Do What’s Best For You
The phrase “Do what’s best for you”, works well in many areas of life. Unfortunately, when it comes to human movement, lifting weights or performing on the field of play, it may not be the safest way to go about things.
A client asked his trainer if placing a block under his heels was okay when he squatted. The trainer replied “do what’s best for you.”
I agree to disagree with that statement.
When we allow clients or athletes to call the shots like that, it is usually an open invitation to go ahead and move into dysfunction.
Can’t squat all the way down? Don’t worry – Do what is best for you!
Can’t retract and depress the shoulder blades when performing rows? Not a problem – Do what is best for you!
Can’t land properly or safely following a vertical jump? Well…you get the point.
The fact of the matter is, the body always seeks the path of least resistance. It is our jobs as coaches, to determine which ways the body doesn’t want to move. Why can’t the body move that way? What are the limiting factors? What is holding this athlete back from progressing to the next level? We have to determine these things and correct the problems. We are in charge! It is our weight room! It is our training program! Show me a strength coach who allows their athletes to run the program and I will show you a horrible program.
Physical therapist Gray Cook once said, “Never add strength to dysfunction.”
This is a phrase that has stuck with me for some time and I really put a lot of stock in it. If you work with athletes and your goal is to improve their performance and decrease their chance for injury, then determine what the dysfunction is and correct it before it becomes a problem. If you can’t squat without putting 10lb plates under your heels, that stands out to me as a problem that needs to be fixed.
Assess the athlete.
Correct the athlete.
Develop the athlete.
What is your dysfunction?