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Breakthrough Fitness

Reduce Injury And Enhance Life With This Tip

Olivia (my 8 year old) has started gymnastics. She likes it, pays attention and wants to learn – three things necessary for getting better at anything in life.

Want to improve your marriage?

  • You need to like the person you are married to.
  • Pay attention to them.
  • Learn how to communicate better.

Want to improve your fitness and health?

  • Pick something you enjoy.
  • Pay attention to what you put in your mouth.
  • Learn how to strengthen and condition your body properly.

Now back to the story…

Olivia is learning the basic tumbling moves – forward roll, back bend, cartwheel, bridge. These are called the fundamentals and until they’re mastered you can’t really do much else in gymnastics.

Learning how to squat, properly, bend(hinge) properly and create full body tension (maybe the most important) are fundamentals of strength training.

What is full body tension? Put a heavy item in your left hand and stand upright. Pay attention to how the body tightens up to resist the object from pulling you to the left. Feel how taunt the muscles get on your right side. That’s tension.

I just described what we call a suitcase carry. Essentially it’s a walking side plank. Tension helps us learn that the body is one piece. The more you deliberately train tension the more you’ll pay attention to it when it’s needed in real life… You’ll automatically brace and tighten when picking up and moving bags of mulch all day. A strong torso (pillar) that has been programmed to engage and stabilize will allow you to play chicken in the pool with your kids without throwing your back out.. That same pillar of strength will help you be the grandparent that can handle three days of non-stop movement and fun when you visit the grandkids. You didn’t expect a relaxing vacation did you?


Everyday do some variation of a plank and/or carry. Remember, push-ups are a moving plank, which make them a nice choice. Don’t just go through the motions. Focus and feel where the tension needs to be. You’ll learn alot about your body.

I wouldn’t hold a plank any longer than two minutes, but I would find ways to make the plank more challenging. You make carries more challenging by increasing the load.

Have a great week!

Keep Moving,

Coach Dom