The Good Fight
My training philosophy is based around functional strength and fitness.
Basically, functional fitness involves the movements of everyday life – compound movements, opposite of isolation exercises, such as a bicep curl. Functional exercises use multiple muscle groups and joints, much more similar to lifting your child or other daily activities. It also promotes the kind of strength and structural integrity needed in sports.
However, I would point out a flaw here – very few of us are even performing these so-called “everyday” movements. We sit in chairs at work or drive our cars and we hold ourselves in rigid, muscle-deteriorating postures.
Therefore, I believe we should call functional exercise corrective exercise, which involves strengthening and conditioning the body where deficiencies are found.
As we perform repetitive movements at work, home, or in sports, we have to understand that there is no such thing as isolated movements in the body (yes, I know I used the words isolation-exercise earlier, but that’s just what they call it). When one muscle shortens, or contracts, another lengthens – its called the antagonist muscle in your preferred exercise or sport.
Take that bicep curl mentioned above. That is developing certain muscles in the arm, but have you taken the time to condition the muscles in the shoulder, back, and core that assist in the movement? I hope so, because they’re getting used as well! We have to look at the whole picture, or else certain muscles become over-developed by overuse, or they atrophy due to being unused.
Martial Arts: We Were Meant for More
Now, don’t get me wrong. Kettlebell swings are a great workout. Have you experimented with Battle Ropes? You can grow strong and fit with functional training alone, but I enjoy moving toward higher goals.
When conditioned to perform, the body can do incredible things. This is why I love to implement acrobatics and, specifically, martial arts into my training.
A Big HIIT!
High Intensity Interval Training is a popular form of exercise which involves moving from one exercise to the next in a specific amount of time, attempting to complete more repetitions during that interval of time. It can be rewarding and humbling!
I combine these genres of exercise to create a program which is anatomically efficient, fun, and allows people to progress continually. I heard a wonderful, very nerdy anecdotal tale from a fellow Karate practitioner years ago.
A man receives his black belt and ascends to a mountain to give thanks to his god and his ancestors. He looks out over the beautiful landscape and declares, “Now, I can finally begin practicing Karate!”
I love the idea of a practitioner humbly realizing that after reaching such a milestone in his training, he is only beginning! And, since he now understands the basic techniques completely, he can venture into the most advanced levels of the art.
There are no limits to the pursuit of physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness.