Inside the Diamond Mine: Generate Power part 1
Within the modern exercise world, the enterprising young athlete faces a series of perplexing hurdles. Though all athletes, regardless of natural ability, intend to perform at optimal levels, inefficient movement patterns derail their efforts. This further becomes a circuitous problem for coaches who attempt to correct these patterns but as quickly learned, engrained patterns are not easy to change.
Just as mentoring athletes that ‘adversity is something you overcome’, a dedicated coaching professional must teach proper movement patterns through a barrage of different exercises. This is naturally complex because while on a cursory review, basic movements will create the desired impact, without correct compliance, the exercise’s value will be limited. While rarely noted, this sits at the root of the notion that many simply ‘train to train’ as opposed to training to improve performance in the field of competition or likewise personal goals. Recalling that central to all of my training theories is the idea of enhancing performance, athletes and dedicated coaching professionals must constantly address issues of movement generation and ensure all exercises accomplish their developmental goal. This is an extremely peculiar notion because while most athletes will chase heavier loads, despite good intentions they could be harming their longer-term goals with poor movement generation.
This issue is extremely difficult from a variety of vantages, notably passive activities in society, poor teaching practises often brought on coaches who cannot perform the movement correctly or simply negative habits that the modern exercise world has created. Many basic movements, key to development, are done so poorly not because the athlete does not wish to perform them correctly or is short on effort but simply because they are incapable of the basic movement pattern.
Whilst I am known for saying, ‘the one thing is the whole thing’ when asked of the ‘one thing to do in training, , the ability to ‘bend’ and generate power through the hips is key to an athletes success. If you cannot ‘bend’, regardless of your sport, the ceiling on athletic success lowers greatly. Additionally, while I have noted this is for ‘athletes’, for those considering improving general health, this point is instrumental is living a healthy, vibrant life.
Of the most basic notions within the weight room, is the Squat. The Squat is a cornerstone of training, yet in most case’s individual are not able to perform the movement incorrectly and receive the intended benefit. Whether it is young athletes, trembling their knees forward as opposed to pushing their hips back or advanced lifters leaning forward and bastardizing the movement into a type of ‘Torso / Back Lift’, the Squat is often done poorly. Is it a matter of teaching the movement correctly or whether the individual is ‘fit’ to perform the lift correctly is a matter of debate but to solve this issue I utilize a broad series of patterns found in my RED2 series, found in my DMC™ system.
This broad based system starts with some simple lunge patterns. Like the Squat, Lunges are taught dreadfully wrong where the individual simply slides out and pivots in some manner off the back foot. This approach does not recognise many key aspects of the lunge and in-fact when done correctly tells a great deal of the individual’s fitness levels, important aspects of foot and ankle strength, development flaws and cues up future training. In the first, most preliminary stage of RED2 series, we will begin with a ‘basic’ lunge pattern. I should paraphrase this because while I noted it as ‘basic’ most are incapable of the first position, known as the Rx 1 hold.
In the attached photo, the plant leg (R) is driven into the ground, whilst the opposite knee (L) is raised such that the upper thigh is roughly parallel to the ground. In performing this action, the individuals lower lever and torso / hip should not shift, with general ease of holding this position. Outside of this section, the ‘Rx 1’ is performed on a regular basis with holds of upwards of sixty seconds.
With the plant (R) leg taunt, the lower leg is extended, such that the bottom of the (L) heel is level the opposing knee as the athlete ‘reaches’ forward, in what is referred to as ‘Rx 2’. As with the Rx1, this movement is performed with longer duration sets and will have a radical impact on hip, hamstring and glute strength. This is a critical point to consider because while athletes will go to exhausting lengths to develop hip and hamstring length, if they cannot lift and extend their leg it is obvious there are flaws in there training.
From this position, the individual drops into a full lunge such that the lead shin is perpendicular to the ground, with the back foot pivots off the big toe as opposed to rolling off the outside toes. This is key for our goals of movement generation with the posterior chain, activation of the gastrocnemius and seen easily through power and speed. Whether you are looking for greater speed in sport, more power in your lifts or enhanced hypertrophy, by generating movement correctly you will get closer to your goals.
This movement should be performed both forward and backward, on a daily basis within the broad RED2 series. In the next of the series the movements will be extended but to start, it is best to repeat two minutes sets, three to five times per day. Equally, this can be performed numerous times during the day to assist general mobility and relief from extended periods of standing or sitting.
Prepared by John Davies
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