Movement Basics: Positioning

This edition of the Movement Basics Blog is extra special! We have a video to accompany the written article! (Click here to view the video!) Besides being super pumped to see my beautiful face on camera, you can look forward to a visual representation of the concepts from last  week’s blog and this one. Speaking of, this article piggy backs off of last week’s Body Organization principles

Moving up the movement basics pyramid from the small points of body organization, is body positioning. Body Positioning is the global aspect of how we orient our bodies in space, including the organization of the individual elements. In every athletic endeavor, or exercise, position is a huge factor. Positioning can set you up for success and optimal movement, or it can hinder your progress. 

Within the context of strength and conditioning, coaching position should be amongst the highest practical priorities. This is because if we can establish a good position this pre-empts good movement. I simplify this into an alliteration “position preludes performance.” If the athlete starts in a strong stable position the movement is likely to be strong and stable.   If the athlete starts in a sub-optimal position, one of two things are likely to happen. 

The first problem that comes from setting up in a bad position is bad movement: compensation. A compromised pattern may masquerade as effective, but ultimately these patterns will lead to injury, or just worse performance. Compensation and positioning have an interdependent relationship. An athlete may set up in a compromised position because they are strong from that position, i.e. they have become very good at compensation. Also, an athlete becomes good at compensation by often setting up in a bad position. Either way the solution is to find better position.  

The second option if an athlete begins in a bad position is that the athlete will shift to a better position, then begin to move. This is slow, and if we have to shift to a better position to move anyway, why don’t we start there? 

As pointed out last week, there are so many small points to make about good positioning and body organization, that it would be a colossal task to include them all here. Instead, I want to provide over-arching principles that guide all movement. Such as some of the points about the bench press and deadlift from last week. Check out this week’s video for more of these principles in relation to positioning in the weight-room. Specifically, the push up and split squat! (The Video is also here!)

As with every week in this blog, lets broaden out understand of movement, and use that to get a little better in some aspect. This week let’s get more aware of how we organize parts of our body within the position for the movement. Is your position solid? Could I knock you over if I pushed you? (I should not be able to) A stronger position almost always yields stronger movement! – Alex Friedman

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