Varied Movement: Your Path to Athletic Glory

The human body is one of the most adaptable things on earth, if it wasn’t we would not have survived this long. So for effective daily functioning we need to challenge the body in as many ways as possible so we can continue to be a success not only in the gym but in life in general. Varied movement is key to athletic performance.


Those of you reading this article care about your performance. You visit sites such as Rise To It to gain knowledge because you want more from your training than the average human. “Knowledge dispels fear” was the mantra used during my parachute training in the army. You are seeking knowledge so you can better understand the myriad of movements and techniques available in the world of fitness today. This knowledge will give you the courage to try something new to allow you to complete the race or drop a pants size.

By reading the articles on the site you have demonstrated an athletic mindset. We can assume that you all engage in some form of physical training.  This involvement in physical activity gives you the opinion that you are fit. With that in mind how many of you have gone horse riding, while under the impression that you are a fit and strong individual? Those of you who answer ‘yes’ will also have felt the stiffness that follows… I’m sure you have uttered the following phrase, “Wow, I have found muscles I never knew I had!”

We all go to gym or CrossFit or Boot Camp and think we are HARDCORE and so fit. Are we really? The answer is no!! Even when it comes to my beloved CrossFit – where there is “constantly varied, functional movement, performed at high intensity” there are huge gaps. Let me explain…

In human movement we divide the body into three movement planes. Frontal – dividing the body into front and back, Sagittal – dividing the body into left and right and Transverse – dividing the body into top and bottom.

Most exercises found in CrossFit move the body in a forward/backward and up/down motion. There is little emphasis on rotation. So while the movements look “varied” they are following the same pathways so we end up not challenging our bodies from the multiple angles needed due to the bars and other forms of external resistance we are using in our workouts.

The CrossFit Games has boosted CrossFit around the world but in my opinion too many Boxes are going through the motions of mainstream CrossFit moves like Thrusters and Olympic lifting and shying away from movements such as Rolling, Cart Wheeling and Crawling. This is due to the competitive aspect taking over with people wanting to perform in the CrossFit Games Open or local competitions.

Don’t misunderstand my point, competition is one of the great attractions of CrossFit, but while the numbers are going up on the Deadlifts at the various Boxes, can the same be said for continuous backward rolls across the floor space at a Box?

Medieval warfare was the ultimate competition. Combatants wore armour and wielded a heavy spear or sword along with a shield and engaged in a life or death struggle for hours on end. If you stopped for water, you would have been killed – in that world, that counted as a “No Rep”.

Today we are far too concerned with the load we are lifting or the place at a comp.

Let’s step back and look at why we do what we do. We do so to be better today than we were yesterday, to become truly athletic we need to get away from the norm every now and again and throw in the some Back Rolls amongst the Squats and challenge the gift of the human body.

Till next time – Care about your performance.

Do you include movements that are rotation-centric when training functional fitness?


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