- Are you interested in improving your functional fitness in a unique way?
- Are you interested in developing an ability to master movement?
- Are you ready to take your training to the next level?
Believe it or not one unique training tactic that I will lean on at times to polish up a trainee’s technique involves blindfolding them, or having them close their eyes during the execution of some strength movements.
Closing Your Eyes For Optimal Functional Fitness
What? Yes, you read that correctly.
There are times I will blind my students when having them perform some movements in order to clean up their technique. Now to be clear this is measured and there are really good reasons for doing this.
To understand the reasoning behind this you must first realize that sight is a powerful thing. However often times with some trainees sight can allow too much comfort.
Believe it or not certain individuals tend to get sloppy by relying too much on brute force movement and aberrant movement patterns. This is usually the case rather than feeling their way through the movement with better kinesthesia.
After all, less than quality technique equates to more weakness.
By blinding the trainee it serves as an effective way for me to force such a trainee to adapt to a given movement pattern.
In fact, if you happen to be guilty of wasted body motion, faulty alignment, and poor postural positioning then these things will immediately be punished. By removing your sight it will disrupt your equilibrium and state of balance.
By closing your eyes you’re basically forced to control your power. Anything less will result in you feeling semi-disoriented and unstable during a given movement. This is something you might not normally think about until you experience this.
Optimal Functional Fitness: The Eyes Closed Test
If you don’t believe me then take a brief pause from reading this article to stand up and perform the following test. Stand straight up and lift one leg off of the ground to balance yourself. Once you do this then completely close your eyes to do the same thing and hold your balance for about 20 seconds. Ok I’ll be here when you get back.
After attempting that little exercise you experienced something unique. If you’re pretty good at balancing then the initial exercise probably wasn’t a big deal. However after closing your eyes you probably experienced the room turn into a roller coaster!
This happens because you were challenged by the removal of your sight as you eliminate your visual feedback. However your somatosensory feedback will kick into overdrive in order for you to sustain your balance and to keep you from falling down to the floor.
If you found that you were really unstable in this movement then you might want to continue to practice it until you’re able to to internalize it. This is what you need to do in order to hold yourself in the position. Once you’re capable of doing this better then you can graduate to performing more standard dynamic movements such as squats, deadlifts, and kettlebell cleans.
Optimal Functional Fitness: The Reason For Closing Your Eyes
So you’re probably thinking Ok this is cool, but why should I do this? What is the benefit?
The reason for doing this lies in your ability to better enhance more complete control over your body. As a trainee you will become more adapted with performing movements without sight. Because of this you will learn to harness better motor control during movement.
Since closing your eyes will remove visual feedback you’ll internalize the way movements should be done in order to better stabilize your body. When making the switch to go back using your eyes during training you will typically find yourself setting new PR’s. You’ll be more capable lifting heavier loads. This tactical approach to helping you to build real strength is rather amazing.
Optimal Functional Fitness: The Takeaway
By strategically incorporating this into your program I can effectively enhance your kinesthetic awareness and somatosensory feedback. This is just means that you can simply do things better! In fact you will do everything MUCH better!
The approach is unique, but if done effectively it’s always a success.
Have you ever tried closing your eyes when performing functional strength movements?
What area of your training are your currently trying to improve?
Post up and share below in the comments!
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