On Movement Skills (Part 3)

Efficiency: The connection between the brain and the body in performing a given movement. The ability to accomplish something with the least waste of time and effort, competency in performance.

Focusing on efficient movement forms the foundation of a strength and conditioning program. This requires a combination of motor control, stability, flexibility and joint range  of motion/joint integrity.

The recent introduction of maces and Indian clubs in my training proved these points in unexpected ways. They also served as a reminder that even with nearly thirty years of training that I very much a student and far from being a kinesthetic genius.  

When learning a new exercise the first changes to occur are internal at the neural and cellular level along with relatively tiny muscle structures that cannot be seen in the mirror.  When my 15lb steel mace arrived from Onnit.com I was able to competently perform clockwise 360 spins immediately, however my counter clockwise movement was decidedly different in both quality and speed.  The purchase of a 7lb steel mace and training material was promptly made.

After the lighter mace and training material arrived I began to improve. My left shoulder,thoracic mobility and postural control needed to be addressed and there were some small details overlooked in my technique. From a technical standpoint I actually wasn’t very off and by strength standards I was able to move 15lbs,just not very well.  Moving to a lighter mace, improving my mobility and building quality repetition volume following a quality education was needed.

The 15b mace was temporarily shelved and only brought out for special grip training work.

Although I had interest in Indian Clubs, my initial purchase was accidental (or maybe it wasn’t and the universe sent me the bill.)

Somehow I managed to “Buy with 1 click” a Steel 5lb club while surfing Amazon.com and didn’t realize it until the next morning.  When the club arrived I did what probably most people probably do and started playing with it even though I had little concept of how to use it,much less any particular skill other than grip strength and a sense of space.

The one thing I was immediately aware of was that it was too heavy (yes, too heavy) for any current client to use.

Thinking that clubs are normally used in pairs I purchased a second 5lb club and also a pair of 2lb polypropylene clubs with a training DVD presented by Dr. Ed Thomas who is a subject matter expert in the use of the Indian Clubs.  After review of the material and gaining a degree of competence with the 2lb clubs I followed Dr.Thomas’s advice and purchased a pair of 1lb wooden clubs from Revolution Clubs and will soon be purchasing further instruction presented by Dr. Gray Cook, Dr. Thomas and Brett Jones.

For the better part of the past month I haven’t touched my maces at all and focused largely on developing my skill with a 1lb single club and occasional work with paired clubs. The other day was nice enough that I decided to train outdoors with a mace after a five minute 1 and 2lb club warm up where I focus on flowing my moves. To my surprise my mace skill is now near even on both sides and I have better physical connection and postural control especially with the 15b mace.

Note the trends,Learn from my mistakes.

Whether by accident or not, I jumped in with too much too soon. Although I had the strength I didn’t have the education, mobility or efficiency for the new movement patterns.

Although relatively light, manipulating these objects requires a degree of skill. Just because its relatively light doesn’t mean it should be under-estimated.

I admitted I was a beginner and stepped back in training. This is what kills me when I see someone thinking they’ve “got it” simply from watching YouTube.  They don’t have it, they never had it. This is also why I believe trainers need trainers.

I feel that Maces and Indian Clubs compliment Kettlebell training and serve as a form of loaded mobility training.  To engage in loaded mobility training one must have competence in unloaded mobility training.

I became stronger by allowing myself to become weaker.



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