We talk a lot about endpoints in our training at One on One and the reason for this is simple: Paying attention to endpoints will help you to train smarter and harder! But what do we really mean when we say “endpoints”?
For starters, endpoints define a safe and effective range of motion for a specific movement. They allow the individual to transition from decelerating a force in one direction to accelerating that force in the opposite direction. To maximize the acceleration potential, the individual must be stabilized at the movement’s endpoints. Failure to stabilize can result in less than optimal performance and eventually injury.
For more traditional, loaded movements (i.e. db bench presses, weight squats, etc.), endpoints are established for the purpose of maintaining the integrity of our joints and preventing injury. For example, with a flat bench press, we do not want the client’s elbows to pass below the plane of their shoulder. With that type of load on the shoulder joint, the benefits of going too deep into the movement do not justify the risks.
Endpoints become cloudier when we talk about functional or unloaded exercises. These are movements that look more like activities of daily living. Here the endpoints are defined by what is necessary to perform and function at a high level and an individual’s abilities.
Regardless of the type of training, it is important for us to identify the endpoints of each movement and learn to stabilize at those endpoints. I routinely refer to the game “Red Light, Green Light” to illustrate what it means to be stable at your endpoints. Imagine exercising and at each endpoint you hear, “red light”! Can you stop right away with no extra movement? What does your posture look like? Are you still maintaining the other essential parameters of the movement? Are you balanced? If yes, you are stable and can get busy working safely and quickly in both directions.
Focus on endpoints to get the most out of your exercise and do so safely!
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