Autonomy isn''t a word you hear too often in a fitness context, but that needs to change, ASAP.
Being able to do what you want to do with your body - without fear of injury - is the essence of what fitness really means. More importantly, that freedom and control instill a deep confidence in our abilities that radiates in everything we do.
Just FYI, this is pretty much the longest email I''ll ever send you, but what''s below is really important. If you don''t have time to read it all now, star it in your inbox and come back to it later, because it basically outlines our entire approach to training at GMB.
Obviously, building your own physical autonomy is important stuff, but most of the fitness talk these days is about "looking good naked" or "hardcore" maximum feats of strength and ability.
There''s nothing wrong with either of those things, but to us, they''re extras.
Autonomy is the foundation of why we do what we do at GMB
So this begs the question of how to increase your physical autonomy in the healthiest and most efficient ways and train your body to perform better in your chosen activities.
Ryan, Jarlo, and I have been very lucky to have had the chance to work with many, many thousands of people from all ages, cultures, and backgrounds, so we have a little bit of insight about how to do that. Most importantly, the answer is not some arbitrary set of standards for us to impose on your goals.
Instead, over the years, we''ve developed a framework for developing the attributes you need to perform almost any physical goal.
The 3 Elements of Physical Autonomy
Usually, this is the kind of stuff we''d put together in a blog post, and actually we have, but it''s important enough to deserve its own email too :)
We''ve found that there are three essential components you need to address in your practice:
- Strength- Strength is the fundamental driver of all movement. I don''t think I need to explain why strength is important...
- Flexibility- Call it what you want - flexibility, mobility, range of motion... whatever words you use, you must work to increase your body''s ability to access the positions and ranges necessary to perform your target movements without restriction.
- Control- Motor control encompasses agility, coordination, and skill acquisition - it''s the steering wheel that guides the engine (strength) and tires (flexibility) towards your destination.
Each of these three components is managed by the brain/body in different ways, so they have to be developed by different methods:
- Strength is developed with "progressive overload" -?gradually increasing force demands on the muscles.
- Flexibility is developed by "stretching," which we use as a generic term for conditioning the central nervous system to?allow greater range of motion.
- Control comes from repetition, ideally mindful practice with attention to the details that make a quality performance. As we like to say, "perfect practice makes perfect performance."
Applying these methods to any particular goal is a bit of an art form, but the reason I''m telling you about it is because we get questions all the time from people who want to know WHY they "just can''t seem to be able to" do the things they wish they could.
How to Reliably Increase Physical Autonomy
The answer is by using this framework to diagnose the missing links in your development.
Likely, you can stand to improve all three - strength, flexibility, and control - but for any particular goal, you''ll probably find that?just one?of these is holding you back more than the others.
And when you determine which one it is, you know exactly where to focus your efforts.
This is how you can gradually learn to use your body better for the activities YOU care about. Practice analyzing your performance with this framework, and you''ll never wonder what you need to work on.
And if you have questions, that''s what we''re here for.
Anyway, I hope you find this as valuable as we have. Like I said, it''s the result of working with?a LOT of people, and identifying these keys has made a HUGE impact on how we teach at GMB.
Thanks for being part of the GMB Posse.