Monday, November 16, 2015

Building a Professional Toolbox

The Chinese start young in building their professional tool boxes.

A week or so ago we talked about tools. The opening statement was, "If the only tool in your box is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." In any well stocked tool box there is a variety of tools. Some are basic and simple, others more complex. Generally, the more complex, the more expensive and harder to obtain.I tell my students that the exercises we use in our routines are like tools. We can use them to sculpt our bodies or to improve performance and/or appearance. Some exercises are very simplistic and easy to learn; such as machine movements. I tell them I could teach a monkey to those. It doesn't take much thought. These are like cheap tools. Easy to acquire. They have their purposes, but are very limited. Other exercises are more complex such as squats, presses, and pulls like power cleans and power snatches. They are more expensive in terms of the time invested to learn and master sound technique. But they are much more valuable in terms of results. I tell them that the most expensive tools they could obtain for their box are the full squat clean and jerk exercises and the full snatch lift.These definitely require an investment of time to learn. But once mastered they are a tool that will allow you to maximize strength, power, and flexibility. I am amazed that many throwers, even some very elite level athletes, have poor technique when it comes to doing some of these complex lifts. (Of course there are also many with great lifting technique) Usually the reasoning is that "I'm a thrower, not a lifter. I don't have time to work on lifting technique." Time is the essence of life. We can either spend or invest our time and we never really know how much time we have. It seems to me that developing great exercise technique and taking time to master the most complex lifts is a wise investment of time.Great technique allows an athlete to lift heavier and safer. A good craftsman takes time to care for and to maintain his tools. A serious athlete will invest the time needed to develop and maintain his exercise tool box.
A wide variety of tools can be used to address specific needs.

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