'Efficiency'- get more done with less!

Someone asked me, "What is ONE WORD that I would describe my general goal of improving one’s movement with?" After an intense bout of mental gymnastics I said;  ‘EFFICIENCY’.

Many people would choose ‘strength’ or ‘flexibility’ or ‘stability’.

‘Efficiency’ however, is not exactly the trendiest term or a word that you could find on the cover of the fitness magazine attracting attention. 

So, who cares about efficiency anyway?

Well I do! And maybe you will catch some of that enthusiasm too if I can make my case well enough.

 Please, look at the general definition of ‘efficiency’, if you wouldn’t mind....

"The ability to do something or produce something without wasting materials, time, or energy." Merriam-Websters.
generally describes the extent to which time, effort or cost is well used for the intended task or purpose." Wikipedia

The term efficiency relates to…

  1. The intention or the goal of the action (specificity of the action or movement)

  2. The precision of the process that leads to the goal (accuracy of the process)

  3. The assessment of how well the mission was accomplished (effectiveness)

  4. The amount of energy consumed in the process (the cost or the calories required for the task)

  5. The amount of energy wasted in the process (the waste or energy potential to be preserved)

This picture illustrates what kind of layers could be found around the ‘efficiency’ of movement.


So now a good question would probably be; “Where is strength and endurance and all the good stuff that are always linked to the exercise and that I work for every day at the gym? “

Well if your goal is ‘movement’, which is an action towards a specific goal, you could start by assessing the quality of your movement solution to a given situation. Then you could choose tools or strategies with which to improve the quality of your movement solution. The strategies might very well consist of strength training or cardiovascular development, but they might also be more related to the quality instead of just capacity of movement, such as ‘removing obstacles from the path of movement to save energy’ or ‘increasing the accuracy of sequencing within the movement’. You just won't know until you evaluate and learn to know the individual in front of you.

 Strength without efficiency is like...

Strength without efficiency is like...

If your goal is an action or movement within the world of sports, the efficiency of your motions getting that specific task done is of an outmost importance. Efficiency in performance means goal-driven precision with effective and strategic use of the energy available.

So next time you work out, don’t think how many calories can I burn during the workout,  but how much energy can I save and still get to my goal safely and effectively. That’s efficiency!

Have a victorious New Year!


PS: This and many other posts I have written are inspired by my journey into Applied Functional Science - AFS. (www.grayinstitute.com)

A guided journey into moving better

Life is a journey, and so is discovering better movement. It is a journey of striving forward towards a goal or goals. On our path we will encounter a few obstacles and hopefully a lot of successes. I have certainly had a journey with some of each. Even the challenges and the struggles have had a landmark of great importance as part of the process.

As a movement coach I want to guide my athletes towards their optimal capacity in sports, and in life as well. This requires constant study and reconnaissance of the terrain in between the start and the destination. The terrain is never the same and I need to have solid principles in my backpack, skills and experience to navigate through the changing environment. I carry my compass to keep me directed, my map to determine my current location and my knowledge of human function as my eyes in observing the movement. I rely only on equipment I know how to use  and  I also want to travel light. This allows me as a guide to be free and more precise and efficient in my task of taking my athlete to their desired destination.

Where are you in your journey of movement?

Which direction are you heading?

What is keeping you from destination? Got lost in the 'Valley of Nagging Pain' or stuck in the 'Marsh of the Forgotten Fun'?


Enjoy the journey my friend!

Tommi the Trainer

Running with purpose and power in every step, part 1.

368-Concept can help develop training and conditioning strategies that are effective and enrichening for the movement of running. In this first part we take a look at the "chains" within the runner's body. These kinetic chains describe how the different parts of the body work together in real life and sports and also how they are connected via muscles and fascia.

Copy of kineticchains.jpg

8 chains according to 368 conceptLet's examine the diagonal chains (marked black) as part of the running movement. First observe the excellent running mechanics demonstrated by Carl Lewis. We can draw a line from his left knee across his abdominal wall to his right arm. That diagonal front chain is now stretched out, loading elastic energy and ready to explode. The other side (right knee to left shoulder) is shorthened in order to create the opposite action. The same occurs with the diagonal back chains.    


The diagonal chain system, a.k.a. the Double-X, is essentially important for the power and force production in running. Instead of only strengthening individual muscles it is crucial to integrate the whole kinetic team and work to improve the "stretch-shortening cycle" of the whole chain of muscles and fascial components. These diagonal chains have a huge role in creating the powerful rotational action in running.


In 368 -Training Systems diagonal chains are being challenged particularly by utilizing horizonal resistance exercises. The horizontal resistance applied from different directions/angles with different speeds allows the diagonal chains to be activated and strengthened in a way that is beneficial for a runner. Here are some of our basic exercise variations (1-arm press, 1-arm row, 2-arm rotation) performed in a split stance. These exercise variations emphasize the team work of all the body parts connected into one kinetic chain.

Run with purpose in every step!

Tommi the Trainer

Sources of inspiration:

Thomas Myers, Anatomy Trains.

Gary Gray, Grayinstitute.

Abdominal training progressions

I am a big fan of integrated abdominal training. I believe most of the "core training" should be done in a standing position with a combination of vertical and horizontal forms of resistance.  

However, sometimes you might have to start with exercises that will help the abdominal muscles to fire properly before moving into more integrated movement patterns. Here is an example of a core control exercise from Bill Hartmann's blog. I especially like the idea of the arms overhead pushing against the wall. This will reflexively activate the abdominal wall and teach subconscious muscle recruitment.   


 Progression towards the standing and more integrated position could go in the following way:

1. Supine

2. Prone

3. Kneeling

4. Standing

Think of the stages of early child development: from the back to the belly to more upright into eventually standing. This will help the adbominal wall and the "pillar" of core to become and effective and participating member of the total movement system. We don't do this progression with everyone, but for some who have trouble initiating the core control activity.

Here is another potential stage of the progression: Kneeling with horizontal resistance. This phase already requires a great team-work capacity between the hip (glutes/hip flexors) and the adbominal wall. As you already know so well, this exercise is for demonstrational purposes only.    

Thank you!


PS: Don't forget to sign up for your free DYNAMIC WARM-UP METHOD REPORT!


NEW Dynamic Warm-up report - FREE for the blog readers.


Anyone who has been involved in sports has some kind of mental association with warming up. My memories are mostly about running around the field and sitting down on the ground afterwards for some static stretches. The stretches were always the same sitting-down-on-the ground-stretches and probably did not stimulate my body well for the soccer practice.

Generally speaking, I remember my youth sport warm-ups being boring, inefficient and not stimulating for the mind or the body. It was just something we had to do.

We did not know any better then and neither did our coaches. A lot has changed since. In fact I believe now that the term “warm-up” is outdated as the pre-sport or pre-workout activity is about so much more than just “warming up.” 

Active and dynamic warm-ups and movement preparation routines are now replacing the old mentally and physically more passive warming up practices. The general idea of (just) elevating the body temperature by slow jogging followed by a few static stretches is being revolutionized by a more focused and integrated movement preparation sequences.

An athlete spends at least 10-20 minutes a day preparing the body for the competition or practice. This time accumulates slowly but surely and functions not only as a primer for the sport performance but as an opportunity to learn and develop various motor and movement skills. An athlete can improve several areas of function and performance during the warm-up drills, such as dynamic flexibility or coordination.

The activation of the movement system correctly prior to sport performance or practice has been found crucially important. Discover Movement has been researching and developing optimal warm-up and movement preparation protocols for years.

Dynamic warm-up exercises designed and executed as an activation routine prior to sports performance can make a dramatic difference in the sport performance. Whether your sport of choice is soccer, basketball, track & field, gymnastics or any other sport, the benefits of proper dynamic warm-up routines are clear both in acute performance as well in the long-term athletic development.

The content of this report has helped me tremendously in developing athleticism, improving acute/long-term performance and in preventing injuries. My goal is that you would find these ideas, techniques and systems useful in creating the most optimal training environment for yourself or your athletes.

I hope you take advantage of this free resource created for coaches and athletes that work on a daily basis to improve sport performance and to prevent injuries.


Thank you and please let us know if you have any questions!

Tommi Paavola, M.S. , Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach

Change equals growth 2010!

Discover Movement Exercise & Performance Systems 2010

Getting consistent results is hard! Enhancing your sport performance or even losing weight is not as easy as the commercial media suggests.

Sure, purchasing a new piece of exercise equipment can give you an instant gratification or a kick-start to the right direction. But as in many other things in life, the true transformation requires time, effort and commitment as well as a great plan of how to get to the goal.

Our bodies are extremely smart! They will adapt to new stimulation faster than we think. Often a great start-up exercise program can turn into ‘a waste of time” or of little benefit already within weeks from the beginning of program.

Change equals growth!

“Change” is what our bodies (and often minds too) want to avoid. “Change” means additional energy consumption and effort from our musculoskeletal, cardiovascular as well as well from our metabolic systems. At the same time, “change” is what truly stimulates new inspiration, new adaptations and thus, new results.

Exercise System = Structured change management

One of our main tasks at Discover Movement is to research and develop systems that will facilitate change within the exercise program in order to gain optimal results.

We aim at providing exercise programs that are not dependent on fancy equipment or the latest fads. The hidden secret of Discover Movement programs is built-in consistent and progressive change that inevitably brings results.

2010 Tools of change

1. If you are a snow-enthusiast or more specifically a skier, we recommend you to take a look at the Ski Exercise Training System that provides months of systematized Ski Conditioning, all no-equipment body-weight programs. www.skiexercisetrainingsystem.com

2. Also 2010 the snowboarders should get serious about improving their ability to learn new skills faster and get more air on jumps. Go to www.snowboardingskool.com and sign up for more information.

3. If your exercise program is pretty much set already, but would like to boost your results with new total body, most-bang-for-you-buck exercises, check out www.1plus3kettlebellmoves.com  for the most important moves you can perform with a kettlebell. This will not break the bank as it goes for under $20 in the beginning of this victorious year.

4. Warming up is one of the most under appreciated and misunderstood moments of working out. What you do to prepare yourself for exercise or sports is potentially the most important 10 minutes of your exercise program. Discover Movement has launched a Weekly Warm-up video blog series that will give ideas of how to make your warm-up more active, dynamic and effective.

5. Finally, in just a few weeks Discover Movement will be introducing a program: Movement Skill development for young athletes. Stay tuned for that!

The New Year will bring many fascinating additions to our services. We hope they will benefit you on your journey into better health, function and performance.

Remember, make yourself accountable to someone who cares about you and your health.

Enjoy the New Year and Thank you very much for 2009!!

Alex & Tommi from Discover Movement 

PS: Steve Macioci, who is the instructor on the Kettlebell moves -video, thinks that exercise can be fun. The man is out of his mind!


Movement pattern training: Upper body push/press with squat/lunge/1-leg

Demonstrational video of a systematized movement pattern training system. Squat, lunge and 1-leg squat combined with three types of presses varying the angles of force production.  

1. Overhead press with squat/lunge/1-leg (2-arm and 1 arm)
2. Horizontal press with squat/lunge/1-leg (2-arm and 1 arm)
3. Decline press with squat/lunge/1-leg (2-arm and 1 arm)