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Thinking inside the box

Master the basics before opening that box.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the term, “Thinking outside the box” before, but have you ever heard of the term, “Thinking inside the box”?  It might not be a popular saying yet, but its a good one, none-the-less.  It means you should stick with the basics and don’t get too fancy with whatever you’re doing.


Think of your box as knowledge.  Everything you know is inside the box, and the stuff you don’t know is outside.  Thinking outside the box is great when you have experience and want to add variety to your fitness routine.  Thinking inside the box is great when you want to get back to the basics.


Exercising with, “inside the box” thinking, can be useful for the beginner who doesn’t have the experience to know how to add two, or three body parts together in one exercise.  Sticking with the basics can be good for injury prevention as well.


A basic example of exercising inside the box, could be using your home stairs for a chest (push up) exercise.  If you can’t do a regular full body push up, you can start with your hands on the third or forth step.  Depending on how tall you are and your level of strength, you might even be on the fifth step.  So you have the floor at a level 0 then the first step (level 1) then the second (level 2) and so on.  Each one being easier than the lower one.  It’s nothing fancy, just an inside the box pushup, but it will be challenging as you drop down another stair and work through the different levels.  So, if you can’t do a full body push up, go for the stair version.  Once you get to doing them on the floor, start going back up the stairs again.  But this time go up with your feet, not your hands on the step.


My main reason for choosing this topic this month, is because I’ve seen people at the gym and on YouTube demonstrating exercises and not doing them (from my point of view) correctly.  A person new to exercise will see them doing the exercise and they will try to do it without knowing how to do the basic version first.


There are many new ways of exercising nowadays, which means there are many new ways of injuring yourself as well.  Stick with the basics before you go for the exercise that’s too challenging for your experience level.  For example, stay inside the box (on the floor) until you get the stability you need to tackle a hands on ball push up.  Anyone who has tried a push up with their hands on a ball instead of on the nice stable floor, knows what I’m talking about.   Now, if you’ve never done this type of push up, don’t go and try it with out practicing other type of shoulder stability exercises first.  Just e-mail me and I can guide you in the right direction.


I think I’ll leave it here for now… Remember to stay with the basics until you know you can change it to something more difficult.  It’ll pay off in the long run.