| MICHAEL GREENHOUSE
Over the years, I have seen and read a great deal about the how to train the human body. On the base level, training is actually a simple task. I understand “simple” may be a stretch, but it is simple. It is similar to the way math is simple to an accountant, or how a car engine is to a mechanic. There is a reason I used an accountant and a mechanic, mainly because most of us understand the difference between a good one and a bad one. The good accountant makes sure all the numbers are correct and does “A” before moving on to “B”. The same is true with a good mechanic: he or she does not jump ahead and fix something that is not broken. That situation is sometimes the norm in the fitness and health industry – people often do B before A. Fitness goers perform a task that they are not skilled for or even biomechanically strong enough to attempt. It is like putting the proverbial “cart before the horse.”
As you start a program or when you begin training, you must first consider your skill level, goals and limitations. Doing a program similar to a professional athlete that you’ve seen on the Internet, magazine or TV when your skill level is novice and you have poor mobility is definitely putting the cart before the horse. The body needs to be trained so that it can move easily through basic movements before attempting movements at a professional athlete’s level, or even an advanced-level fitness goer.
You want to be most focused on the method and possible gains of safely or on progressions and regressions. Every method needs to be adjusted to the individual so that it can be specific to the needs of you the student. (I use the term student because that is what you are – you will always be learning to become a better.) If you keep placing method first then you are placing the cart before the horse thus opening the door for poor fitness programing, higher level of injury and athletic / performance regression. The key to good training is to keep the horse in front of the cart.
Whether hiring a fitness professional or building your own fitness program, you must initially keep your program simple. There is not one exercise that fixes all or builds everything. Stop reading the fitness articles that proclaim the next great fitness trend, exercise or workout equipment. To be great at something – no matter the task – you must be brilliant with the basics before you can be great with the difficult. This statement can be geared to every aspect in life. In the fitness world, losing that mindset will not only lead to failing to reach your fitness goals, but you can very likely incur some injuries on the way down the mountain.