We are simply designed to move. We are made to move in a variety of ways with too many combinations of movements to count. Though our movements are many, they can be broken down into a few basic patterns.
In fact, Dan John, a great author, coach, teacher, and friend believes that all movements can be broken down into 5 basic human movements:
If Dan is training an athlete and he wants to improve their performance, he simply introduces the athlete to whichever of the above movements the athlete is not currently training. For instance, say Dan is coaching a discuss thrower who strength trains religiously but he never does squats. Dan simply introduces squats into that athlete's routine and boom! - instant performance improvement.
Dan's performance enhancement method is quite simple; simple and brilliant! How can you improve your performance? Simply do the things you are not doing that you were designed to do.
We are made to move and possess certain movements. We are also made for efficiency, and this works against us when it comes to the "use it or lose it" principle. It is simply inefficient to hold on to movements that we never take advantage of; even the movements we were meant to have. Not using one of the movement patterns you were meant to have is like driving your car around on 3 tires instead of 4 tires. 4 tires is obviously better but your body will accommodate you if you only want to use 3!
So it only makes sense that if you regularly participate in the 5 basic movements you were meant to have, you will not only retain them, you will move (perform) well. You will perform at your best because you continually take advantage of your basic design.
Everything about us revolves around the "use it or lose it" principle. Your math skills, your movement patterns, your joints, your strength, everything. The best way to ensure that your body always performs at its best is to regularly, if not daily, engage in the activities and movements you were made for. If you don't push, start. If you don't pull, start. If you don't hinge, learn how. Do the things you are not doing - in your training sessions, in your "play" sessions, in your daily life. Get up and move!
If you want to learn more about Dan John's philosophies and coaching style, check out his blog at http://danjohn.net/category/blog/
or his book Never Let Go at http://www.davedraper.com/fitness_products/product/BDJN.html
or his DVD Intervention at
Dan also writes numerous articles for www.T-nation.com.
Have a great weekend!