This is the second part of my Pyramid of Successful Movement series (Read More: Pain-Free). In this series I will systematically discuss each of the fundamentals in order of increasing complexity. At the end I will give a hypothetical case study, and address the movement program design for this individual if he were my client.
So if you are pain-free, what is the next important skill you need to develop? Strength and power. Strength is the ability to produce force and utilize it to propel yourself or other objects while power is the ability to apply your strength during increasingly shorter times. It may seem as if strength/power are a more ancillary movement skills, but unfortunately that is a common misconception.
The importance of strength/power became abundantly clear while I was learning to do cartwheels and front flips at an adult gymnastics class. No matter what other skills some athletes possessed they could not execute these basic gymnastics moves. Why? They did not have the requisite strength or power. Without the appropriate strength/power for your movement practice, you will keep brushing up against the same limitations and see no progress.
However, a focus on strength/power does not mean you need to religiously follow a bodybuilding strength workout and become an expert on powerlifting. What is most important is the development of relative strength. In future posts I will discuss some of the most efficient and effective ways of developing high levels of relative strength very quickly. If you are lacking in strength right now, I would highly recommend you begin working on mastering the push-up and squat. If you have not mastered these two basic strength exercises, then there is no need to introduce complex strength movements under duress. Just remember to choose the appropriate progression of these exercise based on your level of fitness.
If you are lucky enough to be pain-free now then building and developing strength and power has to be a primary focus of your training because it is the foundation upon which your athletic success is predicated on. If you do not take the time to develop a solid foundation, you will never be able to perform at your best.
If you can’t sustain it, it’s not worth it.