Movement, Thought Processes, Ido Portal and the Asylum


Ido

LtoR: Mark Smith, Ido Portal & Me

Well, it’s been a hell of a week!

And by that, I mean a good week.

Last Friday I collected fellow My Mad Methods magazine writer and friend Mark Smith of Asylum Fitness in North Carolina from the airport.
He’d flown across the pond to join me and many others for a workshop with the legend that is Ido Portal.

If you haven’t heard of Ido, why the hell not?!?!
Watch him and his guys do some of their thing here:

He calls himself a “Movement Coach” and damn does that boy move.
Not only that he’s ridiculously strong.

Better yet, he brought with him three of his students as assistants.

And they could move.
And they were ridiculously strong.

The workshop was titled “Movement X” which is cool speak for “Movement Experience” and was an insight into the Ido Portal Method of training and a glimpse of the thought processes that fuel the method.

While we learned about the Squat as a basic human need, we looked at mobility both solo drills and with a partner. We did what he called kinesthetic puzzles where we had to figure out how to move a stick around with our bodies.
We were shown core strength and full body tension via handstand work.
We were shown how a simple set of gym rings, no people, not that overpriced TRX nonsense but a set of rings that cost a third of the price, are the foundation of Ido’s upper body strength work. This was also a time spent discussing the needs of the scapula, an area Ido has clearly studied in depth.
We learned straight arm strength, we learned bent arm strength, we learned progressions and repressions to both.
We learned locomotion patterns, bipedal low gait patterns and quadrupedal crawling patterns.

But more than that we were offered an insight into how Ido thinks.
The logic in the system, the madness behind the method and the incredible mix of art, science, philosophy and old school grit that really make the method work.

Exercises and movements are merely exercises and movements, but when you add to it the correct mindset and thought process they become so much more.

And that is what I saw over the weekend.

It’s something I look for every time I attend a workshop and often don’t see it presented, but if you earn it, Ido will offer you his soul. In two 9hour days he offered us a glimpse of what goes on behind his eyes, and inkling of how he thinks and a glimpse of what is possible in his world.

And I liked that. That alone made the course worthwhile, the actual training drills are just the icing.
After all, as Steve Maxwell often quotes, “Nothing is new in the world, its how you out it together that counts”

Earlier this year I was introduced to the Anatomy in Motion system which parallels the Ido Portal method in terms of the thought processes even if it has differing goals and methods. Different methods and goals, but a similar global view and overall goal. To help people move better.

This mindset is going to make WG-Fit better. The information will be amalgamated into the WG-Fit methods to further improve the training we offer our clients both in the flesh and online.

Before Mark left to go home to the States, he dropped by WG-Fit to pick my brains on the kettlebell lifts and then teach a class for me. They loved the Asylum Fitness bodyweight and movement stuff, well, loved to hate it……..

Regards

Dave Hedges
http://www.WG-Fit.com

Don’t forget:

This Sunday: 1 Day Rapid Response Self Defence workshop, limited places still available HERE

Sat 26th July: Building a better cyclist workshop, details HERE

 

 

Monday Mobility: Playful Flow


It’s Monday so it’s another instalment of Monday Mobility.

This one though is less of a “How To” and more of a “this is what’s possible”

Mobility is about freedom of motion, the ability to move freely in any number of ways., to move without restriction.
It’s being able to use your strength to move yourself, not just bar or kettlebell, but you.

While many of my posts are addressing specific issues, certain patterns and injury problems. But the ultimate demonstration of mobility is playful movement, exploring your immediate environment with your body much in the way kids do. It’s movement for movements sake, it’s fun, flowing and the anti thesis of the po faced, competitive gym environment.

This video clip shows an American mate of mine, Asylum Fitness owner and fellow My Mad Methods writer Mark Smith showing exactly what I’m talking about:

Now, you may think Mark’s been at this his whole life, but in a recent conversation he told me how he only discovered real movement a few years ago and said that while he had strength, he couldn’t move. So this shows what’s possible with gradual, consistent practice.

Regards

Dave Hedges
http://www.WG-Fit.com

The Nov 9th Kettlebell & Bodyweight workshop in Tramore is almost sold out. We will be showing some animal and mobility type movements on the day. BOOK HERE

Monday Mobility: Lower Limb Stability


For the last few Mondays you may have noticed a bit of theme….

No?

Ok, let me help out…
We’re talking about mobility. We’ve been looking at increasing, or at least improving the range of motion through various movement patterns.

And before I continue, I have to say a big thanks to all who’ve liked, shared and sent in feedback about this series of posts, I’m delighted that my ramblings

1: make sense, and
2: actually help some of you in your training or with your clients.

But is increasing mobility the be all?
Well no, we know this from this post

But there’s another consideration must take into account, and that is of stability.

Mobility and stability are two sides of the same coin, if you don’t have adequate stability in the right places, you will create it artificially with muscle tension, poor movement patterns and a loss of mobility.

Kinda sucks eh?

In today’s video I show a very simple series of drills that we use with many of my guys to increase the stability of their lower limbs, particularly focusing on the knee.

These drills are best done in the warm up, as active rest between training sets or better yet at intervals through the day away from the gym.
Have a watch here:

Knee function will never be optimised without having full mobility of both the hip and ankle and keeping a good length through the thigh muscles. So if you are having issues with the lower limbs, take all these into account.

Tune in next week for the next instalment of Monday Mobility

Regards

Dave Hedges
http://www.WG-Fit.com

 

Monday Mobility – From the Hip Down


Welcome to another dose of Monday Mobility.

Today’s post is largely inspired by one of my lads, Sebastian. Seb is a motorcycle enthusiast and bit, shall we say “over-enthusiastic” about life.

About a year ago Seb and his enthusiastic motorcycle riding ended with a abrupt stop. The stop was provided by a lamp post.

Seb tore, ruptured and pretty much mullered everything in his knee. In surgery they had to rebuild his ACL, his PCL and his LCL ligaments. He was told by the Doctors that his BJJ career was over and he’d never regain full range of motion in the knee.

They were wrong.

They were wrong because thay didn’t know Seb and how determined he is. They also seemed unaware of the Alternating Joint Theory put forwards by Grey Cook and his team.

The Alternating Joint Theory is a simply model for looking at the joints and their function. It essentially states that they are laid out as follows:

  • Foot – Stability
  • Ankle – Mobility
  • Knee – Stability
  • Hip – Mobility
  • Lumbar region – Stability
  • Thoracic Region – Mobility
  • Scapular – Stability
  • Shoulder (Gleno-Humeral) – Mobility

Simple, elegant in fact.

It’s not perfect, but it gives a great start point for any coach to asses people with. You know that if a joint isn’t doing what the Theory says it should be, then the joint either above or below (sometimes both) has to take up the slack.

So in Seb’s case we had an extremely unstable knee, which meant were running the risk of losing the mobility of the hip and ankle, which would destabilise the foot and lumbar which would potentially cause gradually more and more problems.
This would be unacceptable.

So the very first thing we did was to ensure we maintained as much mobility as possible within the mobile joints (yes, I know ALL joints are mobile, thats the point of having them, the ones that are immobile tend to be fused, think Skull & Coccyx).
We also promoted stability in the knee joint.

I’ll address stability of the knee in another post dedicated to that, but right now I want to give you the method that I gave Seb to maintain mobility and tissue quality in his leg. This has also been used to great benefit by several more of my crew, all have benefited greatly.

You will need:

  • A small hard ball, such as a Sliothar, Lacross ball or similar.
  • A Foam / Rumble Roller
  • A Stretch Band

We start from the ground up:

  • Roll the sole of your foot with the ball. Concentrate on any sore points you find.
  • Foam Roll the calf, then stretch it. To stretch, simply put the ball of the foot on an elevation and push the heel towards the floor, maybe hook a strap around the ball of the foot while lying down and pull the toes upwards with it. Whatever style you use hold it for around a minute.
  • Roll the Quads, front, inside and outside. Look for sore spots and get right into them, use pressure.
  • Stretch the Quads. Here’s probably the best option available for stretching the quads:

  • Roll the Glutes, then Stretch the Glutes. Noticing a theme here? Roll then stretch, roll then stretch.
    To roll the glutes simply sit on the roller, rock onto one cheek and put that same side foot on top of the opposite knee, so you make a figure 4 shape. It’s the same shape you’ll be stretching in:

  • Activate the Glutes / Inhibit the Hip Flexors
    This is a great drill that I wish I’d invented but I didn’t, I stole it from Tom Furman so I’ll let him explain this one then I’ll give you a tweak for it:http://youtu.be/iFY4Azsg5tA

    This is where you need that stretch band, you want that band wrapped around just below your knees. Now as you bridge up, you also push out against the band. As the glutes are responsible for both the lifting (hip extension) and the pushing out (external rotation) we’re going to skyrocket the amount of tension we get and send far stronger signals to the hip flexors to shut down. You only need to hold the bridge with the band for about 30seconds at a time, but be sure to get at least three sets done of both exercises in an alternating fashion.

Seb has done this nearly every day, this allowed him to maintain the mobility in the hip and ankle while we concentrated on rebuilding the strength in the knee.

End result?

This:

Next weeks “Monday Mobility” I’ll discuss knee stability, as fitting the Alternating Joint theory.

Regards

Dave Hedges
http://www.WG-Fit.com

Oh, and before we go, the Kettlebell/Bodyweight workshop in Tramore on the 9th November is nearly sold out. If you’re in that area and want to learn how I combine these two powerful training modalities, you better get yourself booked in: https://www.eventbrite.ie/event/8108194829

Monday Mobility – It’s not all about mobility!


Mobility and flexibility are different terms describing similar attributes.

Flexibility – Total range of motion. Most obvious example of flexibility being the splits.

Splits - Van Damme style!

Splits – Van Damme style!

Mobility – Control of the joint as it moves through it’s full range of motion.

Van Damme showing control of his flexibility

Van Damme showing control of his flexibility

Mobility requires flexibility but also needs strength and coordination to back it up.
Instead of the splits, lets take a squat as our example.

Neghar Fonooni shows you how it's done.

Neghar Fonooni shows you how it’s done.

Squatting is a basic human movement pattern. Forget everything your personal trainer told you about squats and instead pay attention to how young children move. Each and every one of us could up until a certain age squat flat footed right down until our hamstrings rested on our calves.

Somewhere along the line most lose this ability. In fact so many have lost the ability, there are endless debates as to whether or not squatting deep is good for us or not. There are debates as to whether the Asian population who seem to have no issue squatting have a different structure than us westerners.

All these arguments seem to forget that:

  1. Every human being under the age of 5 has no issue squatting all the way down. And what happens at the age of 5? Kids get tied to a desk in that institution called school.
  2. Every 4 years the most watched athletic competition in the world occurs and we are treated to a display of movement from the world most elite physical specimens. Every race of human being is represented in a host of sports, not least of which the gymnastics and the Olympic weightlifting. In both of these events we see Caucasians and Asians alike showing deep squats, and in the weight lifting, they do it multiple times their bodyweight held overhead.

    oly-lifter

So the squat argument is rendered void, unless of course there are injury factors involved.

Now that we’ve settled that, why can’t we squat?

It’s clearly a lack of mobility, but will mobility work solve the issue?

Probably, but why not look at flexibility?
Specifically the flexibility of the Quads and Hip flexors.

Why not look at strength?
Many mobility problems are simply down to weakness. You get tight to prevent an action happening that you aren’t strong enough to control. In the case of the squat, the chances are you can;t go deep because the Hammies and the Glutes aren’t strong enough to help out in the bottom end. The quads are all good from around parallel to lockout, but any deeper than they struggle. Best option, never go to the bottom end.

So if I work on ankle mobility to allow good dorsiflexion, hip mobility to allow a good hinge, spinal mobility to allow good extension, all links in the chain to performing a deep squat. What will happen when I try to squat?
You’ll probably still not get all the way down, especially if your loaded.

So strength is a major factor in the development of mobility. Your muscles must be able to adequately stabilise the joint as the joint moves thought it’s full range which is down to sheer contractile strength controlled by an efficient central nervous system.

So if you need to improve mobility for the squat, make sure you are training the squat. Very often as your strength increases, so will your mobility.

This doesn’t mean that mobility work is useless, it just means that we should never take our eye off the bigger picture.

Yes, you still need to work on dorsiflexion of the ankle (which I’ll talk about next Monday), but once you’ve mobilised, be sure to add strength to that movement pattern.

 

Regards

Dave Hedges
http://www.WG-Fit.com

For details of upcoming Workshopsplease click HERE

Monday Mobility – Side to Side Bridge


It’s been a few weeks since I gave you a “Monday Mobility” post, for that I apologise.

So here is a great drill I like to use, especially with my lunchtime fitness crew. It’s a drill taken from JiuJitsu and restructured slightly to change its emphasis.
In BJJ the movement is used to throw a person off that’s sitting on top of you, as a mobility drill we are looking to increase thoracic extension and rotation with increased hip extension and glute activation.

Why do I like this with the lunchtime crew? Well, they’ve all just left their desks, come into me and have a very tight window of opportunity to get as much good work done as possible. So a drill like this one that directly contradicts that desk posture while activating important muscles and moving the body around a bit makes for a great warm up choice.

For you BJJ and wrestling guys, take a look at the variations I espouse here. You will see:

  • I push through the heels rather than the toes.
    Evidence has been published to show that pressing through the heel has a greater effect on activating the posterior chain (Glutes/Hammies), whereas pushing through the ball of the foot is more anterior dominant (quads). So I go with the evidence and try to get as much glute activation as possible by pushing the ground away with my heels.
  • I don’t start to rotate until I am maximally extended.
    In a fight a quick bump with an equally quick turn is needed to throw the guy off before he has time to respond and adjust, fair enough. But here I am warming up and aiming to increase my ROM. Very often I see BJJ guys who have terrible hip extension, maybe it’s a combination of office/desk bound work with a flexion emphasis sport. Net result is a bridge that comes from overarching the low back rather than hyperextending the hip.
    Emphasis the hip extension here while maintaining a slight amount of tension in the abdominals to ensure the low back stays neutral and instead the extension happens in the upper back and the hip.
  • Reach the hand as far as possible, aiming to reach a fraction further on each rep.
    Reach out to the corners of the room, kind of aiming along the North West & North East lines assuming your spine is aligned along the North-South line. You should feel like you are about to fall over onto your face if you do this right.
  • Count it in a 4 count.
    1 – Lift the hip
    2 – Reach the arm
    3 – Retract the Arm
    4 – Lower the hip.
    This will ensure that quality is maintained.

Enough chatter, here’s a video:

Enjoy

Dave Hedges
http://www.WG-Fit.com

Upcoming Workshops:

Kettlebell Lifting Levels 1 & 2 workshop
September 8th, 1000 – 1600
At Wild Geese Fitness, Dublin 2
Details HERE.

 and if you are a coach,  this is for you:
Kettlebell Instructor Training Certification:
October 5th & 6th, 0900 – 1700 both days.
Details HERE

Kettlebell & Bodyweight Training
Tramore Tactical Fitness, Waterford
Sat 9th November
Details Here

 

Monday Morning Mobility – Hip Opening Sequence


For the next few weeks I’ll be giving out a mobility drill each Monday.

We’re starting today with the hips.

Mobility work is a cornerstone of what we do here at WG, personally I prioritise this over stretching. That doesn’t mean I’m an anti-stretching guy, I just prefer you spend more time on the type of exercises I’ll be putting up over the next few Mondays.

Regardless of the drill, these are to be started nice and easy, as the body warms up, the blood starts pumping, the synovial fluids start to lubricate, only then do we look to increase the range and speed of motion.
Do these as part of a warm up or even as a daily kickstart to your day. If you like to stretch, then save that for post training and better yet, the evenings in front of the TV.

Right, enough chatter, here’s the hip opening sequence in three video clips each progressing on the last:

 

Clip one – Opener No. 1 (or for the sharp of eye, “Squatting Single Whip” from Tai-Chi!”

 

Clip 2 – Opener No. 2, adds in more hamstring work.

 

Clip 3 – Opener No. 3, the whole hip.

 

Next week I’ll be giving out another great mobility drill, please be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss out!

Dave Hedges
http://www.WG-Fit.com