Today's article is a guest article from Dave Hedges, head coach at Wild Geese Fitness where I train and guest instruct (when he is lucky!). So without further ado, please welcome Dave to the floor as he says...
Movement is back.
People are now looking to not just look good standing still, a la bodybuilding, but to look good in motion. This, is a very good thing. After all, what good are we as human animals if we can’t move?
Better movement was the reason I first started lifting back in the day. I knew my Karate would only get better as I got stronger.
20 years later, my opinion hasn’t changed, I still train to be strong and enduring so that I can move well and perform martial arts and whatever else life throws at me.
But in recent years, there has been this growing movement of, well movement.
We’ve got the gymnasts, the animal flow guys, the Ido Portals and all these folk that are exploring more than just the standard linear training methods most people are aware of.
Playfulness and the exploration of our physicality and our environments is becoming more and more normal. But did it ever go away?
In 1909 French physical culturist Georges Herbert wrote his first book, The Practical Guide to Physical Education, which if you read it, you’ll discover how he espouses running, climbing, jumping, lifting, throwing and even martial arts as essential factors in the development of fitness, and he expected it from Men, Women and youths.
He wasn’t really ahead of the curve either, as the “Golden Age” of Physical Culture was at its peak in the 19th century, before Herbert was even born.
But what they had in common, was the broad spectrum of fitness. It wasn’t about just being strong, or just being enduring or just looking a certain way.
Fitness was about all of those things and more. It was about being able to run, jump, climb and crawl. It was about being able to defend oneself from harm, to assist a neighbour in some heavy lifting, basically being a useful animal.
When bodybuilding took over, we lost this as everyone wanted to look a certain way.
But now as the movement scene is slowly coming back in, borrowing from all disciplines, including strength training, martial arts and gymnastics. Inspired by parkour & free running (which Herbert is credited with starting), and with an eye on once again being adaptable.
To move well, a person must be strong and flexible, in all ranges of motion. They must have responsive, reactive strength where they can generate and absorb force in all planes.They must have proprioceptive awareness, balance, coordination.
Strength must be developed in tandem with flexibility and endurance, the entire system must work in unison. Small joints and muscles must be conditioned, the stabilising muscles must be responsive and accurate.
It is possibly the ultimate expression of the human animal outside of the martial arts. I say martial arts because I’m biased, but any multi-planar sport is good enough.
Over the years I’ve worked on many people who developed exceptional strength and work capacity in the gym but weren’t adaptable outside of the gym, they had gaps in their mobility and were prone to injury.
These were the people who did athletic or even dare I say it, “functional training” in the gym, but never tested that function or athleticism in a chaotic environment.
This is what the movement culture is offering. It’s a way to explore the limits of the body in a way that fighters, rugby players, gymnasts, climbers and the like do all the time. But it does so with less risk.
I have to say, I’m a fan of the movement culture, which is why I opened up the Saturday morning “Motion is Lotion” class, which is being very well received.
Learn to move, to explore and to play. Don’t become one dimensional in your training.
Check out the full range of Dave's classes HERE and if you like the sounds of "moving, exploring and playing", then come join us every Saturday at Wild Geese Fitness from 11.30am for Motion is Lotion!