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Rachel Cosgrove: Take a tip from Jack and move!

Results Fitness

Posted: February 18, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 18, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Results Fitness client Debra Kavanagh comes up from a squat, one of the seven basic fitness movements.

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This past month we lost a fitness icon, Jack LaLanne. LaLanne was ahead of his time with some of his teachings.
He was all about movement and consistency when it comes to exercise. He did not tolerate excuses.

LaLanne was a huge proponent of people moving, doing some kind of exercise every single day.

“Too many people make excuses like ‘I am too old,’ or ‘I don’t have time,’ or ‘It costs money.’ Then when they get sick they go to the doctor and want a shot in the backside to make them healthy,” LaLanne once said.

To get started on an exercise routine, you first must find out how your body functions. There are seven basic movements the human body can do that should be regularly included in your exercise routine — squat, lunge, push, pull, bend, twist and single-leg stance.

The important question is:  Are you able to do all seven with full range of motion and no pain?

A number of personal trainers and health professionals use what is called the functional movement screen to assess these seven basic movements.

It scores each person based on range of motion, compensation, whether you have pain.

The functional movement screen will show if you have lost function in any of these movements due to a past injury, history or because of disuse.

If you are unable to perform one of these seven movements with full range of motion, then your program should include exercises working on improving that movement along with exercises performing the other movements. 

No matter what you have going on, whether it be arthritis, an injury or some thing in your history that has limited your physical activity, there is always something you can do.

If you don’t move it, you’ll lose it.

As LaLanne preached, “The only way you can hurt your body is if you don’t use it.”

The functional movement screen will give you an idea of where to safely and effectively start and work up from. What it won’t accommodate is excuses, much like LaLanne.

“Many people have arthritis and rheumatism — they get bum knees, a bum back. A lot of guys get a little pain in the toe or knee and then they won’t exercise. Well, you have 640 muscles in your body. There may be a few exercises you can’t do, but there are hundreds you can do,” LaLanne once said.

Find a fitness professional who can perform the functional movement screen and design an exercise program based on your results.

It’s a path to set your self up for success.

The key is to begin at a realistic pace so you don’t do too much too soon and end up injured or burned out.

 “If you haven’t exercised for a long time, just start out for a couple minutes a day. Then work it up a little bit. You’d be surprised at the end of 30 days, how many things you are doing,” LaLanne said.

A client at Results Fitness in Newhall is taken through the functional movement screen before they do a workout.

One of the exercises we screen is a basic squat by placing a dowel overhead and lowering our client into a full range of motion squat. If unable to perform the squat on the floor with full range of motion, then the heels are raised, and it is scored again.

What can you learn from this movement?

You may be unable to get full range of motion, your heels may pop up, your back may round forward or you may lean forward.

Each of these things tells you something about the way you move.

What can we do with this information?

If someone is unable to perform a full range of motion squat on the screen, then their program will include exercises to take weight off of the movement, such as using a tool called the TRX.

On the other hand, if a client is able to perform a full range of motion squat with no problem, then we could add a loaded bar overhead to the exercise to add further challenge to the workout.

The other advantage of the functional movement screen is that any imbalances or potential injuries will show up.

Being unable to perform these seven movements pain free, with full range of motion, means you are at risk for an injury.

One of the founders of the functional movement screen, Gray Cook has said that you should not put fitness on top of dysfunction. You’ll end up injured and not getting in shape.

Instead, work on moving better and then move more often. 

Which takes us back to LaLanne’s advice, “You have to take care of your 640 muscles, and the number one thing is exercise. You can eat perfectly, but if you don’t exercise, you cannot get by.”

To schedule an appointment to have The Functional movement screen performed by a qualified fitness professional, contact Results Fitness at (661) 799-7900 for a complimentary screening. More info at
Rachel Cosgrove is the author of “The Female Body Breakthrough” and co-owner of Results Fitness.


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