Why Getting Down to the Floor is So Important

I love questions in the gym or from peoples in the interweb facebook world. I even love the questions I can’t immediately answer. If I need to really think a subject matter through, I will and if I need to refer to a smarter associate, I will. I’m actually very lucky to be within a network of some of the smartest thinkers in the health and fitness world. Note the word ‘health’. The fitness world alone is awash with unnecessarily sweaty, nonsense – you know the ‘stuff’ you see on social media with all the pouting, posing, flexing, ‘look at me’ distractions. I’ll not even get into the exercise things that they share – that is a story for another time.

Talking of smart people, I am very blessed to be attending a weekend workshop with world renowned strength and conditioning coach Dan John. We’ll be spending the weekend covering some content from his latest book, 40 Years with a Whistle along with sections looking at the economics of strength training. Overall, it is going to an awesome weekend with gold nuggets of information bouncing off the walls. I will be sure to blog about the workshop next week when I’ve calmed down!

Dan John ties in nicely with todays post and a question I get often from new-comers to the gym.

‘Why do we get down to the floor so much during a training session’? 

Let’s read a few statistics, a somewhat scary tale of the current day for you.

  1. Deaths from falls are increasing by 3% per year, or 30% between 2007 and 2016. Link
  2. In Queensland, ambulance services attended near 60% of falls in private residences and 24% in nursing homes.
  3. In Australia, 30% of adults over 65 experience at least one fall per year.
  4. Falls account for 40% of injury-related deaths in Australia. Link
  5. The most common injuries involve hip, leg, arm, neck fractures, with hip injuries having the greatest impact on patients.

I’ll stop at 5 but for more information please do click on the last link above.

Whilst the falls alone are traumatic the post-fall life of a fall patient is greatly impacted by a reduction in willingness to partake in physical activity for fear of falling again. Even in younger patients, they too will most likely seize to exercise as much. This reduction of quality in life simply snow-balls the inactivity and allows frailty to set in, in turn increasing risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes. One study has shown that the two year survival rate of cancer survivors is greater than that of falls patients.

If you’re not seeing why we get to the floor and back up again often in a gym session, maybe you need to read the same statement from one of the worlds greatest strength and conditioning coaches.

‘It’s one of the strongest statements I have made in my career. I feel like no one is listening, but…please…do some work on getting to the ground and getting back up. Practice falling before you need to!’ Dan John

A bit more information from Dan perhaps?

So, how do we get to the floor? Well, we get down to the floor silly. Simply practicing the many methods of getting onto the floor and whilst down there we practice some purposeful trunk exercises. Any action that’s purposeful and mindful, repeated often will develop muscular and joint strength as well as developing the reactive or reflexive strength in the movements. If we’re stronger in practicing getting down to the floor, we will be more resilient if and when a slip or fall occurs.

For general strength and conditioning, we practice the following:

  • Lunges in all directions to get closer to the floor or onto the floor.
  • Squats in all shapes and forms to get closer to the floor.
  • Hip hinges both two legged and single legged to get closer to the floor or onto the floor.
  • The wonderful Turkish Get Up is another quite specific multi-planar movement that teaches the skill of getting to the floor and back up.
  • Single leg balance to assess and develop the ability to stand on one leg for 10 seconds. Test that yourself. If you struggle to balance for 10 seconds, there’s you next most important goal to work on.

We also have a great drill I call the Flamingo. This drill I developed to address multi-planar movements of the legs. Really, it’s just a tease for the legs, hips, ankles and trunk to maintain balance over a range of moves. Here’s a video I’ll share now.

In part two, I will share a video containing the other list of moves I mentioned above.

Action point?

Can you stand on one leg for 10 seconds?

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