, this program provides you the opportunity to select your main training lifts.

Rather listen? Click the link below to do that shit:

Selecting the Right Movement Audio Lesson

That’s rad. Most programs don’t do that. But you must feel aptly prepared to choose wisely for yourself. This lesson is dedicated to giving you the ability to select the right movement.


We’ll discuss a few factors:


  • Movement Needs
  • Goal. Intent. Skills
  • How Do You Recover After the Movement?


Hips/Shoulders and Movement Needs

 “Can you mechanically, and neurologically, absorb and adapt to stress?”

-Charlie Weingroff


This question underlies the philosophy of movement assessment—whether, as an industry, we’re consciously aware of it or not. It’s a question about mobility, stability and dissociation. Can we keep the right things still while the right things move to the degree needed to successfully load joints, and joint systems, proportionately?


If you’re in the hips group, consider your ability to dissociate your hips from your spine. Can you hinge at the hips while maintaining a neutral spine? At which point does your ability to do this stop? Maybe you can set up in a perfect position—back flat, weight evenly distributed throughout your feet, hips loaded, tension running through your body—during a rack pull at the knee, but as soon as the bar drops below that point, your spine has to round for you to get into a deadlifting bottom position. That means the bar is too low.


If you’re in the hips group, choose the deadlift and squat variations that allow you to maintain a neutral spine while moving at the hips. If you can’t pull from the floor with a neutral spine, elevate the bar. If you can’t squat to parallel with a neutral spine, stop at the point in which you can maintain neutral.


The shoulders group functions much the same way—but with regards to overhead movements. Those selections remain on your program, but you have to be aware of the position you are in when pressing, or pulling, overhead. Namely—can you achieve full shoulder flexion without any spinal extension? If you can’t, then you have to make a decision about whether or not overhead movements are the best thing for you. You’re an adult, choose as you wish, but you must be aware that there is a cost of doing business that will likely start you down the cascade toward injury. Listen, I’m not a rocket surgeon, but the last time I checked injuries are bad. Not like AIDS bad, but still not cool.


Also—frame your exercise selection thinking this way: you’ve been placed in, or chosen, to train with either the hips or shoulders program for a reason. That reason is to improve your movement in either your hips or shoulders. Choosing exercises that compromise that goal limits your progress over the long term. Play the long game, folks.


 Goal. Intent. Skill. 


We ask ourselves these questions every time we write an individualized program for our clients. Chris Merritt is the smart son of a bitch that put this process to paper.


What’s their goal?


Does the training intent of the exercise help them achieve their goal?


What’s their level of exercise skill?


This line of assessment questioning works in both directions. It begins with the goal, stops off at intent, and then has a peek at the potential exercise choices. Once we look at the exercise choices, we think about skill level, then we think can the person display their intent toward their goal with this exercise, and then, finally we look at whether or not the goal is still being fully considered.


Let’s put this shit in context with an example.


Let’s say that Mrs. Mancini comes to you and she wants to be the baddest motherfucker in her book club. She’s sick of Edna’s shit. (With a goal like that she probably already is, but let’s go with it.) And, to her, that means barbell deadlifting 250 pounds. She wants to get stronger. Mrs. M has worked out before—she’s even deadlifted with her old trainer—but upon watching her during your introductory session, you decide that her skill, and her ability to achieve a good deadlift position, isn’t solid yet. Her spine rounds grotesquely in the bottom position. Her strain and struggle make it seem like she could fart blood at any minute.


Ok—so the goal is to get stronger, to deadlift 250. To reach that goal, her intent has to be to display deadlifting strength in good deadlifting positions, but her barbell deadlifting skill isn’t good enough to safely put her in a barbell deadlift position. Therefore, she couldn’t currently display her intent with a barbell deadlift. Her skill level is more inline with an elevated kettlebell deadlift. Does that movement allow her to display her intent? Yes, because she can train a solid deadlifting pattern while building strength that takes her toward the barbell, and her goal of deadlifting 250. Then she’ll be able to pull up the video on her iPod phone and slam it in Edna’s face and say, “Your lemon bars aren’t even good, Edna, we just eat them because you don’t shut up about them. And stop picking Nicholas Sparks books!”


Now, consider yourself Mrs. Mancini. Run yourself through the same up/down assessment as you choose exercises during all of your Faction training phases. Are your goals, the intent you must display to reach those goals, and your skills all inline? If, yes, hit that gas pedal. If not, consider alternative exercises that put you in the best position to be successful over the long term.


How Do You Recover From The Movement?


It’s D-Day + 1: you sumo deadlifted yesterday. (This is, of course, a hypothetical.) Today your body is one big bundle of hell in a handcart. You’re asymmetrically sore throughout your body. You feel like you met Adrian Peterson in the hole and he salsa danced across your chest. Chances are, you shouldn’t have gone with the barbell.


There are a couple of potential issues.


Maybe you picked an exercise that’s beyond your current skill and fitness level. This would certainly wreck you.


Maybe you loaded too heavily. But if you followed the loading guide, this is a non-issue.


Maybe you don’t have the bodily proportions to sumo rack pull well and the movement stressed your body more than necessary.


Sumo rack pull is, of course, just an example. Extrapolate these explanations to all of your strength selections.


If you’re asymmetrically sore, and it takes days to recover from a movement, it’s probably the wrong move for you.


Revisit the prep week lifting lessons:


Still on the fence with form, ?


I can assure you that you’re not the only one!  We urge you to film a few reps and post the video to the Fall ’19 Faction Open Forum.  Not only will we coach you up, but it gives other coaches in the group a chance to develop their coaching abilities as well…

In 2010, two dudes Chris and Todd, started the business that would eventually become Strength Faction.

You know how they say the rest is history? Well, it’s not.

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