Finding training movements that are best for you is a lot like buying shoes: There are many different styles, you will like some more than others, and some may not fit perfectly, but the ones that do will be the best bet for longevity. In general, good movements, like a proper pair of shoes, will be comfortable, allow for freedom of motion, and be something you can come back to repeatedly. When finding movements that best fit and promote successful training there are a few considerations to ensure success!
One of the biggest factors to successful movements in training, like footwear, is considering health. For training movement that health means looking at the ideal range of motion (ROM). Now most people have a total ROM that is greater than their healthy ROM, which is the range of motion that is possible while joints, and body segments, retain their positional integrity. Positional integrity is crucial to training success because it will keep the body healthy, which is a top priority for consistency. Additionally, moving and lifting weights through healthy ROMs is the best way to keep getting stronger! If the ROM goes past optimal, the body begins going into “protect” mode in order to prevent injury, as opposed to staying within the ideal ROM where the body can prioritize adapting to the movement and growing stronger!
Another factor to choosing movements, like shoes, is the considering the style! Training programs go through cycles, each with a different goal and style of achieving that outcome. Some training cycles may be intended to increase work capacity, some may be geared towards maximal strength, while others may be focused on hypertrophy and making muscles bigger. All of these are great goals, and should be utilized over the course of long-term training, as each phase enhances the next. Now, when used properly, pretty any movement can apply within these different training styles, however, some are going to be more well-suited than others. For example, lets look at a squat, which is a great exercise! When going for maximum strength a barbell back squat is, generally speaking, the most effective way to lift the most weight possible in a squatting movement. However, if going or hypertrophy training, which tends to feature higher reps at lower weights, it may be more beneficial to use a kettelbell goblet squat, a method that is less demanding on the spine than a barbell squat, and more inclusive of the arms and shoulders, which may have a more synergistic training effect. Both are squatting movements, both are great, both have their place.
Another factor when choosing movements, like choosing shoes, is that you have to enjoy them! There are too many ways to do various movements to force yourself into doing something you don’t enjoy. Some versions of movements just may not be your jam, and that is totally cool!! There are plenty of adequate substitutions, and forcing a movement style that doesn’t feel good or just is not tolerable runs the risk discouraging training, which leads to a loss of consistency. If a particular movement is not working, change it!
So the process of choosing training movements and shoes is not all that different after all. Both require considering health and ensuring safety. Both demand a consideration of style, as you wouldn’t run a marathon in high heels just like you might not want to practice glute bridges for maximal strength when a deadlift is more appropriate option. And both need to be enjoyable, and appreciated by the athlete. A final thought on movements and shoes: When a shoe doesn’t fit you casually keep looking and find a better option, instead of berating your foot for being broken or bad, which it isn’t. Similarly if a move is not currently a best option there is nothing wrong with your body, it is not broken or bad, you can simply move on to the next method and find a better option that will lead to success and strength :)