.
The moral to the story is if you know you struggle with a position or movement, prioritize getting it fixed and you will see great gains in your gym! It is not as easy as just trying to keep your knees out, or trying harder to maintain a neutral spine. Most of the time, the issue is bigger and needs accessory work. Ignore the issue long enough and it will eventually take you down.
If you are interested in WOD at Home’s personal training courses, please contact Kyle Ligon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Coach Kyle