Even if you regularly exercise, new workout routines can cause you to struggle. Many don’t know this, but the human body is capable of only six movements – Squat, Hip Hinge, Lunge/Gait, Push, Pull, and Twist. That’s it. By learning to do these six patterns you will unlock a whole new world of exercise. Every movement is a combination or variation of these patterns. For example, a kettlebell swing is an explosive hip hinge, chest press is a horizontal push, and pull ups are a vertical pull. Even the more complicated ones like hang clean is an explosive pull followed by a partial squat.
This is important to know because if you spend time mastering these six patterns, you will have little to no trouble picking up new exercises, you may just need to practice. For example, say you are new to squatting. The movement is very much like sitting down but you need to keep the torso vertical and initiate the movement with the hips and gradually load the quads. Squatting can get complicated. Keeping the torsos vertical lat engagement is needed. The movement is initiated by the hip but if you push too far back you will go into a deadlift. You’ll need to control the descent and prevent yourself from dropping. Don’t be discouraged if you fail the first time, you may just need practice. And if at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.
Many do not think of working out as a skill and just get frustrated by what they cannot do. There are movements that you won’t be able to perform if you are not training yourself to do them. Even the simplest exercise can be challenging to the untrained. Some of us are more athletic and can pick things up easier but for the rest of us, we need practice. You can reserve practice for class or training session but to really pick it up you need to try it every day.
Let’s go back to squatting. If you are trying to learn it, why not try a few reps every day? Take any skill in the history of being a human – language, using a computer, or anything related with your job – would you not pick it up faster if you had to do it daily vs. only doing it on a daily basis? This doesn’t mean you do squats till you’re sore every day but just a few reps to really dial in on form and feeling. Practice will rewire your brain a lot faster. We all know how to squat but every time we try a chair or toilet seat gets in the way.
The thought may seem crazy but it will get you to your goals faster. Don’t just think of working out as something you do in the gym – adapt it into your lifestyle and make it part of your every day. If you are struggling with a certain aspect that means you need more practice.
Skills can be learned and working out is a skill.