How to make hard moves easier

Here are two simple ways to make challenging movements easier:

Have you ever been stuck on a movement or skill that your body can’t seem to understand?

Athletic movements that are skill-based (rather than strength-based) are often the trickiest and most frustrating to learn. When you are learning something that is predominantly strength-based (think: deadlifts and push-ups), it’s much easier to tell what needs work. And usually, with enough time and dedication, we can expect movements of strength to progress predictably and measurably.

When we introduce skill, however, our methods of learning and measuring progress become a lot less clear. Skill-based movements do not necessarily require extraordinary fitness or flexibility (though of course some do), so we cannot strengthen or stretch our way past sticking points. When we reach a plateau in our progress, we can be left wondering: what should I do now?

One conventional way of dealing with a halt in progress is through cueing: squeeze your glutes, elevate your shoulders, tuck your chin…etc.

In theory, it seems nice to have a checklist of the “right” things to do, which we can perform in the “right” sequence or at the “right” time.

But when you are stuck on a new skill, oftentimes the last thing your brain needs is more information. It’s already struggling to keep track of what’s happening, and any additional stuff creates the potential for more clutter and confusion.

So what’s the solution? …SIMPLICITY!

When we bring our awareness to a few simple things (rather than a long list of to-dos), our brain can very clearly direct our bodies into action. Simplicity also makes it easier to assess our performance (a necessary step in learning a new skill!).


Here are two simple ways to make hard moves easier:


1. Ask yourself: what do I want?

Often, we dedicate so much focus to the actions we are avoiding (don’t clench your jaw, don’t look at your feet, don’t jump too early…) that we are missing a clear picture of what we do want! 

Before you try a new movement, clarify what you do want to happen. What is the most important thing that needs to happen in order to execute this skill?

2. Determine: what is the movement impulse?

We know for certain that this new skill involves the movement of your body. So, in which direction will you be moving?

For example, to get ourselves walking we can simply tell our bodies: “forward”. To jump, the impulse is “up”. In a handstand, we “press” with the feet and the hands simultaneously. 

What is the movement impulse most crucial to the skill you are working on?


 When a new movement feels hard, or you are stuck on a skill, take a moment to simplify things!


When we know what we want, and where we want to go, things often fall into place with surprising ease.