7/26/13

You Don't Have To Run To Move

How weight room are you? Are you so weight room that any exercise not involving a weighted load immediately goes into your mental kitty litter box? Are you so weight room that the last time you ran was to the bathroom after a heavy meal? If other people stare at you because of your awe striking muscles and your gravity challenging weight then you’re probably very weight room. With the boom of crossfit and other running clubs you might have been mocked for you lack of forward motion. However, I have some great news that will keep your joints functional without making you run.


Many strength athletes have to hit the turf every now and again to emphasize function and movement. Just last week I talked about the importance of walking. What I neglected to mention was the mobility benefits that come from moving all day. Sprinting with proper form is like high level mobility training. Similarly, doing exercises like sled pushes or crawls can mimic intense mobility as well. As Kelly Starrett explains in his new book Becoming a Supple Leopard inactive stretching is less effective than active stretching. So doing a static toe touch doesn’t hold water when compared to a flex and release toe touch. Therefore if you stretch or do mobility, then you should also mimic proper running and moving form.

A unified grunt of dismissal has been released by all of those who consider themselves extremely weight room. But don’t give up on me now, there is a solution to the problem. Elitefts has a product called a prowler that they use; the prowler is essentially a sled that can be loaded with weights and pushed. Rather than buy one I had a DIY project and made myown push/pull sled; the guys at EO3 would be proud. When doing a sled push the mechanics of the hip and knee joints are put in a “primal” position; in other words the range of motion in the hip, knee, and ankle joints are stressed into a positive adaptation. With the introduction of a sled you no longer have to isolate your functional mobility to sprinting; not to mention the benefit of some cardio.

If you’re like me, and already as lean as you want to be, then you might not want to spend time doing cardio. A few months ago I began suffering from tendonitis pain in my knee due to a mistake when doing max effort deads. I tried to muscle my way through the pain but my body was not having it. I also attempted hours of mobility work around the joint, but I only saw minimal improvement. It wasn’t until I began doing lunges that I saw true mechanical rehabilitation. When you break down the lunge you will be able to see a similarity between it and running. There are many variations of lunges, but for today’s post I will only explain my favorite.

When lunging for mobility it’s important to look as goofy as possible. If you’re doing this lunge right then there is a good chance other people in the gym will make a double take. When lunging do not stutter step between movements; your goal is to mimic running, and most people don’t stutter step between strides. Secondly you will want to drive your knee up before lunging out; imagine an Olympic sprinter whose knees explode up between steps. Finally, when lunging you want to keep your upper body perpendicular to the floor; just like with the knee drive an Olympic sprinter does, you also want to imitate his/her torso.

So if you struggle with joint pains and stretching just isn’t helping, then perhaps you should try sprinting, pushing a sled, or if you’re as weight room as I am you should start lunging!

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.