The 3 Levels of Exercise Awareness

September 29, 2021 by VAHVA Fitness

The 3 different levels of form and how to progress from a lack of awareness to an enlightened understanding of strength training.

"Doing a lot of weight lifting and strength training, there's a bunch of stuff that kind of just hurt which is silly if you are focusing on health & fitness. Eero was very helpful for me for getting me way better at movement and getting out of pain" - Kurt, California

The above statement nails it down pretty well what is the current problem with a lot of mainstream ways of training.

In the beginning when you are just starting out, it can be normal to experience pain or discomfort with new movements and patterns because your body and muscles are undeveloped. 

However, the training should never create problems over the long run, rather your training should fix problems the more you focus on it. Training should be medicine for both body and mind.

Training is a way to maximize your potential as a human being and take care of your body and mind well to your old age. The main purpose is not to boost your ego although it's a healthy part of life to feel good about how you look, move and perform.

Training becomes dysfunctional and damaging once you start sacrificing the things that are important (your mental and physical health) for the sake of your ego (trying to impress others).

Once you have a healthy approach to training, you will not only fully express yourself and chase after your potential but you will also keep the body healthy and vital without sacrificing anything in return.

Below, you will learn more about the 3 levels of exercise form. In reality, this is about how to move from unconsciousness to consciousness and from a lack awareness to an enlightened understanding of health & fitness.

1. Crude Exercise Form

In the crude form, you do the exercises without the proper understanding of body mechanics, mind-muscle connection and without an effective methodology.

This is by far the most common form almost everyone does. Learning the refined way to train simply takes more time and intelligence which a lot of people are not patient enough to do unless they are forced to do so (eventually a lot of people).

We were exactly like this in the beginning. We only looked the "correct form" online and tried to imitate it to the best of our ability (way worse than we thought). Next, we IMPATIENTLY started "progressing" with the exercise using heavier and heavier weights (or more difficult bodyweight progression).

Little did we understand that training in general is a long game, not a short game. We could not expect that this impatient and crude approach would lead to countless problems down the road and eventually force us to evaluate everything that we were doing.

Crude form, which everyone is using, will eventually lead to injuries and as a result stalling of progress. You can cause permanent damage to your body and cause issues that take years to fix.

If you are reading this, it's possible it has already happened or started to happen to you. Personally, we both had problems in the back (spine) and occasional shoulder problems.

I had chronic pain in my elbows and bad injury to my sternum (heavy dips) which both took years to fix. Most people, by the way, never fix these issues because they don't know how.

Now, when we walk into a commercial gym, we see both beginners and veterans (who are jacked) wearing knee supports, elbow supports and even back supports. We see a lot of personal trainers wearing this stuff.

Like come on? This is an epidemic and the worst part is that it's unnecessary.

2. Refined Exercise Form

The solution to this problem of wear and tear is to bring awareness and light to what you are doing. Here you are implementing different techniques such as mind-muscle connection, control, tempo and stabilization to produce the results you are looking for.

In the crude form, you are doing random things and hoping to produce the results you want. Contrarily, in the refined exercise form we are turning the whole thing into science where the results become predictable.

You learn to understand how the gains in mobility, strength, speed, power etc. are produced and how they can be produced on demand.

You are not following a cookie-cutter exercise program and after 4 weeks hoping you get results. Even if it's customized, you are forcing arbitrary external standards on an individual.

This is the problem with the current strength training legends in the game such as Pavel Tsatsouline.  Applying only external standards and programming works in the military when the sample size is massive but for individuals it's a very average approach.

We need to adopt an internal approach to training. On an individual basis, this is the most accurate and effective way to produce results for the individual. 

When you have the power to listen to your body and have complete body awareness of what is happening in your body, you can give 100% what the body needs. You know exactly what you need to do to produce the results you want.

Thanks to the refined methodology, we can also avoid all the problems that arise with the crude form. You are in absolute control. You choose whether the weight is causing wear and tear or not.

Thanks to the refined methodology, you will be able to produce results while avoiding injuries. This is the magic behind this approach.

With the crude exercise form, you will produce results (although random) but you are also constantly causing wear and tear to your joints and tendons. You are constantly sacrificing your longevity for short term results.

The problem with swinging heavy weights? Take a look at Ronnie Coleman (former Mr. Olympia) who has had more injuries and surgeries than we can count with both hands.

What people usually do is add mobility work to their main training regimen hoping it will fix and/or alleviate the issues. The problem with this is that it's only a bandage and not fixing the main training that is causing all of these problems.

3. Enlightened Exercise Form

In the enlightened form, you have internalized the refined form and it has become your second nature. You don't need to spend much mental energy and focus on the right form.

At this point, the way your body moves and how you articulate the joints has changed. You see training different and as a result you move differently. 

At this stage, your joint articulations are pure and you are moving the body in the most efficient ways possible regardless of the activity you are doing. 

It doesn't matter whether you are lifting weights, doing push ups or running - you have an internal compass and body awareness to always know whether you are in the right alignment or whether there's a problem in the posture.

Everything is internal and automatic. This is what Athlete 20XX ultimately teaches - the ultimate body awareness and control of the body. 

By learning to understand how the body moves, you can apply the same principles to every movement and body part out there. Even your toes, fingers and wrists.

Our other programs such as Movement 20XX teaches how to move the body in space but Athlete 20XX teaches how the body moves while you are moving.

Stay strong.


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samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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