What Makes a Movement Better?

What makes any given movement good, or better?

Like take any movement—a pushup, for example—and fill in the blank, “I’d consider this to be a *better* pushup if …”

We brainstormed this question last night in class one of a 4-week Interactive Anatomy workshop I’m leading here in Missoula, MT. Here’s what we came up with.

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a) more fluid (less sticky or jerky feeling)

b) able to adapt to a variety of vectors (i.e. the movement’s ability to adapt to a new alignment, accidental or not, and not fall apart)

c) more [fill in your metrics of choice]: strength, range of motion, speed, height, getting through a functional obstacle

d) more fun, interesting, enjoyable; perhaps also with that quality of one’s being present

e) it doesn’t injure you, short or long term

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Interesting to note, in my opinion, a few things:

1. This list contains both subjective and objective criteria. Some are both, like fluidity is both a feeling, and an aesthetic we can ascribe to someone else.

2. “C” is purely objective. “C” is also, probably of course, pretty much the *only* criteria in some schools/movers minds. “You lifted more? Great, that’s better.” or “You went further into a forward bend? Great, that’s better.”

3. Any of these can, of course, be at odds. To learn a skill in a new way, for example, you might greatly sacrifice speed and strength to, in the long run, continue the process of making it fun — which I think for adults is less about *being* good at something, but more the joy of *learning* something.

Likewise to not develop overuse injuries, more often a byproduct of *how* someone does a movement than the movement itself.

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Your thoughts?

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