Leg day is synonymous with soreness. Even staring at a squat rack too long can make the legs feel weak. So how do you approach a workout that has a squat or a variation for every workout? To fight the discomfort of not being able to sit on the toilet proper prep work is needed. Respect your rest days. Even though you may not be smashing singles in the squat rack, it isn’t an excuse to remain sedentary. Today we spoke with John Davies founder of Renegade training on how you can rep more while staying mobile.
The fundamental theory of general training, despite often sounding quite complex, is functionality. From the broadest long term plan to the daily regime, there is a functionality that serves the architecture of the human anatomy. This, borrowing upon the great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is the ‘form and function’ of general training that respects the immediate goals as well as serves as a form of insulation to the process of ageing and lowering the risk of injury. ‘Form and function’ are profound in my general training theories and why many have suggested I am the ‘grandfather of functional training’.
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However, if I was to suggest such a title, it would come with the comment that functionality starts with the ability to move with strength and fluidity of action. Power is graceful, grace is power and simplest demonstrations, the ability to rise from a low position, ‘the squat’, is one of the finest examples of mobility and functionality. In fact, I’ve never been able to come up with a more ‘functional training’ guideline than being able to comfortably squat twice your body weight.
The functionality of the squat as it relates to the broad scope of general training concerns is profound for it is far more than the broad term ‘strong’. In fact, for the trained eye, the squat is far more than an expression of power and speed but the two crucial concepts of training:
- Ability to maintain optimal posture under duress
- Movements, not musculature
Each of these underlying concepts are critical in the optimal performance and development of an athlete and serve the goals of an ‘iron game’ enthusiast as well as greatly limit the risk of injury.
Inefficient movement in the presence of failing work threshold is the recipe for injury.
The moment when posture is less than optimal, setting the wheel of inefficient movement in motion, is immediately prior to lowering the quality of performance and when the risk of non-contact injury radically increases. At the heart of this concern and each element of training, despite being callously overlooked for countless years, is mobility.
Mobility is the hands down ‘ace up the sleeve’ for athletic development and, for that matter, limitation. Said more simply, ‘if you cannot bend, you cannot use it’ and for each time I have heard coaches urge athletes to ‘bring the hips’, I am reminded few spend remotely sufficient time opening the hips.
One of the great viruses of modern sport development is athletes possessing short, tight hip flexors with insufficient strength of the rectus abdominus. This is the result of the changing habits of society, a nice way to note how the world seems fascinated staring at a mobile phone or video game as opposed to being physically active.
Improving mobility does not require expensive equipment or ‘secret training measures’ but rather basic tumbling exercises, i.e., somersaults, hurdle drills, the lunge pattern sequence as seen in ‘RED2’ and, of course, the most straight forward approach; daily Squats with a regular variation of styles.
Perform Cossack Squats Daily.
This approach, as simplistic as it may seem, will radically improve strength and power as well as general mobility (‘rust doesn’t settle on moving parts’) and recovery. Simple and effective, squat daily, recover faster and become more mobile. There are no ‘short cuts’ but progress is noticeable as what you do today will be a little easier tomorrow.
Forward somersault x 10
Spider Lunge x 10 yards
Cossack Squats x 60 seconds
Forward Lunge, hands clasped behind head, x 10 yards*
Forward Lunge, hands clasped behind head, x 10 yards**
* from lowered lunge position, bring opposite elbow to inside knee and rise
** from lowered lunge position, strengthen lead leg, pivot off heel, pulling toe back and turn opposite elbow to inside knee
Prepared by John Davies
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