I realized something today. I was training Jimmy Sansone, owner and founder of the Normal Brand line of clothing. His idea with his company was to offer “normal,” durable, versatile fashion for those that appreciate those qualities.

Less flash but solid fashion.

Great looking with great function.

I compliment him on his perfect planking form pretty much every session. Its normal, but rare.

I am blown away when someone can do a “basic” exercise with precision. And I begin complimenting my client excessively when they can be that precise.

No matter how long they’ve been training or how athletic a client appears to be, I’m truly impressed.

My greatest praise directed towards a client comes in these moments. When basics are done exquisitely well.

A perfectly executed squat, plank, deadlift, or kettlebell swing makes me compliment with enthusiasm.

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An example of a good squat. Neutral spine from neck to lower back, heels on the ground, and only a slightly pitched forward trunk.

Folks are so quick to progress the basics that they don’t spend enough time mastering them. I don’t care if you can stand with one foot on a BOSU and dumbbell press with one arm if your spine is flexed and you’re compensating like crazy to do it.

Exercise prescription should stay more “normal.”

That’s an ironic description, because normally this type of exercise is done badly.

The drive to add resistance or other progressions races a lifter through the basics, and years later, it is VERY evident in their form (and sometimes through injury and terrible posture).

Spend time on the subtleties of a movement pattern. Make sure your timing is correct. Have a keen awareness of spinal neutrality and where your rib cage and shoulder blades are positioned. It feels GOOD to do it right.

From there, progress to more resistance or unilateral versions, but always keep the basics somewhere in your program.

Even with years of experience, the basics should be the mainstay of your program. And the basics should be done with exquisite precision.

In other words, be more normal.

Matt P.