The older I get and the more I learn about the human brain, and exercise, the more I realize that we cannot ignore the fundamentals of training. One of those fundamentals is cueing. Sounds simple doesn’t it? As health and exercise professionals we cue/tell people what to do all the time. Actually it is not simple as more and more research tells us that there are good, not so good and bad ceus. Cueing is probably the most ignored aspect of teaching somebody how to move. Using appropriate cues is critical when you teach physical education classes, train a personal training clients, work with a group of athletes or doing rehab. Cueing is actually a form of communication and a method to influence others what to do isn’t it? Think about some great speakers like the US president John F. Kennedy and Obama, their words get a crowed moving. How does that happen you might think and how is that going to influence how you will apply cueing strategies to your population?
Well, the first thing that happens when we get cued we get an image in your head. Just try this, ask a friend to tell you how to do a certain exercise – something like “I’d like you to very slowly sit down in this chair while keeping your low back straight” You see, even when you just read this cue a picture or short video played inside your head as you saw yourself sitting down or you saw your back being straight – magical isn’t it? In actuallity there is nothing magical about this as this is a normal process of imagery and your body preparing to move. Athletes use this technique all the time when they need to perform a task. Consider 100 meter sprinters; before they explosively get out of the blocks they have practiced imagery – imagining themselves sprinting even before the the actual sprint occurred. On a more scientific level, imagery involves the visualization or cognitive rehearsal of a movement (Feltz & Landers, 1983; Hird et al., 1991; Vealey & Greenleaf, 2001).
Tell me more: Nick Winkelman, (currently the Director of Education at the world renouwed Athletes Performance) and I go way back to the days that he was a young roocky personal trainer breathing down my neck at Oregon State University (OSU). Form the first day I noticed a difference interacting with him; he wanted to know why we move one way or another way, why some people claimed deadlifts should perceed squats and so on. This young man reminded me of myself years ago – why do we do this – why do we do that and so on. His curriocity and drive for perfection got him into Athletes Performance and the rest is history – he is an upcoming rockstar in the strength and conditioning world.