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Two fitness training principals to avoid injury and build balanced movement.

May 31, 2019
Have you ever heard of these two principles of movement in fitness / exercise training?
1: The 70% rule
2: Work to your weakest side
Read on

The 70% rule:
is meant to keep you from overstretching / over exerting your muscles, tendons and ligaments to help avoid injury. The idea is to find your maximum range of movement in any direction or position then back off 30%.
Working within the smaller range will keep you save while continually increasing the range as your capabilities improve. Now, you can use 70 to 90%, but never 100% .
Remember, safety first!
Working to your weakest side:
entails a lot of body awareness. In this principal, you find which parts of your body have the least range of motion and use that as your 100% for the matching part. Then apply the 70% rule.
As example, in raising arms overhead, if one shoulder is tighter or your rotator cuff has issues, one arm may not be able raise as high as the other.
Use the side with least mobility as the guide side, backing off the better side so you work both equally.  When you work to the stronger side you may do one of two things.    Push past the comfort zone and do more damage / enhance the injury,  or focus on the good side leaving the weaker doing less than it can.  
Give these two principals a try in your programs and see how they work for you.  Please let me know how you feel about them.
To your health!
  1. I especially like the “working to your weakest side” concept. It is easily forgotten so thank you for the reminder.

    I have not heard of the 70% rule but in my own workout I try to avoid exercise that is stressful. I really prefer a softer, more experiential approach. I find when I push myself too hard, that my body will automatically resist and that resistance can become counterproductive. One classic area that exhibits resistance during exercise is the back of the neck. When I feel it shorten in response to exercise in another area then I will back off or take other measures.

    In general in my opinion, and especially as we age, most of the time the idea of “bigger is better” is a mistake. When working with the nervous system the axiom should instead be “smaller is better”. Real release does not happen through efforting. Strength building is another matter. But I suggest caution. Strength building does not have to be stressful.


  2. Building Better Balance permalink

    I figured out a perfect example of my “resistance” theory. A classic spiral twist done while laying down on the floor has the legs over on one side of the body while the head is turning the other way. For me, this generates stress, mostly in the neck. I invented what I call the “reverse twist”. It is performed the same way, with the arms extended out on the floor, taking care that the arm on the other side of the body from the legs remains on the floor. Instead of turning the head away from the legs, turn it toward the legs. Resistance disappears. The neck joints release instead of tightening in resistance.

    I hope this is helpful.

    On 5/31/19, Stan Cohen – Tai Chi, Qigong, Chi for Caring /


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