Framing The Question

In the marketing world, it’s said the answer your customer gives you is based on how you frame the question.

There’s A LOT of buzz right now about Gym Movement and Adam T. Glass. Adam, for those of you who don’t know him, is VERY strong – a professional performing strongman. He has been setting PRs using biofeedback with his exercise programming. I am very excited for him and his progress. I posted a couple of weeks ago that I was using some of his training suggestions for my own training. And I have set several PRs. But let me qualify that statement.

I have been setting PRs in movements that are new to my body. I have not set any absolute PRs in old movements.

This gets back to “Framing the Question.”

Before Z-Health, I was VERY strong. Even while broken. But I had my issues, my compensations, my underlying gross movement pattern deficiencies.

I haven’t barbell snatched for a couple of weeks now – and pay attention class because this might be important – because even though it tested well – the best on that particular day – I couldn’t lift very much at all. It was as if an invisible force was stopping me and the weight from going up.

The next time the barbell snatch tested the best, the amount of weight and reps actually decreased from the previous training session, even though it tested the best out of all movements that day.

What was going on?

Well, quite simply, even though the snatch tested “well,” my body is still not capable of performing that lift to my mind’s expectations.

Why not?

Because I have still to fully fix/strengthen those formerly compensated movement patterns.

This is where having a plan of action, or a framework of reference, within which to test your biofeedback is a must.

The CK-FMS/FMS is a great place to start. Why? Because, and catch this, it screens your movement patterns.

So why couldn’t I move my snatch numbers up on these particular days? Because my underlying gross deficiency – reflexive core stability – is still generally weak – too weak to lift heavy weights overhead safely.

Now, I can hear you saying, “Why didn’t you test specific reflexive cores stability work that day.” I dunno. Probably because I had just done some of that work the day before, and it had tested the best that particular day. The point of the biofeedback is what tests the best in your arsenal on any given day. This of course assumes you have a broad arsenal.

So what can you do with the biofeedback information?

Here’s what I’d do:

  1. Discover your limitations and weaknesses and make note of them using a screen like the FMS/CK-FMS or even just the Get Up.
  2. Add the necessary correctives and their derivations for the screen results.
  3. Test them using your biofeedback.
  4. Pick the top 2 or 3 and train them that day.
  5. Repeat for 2 weeks and then re-screen. If you’re clear, then start adding in the stuff you’re good at and like to do and add the biofeedback.

Now why should you listen to a word I’m saying?

Because I’m busy re-training stuff – stuff that used to be easy to do (circa 1998). I’m doing this stuff because I ignored what made me strong and tried to take shortcuts. Then I found my limits. Can I say I’m moving better now than back then? I don’t know – I moved pretty damn well back then. Especially for a bigger guy (230lbs).

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last 20 years of lifting heavy stuff, there are no shortcuts. They usually lead to cliff edges. If you skimp out, you’ll pay the price. Even if your biofeedback says you won’t.

9 comments… add one
  • Chris Feb 14, 2010 @ 17:43

    Where does this leave Z?

    • GEOFFN Feb 15, 2010 @ 22:39

      Chris – That’s a whole ‘nother post for another time, my friend. But I’ll get there. 🙂

  • Kira Feb 14, 2010 @ 22:52

    Thanks for this post.

    One of my key concerns with biofeedback is that it assumes the body is always ‘truthful’ … still not sold on that one …

    For example, bad posture becomes ‘ingrained’, it eventually ‘feels’ natural and ‘right’ … i.e. people with hunches ‘feel’ like they’re standing up straight when they’re not.

    That being said, I’m really enjoying experimenting with what Adam & Co are doing. And I’m gonna give there approach a serious testing over the next six months!

    And the best thing I like about Adam is he welcomes skepticism … gotta love that 🙂


    • GEOFFN Feb 15, 2010 @ 22:38

      Kira – That’s a VERY good point. It dovetails quite nicely into the points I made, and is probably a better point overall. So thanks for making it! I do wonder how the future will turn out for the Gym Movement folks. I think they are on to something, but it’s based on Z’s 4 Elements of Efficiency and doesn’t appear to take into consideration the body’s fundamental movement patterns. I’ve got to get back to them and ask them about it. I’ve trained way to long now and learned not to ignore them. I think it’s important to remember that just because we believe something doesn’t make it true or untrue. It either is or is not, regardless of our belief system.

  • Russ Moon Feb 15, 2010 @ 18:49

    I have had to retrain my brain and listen a little to Brett, that piece and pattern work IS/can be the workout. If I put my mind there vs. the reps (which I am not suppose to do anyway its a practice or form).

    So Geoff I am going to sew my parachute between when I exit the aircraft and prior to hitting the ground. I will commit to work on those TGU correctives just as you have outlined and per my KB FTGU to see if that will take me up a notch. It should because if the weak link is eliminated then that power leak should be plugged and more strength should flow through. We will find out, great advice and thank you for the way you put it out there.

    • GEOFFN Feb 15, 2010 @ 22:34

      Yeah, Russ, coming from a HIT background, Brett’s advice may sound a little strange at first. But, like you’ve said, you’ve already seen so much proof. This will just be even more positive re-enforcement.

  • Mike T Nelson Feb 17, 2010 @ 20:56

    Hi there Geoff and friends.

    Thanks for the info and I appreciate all the thought everyone is putting into movement. Awesome.

    In regards to biofeedback, my thoughts are that while it should help point you in the right direction, it will never substitute for a qualified coach. EVERYONE needs a coach, even those who are highly skilled in training others as your perspective about yourself is different.

    I know that for myself, I don’t even see things on video that I can spot on others much faster. Add to this that based on different backgrounds and experience, everyone will see even a simple movement a bit different.

    There are many forms of biofeedback and it has been around for a long time in many forms from heart rate to foot impacts of a track sprinter to high end systems like the Omega Wave that work to incorporate many forms into a system (HRV, skin galvanics, etc).

    Even at the high end of an Omega Wave system that starts around 20-40K, they are used by coaches. The coach still guides the person into what they feel is the best direction. Biofeedback determines HOW HARD they can push the person on that day at that particular time. It allows you to maximize your ability on that day and done in an intelligent manner, allows for optimal progress.

    While measurement movement should also help determine which direction to go in, only time will tell us 100% for sure if it is “true” or “proven” Science never really proves anything, it only provides data to support or refute our hypothesis. Each person’s results will add to their own data.

    Is there always a mental component? Yes. and there always will be. It is virtually impossible to separate the mind and body in relation to performance.

    You can do many things, but you always need to keep in mind the cost. That cost that you want to pay from pain to poor movement to financial and time will vary between each person.

    Rock on
    Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

    • GEOFFN Feb 17, 2010 @ 21:22

      Mike – Good stuff. But to play Devil’s Advocate, isn’t one of the tenets of Gym Movement that you don’t need a coach – the only one qualified to train you is you? Thanks for clarifying…

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