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5 Ways to Improve Your Quality of Movement

My solution to a common coaching problem

Getting athletes to consciously evaluate and improve their movement quality, especially when coaching remotely from a distance, has always been one of the more difficult aspects of coaching.

Add pain or an injury into the mix, and things get even trickier.

In an effort to fix this headache I recently got in front of the camera and created a solution. (You'll have to let me know if it's helpful or not)

We're calling it the TTT Movement Archive. It consists of 5 video playlists organized by movement category that explains how I systematically breakdown movement training.

Each playlist starts with an intro video of me teaching you why that movement category is important, why you as a coach or athlete should even care, and how to execute the movements properly. Watching these intro videos alone will help you upgrade your current framework around movement training. The following videos in the playlist will feature me or my athletes performing demos of movements specific to that category.

I hope this helps our athletes better understand their training designs, teaches fans of TTT how to more mindfully approach their training to improve their longevity and performance, and also help athletes improve the complexity of skills they can accomplish with their bodies by having a better framework for creating body awareness.

Joint Rotations

Watch the video above to learn about Joint Rotations

One seemingly simple training tool that I urge my athletes to use is joint rotations because they can teach us so much about how our bodies move in space.

Joint rotations help to expose your asymmetries, provide a strength stimulus, serve as a low intensity prehab/rehab exercise to upgrade the capabilities of a specific joint, and sometimes reveal to people patterns of motion that cause them pain.

Ground Based Movement

Watch the video above to learn about Ground Based Movement

Martial artists, dancers, and gymnasts are three of the groups that come to my mind first when thinking about people who move with grace, power, agility, speed, freedom, and endurance.

One of the things these groups have in common is that they spend a large amount of time interacting with the surface of the ground.

Being able to fall, roll, rotate, lay, get up without your hands, and sit in various postures on the floor can add tremendous benefits regardless of your training goal.

You can use this exercise category to:

  • add to your gymnastics ability through body alignment
  • improve coordination and tension relationships in the hips and shoulders
  • improve control of respiratory muscles
  • reduce injury risk as a result of having better ways to exit lifts or improve balance
  • target just about any training adaptation

This category was created to help you better understand the diversity of one of the most overlooked free training tools we have at our disposal … the ground.

Loaded Stretching

Watch the video above to learn about Loaded Stretching

Whether through yoga, band distraction work, or PNF many people use stretching as a component of their movement routine.

What I’ve realized is that most people stretch to “loosen up,” reduce tension, or they have go-to stretches they use to prepare specific movements.

I’ve personally found that stretching can create far more training gains if people learn the nuance of the skill.

When used to target a specific movement, isolate the joints that are limited, and then systematically progress the stretch, people seem to make improvements in movement without creating laxity issues.

Prescribed in this way, with awareness of tension cues/breathe and including post-stretching isometrics, loaded stretching can help athletes to create and strengthen better positions.

Positional Breathing

Watch the video above to learn about Positional Breathing

It is important to learn to breathe in a large variety of positions if you want to improve performance or movement quality.

Our body's survival mechanisms will not allow us to move in a way in which we can’t breathe. When breathing gets too difficult, our brains/bodies will do everything possible to try to slow us down or change our position to restore a normal breathing pattern.

Improved movement happens as a result of cultivating more awareness of breathing muscles, better understanding of the tension relationships in the midline, and better ability to dissociate spinal stabilization muscles from breathing muscles.

When used properly an athlete will be able to better navigate fatigue when placed into more stressful environments of training or competing.

Movement Variation

Watch the video above to learn about Movement Variation

It would seem that expert movers have the most repeatable skill sets. If you watch Steph Curry shooting a free throw, Dustin Johnson swinging his driver, or Tom Brady casually throwing a football you might be in awe of the repeatability of their skill.

However, looks can be deceiving as these expert movers actually have more variety in the way they execute those skills than meets the eye.

Having a multitude of ways to execute a skill is beneficial for a variety of different reasons. You can use this variability to bypass fatigue, navigate dynamic environments of sports, and continue to refine the skill as movement quality changes with an aging body.

I’ve found that people who practice a skill by trying to find complete repeatability with no variance lose out on this dynamic, reactive, and varied ability that true experts have when it comes to skill adaptation.

Movement variation is a training tool we use to provide varied constraints into training so that you can practice this and move closer to expert level movement ability.

Locomotion & Flow

Watch the video above to learn about Locomotion & Flow

When you see a child develop, it’s apparent the human spirit is meant to explore. If you put them in a park, they’ll find a playground to climb on, they’ll run around, they’ll roll on the ground, and if they see an animal they may even try to mimic its movement.

As we age, maybe due to fear of embarrassment or not perceiving utility in that behavior, we lose our desire to explore for the sake of exploration.

Our locomotion and flow playlist is a way for you to get more systematic structure to this exploration so as an adult you can cultivate your childlike enthusiasm for movement.

Properly utilizing this tool can have specific training application to goals in things such as martial arts, running, dance, and field sports.

These playlists should act as a framework to help you approach your movement training. Each one should work synergistically with the others to help you develop a program that is tailored in a way that you are doing what you like to do, while simultaneously working towards your goals.

If you are unfamiliar with movement training, I would select one playlist for each day of the week and spend a small amount of time in warm ups or cool downs experimenting with the movements to get familiar with the stimulus it provides to your body.

If you’d like to really up your game as a coach and learn how to better assess and program movement training, we go deep in our new movement course.

The TTT Movement Course is over 15 hours of video with Max teaching you his systematic approach to assessing and programming movement training.

In this course I'll teach you:

  • My 5 characteristics of movement model to help better conceptualize "what is movement"
  • Common movement training tools and how/when to use them
  • A detailed layout of how I assess movement with new athletes and reassessing current athletes
  • The TTT prescription guidelines for programming movement
  • How to program and progress movement training
  • Example Programs for Improving the Squat, Decreasing Back Pain, and Maintaining Quality Movement
Created By
Max El-Hag
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