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Focus On Training Movement Instead Of Muscle

Focus On Training Movement Instead Of Muscle

  1. Which muscle group should you train more of?
  2. Is the focus of your training targeting the improvement of your functional movement?
  3. Are you programming your training for smarter gains? 
  4. Is your training making you more injury prone, or more resistant to injury? 

For the most part your focus should shift from worrying about training muscle groups to training movement patterns. Having been in the fitness business for over 17 years I can say that most people develop movement dysfunction because of poor movement, improper lifting technique, and bad exercise selection based on their individual needs.

Training Movement 

Much of the movement that people neglect involves hinging (bending) and pulling. These patterns typically involve strengthening your posterior muscles (muscles of your back) which a great deal of society doesn’t get enough of in their daily lives.

Sitting jobs

I’m not trying to paint with too broad a brush here, but it’s a fact that society has undergone a huge change in the career world these days with the birth of what I refer to as the era of sitting jobs.

The days of most people working in the fields or factories are long gone for the majority of the population which has created an entire generation of people with broken posture. Broken posture is brought on by people developing immobile hips, forward rounding shoulders, and a slouching torso due to too much spinal flexion.

This weak sunken posture derived from excessive sitting causes your body to fold forward almost like you’re rolling yourself up like a newspaper. Aside from the act of sitting causing much of this broken posture another main contributor is a lack of attention to posterior muscle development. A weak posterior is a recipe for disaster.

When you combine these two things you end up with what we refer to in the industry as anterior dominance. The big issue with anterior dominance is that many people actually make this bad situation worse with poor exercise selection.

The mistake is that many people make with anterior dominance is walking into the gym to select exercises such as bench pressing and crunches which only reinforces anterior dominance.  Anterior dominance is something that people already have due to their current lifestyle factors.

The 2 to 1 ratio

To combat anterior dominance and as a general rule of thumb I like to program a 2 to 1 pull to push exercise ratio to help this problem. This is a smart tactic to correct broken posture and to force most people to develop more functional muscular symmetry through developing good posture.

So what do I mean by a 2 to 1 ratio?

What I mean is that for every pushing related exercise that you perform in your workouts you either want to perform 2 pulling movements, or twice the volume of pulling compared to pushing during a training session.

Some good examples of pulling related movements would involve the following exercises…



Single arm rows

T-bar rows

Kettlebell swings

Kettlebell snatches

Resisted band pull aparts

Training Movement: The takeaway

When it comes to building optimal strength and fitness you need to shift your focus to performing movement patterns. Keeping this in mind as it’s also a good idea to emphasize incorporating more pulling related movements into your strength program to eliminate anterior dominance.

Do you currently suffer from anterior dominance? 

What are you currently doing to combat your broken posture? 

Post up and share here below in the comment section. 

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I'm a Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and author. I have had over 17 years experience in MMA fitness, strength and conditoning, and athletic performance for most every sport. As an author and specialist I've written close to a million words on fitness and strength. I'm also a Muay Thai practictioner and enjoy helping others to reach their peak potential through fitness and performance.

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