We Are Weak

Yesterday I was going through the first of Gray Cook’s DVD series on the Certified Kettlebell-Functional Movement Screen or CK-FMS. The FMS was developed by Gray Cook as a way to consistently and accurately assess an athlete via only 7 tests. It could tell you where your muscle inbalances were and your weaknesses that need to be corrected. In fact, if Gray trains you, he will put you through the FMS and you must correct your inbalances before he gets into the meat of your training! This totally makes sense – too many coaches just throw you into intense training for competition without figuring out whether or not your body is ready for the training.
In the first DVD, he goes through the origin of FMS. I am amazed at some of the videos he showed during the development process of FMS. There was this one video of a girl who played basketball. As a test, she jumped down from a plyo bench, and then leaped up to grab a basketball suspended pretty high up there. She made it fairly easily – great for a basketball player! HOWEVER, when she leaped down and landed, her knees bent inward to absorb the shock of landing and provide spring for the leap upward! Definitely not an ideal movement pattern.
In fact, during the FMS development process, Gray found that they could predict accurately where an athlete would eventually develop problems or get injured, based on the inbalances and weaknesses they found with the screen! That’s frickin’ amazing!
But then I got depressed. I thought back to when I first began triathlon. We had no FMS back then and I got injured a lot. There were points where people told me I was genetically disinclined for this activity and almost believed them – thankfully, part of me told me that this could not be, and I spent the next several years figuring out what really was right and fumbled my way to a mostly pain free athletic career.
Still I rewound further in my head. I thought about my life. In grade school I never played sports. I was always the small guy and other kids were always faster and stronger. It didn’t help that I was born in November so I was actually physically younger than everyone else in my grade. So I got discouraged from doing physical fitness and my parents weren’t into fitness so they would rather see their kid study than run around outside.
After I got into college, it was only then I began some martial arts and some weight lifting. But that was 18 years of pretty much little or no activity and then leaping into martial arts and pumping iron! And I got injured here and there. My muscles and nervous system were not keyed for movement at all. Still I made it through Tae Kwon Do, a bit of Aikido and Shotokan Karate, and trying to get huge via the Arnold method of lifting to failure.
After college, I became the typical worker man. I sat in front of a computer for the bulk of a day. And in doing so, sitting destroyed a whole bunch of movement patterns mostly by giving me gluteal amnesia. I did weight lift here and there, but it was to get huge and not to train for strength or movement.
No wonder when I got to 2002, I started triathlon and got injured a lot! So many years of basically making my body weaker and weaker, never training movement patterns and strengthening them. Just sitting around on my ass typing on a computer. And working out but not in a way that strengthened my system, muscular and neural.
But in the middle of it all is the fact that I got weak. I got really weak. I didn’t have even the basic strength profile of a triathlete and I started training. Looking back, no wonder I got hurt.
Fast forward to today – after watching Gray Cook talk about his ability to PREDICT injury in athletes by their inbalances and weaknesses, I now thought back to how wrong we are in general about training and injury. If I had taken the FMS back in 2002, I bet it would have told me exactly where and when I would have gotten injured. But also I needed a change in philosophy and an update in my training knowledge. There is so much crap out there about training now and it sickens me every time I read yet another expert’s training advice.
Still the way our society is, our lazy, sedentary culture – who hauls wood and bricks any more, or does manual labor? – has become weak. We need to change this. This is why I’m building my REAL strength now and learning how to teach others how to reclaim their strength – and I’m not talking about the bulked up size of bodybuilders – I’m talking basic strength, strength that comes not from size, but proper and maximal activation of the body’s resources towards a common physical goal.