Combining movements to build efficiency, coordination, and stability
We are often searching for the quickest and easiest way to reach our objectives. It’s not wrong to want to be more efficient, but there must be a consideration for how the result is affected. First, search for truth and understanding, then learn how to become more efficient. When the search for efficiency comes before understanding it leads to missed goals, but more importantly injuries. Before jumping into combining movements, build a solid foundation by allowing a few weeks to learn how to perform every movement individually. Develop the deepest of understanding for what that movement is accomplishing, how to perform it safely, and how to maximize it. Once a full understanding is achieved of the two movements you are combining, it becomes much easier to combine them in a way that saves time without decreasing the result. In this article, I will describe how the combination of movements can be used to build efficiency and coordination, but I will also point out how the result is affected and how to maximize it. Keep in mind that there is no good vs. bad when talking about doing the movements individually vs combined, there is simply a change in the result due to a change in the purpose. When we perform movements by themselves, it allows us to maximize the range of motion and truly feel what is happening at that joint or in that muscle. When we combine movements, depending on what those are, we can challenge our coordination, save time, or both. However, it must be known that if the purpose is to maximize range of motion, do not combine movements, but if maintenance is the goal, then it provides a perfect platform for it.
An easy combination to start with is a “Squat hold & Chest/Lat squeeze”. It doesn’t require any coordination and it saves about 30 seconds. Again, be sure to know how to maximize your squat and chest squeeze individually before combining them. Visit our movements page to find the descriptions for the movements mentioned in this article. Some of our movements are already presented as a combination of two movements, an example being the “Reverse fly hold”. In a “Reverse fly hold”, a hinge is being performed and that allows us to use gravity to our advantage, also performing a squeeze of the shoulders blades, strengthening the muscles of our back and rear deltoid (shoulder). The hinge is a foundational movement and an understanding should be built around it before performing a reverse fly hold.
The combining of movements varies in how it changes the result. In the case of the movement on the left, the result stays the same for both individual movements. However, in the photo on the right, the hinge movement is unaffected, but if you squeezed your shoulder blades in a standing position, it wouldn’t have the same result. By hinging over, gravity maximizes the challenge on the back muscles during the contraction. When performed in the standing position, gravity is challenging the front deltoid (shoulder). This is also a perfect example of how it often times isn’t a right vs wrong scenario, but rather just a change in the result.
When certain movements are combined, it provides a challenge for our coordination and in turn can improve our stability. An example would be the combining of “Hip CARS” and “Shoulder CARS”. By combining both of these movements, it limits what can be achieved in regards to the range of motion in the hip and shoulder joints, but improves the stability of the standing leg through challenging coordination. Performing the movements on the same side of the body and in the same direction (right leg with right arm, both moving forward first) is the least challenging for our coordination. It progresses in the following manner: opposite leg and arm, same direction; same leg and arm, opposite direction; opposite leg and arm, opposite direction. Keep in mind that the goal becomes centered on increasing stability and maintaining range of motion. The photos below show each of the movements described.
To conclude, be aware that there are many ways to combine various movements and the purpose of this article is to simply increase understanding as to how and what to consider. When we build you a program, we will teach you the movements that can eventually be combined to save time and build coordination, as described in this article. Visit our movements page to find descriptions and practice applying this concept yourself.
- Nicholas S. Beauchamp, Nov. 2019