Build a Foundation of Slow

People like to move fast. They like to move fast even when there's no good reason to move fast. Between the notifications popping up on their phone all hours of the day and night and the BuzzFeed articles describing the life-changing benefits of Stupid High Intensity Training (S.H.I.T.), there is an over-urgency surrounding everything that seems important. 

But the reality is that most of the physical work we all need involves slowing down, at least part of the time. And while I like to tickle my chakras in yoga class, too, that's not exactly what I'm talking about. No, what I'm describing is about taking the time, often under intense loads and resistance, to gain understanding of where our bodies are in space. 

What IS my shoulder doing when I squat? 

Hannah finds that happy "shelf" in the middle picture.

Hannah finds that happy "shelf" in the middle picture.

How does my neck move in a pushup?

The middle version has the most neutral (read: not "pain-in-the...") neck.

The middle version has the most neutral (read: not "pain-in-the...") neck.

In practice, this slower work tends to be way more demanding than we expect, and offers that "man I went to the gym today" feeling that we all love so much but usually associate with just moving FAST and HARD. But whereas that faster work can often (and for beginners, USUALLY) go wrong in terms of movement quality, the slow stuff *feels* bad way before you get hurt; you have the ability to gauge and appropriately limit yourself. 

Now, don't get me wrong: I like pushing intensity as much as that chalk-eating, bro-hulk friend of yours (well maybe not QUITE as much). But like most things, the issue is not the general concept (intensity) but the dosage and quality, and there is real gold in letting things just settle. Slow down, pay attention, and let the changes start rolling in.