According to Webster’s dictionary a PATTERN is “a reliable sample of traits, acts, tendencies, or other observable characteristics of a person, group, or institution <a behavior pattern> <spending patterns>”

 We’ve all heard the saying “If it happens once it’s an accident, if it happens twice it’s a coincidence, if it happens three times, it’s a pattern.”

 Put simply, a pattern is a habit that’s consistent and repetitive. And, therefore predicable!

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 Most of us watch our clients move as a way of assessing/screening their movement patterns in order to help us decide on our training approach.

What we’ve done at Performance U is apply that same logic on a larger scale to assess the movement patterns of the fitness industry as a whole, which has helped us to form part our current training philosophy.

 When I say “industry movement patterns” I mean the exercise education movements, which are the current trends in professional fitness training.

 Assessing Fitness Industry Movement Patterns

 Fitness training has became mainstream in the last 30 years or so. When we assessed the industry movement patterns over the last 30 yrs. until today – We found there was a consistent, repetitive, and predicable pattern, which we feel is faulty/dysfunctional.

 Here are two examples of the same industry movement pattern that we feel is faulty:

 The Abs Training Movement Pattern

First we were told to do Sit-ups. Then the experts told us to do crunches because “they were safer.” Then the experts convinced us to “Draw in” our Belly button to “activate” the magic (TvA) muscle to ensure optimal spinal stability while doing everything from crunches to Squats. Now the experts are telling us “not to flex the spine”(no crunches or sit ups) and not to draw in our belly button at all!

Now, remember when we learned about doing crunches instead of sit-ups. At the time the evidence was put to us in a way that made it seem clear, scientific and practical. Then when we learned about the TvA Draw in technique, we were mesmerized by 2,3,4 5+ hr. long lectures, which gave us all of the reasons why the TvA Draw in was “it.” And, at the time, we felt the “evidence was clear.” Today, many people feel “the evidence is clear” about not flexing the spine.

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The Squat Training Movement Pattern

Another great example is the pattern of advice we’ve been given over the years to “save our knees” when squatting.

 First, we were told to squat as low as possible (ass-to-grass) for full range of motion. Then the experts told us  “just go to parallel.” Then it was “don’t let you knees go beyond your toes.” Now, it’s supposedly a completely “vertical tibia” we should be after.

 “Where facts are few, experts are many”


 Did you see a pattern in those two exmples? – We at Performance U sure do! And it goes way beyond what some would think is just an evolution of knowledge.

 The pattern we see is: Every 5-10 years industry “experts” find smart ways to convince us to use certain specialized exercise techniques, which they later end up telling us are “silly” and “wrong.” Then they convince us to use their “new”, “updated” technique, which they of course change again as they “get smarter”. And, this pattern has continued to repeat itself over and over again to this day!

“I was not lying. I said things that later on seemed to be untrue.”

No wonder there’s so much confusion, frustration and intra-industry animosity  between fitness professionals arguing about how we should squat or train our Abs, when our industry leaders have us flip flopping like an old pair of sandals.

 “My opinions may have changed, but not the fact that I’m right”

Those who do not learn from their mistakes are destined to repeat them!

So if we realize the PATTERN that every 5-10 years we change what we do, and laugh about what we WERE doing before. Than why should we not expect this pattern to continue?

In other words, why should we put our faith into the “newest” industry movement (i.e. the latest special technique) when history has consistently, repeatedly and predictably already shown us that it’s most likely going to be wrong and deemed silly any day now?

 These are the tough questions we must ask ourselves.

 Now, I can’t answer these questions for you. But I’m happy to share the answers we’ve come up with that best fit us.

Our Corrective Solutions to the Dysfunctional Industry Movement Patterns

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 At Performance U, we no longer allow ourselves to get caught up in arguing for or against specialized training techniques that will most likely come and go (like all the others) any day now.

 Instead, we focus our training and educational programs on the aspects of training, which have stood the test of time and have continued to be proven safe and effective. Such as:

–       When you lengthen and shorten a muscle or muscle group under and appropriate load, it becomes stronger along with the connective tissues around it.

–       When you repeat a movement pattern often, you get better at that movement pattern.

–       Follow the SAID principle!

–       If it hurts, don’t do it!

–       Eat less crap!

–       Move in a controlled, pain free manner, and move often!

–       Move in 3D

–       Use various forms of training because each modality has unique benefits that other modalities miss.

–       If you want to be fast, train fast.

–       If you want to be strong, lift heavy stuff!

–       If you want to be mobile and relax a bit, do yoga!

–       We sit often, so do more to strengthen the muscles on the the backside of your body, which reverse the siting postion.

–       Do more work on your weak side

–       Be mindful of your form and don’t sacrifice movement quality for movement quantity.

Basically, what we feel we know is only two things:

  1. Specialized industry techniques are always highly debatable, mostly based on opinion and predictably change every 5-10 yrs. like clothing styles.
  2. The basic principles of move more, move well and eat less crap remain consistent and proven!

 So we focus on doing what we know because we value the time and money our clients and students are willing to spend with us. And, we’re not willing to risk not giving them the highest value of training by using techniques that are based on a leap of faith hoping the industry experts got it right this time. Nor do we want our workshop or mentorship attendees to look back on our course content 5-10yrs from now and say, “this is outdated and obsolete because it was based solely on the industry trends of the time.”

 Sure our training approach has evolved over the years. And it will continue to do so. But “evolving” to us doesn’t mean to simply buy into a new industry trend or to blindly put our faith into the latest training system all the cool kids are using.

 We take pride in emphasizing battle-tested training concepts & techniques that are timeless. And, we’ve found little to no need to bother with most of these specialized industry concepts anyway because our programs don’t create the problems these techniques are designed to solve.

“I know so little, but I know it so fluently”

 I don’t care what day and age you’re in, the bullet points I provide above will never go out of style. That is, unless we start making humans robotic or something 🙂


 Final Thoughts

 I’ve often been called a “contrarian” and deemed as someone who rejects new industry developments.

 Now you know why I will continue to remain skeptical about new industry developments and won’t get on-board with any school of thought or training modality unless it fits along with the techniques and concepts we already know have a long-standing history of being proven effective!

Based on our assessment of fitness industry movement patterns, we have every reason to believe most “new, specialized techniques” will come and go. And, I personally don’t want to be one of those teachers who provides educational strategies that comes and goes along with them!


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