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The 80/20 of Exercise

"Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least."― Richard Koch, The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less

We can achieve most of what we want with only 20% of the effort if we apply that effort in precisely the right places.


The 80/20 rule, Pareto Principle, says that only 20% of the causes are responsible for 80% of the effects for many outcomes or consequences. That 20% of causes have been called the 'Vital Few', that vital fraction of action necessary to produce the majority of results.

We have seen this relationship between input and output all over; computing, public health, marketing, economics and sports, to mention a few places. If this mathematical distribution of consequences is not a fundamental universal law of nature, then it's just helluva common.

If we have a look at human movement and exercise through this lens, what do we see? What few phenomena are responsible for the majority of what we find?

In innumerable clinic hours, many academic papers, personal and case study experience, I have observed that most of our pain and injury stems from sedentary sitting. At least 80% of our musculoskeletal issues come from decades of self-inflicted movement anti-development.


I will share how this happens elsewhere; for now, trust your gut that it's true.

Also, I have observed in countless situations, for countless people, a radical expansion in their freedom of movement by addressing this singular factor - by counteracting their sitting with a specific process of unsitting.

For the vast majority of people I have worked with over the past decade, regardless of which musculoskeletal issue they presented with, I would start by safely guiding them through an unsit process and then later see what problems or symptoms remained. Most issues were vastly improved, if not resolved.

If you live in a modern world made of chairs, and you care about your long-term freedom of movement, and not just the short-term appearance of your body or athletic ability, then you best start unsitting yesterday. Make the Pareto Principle work for you - use the critical input necessary to get the majority of your desired output. You don't have to become a world-class athlete or dedicate your life to understanding the human body to protect your body from pain, injury and early ageing. Just apply some well thought out. Now.

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