So we’ve been talking about about the concept of reflexive stability and its impact on your strength training and your results.
Specifically, I put forward the argument that all your aches, pains, and injuries – and all movement dysfunctions and compensations – come from a lack of reflexive stability.
Then we looked at the primary cause of reflexive stability loss – sitting.
I then showed you just a taste of what I’ve accomplished since having identified this loss and have been specifically addressing it over the last 3 years.
Today, let’s do a simple test – two actually – that will give you an idea of whether or not you have lost some of your reflexive stability.
Don’t worry – they’re easy.
In fact, the first one, my two year old son can pass with ease.
Here it is:
The Bodyweight Squat.
The bodyweight squat tests your lower body reflexive strength or rather, lower body dominant reflexive strength – whether or not you can move your lower body easily and effortlessly.
Here’s a quick video demo from Tim. (He did it on the fly – it’s kinda “ghetto”…)
A couple of quick pointers here:
1. You shouldn’t have to pressurize, power breathe, or use tension to get down into the squat. If you do, you’re using feed-forward (conscious) techniques to accomplish a subconscious (reflexive) activity.
2. You should be able to hold yourself in the bottom comfortably, again, without using any feed-forward strategies.
3. You should be able to maintain your balance in the squat without falling forward or backward.
4. Same thing to stand up – it should be effortless: No grunting, power-breathing, abdominal bracing – nothing. Just stand up with ease.
If you can’t squat without meeting those criteria, you’ve lost some of your reflexive stability.
(Don’t worry – it’s VERY simple to get back – and very natural too – nothing complex either. The “fixes” are easy to do and VERY powerful in their effects/results. More on them in a bit.)
Ok, test #2 (Which I don’t think my 2 year old can pass yet…)
The Push Up.
Ah, yes, the lowly Push Up. How many ways can we screw you up? Let me count the ways…
But I digress.
The Push Up is a great way to check your upper body dominant reflexive stability.
But, there’s a way to do it and a way not to, so don’t discount this humble little “test” right off the bat.
Here’s a video from Tim (also “on the fly”):
Now, Tim gave some good basic cues.
Let’s go deeper.
There are some other things you need to be aware of here:
1. Just like the Bodyweight Squat, stay away from feed-forward tension. So no abdominal bracing, no buttcheek squeezing, no power-breathing, etc. Just push yourself off the ground.
2. Like Tim said, the body should remain as one piece. No sagging, twisting, or turning.
And, yep, it’s that simple.
So What’s It Mean If You Can’t “Pass” These “Tests”?
It simply means that you should devote some of your attention – a whopping 5, maybe 10 minutes out of your entire day – to regaining your reflexive stability. Again, it’s easy to do – nothing complicated.
Why Should You Reclaim Your Reflexive Strength?
Quite simply, it’s your birthright.
You were made to have it and use it. And now that you’ve lost it, you’re physically leading a sub-par life. If you’re ok with settling for less than the best, which is very easy to have, by the way, then ignore this stuff. Go watch Real Housewives Of Wherever-ville or American Idle… That’s your perogative.
However, if you’re interested in moving and living a vibrant, healthy, fulfilled and joyful life, free from aches, pains, and movement restrictions, then reclaiming your reflexive stability (or as Tim said in the videos – reflexive strength – the words are interchangeable) will help you do it.
Not only that, but all your results depend on it – fat loss, conditioning levels, strength gains. Think about it: If you’re body isn’t moving the way it’s designed to, you’re automatically leaving results on the table that you shouldn’t. If you can’t move the way you originally were designed to, then you’re compensating, which means you’re not as efficient as you should be. And that means slower progress, regardless of the goal.
As I’ve said before, at 40 years old I have more energy, more strength, and move better than I ever have. And it’s all because I reclaimed my reflexive stability.
Here’s a quick video of some more of what I’ve been able to accomplish since I’ve been focusing on this.
This was taken two days after the video I posted in the last blog. It was also filmed after performing 30 minutes of grueling advanced reflexive stability work. There’s 275lbs on the bar and I do 14 reps with it (I thought I did 15 at the time but apparently I can’t count – same thing happened last video – did 9 and thought I did 10…) – something I haven’t been able to do in 15 years – since my mid 20s. Again, my bodyweight is around 205lbs.
When you focus on reclaiming your reflexive strength, you’ll be able to perform again like you used to – or in Tim’s and my case – better than you used to.
Now go ahead and raise your hand if you wouldn’t want to do that…