I saw a quote on facebook a while ago from Ido Portal.
As much as I scrolled back through I couldn’t find it again on his timeline or on the dude who’d shared it, there’s a chance it was an old quote that just got bumped by new traffic.
But I can remember the essence. Which is important as it’s what this blog post is kind of all about.
Ido pointed out a continuum of “fitness” which he summed up in three words:
Human – Movement – Fitness
He then told how he and his methods are all about the second part, Movement.
And that’s cool.
But it got me thinking.
Last January I was sat on the Anatomy in Motion course. During the course I had a few minutes to chat with Chris Sritharan, the AiM right hand man. Chris and I were discussing how AiM integrates in the gym environment. During the conversation Chris stumped my when he said that “Exercise doesn’t improve human movement”
Stumped because I always trained to improve my movement and it was always a goal of mine as a coach to improve other, and in my mind I had succeeded on many occasions.
But on deeper thought, I realised Chris was right. This is further highlighted by actually working with clients in specific AiM sessions.
Yes physical training does have the potential to increase human movement but most often it is used to improve specific attributes of performance which are then aggregated in sports and skills training.
After all, there’s no denying the relevance of the Deadlift or Kettlebell Swing to an athlete, but the reason we do these exercises isn’t movement, it’s fitness. It’s about developing strength (deadlift) or power endurance (swing) in hip extension, which is an element of movement.
But as a fitness professional who has people come in day in day out requiring attribute development, or as I usually call it, Supplemental Training, it’s easy to get caught up in our own bullshit and forget about the bigger picture.
This was further illustrated to me over the weekend when I hosted World Champion Pole Dance and Acro-Balance expert Lisette Krol of Tribe Dance & Fitness at my place.
In attendance was fellow Kettlebell Coach Sarah Smith who owns and runs Galway Kettlebells. Sarah has competed in international kettlebell sports tournaments so has experience to speak from.
After the workshop where we learned flexibility and basic acro-balance drills, Sarah came to me and said that her eyes had been well and truly opened to just how narrow her focus in fitness had become.
She was inspired, and rightly so, by Lisette’s strength, flexibility, athleticism and movement.
If you watch this clip, you’ll see why:
So whats the point I’m trying to make here?
Lets go back to Ido’s list:
Three elements that build on each other. You can’t have fitness without movement, you can’t have movement with first being human.
I’ve worked with strength power athletes that can squat and deadlift insane loads, yet their basic human movement sucks.
I’ve worked with distance runners who also have terrible human movement.
Yet their fitness, in their chosen pursuits, is well up there.
But for how long?
Hell, they came to me because they were hurting.
Once we restored their human movement through the use of AiM, they stopped hurting and their fitness went up.
Even when Ido Portal speaks, he talks about improving human movement so that he can then build seemingly limitless freedom of movement.
Yet in the fitness world, the human and movement aspects are largely forgotten in the pursuit of more weight, more reps, higher intensity.
Maybe it’s time for a return to a more holistic approach.
We should start back be re-establishing human movement, then exploring the greater movement before considering specific fitness or attribute training.
- Don’t be in a hurry to specialise, certainly don’t make your kids specialise.
- Play more
- Get on the floor and crawl, roll, stretch.
- Feel the ground under your feet, yes that means taking your shoes off.
- Spend time in stillness learning to simply listen to the body.
- Breathe, breathe deeply, maximally inhale and then maximally exhale, no really exhale till you’re empty. Learn to recognise how this feels.
- If fitness is your goal, use your warm ups to improve both the human and the movement aspects prior to the attribute training.
- In your fitness training, consider the needs of your body and use the training to increase the movement potential of the body. This is the opposite of becoming musclebound.
This is obviously a deeper topic, but one I’ll return to in future posts.
As I grew up in the martial arts, movement has always been important to me, I was influenced by the work of Joseph Pilates, Georges Herbert and the martial arts community, but in recent years I moved away from it and got more into the strength world, focussing almost entirely on the fitness end of the spectrum.
And guess what?
My own injuries flared up massively.
Since the AiM course, working with Lisette and learning from Ido, mine and my clients have noticed performance improvements even though we’ve stepped out of the standard s&c protocols.
Humans are not specialists by nature, our specialisation is in fact generalisation.
Human first, Movement second, Fitness last.
In that order.
There will be more on this topic to come, but in the meantime, please share your thoughts in the comments.
Fighting Back – my eBook on supplementary strength training for BJJ that focusses on the low back and removing low back pain has been very well received since I released it.
I got several requests that we take the rope design from the cover and turn it into a Rash Guard.
Well, it’s here……..
Check this out:
Click for more info
Now the good bit.
If you buy the eBook, I’ll send you a discount code for the Rashie. Those who already have it, already have an email from me with the code.
If you buy the Rashie, I’ll email you the eBook.