I saw one of the Barbershop films the other day.

Cedric The Entertainer dropped the line “Baby steps" on one of his co workers getting ahead of themselves.

It got me thinking.

The more I thought about it and the more I applied it to what I do as a soft tissue specialist, movement analyst and performance coach, the more I saw how it was actually the heart, at the epicenter of my system and ethos.

The more I further, thought about it, I started to realise how “Baby Steps” transferred to the real world, to each and every single one of our lives, on a daily basis.

I considered the power they held and the benefit to having that ideology at the forefront of your mind.

What are you talking about I hear you say?

Well I mean it in the conventional manner, but I also, don’t?

Look at it this way, what does a baby do, it progresses.

It learns, it grows, it develops.

It doesn’t do it overnight, but over extended periods of time, over sustained instances of failure, which amalgamate and culminate into a success, a forward progression.

A baby first starts to crawl before it can walk, but to me as always, the devil is in the detail.

They have to learn and perfect how to crawl, before they learn how to stand, they then have to learn how to balance and stand, before they learn how to walk.

It is a cycle of sustained resiliency in the name of constant progression, developed from exploration, expression, free will, inquisitiveness, adaptability and most importantly, failure.

Getting up every time they fall down, a great analogy for life hey?

I'd like to think this post was about more than cliches though and I'm focusing on the physiological area although the "Philosophy," is indefinitely transferable.

Here is where the clinical and logical side of me and what I do comes out.

What I described to you there is the true formula of how to succeed in any endeavour you wish to realistically pursue, so, my message is simple, never, ever forget about the baby steps.

I don’t just write this is relevamce to people at the beginning of their journey, because it is perhaps just as much, if not more relevant to people who already have the experience in their field.

What we tend do for example as human beings, is we learn to crawl, learn, to stand, learn to walk, then forget about it all for the rest of our lives once it becomes a natural motor skill.

We can take what I just said there, and apply it to any area of life.

This is when and why we develop dysfunction, compensation, postural deviation, injury, issues and malfunction, because we forget about the baby steps.

Whether it's exercise, mental health, relationships, careers or anything it's all still consequential. 

We progress to more advancement, once we progress to more advancement, we tend to forget that what got us there in the first place, is what needs to be continuously developed and maintained.

Without what got us there in the first place, there is no progression, or if there is, it produces little to no benefit or longevity.

For example…

When you learn how to ride a bike, or skate, or play football, it’s advancement, but, every single motor skill and functional ability needed to crawl, stand, balance and walk, is still needed.

Not only are they still needed, they are the basis for what it is you are now attempting, or doing.

It transfers to everything.

The better you are, the sharper you are, the more efficient you are, at those basics, the better you are at riding that bike, controlling those skates, shooting that ball etc.

The better you maintain, the better you continue.

A structure is always built on a foundation of support and integrity.

Where I differ with the conventional interpretation of “Baby steps” is by suggesting that they are in fact the actual steps.

The true steps needed, the blue print, foundation and neccesity of any endeavour you pursue, no matter your level or experience.

We have to keep going back to those basics, keeping them integral, constantly and consistently to allow us to keep developing our skills.

It's exactly why you have a service and an M.O.T. test on your car, because no matter the engineering, no matter the precision, speed, performance, make, model or power…it’s the baby steps that go into making the car run that matter.

If you don’t maintain the levels of oil needed, the correct pressure in your tyres, drive it responsibly etc etc, then your car won’t run, or it will until there is a problem that stops it in it’s tracks.


The last example I’ll leave you with is this…

Let's say somebody comes to me who wants to squat but physiologically can’t?

Then the squat automatically becomes the advancement.

I'll perform specific movement screens, R.O.M. tests and palpate to assess the problems.

I'll try to figure out why, in hope of being able to repattern, but if they can’t squat, I’m not going to get them to.

The reason I’m not going to get them to do it…is because they can’t?

If they can’t structurally or physiologically get into the position, I’m going to address the way they walk, stand, sit, sleep, breathe, run, etc, before I even consider moving on to patterning a functional squat.

It's bad enough that they are walking around in that condition, having to stand up and sit down sheering away numerous times a day.

I don't want to then create an environment their structure cannot handle on top of that, as each time they perform the faulty movement pattern, they slip further into imbalance, dysfunction and compensation.

I’m going to address the baby steps for them, the true mechanics that allow for the advancement.

I’m also going to advise that those same steps be put, indefinitely, before any want for individual exercise or squat progression, to ensure safety, maintenance and longevity.

The last part of this post…is this…and I know I said I was leaving...buttt...

If you take that previous example, during the process of rehabilitation, I will use some very advanced techniques and treatment methods.

These, in this situation are also naturally the advancement on my side…but it is the movement screening and palpation that allows the process to begin and continue with the client...the basics.

Without those we would never know how to exit the cycle of dysfunction in the first place.

This is what I always fall back on…regardless of how technical some of the things I can do are.

Lee Cleaver - Soft Tissue Specialist - Movement Analyst - Elite Performance Coach