More is NOT always better

By Coach E

From the start of the official launch of Precision Movement in 2017, it’s been my intention to first get the Control series out the door then go back through them all and update them with feedback from clients and whatever new info/exercises I’d learned since.

Almost 2 years later here we are with the first “v2” update of Spine Control, due to be released in the next month or so and it’s been a ton of work – way more than I imagined – because I’ve since learned much and have refined my thinking, methods and my ability to effectively communicate them to you.

I just finished writing the Spine Control Phase 2 Training Guide and thought I’d share a passage because it’s relevant and important to everyone putting work in with exercises or courses from Precision Movement:

As opposed to Phase 1, in Phase 2 you’ll be performing the same exercises with progression built-in through an increase in reps as you work through the phase. The more reps you do, the more you build your (neuro)muscular strength endurance. This is basic training.

However, another form of progress you’ll discover as you work through the program is your ability to generate a greater level of activation and force, especially at end ranges. Beginning exercisers recruit a lower % of their motor units and muscle fibers compared to advanced exercisers. So the strength gains you make aren’t necessarily from building more muscle, but better using the muscle you already have.

Here in Spine Control, some exercises will make a beginner of everyone who tries them because they’re brand new and target muscles, movements and ranges you’ve never worked before.

When you encounter these exercises, remember that while all progress is great including the ability to do more reps and sets, the primary focus with the dynamic control movements is to improve their quality. I’ve included subtle but powerful elements here in Phase 2 to help.

One is the greater volumes prescribed, which does improve neuromuscular strength as mentioned above, but also gives you more time to work on movement quality as you increase your strength-endurance, because you can maintain proper form for longer.

Even if you feel you can do more, never take your focus off executing the M/AP (movement and/or activation pattern) as taught and don’t go through the motions or try to do “more” because you think more is inherently better.

It’s not and more can actually be worse when doing more results in poorer technique.

Remember: Garbage in. Garbage out.

When you learn a novel movement, you create the neuromuscular pathways for future repetitions of this same movement.

But when you do the movements with poor form, you’re creating inefficient pathways that will result in inefficient and possibly injurious movements.

To fix them will require you to “dig up” the old ones before you can build new ones, which will take you more time and effort than if you execute the movements with precision right from the get-go.

So while the reps increase from workout-to-workout, always focus on executing them with proper technique and stop when your form falters.

Quantity is great but quality is king.

I felt this passage important to share because whenever you’re doing exercises you learn from me, whether you encountered them in a course, from articles on the site or videos on YouTube, how you do them is more important than how many you do.

In today’s society we get bombarded with the message that more is better – faster cars, cell phones with bigger screens, burgers with more stuff on them – it’s relentless and easy to get sucked into if we’re not careful.

If we step back to breathe and ask ourselves, “How can I improve the quality of my life and not just increase the quantity of things I have or do?” my guess is that buying a faster car, getting the latest phone or going for that greasy burger at McDonald’s won’t make the cut.

The answers that do come to you, I urge you to pursue those instead of the gospel of more and I bet you’ll end up better off, whether it looks like more or less.

Coach E

About the Author

Eric Wong (aka Coach E) is the founder of Precision Movement and has a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo. He's been a coach since 2005 and spent his early career training combat athletes including multiple UFC fighters and professional boxers. He now dedicates himself to helping active people eliminate pain and improve mobility. He lives in Toronto (Go Leafs Go!) with his wife and two kids and drinks black coffee at work and IPAs at play. Click here to learn more about Eric.