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Introduction to Movement, Training & Neuromuscular Rehab

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Introduction to Movement, Training and ARP

Please take a minute to really contemplate what I am about to say…it’s important. It is so simplistic, so basic, yet because we have gotten so far away from it, this might even come across as “new agey”. Nevertheless, what I am going to discuss here is the foundation (read: the beginning) for everything you are looking for here at Dunamis. Four simple words:

  1. Breathing
  2. Sitting
  3. Standing
  4. Walking

Yep, that's it.

These four words seem so simple. You say, “I do these things all day long, all the time. I don’t even have to think about it.”

Yep, that’s the point.

We don’t really think about these things. In your first two years of life and development, you did them, we all did them—correctly. You weren’t taught. You just did them. The very first thing you did when you came into this world was take a breath of air. No one told you to do it, it was natural in the beginning. Now watch any one-and-a-half year old squat. It’s perfect. Better than anyone in the NFL. Knees don’t move, shins stay parallel, back stays straight and upright…they play all day long in a squatted position without tiring. They make it look effortless. You did it too.

How about today? Does your squat still look like a little child’s? Can you sit in a squat with your feet parallel, shins perpendicular and back straight for over a minute? Five minutes? Without falling on your butt? The majority of people today cannot without terrible compensation. Most can’t squat below parallel with their feet straight and shoulder width apart without falling backwards.

But what does that have to do with breathing? Or sitting, standing and walking?

The reason you can’t squat properly today is not because you require something new from me in addition to what you already possess. What you require is the process and direction to go back in time and regain what you have chosen to lose because your brain has decided to now move differently (and utilize muscles in a different order and fashion) than how you did as a child and how you were designed to move. How do we go backwards to regain this? You go back to the basics. (And if you are starting injured, ARP therapy greatly expedites this process to heal you faster—but that’s for a future explanation.) In reality, is how you squat any different than how you should sit and stand from a chair. If you think they are different, we have a longer way to go than you realize.

Unfortunately, most people don’t squat back and pull themselves down into a chair when sitting —they plop. And when people try to stand up from a chair, they don’t push the ground away like a child standing up from a squat, they rock forward from their upper body to gain momentum and they swing up from a chair. Sitting and squatting are the exact same thing. Most people sit back on a toilet better than how you see them squat in the gym. You laugh at that, but the scary part is that it’s true.

If you came to my gym, or any gym for that matter, and assuming me or other trainers really know how to squat properly (which is usually not the case), and can tell you how to squat properly (again, most trainers can’t tell you how to squat properly—can you tell a child how to balance a bike when riding? No. They must try, try, try, until they get that “aha” moment and can now feel what balancing a bike is. All a trainer can do is put you in a proper environment for you to learn—but they can’t tell you how to actually do it. This is one of the biggest mistakes in every gym.) how many repetitions of squatting do you think the average person does, or could do in a typical gym session? Fifteen? Thirty? Even Fifty? The average person in the gym perhaps does a maximum of 30 squats in a training session. Some more, most less. Now, how many times and for how long do you sit and stand in a day? A week? A month? A year? The answer is QUITE a bit more. So assuming your squat form in the gym is correct (which it isn’t), you just reinforced we’ll say 30 reps of good form and a particular movement pattern. But if you don’t sit down and stand up correctly every time you sit in a chair, the toilet, etc, how many BAD repetitions of form and a different movement pattern are you reinforcing? And on top of that, understand that for every bad repetition, you now need to do three more good ones to offset that bad motor pattern. Scary huh? Now do you see why the majority of people can’t squat the same perfect way they did as a little child? Everyone in the gym is looking for the shortcut, the magic pill, the uber machine, the guru trainer to get them fast, fit, stronger, jumping higher. Yet you (and most trainers) can’t even sit in a chair correctly.

What is your position when you walk? Where is your weight distribution on your foot as you go from the outside edge of your heel to pushing off your big toe? How do your hips shift? Where are your shoulders? How do your arms swing? The fact that you don’t know and I can pretty much be assured that after reading this you are going to think about it the next time you walk, shows you aren’t really aware that there is a right and also several wrong ways to walk. What about standing? Do you realize there is a right way, and several wrong ways to stand. And the most basic of actions, breathing…do you think there might actually be a design to how we are supposed to breathe? Why are there so many disciplines out there (think martial arts, yoga, even birthing classes) that have to tell us how to breathe? It’s because we have chosen over time—whether consciously or subconsciously—to breathe out of our mouths, shallow and from our chest. Not from the nose and utilizing the full contraction and relaxation of the diaphragm as we are designed. Ever wonder why you yawn when you aren’t even tired—it’s a compensation from not getting enough air in your lower lungs. And there are many reasons for this, stress being one. So just like a muscle that is weak, we need to strengthen it. And just like your squat, we have to get you doing it correctly again.

But if you can’t breathe, how are you going to have the energy to exercise or play sports correctly? If you can’t even focus on breathing, how can you keep all sorts of other forms of stimulus tuned out so you aren’t distracted. If you can’t sit correctly, how are you going to squat correctly and use your legs correctly? If you can’t stand correctly, how are you going to have any kind of true balance when performing activity? If you can’t walk correctly, how do you think you are going to run correctly? And yet, EVERYONE goes into the gym assuming they can already do all this because they do it every day, are already playing sports, etc. They just think that by lifting more weights, using better equipment, jumping on boxes, or some new technique is going to make them bigger, faster, stronger. I’m sorry to say, but this whole craze has led to a high level of MEDIOCRITY. We see guys who bench press more but injury rates continue to rise. And what we see in sport is far from amazing. It’s mediocre at best. I just found out that a particular golf company (not going to name names, but it’s one of the major golf companies) is toying with making holes fifteen inches in diameter to make the game more “fun”. We aren’t raising the bar concerning our human potential. We are lowering it to accommodate the laziness and lack of work ethic so everybody can feel included without having to actually sacrifice and put forth great effort. Instead of pushing ourselves, realizing that if it were easy everyone would do it, we decide to just make everything easy. Everyone gets a trophy. Mediocrity. This is no longer about fitness and sports. It’s our future condition if we don’t decide to change now.

All of us have heard stories of someone picking up the back end of a car to save a trapped person. I had the fire chief of our city fire department tell me he has done that very thing. No surprise. He’s in the perfect environment to have the chance of that need come across him. We don’t even know or tap into the greatness of our true human potential. There’s a fitting quote, “You’ll never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” Those stories aren’t miracles. They point us to the fact that each and every one of us are miracles. We already have everything we need within us—IF WE CHOOSE TO BELIEVE AND ARE DISCIPLINED ENOUGH TO PREARE FOR IT. WE MUST FIRST GO BACK TO THE START THEN DEVELOP WHAT WE ARE ALL DESIGNED TO DO.

The sad truth is that most people are undisciplined and have too short of attention spans to want anything more than a shortcut to their goals. This may seem cruel to say, but if you look around, and look at your own life, you will know it’s true. Look at our healthcare system. Do all the pharmaceutical drugs fix problems, or do most just cover up symptoms? You know it’s true. Do most weight loss programs measure health, or do they just care what the pounds on the scale say? You know it’s true. Do all the exercise programs that market “8-weeks to a higher vertical jump, or 6-weeks to run a faster 40 yard dash” measure your quality of movement and if you can sit and squat appropriately—you know it’s true. You wouldn’t believe (well maybe you would) how many people have come to me because their backs hurt just to sit or even lie down no matter how many different pairs of orthotics, recliner chairs, or memory foam mattresses they have tried—I know it’s true. Don’t believe me? Then why are there chains of stores with nothing but gimmicks to “Relax the Back”? And all the people that come to my gym to get over an injury —what is your motivation—are you here to learn how to use your body correctly so you don’t get injured again and increase your potential? Or are you motivated to just get out of pain so you can return to play? Be honest. It’s OK to be honest about that. It’s a good start. It shows you there is much more to be had. It brings you out of the current funk our whole entitled and mediocre society is in. It opens the door for you to experience more. IF YOU REALLY WANT IT. But understand that even the basics take work. A lot actually. It’s not just “do your three workouts one hour per week.” Doing things correctly means mastering the basics. Everyone has heard, you must walk before you run. Yet, no one takes that seriously. Have you mastered walking? You probably thought you did until now. Mastery of our true design is not a destination but rather a journey that requires all of who we are as a lifestyle.

Sorry if that sounds a little esoteric. That’s why it sounds “new-agey”. People want to dismiss this as new-agey because deep down they know that it takes discipline and work. Again, people want short-cuts. “Just tell me how to do it. Give me the answer.” Sorry. No. I’m not here to give you the answers. If I do, I just rob you of the experience you need so it becomes truly yours. I don’t hear people come to me and ask, “Chris, can you just tell me what happened in that awesome movie everyone keeps talking about?” No way. They say, “I’m going to go see that movie this Friday night so I can see and experience it for myself. Want to come with me?”\

Do you want to come with me? Do you want to experience the miracle and design you are truly capable of? I’m not going to tell you everything about how to do it. (And remember, I am also in this process! Hopefully a bit further down the road. I don’t presume I know all the answers either so why would I even try to give you all the answers.) I WILL put you into an environment for you to experience and learn the steps along the way. A master artist does not need to know all the names of every single color. What he does need to know are the three primary colors—and if he masters combining them, it becomes possible to create any color his heart can dream of. And in our case, the primary colors are breathing, sitting, standing and walking. But you must be willing to put in the discipline and work. And that is the deciding factor. Most people choose the easy way out and therefore will never be more than mediocre. This is not paint by numbers. Ultimately, in the end, we all get what we deserve. You are exactly where you have chosen to be. Anything else is just an excuse. Sounds harsh. Yep.

It’s my desire not to just heal your injury, get you to squat appropriately, or run a little faster, but to rather see you become who you were designed to be so you can really make an impact on those around you and contribute greatly to this world. If everyone would take responsibility for themselves and live up to what we have truly been given…can you even imagine.

If you decide to walk into my gym after reading this, you now know the stakes are higher, we demand more of you, and the rewards are greater. Please come excited and prepared. It all starts with breathing, sitting, standing, and walking.

See you on the other side.

Chris Knott

Founder of Dunamis Accelerated Recovery and Performance

Everyone is an Athlete

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