“Authentic” lifting which is safe and effective lifting, provides long-term, life-long results including excellent results from your exercise program, terrific outcomes when competing in or enjoying recreational/sports activities and most importantly, moving through your activities of daily living (i.e. ADL) with ease.
Therefore, this week ten questions will be featured which you may ask yourself prior to lifting ensuring authentic lifting practices. If you are unable to accurately answer any of these questions, please consider making a few positive changes to your program including seeking out the expertise of a qualified/certified fitness professional to guide you along your lifting journey. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Question #1 What is the action/movement? Performing any exercise requires you to possess a fundamental understanding of what you are attempting to achieve. For example, if you are attempting to perform a biceps curl, the action is flexing the elbow moving the forearm toward the shoulder joint.
Question #2 What is the setting or environment? The environment refers to where you are performing the action/movement (i.e. standing on the floor, in the water, on a step or BOSU). The environment will directly impact how the exercise is performed.
Question #3 What is the body’s position? The body’s position refers to standing (upright), sitting, lying supine/prone, or kneeling. For example, you would not choose a standing position for a chest press with dumbbells as this does not place the pectoral muscles in opposition to ground forces. Instead you would choose to lie supine placing the pectorals/deltoids/triceps muscles in an optimal position opposite of gravity.
Question #4 What is the driving movement? In the example of a biceps curl, while the biceps muscles create the movement (i.e. origin at shoulder joint, insertion across elbow joint), the forearm is moving toward the shoulder, so it is the driver.
Question #5 What is the direction of movement? The direction of the movement is determining in what plane the movement is taking place (i.e. sagittal (right/left), frontal (anterior/posterior) or transverse (top/bottom).
Question #6 What is the height (i.e. initial, middle, end) of movement? This refers to the vertical displacement of the movement. In a classic biceps curl, the arms begin with palms facing forward at zero degrees by the sides of the body (i.e. initial), flex through 90 degrees (middle) to 150 degrees of elbow flexion (i.e. end).
Question #7 What is the distance of the movement (i.e. range of motion)? In the example of the biceps curl, the range of motion is from zero degrees to 150 degrees of elbow flexion. *All muscles have an optimal range of motion.
Question #8 What is the appropriate load for this exercise (i.e. body weight/external load)? Appropriate load is generally determined on how well you are able to perform the exercise without breaking form and achieving momentary muscle failure in the final two repetitions.
Question #9 What is the appropriate tempo of movement for this exercise? In most muscular strength training exercises, the tempo is slow/controlled.
Question #10 What is the duration of the movement (i.e. how long)? During a biceps curl, the duration is based upon the tempo, for example two slow counts up and four counts down – approximately 2.5 seconds per repetition, 30 seconds per set.