Functional movement needs to become sexy

posted on February 28, 2019

Paige Hathaway has been one of the biggest fitness influencers on Instagram, and I remember idolising her particularly when the app first launched. Paige has recently come out saying that she’s been experiencing back pain which has reached a point of affecting her everyday life. She admits in her video that over the course of her training, she didn’t spend enough time stretching and actually, she neglected what I call ‘functional movement’ which is the root cause of her pain now.

Paige is an experienced trainer – she knows her shit, but still has ended up in this position.

I have literally just been through a similar situation to Paige. I started training at a young age, and naturally, I didn’t know anything about the importance of functional movement. As I got older, my training started to focus more on aesthetics and weight lifting – at this point, functional training and practicing correct movement patterns should have been number 1 on my agenda. But I completely skipped this step.

Why?

Because it wasn’t anywhere. I became a Level 3 PT, Kettlebell instructor, Sports and Exercise Coach, Exercise to Music instructor, Exercise in the Community coach… but none of these courses taught me about how to correctly move my body to prevent injury.

Only after multiple niggles and pains over the years have I learnt about correct movement from my own painful, slow and expensive experience.

This made me think… if experienced people like myself and Paige have gone through this… what has everybody else got on the horizon!? Will ‘generation fitness’ lead directly into ‘generation injury’?

Functional movement is often overlooked because it just isn’t sexy – and especially not on instagram which rewards highly sexualised images and videos. Why would you watch somebody address imbalances in their torso over watching somebody train their glutes? It looks boring, it’s difficult, doesn’t generate ‘results’ and doesn’t show a big voluptuous bottom jiggling around with the hashtag #bodygoalz.

More recently there have been ‘form correction’ videos where influencers show a poor technique followed by the correct technique – these have been really useful, but a lot of these videos still focus on aesthetic training. How to train your glutes correctly ‘for best activation to make them grow bigger’… or, how to train your abs correctly ‘so you can have super ripped flat abs’.

What about QL strengthening or foot pronation/supination management?

One may argue that this is the job of a physio to teach and ‘prescribe’… but surely there has to be some overlap here into personal training. Surely we can’t train everybody in a way which is going to cause them injuries down the line.

Advanced PT’s are more experienced and qualified to address these sorts of issues. But I don’t see a lot of those over instagram which is where most people look for exercise motivation… in fact, I see a lot of under-qualified people who are just in really good shape. But is their body going to last into their 30’s and beyond?

I have a lot of respect for Paige coming out and talking about this in a video – it was difficult for me to admit that I’d been training incorrectly for years and caused myself pain as a result. Especially when it was my field of ‘expertise’. So ya… I’m interested to hear people’s thoughts on this one!!

@hells_fitness