One of the most overlooked or even unknown areas that traditional fitness training misses is the rotational capacity of our joints. As hunter-gatherers we used to use our bodies in very different ways. Now we pack everything into a 1 hour workout 3-5 times a week to make up for this lack of movement. Unfortunately, the traditional style of training does not do a very good job to mimic the movements we used to do. This usually resorts to us getting injured somewhere down the line.
Rotation is the fundamental movement of every joint except our spine, which is hilarious because traditional fitness wisdom tells you to never bend your spine (which is its fundamental movement). If you do not have the ability to rotate your joints separately from the rest of your body then you do not have those joints. For example, if your hips cannot internally and externally rotate you do not have hips. Therefore you are required to compensate for that lack of movement elsewhere in your body. Now that may sound okay at first, but if you ask your spine to help compensate for your shitty hips, and then you load your body under a barbell squat you begging for something to go wrong.
The same goes for your shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists, and ankles. Yet the only time I see rotational training in the gym is when someone is warming up for a push day doing 1 set of external rotations with very little intent.
Rotational training can help open up space in your joints to improve mobility and keep your joints healthy. This will also help reduce the risk of injury so you can continue to make steady progress. Before you try to improve flexion or extension anywhere you should first make sure you have sufficient rotation in that joint (except for the spine, it’s the opposite).
This new range of motion now provides you access to more tissue that you can train in your traditional exercises, meaning you have more room to make progress.
A simple way to get started is to work on the heavy hitters: the shoulders & hips. You can almost guarantee that yours can use some help. You can then work your way through the rest of your joints and assess what needs work.
If you would like some more information or need help getting started with your rotational joint work you can book a free discovery session here Tommy Kudoba Fitness