Gray Cook: Movement Minimums

Gray Cook explains how managing movement minimums gets to the root of movement problems and gets your clients closer to their goals.

Think about educational environments. The most modern educational environments are leveraging everything they can to help the students learn, but let me tell you where it got a thousand percent better—when a teacher shut up for a minute, went around and got in one of the seats and actually tried to see what does it feel like from a child’s perspective.

Remember the Charlie Brown cartoon? What did the teacher sound like? What does a football coach sound like sometimes? What does the physical therapist, personal trainer, chiropractor or athletic trainer sound like sometimes?

You’re saying, “Glute activation.” Guess what they’re hearing? “Wah wah wah.”

They’re awkward. They’re intimidated. They’re disconnected.

I’ve built an entire career in fitness, performance and rehabilitation simply doing one thing, pulling red flags out of a situation.

I was recently at an NFL training camp with an East Coast team, and I can promise you this: Once your bench press number goes beyond your bodyweight, they don’t care how strong you are.

They care how weak you are, but they don’t care how strong you are because football isn’t about bench pressing. If you can’t bench press your bodyweight, that’s a red flag that maybe something’s wrong with your recovery, your shoulder mechanics, your neck or maybe you have pain. Once you can bench press what they consider the minimum for the position, your bodyweight, your age or whatever, they don’t care how strong you are.

Manage the minimums.

When I get to consult with somebody who’s been to as many as six other people, I don’t assume for a minute I’m smarter or that others dropped the ball. Maybe their standard operating procedures let a red flag through. Perhaps they forgot to ask about recovery, nutrition and hydration. They may have forgotten to consider movement minimums.

As we think about minimums in movement, we could go down two different paths. We could go through the whole body and check range of motion at every joint.

There are some fitness models that do this. However, range of motion at every joint doesn’t guarantee movement. A baby has full range of motion at every joint. What does her vertical leap look like?

Don’t assume mobility is movement, and especially don’t assume stability is either. Half the time what you think is stability is stiffness.

More on this lecture, program design and the FMS at OTP:

The Future of Exercise Program DesignGray Cook, Lee Burton & Alwyn Cosgrove: The Future of Exercise Program Design

More from Gray Cook:
Functional Movement with Gray Cook