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The Art of Movement Week 24: Take Your Time

Welcome to ‘The Art of Movement’ - my weekly newsletter!

This newsletter is not just an opportunity for me to touch base with my dear patrons and show my gratitude for your monthly support, but also to offer you a 5 minute, easily-digestible read around the world of health, fitness and exercise. Here I will troubleshoot many common difficulties my clients experience, offer practical, actionable solutions for you to put to work in your life immediately, and of course provide my weekly motivation in the form of a favourite quote, and a takeaway lesson from it.

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Week 24 - Take Your Time

A greatly important aspect of learning to lift weights is learning to appreciate time and timing, as well as attention to detail. A person who has never squatted before, but has seen hundreds of people do a squat before (maybe incorrectly on a number of occasions), may see a person standing upright, who bends their knees and sinks towards the ground, then returns to standing upright. When attempting to squat, this might be the extent of their understanding, and often the result would be a movement that doesn’t take into account:

  • Stance (width, foot position/angle, point of pressure)

  • Depth (or more generally, range of motion)

  • Duration of the descent

  • Duration of the ascent

  • Action of the knees, hips or spine

Therefore we might see a fast, snappy up-down movement, half or quarter the squat depth required, or we might see rounding of the spine and inward collapse of the knees. This is why ‘taking your time’ is such an important priority to keep in mind when setting out on learning new training skills. Rushing the movement is one of the biggest reasons correct technique is either not established, or begins to deteriorate as a set progresses.

An example of this would be the speed of the movement during the eccentric phase of a lift (opposite direction to the main action). Going through the eccentric phase too quickly prevents us from creating a sufficient contraction within the muscle fibres. Experienced lifters can do this intentionally for the purpose of a session just focusing on concentric, or avoiding post-workout muscle soreness, however it is my belief that a person new to lifting cannot afford to breeze through the eccentric phase. Think of it as your muscles ‘sleep-walking’ through that section of the movement. They are not engaging and you are therefore not teaching them to get stronger, or correctly support your technical execution.

So, take your time! Try to understand the movement you are carrying out as best as you can (whether by consulting an expert, or researching yourself), and then focus on executing the technique as closely as possible to ‘the model’. This means doing repetitions in slow motion, sometimes pausing half-way, creating a mind-muscle connection with every inch of the lift, and yes - that might mean using an extremely light weight (or no weight at all) that could bruise a fragile ego, or not be in keeping with your vision of what a training session ‘should’ look like! But trust me, this the best way to progress quickly, by slowing down, absorbing the details and fine tuning the movement.

My hope is that this advice will help you:

  • Reduce injury susceptibility

  • Improve your technique

  • Accelerate your physical literacy and development

‘In order to speed up, you have to slow down’
- Unknown

Movement of the Week: Crucifix

3 x 8 reps (3 sec hold per rep)

This shoulder exercise is a real deltoid burner! Pick up 2 very light dumbbells and begin by raising them up in front of you (image 1), then, once level with your shoulders, draw them out wide, creating a T-shape with your arms (image 2). Hold for 3 seconds in this T-shape, feeling the intensity, and then bring your arms back down, returning them in front of your body to hit the first lifting position again.

That’s all for this week! Please spread the word about my Patreon channel so more people can enjoy the videos and newsletters!

Thank you,


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