Back to Basics
For those of you who read my last blog post, I talked about using body weight exercises in your home workouts. I talked about how a lot of body weight exercises can actually be very challenging for some people. Especially those who are only starting out and maybe aren't used to training using only your body weight. It probably came across as I was bashing body weight training. But I'm definitely not. I actually want to discuss the beauty of having to go back to basics and how going so will help with your lifts in the long run.
Lets start with one of the most popular lifts and one of the most common exercises to have issues with. The squat. Squats are one of the best exercises you can do. They work every lower body muscle as well as training you brace your core muscles and have stable shoulders. Social media is a wash with heavy lifts by gym monsters. So when you go to the gym to squat, it almost feels to have load up the bar to be seen to be keeping up with appearances. I can tell you now, you will make no gains by lifting with your ego. But it can be very hard to go in and squat weights that are more comfortable to you rather than doing heavy weights. I completely understand that you don't want to be judged by not squatting as much as the next guy. But we're not able to go to the gym as normal. Which means that there are no judging eyes around. So can now do what's best for you stress free. Not a lot of people have a barbell at home so most of us are having to squat with dumbbells or kettle bells or even just our body weight. So because we don't have the weights we are used to loading up with, we can now do some real work on what really matters. Your technique. This is a perfect time for you to step back and look at your squat. Do a check list in your head. Or actually write a list out. Do you do everything you're supposed to? What's you shoulder position like? Are you bracing enough? For your squat to be at it's best you need to be checking yes on everything on your list. What's it like at the bottom of your squat? Are your hips tight? Knees collapsing in? Now you have the time to work on your mobility and form. Work on all those tight areas that you feel in the bottom of the squat. Work on opening up your chest and shoulders more. Lets face it, when you go to the gym you want to lift. Not spend time foam rolling or working on a light weight. You want to get stuck in. This means that all those small issues, the tight hips, the tight shoulders, never get addressed and will hold your squat back. Take the time to correct these issues and when you return to the gym, you'll feel more comfortable under the bar than you ever have. It's common sense that if you can't squat comfortably with no weight that you are going to have problems when squatting with weight. Work on it until you have no issues squatting with no weight and feel comfortable at all parts of the squat. Then try using a light weight like dumbbell goblet squat. Keep making little adjustments and improving your mobility. You'll reap the rewards the next time you barbell squat.
The same logic can be applied to any exercise and anything in life to be honest. Most of us aren't able to do things the way we are used to. So use this time to go back to basics and improve on the fundamentals what you want to improve on so that you have a good solid foundation to work off on your return. Address something that you feel is an issue or holding you back and work on trying to improve it. It doesn't have to be gym related. Same applies to sports. If you do martial arts and feel like you kicks aren't as good as they could be. Don't worry about kicking as hard as you can. Focus on technique and make sure you've got that down. Use this extra free time to stretch more and improve your flexibility and strengthen the muscles you use when kicking. When you return to your class after this, your kick should have come on leaps and bounds.
If you don't use this time to strip things down and access where you can improve, you will return to the gym or your class with the same issues and problems you've always had and they will continue to hold you back. Be honest with yourself and work on whatever things you feel are holding you back from going to the next level. Overcome them and return a better version of yourself.