Monday, August 6, 2007

The Body as a Black Box

Physiology is messy. If it was very simple and straight forward we would have it figured out by now! While I believe that true understanding is the end goal (and needed), from a practical standpoint that is very hard.

The trend lately in the fitness consulting/coaching/personal training (yuck, I hate that word) is that a better understanding of anatomy will yield better results. I am not so sure this is the most practical approach. I am NOT saying that it is wrong, that it just may not be the most efficient means to an end. See the above comment about physiology being messy. Do you REALLY know why a person's left hip is rotated out more? Secondly, does it really matter? How would you know? What is your normal/reference point?

I would argue that while you care about the external rotation and it MAY be an issue, you need a SYSTEM to test it. If you try a drill, the foot turns in and pain goes away--bingo you have a winner.

This is the main reason I love the Z Health SYSTEM. It respects that everyone is different, and very complicated! It allows you to try a Z Health drill and then RE-ASSESS to see if it helped or not. Without this re-assessment, you are just guessing at what you THINK the body needs. If they are moving better (better gait), this is a good thing and that is a good drill for the athlete to do at that time. Will that be the drill they need to do forever? No, since the body will adapt to it (SAID principal, remember that one from physiology 101 but it is never seen from again after that---another whole post altogether), but at this point it is a good one for them to do. I don't really care that much about how many times I guess the correct drill for an athlete--I only care about the end result as long as I can test it right away and not waste time. While I strive to constantly improve my knowledge of the body (which is a great thing), I know that I need a system in place in the meantime to make sure I am on the right path.

This applies to strength work too! What good is an increase of 50 lbs in the squat if the person's movement has degraded in the process? Maybe you dropped a bigger engine in the car, but if both front tires now point to the left; you can argue that you just increased your chance of getting into an accident SOONER.

Also, I get paid ZERO to write about the Z Health System here. In the interest of full disclosure I do get some money off further Z training for myself if someone does Z training based on my recommendation though. Having said that, I would not recommend something to others that I do not believe in 100% just to save a few clams. True integrity has no price.

If you train people, what system do you use? How do you know it is working? What principals do you use? Please share them here.

Rock on