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Episode 141: Stronger in Ways that Matter

Video Highlights

- The limits of typical strength equipment.
- How to train the 3 loops related to strength.
- Review of the 3 brain-body loops and strength.

Today we’re going to wrap up our series on becoming smarter about becoming stronger by looking at some practical solutions.

To get started today, let’s do a quick summary. One of the things that we talked about is if you’re in pain, you’re stuck in kind of a performance rut, whatever, or you’re just trying to optimize your performance.

What we need to do is we need to figure out a way to decrease threat in the body. https://zhealtheducation.com/episode-137-strength-and-the-threat-bucket/

We said one of the ways to decrease threat is becoming stronger in ways that matter. That’s the phrase I want you to have in your head, stronger in ways that matter. Now, whenever we talk about becoming stronger in ways that matter, we then spend some time in three videos talking about three primary brain-body loops that are involved in strength.

Loop number 1 was about neural drive. https://zhealtheducation.com/episode-138-getting-smarter-about-strength-neural-drive/

Loop number 2 was about strength coordination.  https://zhealtheducation.com/episode-139-getting-smarter-about-strength-coordination/

Loop number 3 was about prediction and preparation. https://zhealtheducation.com/episode-140-smarter-strength-preparation-and-prediction/

We said that a good training program. It’s going to give us an opportunity to explore strength movements in a way to take advantage and train all of these loops.

The final piece of this puzzle that we mentioned was that the slightly unfortunate, yet amazing part of the human brain is that our brain is so smart that it really, really wants to be good at specific things, not general things.

We talked about four different factors that come into that.

We said every time we are doing any kind of strength training, our brain is learning how much force to create. It’s learning for how long do I want to create that force. It’s learning how quickly do I need to apply that force.

Very importantly, in what angles, what postures, and what postures do I need to apply that force. This is where a lot of people run into danger zones in their training because they adopt a certain training program. It makes them move in a certain way. They get really good at moving in that way. They become stronger. Their body changes.

It may be setting them up for injury, particularly if they’re trying to translate what they do in a more traditional environment out into an athletic environment.

Let me explain. This just can be kind of practical explanation of this now and then some solutions. Virtually every type of tool that we invent requires us to move in a certain way. I can have a barbell out here or a dumbbell out here, but I just chose a kettlebell for now.

Now, I love kettlebells. Please, please, please don’t send me any hate mail or anything like that because I’m talking about any kind of strength training, or strength apparatus. I love it all. I love exercise. I love seeing what people can do to shape and change their body but I want us to be intelligent about how we apply everything.

If I look at the tool of kettlebell, awesome tool. I love a lot of the exercises that you can do with it. It’s multi-planer. You can actually do a lot of different exercises with this piece of equipment. It can be super beneficial.

What I want you to recognize because of the nature of the bell it’s constantly being pulled down against gravity. If I’m pressing it up, it’s great. It’s being pulled down against gravity. I’m going to develop strength in that particular coordination pattern.

If I take the bell and swing it in front of me, again, the weight is still being pulled down toward the floor. Very, very useful in a lot of different ways. What I want you to recognize, is that in an athletic world, or in an athletic environment, very often I have to resist forces that are not exactly directly down.

If I’m a soccer player and I’m running, I may have to push an opponent of to the side, or pull an opponent behind me. If I’m a basketball player, I might be doing the same thing. In order to offer practical solutions to these brain body loops, in particular the vector challenge that we all forced to deal with whenever we’re thinking about training, we have to look at different tools.

One of our favorite things to use in Z-Health are exercise bands. Exercise bands are fantastic tools because they allow you to do a number of different things.

For instance, if I have the exercise band on, I have it wrapped around my body, which is nice because I can travel and move with it. I have the opportunity to explore strength through different ranges of motion. Now, this is a light band, so I don’t have to work very hard.

Through a neural drive perspective, not getting a huge challenge. I can just use a heavier band, but now think about endurance, speed, and vector. Think about the loops that we talked about, particularly coordination and preparation. Do I need to as an athlete, be strong out here? As an athlete, do I need to be strong up here? The answer is yes.

In general, I don’t need to be strong just in one plane of pushing or one movement. I need to be able control and error correct in every position I can think of.

Our advice is that for every person, we need to be able to be strong in different ranges of motion. We need to include circles in our training in at least some level, particularly under load.

One of the easiest ways to make that happen, like I said, is to use exercise bands. You can attach them to yourself. You can attach them to something else. They are almost infinitely variable in what they can provide you.

Here are your basics when it comes to how can I become… How do I take this information on becoming smarter about becoming stronger and apply it.

You have a couple different rules.

Number 1, at some level, you need to figure out how to exercise through a full range of motion. In a full range of motion does not mean, hey I need to come from here to lock in my elbow. Think about all of the movements that this should is capable of making. I need to be going internal and external. I can make big circles. I can make loops. I need to be strong and be able to predict what this feels like.

Remember our basic brain loops. For every joint in the body. Eventually, I’m going to recommend that at least part of our training involves full range of motion under load for every part of your body.

A simple idea. If you can imagine that, imagine how much smarter that’s going to make all the different loops that we’ve already talked about.

The second thing that I want you to consider when it comes applying this information practically is not only does every joint need to move full range of motion, I also want you to think about loading in multiple planes.

All right? Now, to explain what that means.

We’ve already said, hey, my joints all have big ranges of motion. I need to be strong in all of them. Now, what I want you to also think about is this, let’s say I have my band and I’m going to be doing, let’s say a shoulder circle right here.

Now I’m starting to try to work on number 1, trying to increase my strength, improve my 3 loops through a full range of motion. This is loading in one particular plane. I’m kind of pushing forward, and I’m having to connect in control that with some slight variations.

You can also understand that it’s going to be completely different skill, neural drive, coordination, and predication challenge to now do this. I can be doing the same exact exercise, but now by changing the loading by being in a different play of the body, I’m going to increase the challenge for my 3 brain-body loops.

That is again one of the huge advantages of having bands available. Now it can sometimes be overwhelming because people go, there’s so many different things I can do. Right. That’s awesome because you have an amazing body. It’s capable of incredible things but we have to approach it in intelligently in order to optimize our performance and while staying out of pain.

There’s our very practical solution to this whole brain body loop thing we’ve been talking about. Figure out in your own training how to work a full range of motion in every joint. Also, load those joints, load those different body parts from different planes, different types of pole.

When you do so you take advantage of what you now know of how the brain and body talk to each other. Now I understand that offers you a lot of options. One of the things I run into a lot with people. They go, “Wow. There’s so much to think about.” Yeah. There is. I want to apologize for that because the human body is capable of doing amazing things but we have to train it intelligently.

This is one of the paths that we are going to recommend that you explore. I actually love the idea of having so many different options available to me because it means that I don’t ever have to get bored. I can explore movement, and work on mastering movement, work on mastering strength in so many different range of motions and so many different ways. I have a lifetime of practice ahead of me.

If you understand anything about Z-Health. We talk about creating the top 1%. One of the things that we know about top 1% performers around the world is that they actually learn to fall in love with practice.

One of the best ways to fall in love with practice is to have a lot of variety and variability, so that your brain can stay interested. One of the reasons I love sharing this type of information with you.

There you have it.

If you have questions about how this rolls out, or if you need more guidance than going, “I’ve got a band, what do I do with it?” Please let us know.

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