Be Your Own Experiment

Science is challenging.

To be really good you need to have very solid control of the environment, of the participants (which you need a lot of) and of as many extraneous variables as possible. Even more challenging is to have an experiment last a long time to see what the long-term ramifications of your hypothesis.

Frankly, I am happy to use research that has already been accomplished, but we also have a responsibility as individuals to test things out for ourselves.

To this end, we can use the nervous system and our bodies to measure our individual response to a certain activity. The nice part about this is that the benefit (if any) is realized instantaneously. For example, if I do a drill with the goal of improving my shoulder mobility, there should be some immediate, non-painful improvement of my shoulder mobility to consider it successful.

I spend a great deal of time experimenting. Typically this is done in my living room or back yard, or in today’s case–the floor of my room in London.Tuck Planche

Now I am not just turning myself into some pretzel willy-nilly – there is a background of a decently thorough understanding of neurophysiological and musculoskeletal anatomy as a foundation for these experiments. Thoracic Bridges, Kickstand Swings, and Shank Lever Rows were born in my living room–along with several other mobility drills. I’m not saying I was the first person in the history of mankind to do these things, but that it was the result of a thought process. There was a REASON behind them that at least made sense to me.

The truth is that 99% of the weird stuff I do is throw-away junk. It makes sense, especially when you consider that different is not necessarily better. Which is a good lesson for anyone out there exercising and especially coaches teaching exercise: Different is not necessarily better.

During my experimenting sessions, I’ll play around with movements, evaluate their effectiveness and write stuff down if it’s worthwhile. If it is, I move on to step 2, which is evaluating with a group of individuals.

Testing many individuals is crucial because not everyone will respond to something the same way. As I like to say, we are all beautiful, unique, snowflakes. Some of us are allergic to peanuts, and some are not. Some of us have different hip and shoulder joints. Let’s respect and take advantage of those differences.

There are a seemingly infinite number of ways that the human body can move. If we treat every day as an opportunity to experiment with that, we might have more fun with our movement practice. If you discover something new, write it down or take a video and implement it into your #5minuteflow.

Life is not about being given all the answers, it’s about finding at least some of them out for ourselves. I’ll continue to pass along anything I learn through my own experiments, but keep playing and learning yourself too!

Better every day,

Simple Shoulder Solution was developed by this exact process – testing on myself and many others over the years.  Get more information and grab your copy here

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2 thoughts on “Be Your Own Experiment

  • David Bier

    Nice post Max – and I'd pay for a compendium of your drills, along with the exercises they can be used with and complement. For instance, when I'm working with front levers it would be very cool to have a handy list of drills to superset with them.