When you really think about it, we share an odd relationship with walls.
Walls protect us from the elements yet they deprive us of the view.
Walls are a profound and sometimes unfriendly reminder of colonial interests yet they are a place to hang something as globally appreciated as art.
The walls you around you may feel like home yet the same walls may feel like they are closing in on you.
Wherever you may stand with walls they are here to stay. They have been around for a long time and whether for good or not so good intention I am happy to wager they won't be going anywhere anytime soon.
So let's discuss the good.
One such positive being in training, where walls treat me very well. They have become a vital tool due to their ability for me to position, assess, regress and progress a number of movements for a number of reasons.
Here is why:
- Self adjustable resistance
- Positioning that is friendly for a number of considerations
- A safer alternative if a floor based movement is too much to ask.
- Downward force application for anterior chain loading
- Walls are everywhere which allows me to take aspects of my work anywhere
- It's rare to see a lineup to use the wall
- Their relationship with the floor carries over very well when understanding ground force application
For me it is the self adjusting resistance versatility that seals the deal. With some of my clients the wall may be a staple in entry level resistance training.
For others it may be movement prep or movement pairing where your ability to control resistance can both move you as well as torch you up if you want it to.
Ankle Mobilization/Loading of the Foot
There are a number of ways the foot and ankle can be tackled in training but the downward force of a planted foot paired with the horizontal force of hands on a wall has become a big ally in my programming. It provides a self adjustable load to get the ankle into dorsiflexion as well as a very effective amount of load on the arch, as well as the thigh and hip when the leg is properly extended. A great pre-requisite to single leg resistance work.
Hip Flexion/Extension Drills
From top to bottom it gives you a chance to load the body. In this case the forward and downward force from your hands allows the ribcage, trunk and mid back to load. Pair it with the push from the planted foot and you get a real feel for hip extension which carries over very well for flexion of the moving hip.
Another great pre-requisite to single leg resistance work. Particularly the step up.
I have a soft spot for the hinge and will use any dirty trick in the book to find the most teachable version of it for each person I work with. Once again the ability to load the hip and trunk through downward force application is a winner for me. Positioning can be left to your own devices based on the pattern that you are seeking.
Mid Back/Trunk Work
Another common occurrence in my world is finding ways to redirect tension to the right places in the upper half. To give the head, neck and low back a breather and groove the feeling of abdominal expansion and thoracic extension.
In this case the wall gives me an ideal position to brace the body without it becoming excessively rigid. This allows more attention geared toward breathing, bracing, loading the mid back and finding the ideal range of motion to wire it all together.
To The Walls
Fitness has its walls.
Fundamentals in movement, nutrition and lifestyle that have served the test of time and continue to prove themselves worthy yet there is a mainstream attraction in breaking down these walls. While questioning the norms is never a bad thing, a lot more success can be found in learning why these walls continue to stand.
A friendly reminder to let the fundamentals challenge you to the fullest before you do the same to the fundamentals.