While reading through a book on strength training at Borders, titled StrengthTraining (very creative), I stumbled upon an interesting chapter. It was over training psychology. What I liked was how they broke down the stages of learning new movement patterns:
1. Unconscious Incompetent- You are unaware that you are don't know what you are doing. This is where every beginner starts. A good trainer can quickly show a newby where they are going wrong. I see a lot of people in this category. Unfortunately, so many people don't seek out an experieced, competent trainer to help them. They just keep 'spinning their wheels' and really wasting their time.
2. Conscious Incompetent- Now you are aware that you aren't doing something correctly. This is again, where a good trainer can design a program of corrective exercises, exercise modifications (simpler versions), appropriately use verbal cues, and give feed back to the trainee. This is a crucial stage to spend time. Some get frustrated and quit here without the guidance of a good, patient trainer.
3. Conscious Competent- With plenty of sound training, trainees can move to this stage. Usually, it can take a year or more to get to this stage, but this is where you need to be to safely and effectively train at a high-level.
4. Unconscious Competent- These are advanced-level trainees. Their technique is not only flawless, but their bodies have had years to develop the necessary joint mobility, stability, and coordination to move efficiently. These trainees are able to "listen to their body" and make subtle adjustments. Additionally, when weights get heavier or the pressure of competition increases, they can maintain excellent technique. Rarely, do you find they people hanging out at LA Fitness. Just because you have been going to the gym for 10 years, you still may not be to this level. It takes a keen understanding of biomechanics and lots of dedicated, purposeful practice.