More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” It’s a popular phrase used to help illustrate a point. Simply put, it means that there are multiple ways to accomplish a task. In most scenarios, there usually are multiple ways you can accomplish a task. If I were to observe two people cleaning a house, I’m sure there would be differences. However, the end result will be the same…a clean house. Sure the two people may take a different approach to how they clean, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the end result is a clean house.

The same concept goes for corrective exercise. Once again, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” You don’t always have to follow the exact same approach to get the desired outcome. I tend to have a set of go-to exercises to fix certain movement patterns; however, I don’t always have to use those specific exercises. I have an arsenal of exercises I can use to fix each major movement pattern. Over the past few years, I’ve created an extensive database of corrective strategies I’ve had success with. This database is nice to have at my disposal, but it doesn’t really mean anything without a proper screening system.

Using a good screening system will help identify potential areas of concern while training. I currently use the Functional Movement Screen, or FMS for short, as my screen of choice. This seven exercise screen gives me a ton of important information that is very useful while designing a program. After screening for basic movement and identifying the dysfunctional patterns, we now have the information we need to create an awesome program for that client. Use the information you find while writing your programs and choosing your exercises. If you find a dysfunction, either red light the pattern, or choose a corrective action to help re-establish a good motor pattern restoring a desirable movement.

screening system

I only work on one pattern at a time. Using a hierarchy of attacking mobility before stability, and stability before global movement patterns, I find the weakest link and work on fixing that pattern. I hammer home that pattern. I am relentless when it comes to fixing that one specific pattern! Fixing that one pattern can change everything. A heavy majority of the time, if you fix the greatest dysfunction, you’ll end up fixing other patterns in the process.

This is where having an extensive database of exercises designed to re-establish each pattern comes in handy. With a large database, I can choose several different exercises, all designed to fix that one pattern, using a variety of tools such as kettlebells, bodyweight, resistance bands, sandbags, or other training tools. Not only does this ensure that I’ll fix the pattern…it also gives me a ton of variety for the client along with a combination of exercises that will be perfect in the future warm ups to help reinforce the newly engrained pattern.

There isn’t one set of drills or exercises that will work for everyone. Bands may work for some clients, kettlebells may work for another, and some may get the best results by simply using their own bodyweight. However, just like the two people cleaning the house. We’re looking to come to the same end result…fixing the dysfunctional movement pattern. Did your choice of exercise selections fix the pattern, make it stay the same, or make it worse? If it did, AWESOME! If not, no big deal! Simply choose a different strategy and move on.

Simply put, there is more than one way to skin a cat. There is no set of magical exercises that will work for everyone. You’re going to have some differences between person to person. Build your database of exercises designed to fix specific movement patterns. After building your database, you’ll be more effective at getting results since you’ll have multiple options to choose from. Don’t waste too much time using one drill or exercise. If it’s going to work, it’s usually going to work fairly quickly. If no changes are seen, simply move on.

I’ve been working on building an extensive database of corrective strategies over the past few years. My business partner, Steve Long, and I have spent countless hours developing the systems that get results. Systems that not only get us results, but get our coaches and interns results too. Our “Smart Group Training with” series has been designed to give you the arsenal of corrective strategies we use in our gyms on a daily basis. This series is a combination of our most used tools: bodyweight, bands, and kettlebells. This is the same stuff we have success with, so we’re confident it will work for you. Either check out our Smart Group Training with series, or build your own database of exercises that work for you. Just make sure the end result is the same…RESULTS.

Jared Woolever