By Live Well 360 Guest Blogger Dave Dellanave
“If you follow anything other than your body, you will break your body.”
- Frankie Faires
If you picked out a person at random from a pool of American citizens, you’d have a very good chance of picking Jane. We’re not just calling her Jane — that’s her real name.
Jane is in her mid-forties, has a great job and a husband she loves with whom she hikes, camps and generally stays active. She also has chronic back and hip pain.
When I met Jane, she had completely given up on working out at a gym. There had been several experiences with trainers who seemed helpful initially but eventually pushed her beyond her limits and into more pain.
Her chiropractor, who was able to provide some relief, recommended she never again do any kind of deadlift.
Having learned the hard way what doing the wrong things meant, Jane took what seemed like the most prudent route and didn’t work out at all, but she always felt like she was missing something.
Intuitive Training = Pain Relief + Enjoying Your Workouts
We eventually crossed paths, and after hearing her history I made a bold promise: I guaranteed her that by guiding her training via her intuition, not only would she only be relieved of her pain issues – she’d actually enjoy working out because it would feel easy.
Jane was understandably skeptical. After the first few weeks, she remarked, “I don’t feel like I’m doing anything.”
One of the things I insist on when people train intuitively is that they always make things easy, and stop before it gets hard.
Ironically, this makes perfect sense to people who have never worked out before – it is only the people who have worked with a trainer before, or have researched common fitness training practices for whom it is counter intuitive.
Sure enough, Jane’s body did not like deadlifting at first — it didn’t test well. (We use range-of-motion testing to determine which exercises to do on a given day.)
To begin with, we did everything that did test well – squats, pulls, pushes, lunges, and so on.
But pretty soon Jane was looking longingly at others deadlifting, and she asked me if I thought she could deadlift eventually. I told her to ask her body if she should deadlift.
Deadlifting in a conventional position wasn’t good for Jane initially, but other positions, like a double-suitcase off of blocks, were great.
So, we included only the variations that tested best.
In less than two months, that included conventional barbell deadlifts, and Jane was pulling over 100 pounds off the floor on a straight barbell (generally the most physically demanding position).
Intuitive training is certainly not limited to people in pain. The very best in any sport are known for following their instincts and intuition.
In fact, the most famous training programs caught fire by essentially transcribing what the best had done to achieve progress, and then systematizing it.
I have freed athletes from the chains of written programs, and from the tyranny of thinking they always have to work harder, regardless of how their body feels.
In fact, the creator of the intuitive training protocol I teach, Frankie Faires, says, “If you follow anything other than your body, you will break your body.”
Not only that, but when you do follow your body, no one can imagine the wild and limitless progress you can make. You don’t know how good you could be.
Despite all the debate over training methods, there is actually only one best training method: the method in which you make unlimited progress with no injuries.
To find it, you could either try every system that others have put onto paper, or you could follow your intuition and develop your own method that is fully centered on you.
David Dellanave is a lifter, coach, and owner of The Movement Minneapolis in the Twin Cities. He implements biofeedback techniques, teaching his clients, ranging from athletes to general population, to truly understand what their bodies are telling them.
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