No matter how you look at it, it’s a solid, unmovable, REAL brick wall

You can sprint at it. You can hit it sideways. You can jump, hop, or skip into it.

It’s still a freakin brick wall.

You can eat a banana, not eat a banana, or change your pre-workout supplement.

Morning. Noon. Night.

Then crash into the same old brick wall.

Sometimes, an exercise, or a sport, or any number of other physical activities just aren’t for you.

They are your brick walls.

How many times will you test that wall?


“I REALLY want to keep the barbell snatch in my workout, but my neck blows up the next day every time.” Despite mobility drills, corrective exercise, and targeted core strengthening, the same brick wall presents itself.

Now the choice.

Continue to smash yourself into the brick wall until you can’t anymore (usually an injury will prevent you from even trying).


Find yourself a ladder to go OVER that wall.

I’ve found that, in my many years in the fitness industry, there are ladders everywhere if you’re willing to look for them. You’ll get to where you’re trying to be, you just have to change the path a bit.

If you can disconnect yourself from the novelty of the barbell snatch being the end-all-be-all, the single dumbbell snatch can be a great (if not superior) alternative. It’s a perfect ladder for most.

Back squat doesn’t agree with you despite making all the necessary changes in form and mobility? The goblet squat is a solid ladder. It’s also a phenomenal replacement for the leg press.
The goblet squat.

Running on a treadmill giving you (fill in the blank) issues? Try the rower instead. Or bike. Or elliptical.

Sit ups and v-ups giving you back awareness? Try planks and various core holds instead. If you need to have the “burn” associated with abdominal work, try the swiss ball curl-up.
Curl-up on a swiss ball.

The point is to identify and use the ladders available to you. Don’t expect that wall you’re running yourself into to suddenly crumble.

It won’t.

You will.

There will be some brick walls that have no obvious ladder. If you like to run half marathons but a structural injury wont let you, then that’s that. The smart move at this point would be to go AROUND the wall and pick another distance, or sport, that doesn’t require the same repetitive movement pattern.

If you have specific brick walls of your own, and are having trouble finding the ladder to fit that wall, email me at

Matt Pirtle MA CSCS

It’s your turn. Emerge.