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    Articles | goal setting

    What’s Normal Movement?

    By David (Jacko) Jackson

    What’s normal movement? ‘Pain free’ feels like it should be a fairly standard element or factor that makes up ‘normal movement’.

    What about the movement itself? Walking is a pretty normal movement, ‘everyone’ can do that fairly easily so that could be a factor that makes it normal, right?

    What about a handstand, back bridge or a pancake… they are pretty extreme movements so they can’t be normal can they?

    What about for an Olympic gymnast like Sam Oldham, a handstand, back bridge and pancake would be very normal in a training session and so basic to someone of his level that he doesn’t even need to warm up for them. He can just do them, they’re normal to him.

    You see, it’s all relative.

    The ‘walking is normal’ statement is certainly unfair to someone that can’t walk. We’ve worked with lots of Paralympic wheelchair athletes that either can’t walk or it’s not easy and not normal, but can do amazing things in their wheelchairs on the track – which is normal to them.

    Normal movement therefore must be relative to the individual.

    In my own training and experiences of late, I’ve been fascinated by the notion of ‘what’s your norm?’¬†Countless times I’ve thought or answered someone “well, it’s all relative right?”

    Partly because with both training and in life we often get caught up comparing ourselves to others; our progress, our achievement or our development compared to someone else’s.

    Unless that person is exactly the same as you; with the same experiences, past training and life history, same genetic make-up etc as you, then it’s an unfair comparison because they are not the same as you. You’re comparing two different things.

    I’m not the first person to find this idea of ‘normal’ or ‘relativity’ fascinating. Einstein himself explains it far more beautifully than I can in his theory of relativity.

    As an example, image being sat on a train with Einstein himself. The train is travelling at 60mph. The both of you are therefore travelling 60mph as you’re inside the train. However you are sat stationary. Relative to each other you are not actually moving. However, relative to the world you are moving across the ground at 60mph.

    A simple example, but it’s the same with your training progress and what’s normal movement to you.

    You maybe moving slower or faster with your progress than someone else – that’s ok, stop comparing yourself.

    Once you’ve redefined your impossible and a once impossible movement becomes easy, it becomes your new norm and you move forward. But don’t forget to look back once in a while and see how far you’ve moved forward relative to where you started.

    Otherwise it can feel like your progress is ‘sat still’ not moving forward because you forget about the train you’re sitting on and how far you’re travelling forward since you started.

    Class dismissed

    Head of science, mindset and trying to sound clever – Jacko!


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