What the heck is a "movement quota" and why is it important? In this episode I talk about movement quotas and why they are basically injuries waiting to happen.
Core Balance Podcast. Episode 76.
What do you think your body would look and feel like if you continue to move like you did when you were a kid, before fitness became about treadmills and calories. There is a better way and now you've found it. Welcome to the Core Balance Podcast with your host Chris Janke-Bueno.
Hello and welcome to the show. Welcome to the Core Balance Podcast, I'm your host Chris Janke-Bueno and today we are going to talk about a phrase that I believe I made up, I have been talking about this a lot. What the heck is a movement quota, a movement quota. Now, this is not a quarter, which is a 25 cent piece that you find on the ground in New York City, not a quarter, a quota (Q-U-O-T-A), what is a movement quota. And why will you get in a lot of trouble if you have movement quotas. Well, a movement quota is a specific range of motion ideal that you have in your mind when you are about to do an exercise. For example if you are going to do bicep curls, I always use this example bicep curls because it's just a simple exercise and it's really easy to detail. But a movement quota is basically if you think in your bicep curl that there's a specific point of the range that you need to hit every single time and every single repetition you are trying to hit that point of the range so it maybe when your elbow is fully bent, your hand is right by your shoulder and it's fully contracted, that bicep is fully contracted – if you have one of these movement quotas you can get into a lot of trouble. And here's the reason why: as you are doing your repetitions you know the first maybe five repetitions you have absolutely no problem getting that full range of motion. So you have satisfied the movement quota. Once you maybe hit 7, 8, 9, 10 repetitions depending on how many you are doing but once you get into those numbers usually you start to slow down a little bit, the motion starts to slow down. And it gets a little harder to hit the end of the range and so if you let the weight just stop, wherever it stops because the arm can't take it up any higher and you go back down, that's what you want to do. But you get into trouble again like I said when you have a movement quota which is basically somewhere in your head it says no I have to go higher, I have to go higher – basically you are trying to make the eighth repetition look exactly like the first repetition. And you could imagine that if your bicep is too fatigued to actually get to that range of motion naturally with just pure muscle contraction then you are going to have to find another way. And that's when the body starts to compensate, that's when the lower back says hey I can help you out, I will just seize up real quick, I will hyperextend myself and then that will give you just enough momentum to get that weight up at your shoulder level and then the biceps don't have to overwork so hard. So you see how that could potentially be damaging.
Now, instead of that I want to talk about how to do it instead because there's a very specific technique and when you are doing this you actually want to let the range of motion get smaller because you only want to be able to go as high as you can fully controlled. If you can fully control the weight up, fully control the weight down, that means you are at an appropriate weight and you are doing the appropriate form. The way that you know this is that at any time in the motion, at any split second you should be able to stop the motion and pause. You should be able to pause the motion. If you are using momentum to pull the weight up you are not going to be able to pause, you don't have any control over that part of the motion. So as you are doing repetitions on your own with whatever exercise you are doing bicep curls or whatever else, use that as a test – can I just mid range, can I stop, can I pause and actually have control of this weight. Or is my muscle so fatigued that this part of the range of motion is not doable for me because it's so fatigued. So again as you are doing the bicep curls you get tired, the range will get smaller, it will. If it doesn't that just means you are not working that hard because if you can do 60 repetitions and the range is the same then the weight is relatively low.
Now I'm not saying that's a bad thing because sometimes you want to go high repetitions low weight. I'm just saying that if you are shooting for a heavier weight and you are expecting your repetitions to be a little lower like 5, 10, 15, 20, somewhere in there, there will be that fatigue factor where your muscle that you are working actually burns out and you are not able to actually pull off the range of motion. So you know you still want to go through and get a little work but you want to be able to control the weight all the way up, all the way down. So it's what you do during those last couple of repetitions that is really the key. So I want to encourage you stick with the range of motion quality that you started with, but don't necessarily think that you have this artificial movement quota, don't think that your 10th repetition has to go the full range of motion. Now keep the range of motion quality but I guess the quantity as far as how high up you pull, that is automatically going to be limited just because of the fatigue factor of the muscle.
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You’ve been listening to the Core Balance Podcast, I'm your host Chris Janke-Bueno. We'll talk again next time. Until then let's be fit, let's be healthy, let's be happy. It feels good to move, so keep moving.
Stop relying on willpower, motivational tricks, and pump-up strategies and learn how to top into your inner fitness fire with Chris' 60-minute audio book: Ignite Your Fitness Passion (published 2015)
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Learn the basic principles that make a successful fitness program with Chris' 60-page book, Functional Strength: The Key To Pain-Free Movement (published 2008)