Don't Run Before You Can Walk
You're finally back in the gym! You're so excited, you run over to the biggest weight you can find and start throwing it around...
... Aaaaaaaand then you throw out your back.
Or your shoulder. Or your hips. Or your knees. On and on, you get the the point.
No, this didn't happen to me since I made the commitment to get fit, but we've all heard the story of the guy who thinks he's still on the high school football team trying to carry a couch down the stairs.
Why does this happen? Is it because we just weren't strong enough? Is it because we're getting old?
The Kinetic Chain
Actually, according to NASM (the National Academy of Sports Medicine), there is this thing called the kinetic chain that influences every muscle and every move that we make. The nerves, muscles, and joints work together in a system to produce movement, and if one part of the human movement system is not working properly, it will affect the other systems and ultimately cause some problems.
Think of it like a car, plane, or any other machine, where if there is even one little problem the entire system could be compromised.
So how do we make sure that our kinetic chain is well cared for and functioning properly? By starting with functional fitness instead of going right for the good stuff, getting our feet wet before we jump off the high dive straight into the deep end.
Three Levels of Fitness
There are three levels of fitness that each person should try to hit before they can be considered fully fit: Stabilization, Strength, and Power (click here to see diagram).
At the stabilization level, we are trying to make sure that our muscles are balanced, and that none of them are working too hard or not working hard enough. Generally, when we throw out our backs or have injury after not having exercised for a while, it's because we have a problem in this area.
At the strength level, we start to lift weights, we begin to increase our cardio endurance, and we begin to see some real results from our training beyond just our functional ability to move around.
At the power level, we are finally able to lift heavy weights, sprint, and build up our kinetic chain to attack any fitness obstacle in our way.
As we go up each level, our fitness level increases, allowing us to do more and more and get the most out of our body. We can't skip a step, or we won't be able to achieve that optimum level that we all want. If you follow me every week, I'll help you climb up each level until we reach the top of the chain.
Now that we know the foundation of what we are trying to do, we can start to take control of our health and fitness and make sure we don't just look fit, but that we ARE functionally fit.
Thanks for reading, I hope you learned a little bit more about how to progress through your workouts.
I'll see you next week!
- Nate Powell