MovNat Drills at CK-FMS

I always like to take the opportunity when we’re doing some type of movement to create a lesson or an experience. At CK-FMS we used some MovNat drills to demonstrate how scalability can allow us to create a safe experience for a large group.

But in contrast, I also demonstrated how each person in the group could have gotten more out of it had we known a little bit more about how each moved.

Some in the group got better balancing just through cuing. Others in the group got better by going into a more primitive pattern that required both reciprocal movement and significant amounts of core stability. The third group actually benefited more from mobility work.

Even though the entire group benefited from the group experience, had I given each of the three groups a little more of what made the biggest difference in their abilities to move better and balance better,  we would have observed even more progress in the same amount of time.

So the lesson in this experience is to always use good observation of your group and scale activities according to individual abilities and safety requirements.

However…whenever possible, knowing a little more about each person in the group can still allow them to work as a group, but we can also work in smaller groups on specific deficiencies or dysfunctions and come back to the group to demonstrate their improvement together.

Ponder these things as you watch this clip.

This will be my focus at the Perform Better Summits beginning next weekend in Providence, later this month in Chicago and in August in Long Beach. For a longer look at the drills, check out the DVD Erwan Le Corre and I did, Exploring Functional Movement.

Start With Why

You can tell Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why has been out for a while because his stories and analogies are a few years old. But the book itself is absolutely timeless. It really forced me to think about the future of what I do and what my role is in Functional Movement Systems.

Our work in Functional Movement Systems in representative of this ‘why’ approach, as is the way our group has approached the SFMA with the medical community, in some of our work with Greg Rose at Titleist and in the kettlebell work we’ve done. It explains some of the things we did right, but also challenges us to do some of those things better.

Here’s the premise of the book: Start what you do with why. You may think that’s easy to do, but it’s not.

startwithwhyAfter I listened to the book a couple of times, I tried to come up with an overview of why Functional Movement Systems exists. Why did we develop the Functional Movement Screen? Why did we develop the SFMA? Why was I absolutely blown away the first time I saw the Y Balance Test Phil Plisky developed?

It really goes back to the nature of our business.

Functional Movement Systems isn’t a corrective exercise company. It’s not really even a testing company. We were a bunch of guys a long time ago in a physical therapy and training clinic in the small town of Danville, asking ourselves what we could do to be better.

If you’d prefer to listen instead of read,
here’s a longer version of this article,
Episode 35 of Gray Cook Radio,

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We were studying, reading books and taking workshops. We don’t live in a major market; we don’t have a big university. But we can still think outside the box. We can still use our brains. We can still apply logic.

We realized the fitness and rehabilitation models weren’t as good as they could be. Sure, we were learning to measure things more precisely, but what if we were measuring the wrong things? Advances in medicine often give us a clearer or more magnified view of a situation, but what if we’re looking at the wrong situation?

The Functional Movement Screen gave us a tangible thing we were missing. People looked like they moved pretty well playing sports or when we watched them do rehabilitation. But when we put them through this little movement screen, we discovered sometimes that movement wasn’t very good at all.

Sure enough, the people who had movement problems didn’t learn exercises quickly and seemed to show up in our clinic more often with injuries. It’s as simple as that.

IncorrectlyWe didn’t have a bunch of research dollars thrown our way. We just started asking lots of questions. Really, we made the assumption. We had the hypothesis: The world is looking at movement incorrectly.

Our ‘why’ statement—why do we exist, why are we here, why are we exploring this model—was and is this: We want to change the way the world looks at movement.

If that turned out to be coming up with better programs, it would have been fine. That’s what a lot of people were doing then. People had a gut feeling that what we were doing wasn’t enough. Many people went into the program-design business or tried to develop a piece of equipment without going back to the start, the idea that maybe not everyone needs the same program or the same piece of equipment.

I wanted to change the way the world looks at movement, but I wasn’t ready to pre-package a magic-bullet program or try to design a new product. Maybe the reason people weren’t doing as good as they could was because everybody was following a general program, one that’s not individually specific.

I was also disheartened going through physical therapy school. People knew a lot about exercise, but not much about the way human movement learning occurs. They were experts in exercise, but they weren’t experts in the way the brain and body learn to move.

If you’re really good at making pastry but the people you’re serving don’t eat pastry, you being a pastry chef doesn’t really benefit them. It’s just not what they need. It’s what you’re good at, but maybe what you’re good at doing needs to change.

We gauge our profession around the exercise physiology goals of movement, and not the behavioral goals of movement.

Simon Sinek in Start With Why tells us we have to define why we’re doing what we do. From there, we have to develop how we’re going to have our influence…and then what ends up being the product of that. He looks at very successful visionaries and shows us that while the competition was trying to copy their ‘what,’ the competition didn’t have the ‘why’ and didn’t have the ‘how’ of the development.

In many of the things we do when looking at movement—whether it be in medicine, rehabilitation, performance enhancement or fitness—we’re missing something.

Of course, not everything is wrong. Some of the things we’re doing are great, but we’re missing something. We’re jumping straight to specialized testing or performance testing without setting a movement baseline. That’s a big problem when you’re trying to change the way people move—and all of us to some degree are trying to change the way people move.

So how are we going to do that?

ReconsideringFunctional Movement Systems is not a screening company. We’re not a testing company. We’re not even an exercise company. We’re a company committed to giving you actionable steps to help people move better.

The first thing you have to do is find out how they’re moving. Set a baseline, and then use the best tools you have to change that baseline for the better.

Look at the kind of professions we depend on that protect and save lives. Look at paramedics. Look at pilots. Look at surgeons. These professions use a standard operating procedure and they follow systems.

It doesn’t mean pilots, paramedics and surgeons are stupid. It’s just the opposite. It means they’re smart enough to follow a system and a standard operating procedure for about 80% of the day. The other 20% becomes the curve ball. Then they’ll think outside the box, but only after following a standard operating procedure and the systems developed through history.

Fitness doesn’t really run like that.

I lecture a lot. I tell people on the weekends, ‘You already know the program you’re going to use with somebody on Monday, and you haven’t even met the person yet.’

You may think that’s not true. But what if we had a camera on the wall to watch your new clients? They’d be on the same equipment, getting the same instruction with little or no assessment. I don’t think that’s going to be the way we do things 10 years from now.

You can change early or you can change late.

We need more standard operating procedures, fewer programs and more systems. I have no idea what I’m going to do with a client until I meet the person. Each test I do provides actionable things to tell me whether I need more tests or if I can start programming with the information I have.

The first thing I would do is kill all the tests that are wasting your time and not giving you direction, and only leave you with one test at a time. That test will tell you whether to program this, or whether you need another test to better define the problem.

That’s the way we’ve stacked our information because it’s the best way to do it.

If we look at professions more evolved than we currently are in fitness, rehabilitation and performance, that’s what they do. If we’re going to get better, we have to do the same thing. Why? Because we want to change the way the world looks at movement, thinks about movement and tries to change movement.

There are natural principles the mind and body follow when it’s time to move. This is true when we move the first time,  and it’s true when it’s time to move after an injury, when we change our training or change an activity. The brain and body follow these principles, but if you don’t know them, it’s going to be very hard to program somebody to maximize the benefits of the time they dedicate to training.

The 10 principles are in the back of the Movement book, and I expanded on them here If you disagree with the principles, that’s fine, but I think you’re going to find there’s a lot of evidence for them. These aren’t my principles. They’re principles I tried to define to give you action points.

Gray-cook-movement-principle-1The principles are listed in order, meaning if you disagree with the first one, the other nine won’t matter. We’re on different paths. Go do your thing and I’ll do mine. You have to have some agreement with all 10.

If you don’t understand one, that’s okay. But before you disagree with it, make sure you understand it.

Our systems and our standard operating procedures are not based on my opinions. They’re based on these 10 principles. The way I choose to address these principles are very Gray Cookish. There are many ways to address programming and exercise to follow these principles yet do something a little bit different. These are just methods, and different methods are okay as long they don’t step on a principle.

However, if your methodology does something that disagrees with the natural principle of biological movement learning, you might want to change the method before stepping on the principle. You’re not going to get what you want.

What we developed was a little movement screen, the FMS. It’s not a performance test; it’s just a screen. We adopted the Y Balance Test to look at upper- and lower-quarter asymmetries. We have a medical movement screen, the SFMA, because the very first principle is to separate pain from dysfunction. If you have pain on a movement screen, you have a medical problem. Don’t ask for a fitness solution.

The next time you’re doing your ‘what,’ ask yourself ‘why’ and see if your ‘how’ is a correct way to do it. I’ve pulled some reps on this and because of that I feel even more confident in our model and some of the future work I’m going to do around it.

The book that helped me articulate this for you was Start With Why by Simon Sinek.

 

Exploring Functional Movement

 

Last winter’s work on the new Exploring Functional Movement DVD provided an opportunity for me to work with Erwan Le Corre, and to expose you to the wonderful work he’s doing with MovNat. After you read this, look into some of the history where Erwan has drawn a lot of his methods, opinions and principles. It goes far back, to a discipline called Le Methode Naturelle, which was a French movement very much like movements throughout Europe.

Erwan and I spent three days in three different environments to shoot this video. The first was on some property Danielle and I have in the mountains of Virginia on a beautiful little lake, where we did a lot of movement stuff. Every time we had a break, we grabbed a couple of YOLO standup paddle boards, got out on the water and played around.

The next environment we were in was the obstacle course at Hargrave Military Academy, a very old and well-respected military academy in Chatham, Virginia.

The third was in our physical therapy clinic.

Going from an almost wilderness situation to a structured outdoor situation to a structured indoor situation was our way of showing you that movement, natural movements and natural progressions can happen in any environment. It was cool to show the different environments, but the subject matter is always the same—movement.

If you’d prefer to listen instead of read,

here’s a longer version of this article,

Episode 34 of Gray Cook Radio,

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


With the invention of the Functional Movement Screen came a sort of tighter definition of corrective exercise, if you will. By that I mean we’ve always talked about corrective exercise, but without setting a baseline, we’re only assuming we’re correcting things. We don’t really have the evidence to demonstrate the correction’s success. We have anecdotal and subjective information.

People might say they feel like they move better, but if you’re going to have surgery, you don’t just want the surgeon to say, ‘Well, you know, a couple of people have done really well with this surgery.’ You want some evidence.

We should hold exercise and exercise program design to the same standards we wish on other professions.

So: With the invention of the Functional Movement Screen comes a tighter definition of corrective exercise. I’ve had that discussion with both Erwan and also with Pavel from the StrongFirst community. We see the pendulum. It always swings too far in either direction.

Early on in the Russian Kettlebell Challenge, we saw a lot of people who had very poor movement trying to load more and more kettlebell work on top of it. The way we answered that disconnect of quality was to create the CK-FMS, but that was only because people were ignoring some of the wonderful stuff Pavel did in his early DVDs and published works like The Naked Warrior, Relax into the Stretch, Super Joints and other similar work. Pavel has always talked about fundamental flexibility as a precursor to both strength acquisition and great movement patterns.

The CK-FMS helped people in the kettlebell community see where they were expecting to put loads of fitness on quite a bit of dysfunction, but then we had a problem. We had some people who really identified with that idea and never wanted to go heavy again. They never wanted to lift again—but that was never our intent.

Correct what you need to correct, and train what you can. It’s as simple as that.

If you’ve met the Functional Movement Screen minimum requirements, start training. Just watch it and make sure those minimums don’t erode. Make sure they grow a little bit. The goal of a movement screen—and I always say this—is not a ‘21.’ It’s just to get above the cut with ‘2s’ on everything, and no asymmetries.

Well. Again we see the pendulum.

People are focusing too much on the fitness aspect and forgetting the quality and the movement aspect. So we give them the movement baseline and show them how dysfunctional movement can get. Then they get obsessive compulsive about corrective exercise. The pendulum swings back and nobody ever goes long, heavy or fast again. Everything is all about correcting.

What Erwan and I talk about with MovNat is what people will ultimately ask: Where does this fit into Functional Movement Systems and in a functional continuum?

I use this analogy: Many of your dietary problems could be solved simply by getting a pure, more authentic diet, meaning let’s eat whole foods and unprocessed foods. If you’re going to eat meat, eat meat from a good pure source, a natural source, and just stay away from highly refined ‘foods.’

It’s almost a Paleo approach. Think of how many dietary issues—from portion control to glycemic index control—could be cleared up by removing a lot of the highly processed, empty foods from your diet.

What if we shine that same light on exercise? Before you get obsessive compulsive about corrective exercise, what if you simply took a more functional, more authentic, more holistic approach to what you’re doing, and at the same time delete some of those things that aren’t getting you anywhere?

In many of the things we do in the gym, we haven’t applied the rule of economy—the 80/20 rule. Is this really worth my time?

‘Why are you doing cardio?’

‘I have to lose some weight.’

‘How long have you been doing cardio?’

‘Five years.’

‘How much weight have you dropped in five years?’

‘Less than five pounds.’

Admit this is not working!

It doesn’t mean cardio is bad and it doesn’t mean you can’t drop weight. It means the way you’re pursuing it isn’t working. Simply admit that and move forward.

Now, here’s the way Erwan and I positioned Exploring Functional Movement. First of all, do as many whole movement patterns as possible. Before you get obsessive compulsive about corrective exercise, go back into this natural exploration of movement.

Many of Erwan’s exercises fit the definition of self-limiting exercises. The ability to do a volume of exercise is limited by technical precision.

Just imagine a balance beam. You can’t overdo work a balance beam unless you’re really, really good at balancing. Otherwise you’re on and off the beam, restarting continually. It’s the same with jump rope. You can’t overdose jump rope like you can with jogging, because most of us don’t have a good enough technique to go long enough to create a tendonitis.

That’s a big reason why I love some of these natural endeavors. Another reason is they’re sensory rich. There’s a lot more sensory information coming in.

Compare that to laying on your back doing a bench press—great load on the push muscles and great load on the pecs, but not a lot of sensory information.

We could probably take out half of your brain and you could still bench press. I’m not sure you could do a Turkish getup, that you could stand up on a paddleboard, run a technical trail or walk on a balance beam. Things that require your mind to be engaged and your sensory pathways to be open are very, very important.

The number one pre-requisite for sensory pathways—proprioceptors and muscle spindles—is appropriate mobility. If your ankle is locked up, you’re never going to have a good experience on a balance beam, because you need the ankle mobility to feel the subtle adjustments needed to balance. If the ankle input is taken away, you’re going to start dipping your shoulders, waving your arms and flailing your body just to stay on the beam. If you’d had the simple adjustments from the foot and ankle, maybe a slight bend of the knee or a simple tilt of the pelvis could have kept you on the beam.

Erwan challenges us to dispense with a lot of the things in the gym that probably aren’t engaging the sensory system, and to discard our focus on single body parts. With the time you free up by removing that, you can inject some whole body, primal natural movements.

This means we’d see these patterns throughout the lifespan of somebody living in a natural, authentic environment. They would have to crawl. They’d have to balance. They would have to run. They’d have to climb. They would have to manipulate the body and go under and over obstacles.

They’d to do this in a smooth and graceful way because an injury in a natural environment could mean problems. Doing things in a smooth, fluid and natural way, paying attention to what you’re doing, is a safety issue and a pre-requisite.

The first DVD we did last year, which we talked about last week, is Key Functional Exercises You Should Know—practice and precision and great ideas for correction.

Then I go right from a Yang approach to a Yin approach, the polar opposite or the dance of opposites. I do this thing with Erwan out in nature and talk about how it’s not all about corrective exercise. Sometimes just taking a more holistic exercise approach could get you there.

It almost seems like I’m contradicting myself, whereas in essence I’m showing you the full spectrum of what I hope for you.

If you still have deficiencies or if you have big problems, it’s almost like using supplementation. Still eat the whole foods and still have the organic diet, but hey, maybe you need to supplement Vitamin D. We might need to supplement with some correctives to help you get your squat back in a fast and efficient manner.

Even though these two DVDs, these two explorations—one on the technical precision of functional exercise and the other on the natural approach to functional exercise—look like they contrast each other, and maybe they do, but they also complement each other nicely. When you need a corrective, you should do it, but only do the corrective once you’ve cleaned up your own workout and see that your workout isn’t what’s causing the poor movement in the first place.

That’s the one aha moment a lot of people have when they come to a Functional Movement Screen workshop. They go back and work with their clients and realize the client movement screens aren’t that great. Yet they’ve been the people designing the clients’ programs for the past year.

Maybe your program is part of the bad movement pattern. It’s okay. Own that and do something better the next day.

How do you think we came up with some of our corrective approaches in the first place? We were the ones jacking people up, so we figured the least we could do was to un-jack them.

It would be my goal for people to look at both of these videos, then go back and forth to see how they really complement each other. One is my journey deep into practice, and the other is my journey deep into play.

Links:
Key Functional Exercises You Should Know DVD

Exploring Functional Movement DVD

Assessing Movement: A Contrast in Approaches & Future Directions

I’m surprised how many people think Stuart McGill and I are completely opposed in our opinions of training, rehabilitation and assessment of movement. Stu and I have had some amazing conversations, and although our background started in different places, each year our work continues to complement each others.’

This was completely obvious to Craig Liebenson, who has done a lot of legwork to create an opportunity where Stu and I can share the stage with Craig overseeing a discussion of our work. I’m sure there will be areas where Stu and I disagree, but I truly want you to know we have much more agreement than disagreement.

And the areas where we do have disagreement might force us all toward thinking a little greater to find common ground or reconsider our positions. Either way, this event at Stanford will be an excellent opportunity, and I hope you look forward to it as much as I do.

 Saturday, January 25, 2014, 8:00am-5:00pm

Hosted by Stanford Sports Medicine
Li Ka Shing Medical Center, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
Limited Enrollment—$400; $325 Early Bird—Registration Page

Please download this event flyer to share with your colleagues.

Your professional life in today’s world involves a delicate balance between evidence-based practice and the techniques that work, whether or not they’ve been studied—or perhaps can’t even be explained with our current knowledge base.

Are there procedures you use in the clinic
that can’t be proved in the lab?

Is there solid, lab-based research you just
can’t seem to make work in practice?

STUART McGILL | GRAY COOK | CRAIG LIEBENSON

Where do we go to get these important questions answered? Let’s turn to three of the most experienced educators in the field of movement: Professor and researcher Stuart McGill, physical therapist Gray Cook and chiropractic physician Craig Liebenson.

stu-power

 

 

As the head of the Spine Biomechanics Lab at the University of Waterloo, Stuart, with his nearly 30 years of research as back-up, can explain how the low back functions and how we get low back injuries—and perhaps how to prevent them.
gray-cook

 

 

 

 

Gray, after spending the past 20 years treating patients in the clinic and coaching strength athletes in the gym, knows what works in his practice, and can clarify that experience. His time on the road lecturing about modern movement issues and his work with the Functional Movement Screen gives him extraordinary opportunity to share data with his colleagues in the medical field. His expertise is what truly works in the clinic.

craig-working

With a clinical practice founded on the movement principals learned directly from Professors Karel Lewit and Vladimir Janda, Craig knows the questions you want answered. He knows where Gray and Stuart agree, and where they disagree, and it will be his job to moderate a path through the areas of harmony…and to where the thinking of these two leaders diverge. Craig’s mission for this event is to help these two experts guide a new generation of clinicians in what works, and what doesn’t work.

 

The underlying goal for the day is a lofty one:
They want to develop a road map
for the future movement, assessments and rehabilitation.

  • They’ll discuss the contrast in their approaches—quantifying movement in controlled & chaotic environments.
  • What’s the difference between movement competency and capacity? Which should we strive for, and when?
  • How do we qualify someone for an activity?
  • Can we predict injury risk?
  • What is the role of movement screening? Is it a compass or GPS?
  • The alchemy of training: Which exercises are more primary? What can—or cannot—be corrected?

book covers

Format: Our faculty teaches many hands-on seminars around the world. This program is unique in that the approaches will be contrasted & controversies openly discussed in a series of talks followed by Q & A  sessions involving the audience.

Filming: This event was filmed for DVD for those who aren’t able to make the trip.

This event is over.
Please click here to add your name to the email list so we can update you
on the video progress, and share exclusive video clips and transcript excerpts.

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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Stanford School of Medicine
International Society of Clinical Rehab Specialists
Functional Movement Systems
Selective Functional Movement Assessment
Movement Education Group
BackFitPro.com
LA Sports & Spine

Key Points about Key Exercises

Key Functional Exercises You Should Know—Workshop DVDWhen I took the stage in Long Beach for the Key Functional Exercises lecture, my intent was to show some exercises that changed me as a trainer, as a strength coach and as a physical therapist.

These unbelievably powerful exercises were present in my mind and in my playbook before I ever envisioned the Functional Movement Screen. I wasn’t using the Turkish getup in the beginning; I was using more bodyweight-type calisthenic movements like you may have seen in Athletic Body in Balance.

If you’d prefer to listen instead of read, here’s a longer version of this article,
Episode 33 of Gray Cook Radio

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


What I showed in the DVD were variations, bits and pieces or the whole of the Turkish getup and deadlifting and the variations we use with deadlifting. But first, I talked about chopping and lifting.

These are very important because they come off of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation and give us so many opportunities to disadvantage or take out the lower body by using kneeling and half-kneeling positions. These change movement. They’re unbelievably powerful, and they expose us to asymmetry.

One of the obvious things in Key Functional Exercises You Should Know is that symmetry is important. This is true whenever you’re doing a functional exercise, either to maintain function or as a corrective measure after you’ve done a screen or identified a bad movement pattern.

Straight bar lifts, as well as lot of the fitness equipment in use today, can mask a 60-40 participation between the left and right sides of the body. It’s very obvious on the bench press or the squat that these torques, twists, turns and bad form are really us trying to muscle one side because we’re substandard or inefficient on the other side.

The best way to get the twist out of your squat is to first make sure both legs have symmetrical mobility, symmetrical stability and then symmetrical strength—in that order, not in that reverse order that most people attempt.

In the key functional exercises, we have a left and right side appraisal built in. That’s how Tim Ferriss and I started the ball rolling when he pressed me to give him the go-to exercises since I didn’t have a screen to work off.

So I went to the exercises I was using in some form even before the Functional Movement Screen was developed. The screen is simply a baseline to show us how effective these are when done right, and how ineffective are some of the correctives I’d previously been taught.

From a kinesiological standpoint we’re exercising the right muscles, but if we exercise the muscle and the movement doesn’t change, let’s just admit the exercise may have been a great way to fatigue an individual muscle, but it didn’t really refine, change or develop movement in the way we hoped it would.

All right, that’s the overtone.

But it’s not my intent to start taking these exercises right into a workout, or right into a training situation.

Last week I wrote about play, practice and train. My intent for chopping and lifting in the different variations, my intent for the Turkish getup in the different variations and my intent for the deadlift in the different variations is for people to first practice these.

That’s what I asked Tim Ferriss to do—you’ll find out all about that back story if you have the DVD or if you get the download. 4hourbody I pressed him right up against this exercise gauntlet, but I asked him to really practice these moves. Do them with technical precision. If you notice a left-right difference, own it. Work on it. Deal with it.

He got that message right away.

Tim has been through the RKC. He understands that when you’re working on a pistol, the first thing you have to do is get the quality. A single-leg squat is more about quality at first, and later worry about sets and reps. He’s been coached by Pavel, so he understood what I meant when I told him to own the move, and not just gut through it.

I gave him the exercise gauntlet to go through and said—

If you follow the rules, if you practice these—don’t just train them, practice them first—the practice is going to provide a training effect, but it’s going to be driven by your technical precision and attention to detail—not how quickly you fatigue.

You’re going to fatigue, but I want you to fatigue with good form. I want the form to fatigue you, not the load. Believe me, doing a Turkish getup with good form will fatigue you quicker than just doing it with a heavy load.

key-exercises-2Doing deadlifts with someone like Brett Jones watching you where you own the form, meaning every time you pull it wrong you set it down, you’ll get smoked quickly. What you’ll learn is that your start position and your transitions are just as important as how you finish.

Most people have that perfect finish in their heads, what the top of a deadlift looks like, the top of a swing or the last two stages of a getup. They don’t realize it’s owning it in the beginning and really setting themselves that’s important.

My overview was exactly what I said—symmetry exercises that have full-body engagement, situations such as where the lower body is static and the upper body is dynamic in a chop-and-lift, or where the upper body is static and the lower body is dynamic like a deadlift. They’re complementary.

Then you go to something like the exercises in Athletic Body in Balance or the Turkish getup, and now you’re in a constantly changing environment. Your head position is changing. Your visual information is changing. You have a left-right cross-body experience.

As you consider neuroscience, you’ll realize crossing the midline in exercise is unbelievable; it’s absolutely huge. You’re definitely getting a lot of bang for your buck when activities force you to cross the midline. That’s why they’re so mentally fatiguing.

If you practice these exercises in a technically precise way, you’ll have a very high neural load—lots of processing. Twenty percent of your energy is going to the brain on any given endeavor, and when working on exercise precision, your brain is doing a lot. This is not mindless exercise. You’re going to be spent when you’re done. That’s by design.

It’s almost like doing the bottom-up kettlebell moves. They’ll smoke you, but not because they require 100% of one muscle. They need a vigilant, continuous engagement of all your muscles being managed and adjusted at varying levels.

Instead of one big volume knob to be in charge of when you’re doing the bench press, imagine you have to work an entire sound system. You have 300 volume knobs and you constantly have to adjust each one. That’s what the Turkish getup and chops-and-lifts on a narrow base will do for you.

Please, practice these first. Get good yourself. Coach other people until they’re good at them, and then incorporate them into training. Use these on a practice day, not on a training day.

Own the movement.

They’re highly technical. If they weren’t, they probably wouldn’t correct as much as they do. They probably wouldn’t help maintain the high level of function they do.

Pay attention to detail. Practice this stuff. Study.

If you’re going to study a few exercises, let me show you which to put your money on first. These are the exercises that have changed my career and helped me develop some of my opinions. Hopefully, you will agree with some of them.

And that’s the back story behind the Key Functional Exercises You Should Know DVD.