Create Limitations

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Bruce Lee once said “to have no way as a way, to have no limitations as limitations”. Love those words. Respect the man. Always my #1 choice for live or dead persons I wish I could meet. Always.

Now, I’m about to contradict my hero.

If you move for the purpose of function rather than form, you move to “get it done”, no matter what the cost, or compensation. If you can’t bend your knees to pick something off the floor, you’ll bend (at the waist of hips, regardless of what’s correct). If you can’t lift a barbell overhead with proper shoulder mobility, you’ll angle back and perform an unsupported incline bench press. You’re bypassing your limitation, your ability to maintain good form, just to get the dang barbell overhead. Your lower back will (not) thank you later.

By creating a purposeful limitation in any movement (for instance, tall kneeling) while doing a torso twist will remove lumbar twist: your hips will remain squared with the knees and your torso will twist, as will your shoulders. Do that standing without placing a limitation, and chances are you will twist the hips and not get the adequate twist in the torso. (Note: you may do this standing if you squeeze your buttocks and pay attention to not twist at the lumbar, but it requires more control from you).

Creating the limitation exposes any weak link(s) in the kinetic chain. Essentially, you make a point of not allowing a stronger muscle or looser joint to do more work than its lazy counterpart is not doing. By “turning it off” or making sure it doesn’t compensate, you’ll find out the true strength or range of motion of the underactive body part.

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