Movement training is one of the biggest fitness trends in 2020.
There are a thousand ways of going about fitness training. So instead of us telling you how you should train for movement functionality, we'll give you the tools to help you figure out how to tweak your current program!
So, whenever you evaluate your training programs, you can ask yourself the following questions…
1. IS YOUR TRAINING PRACTICAL?
Practical training is about bridging the gap between the gym and real world movement patterns – from both evolutionary and modern contexts.
- Getting up and down from the ground in multiple ways without using your hands for support
- Sitting or kneeling on the ground for long amounts of time, without your back or feet cramping up after a few minutes
- Balancing with load on a narrow surface
- Climbing up and over anything (e.g. a pull up is only half of the movement!)
The point is that a large portion of your training should serve a clear, practical purpose.
2. IS YOUR TRAINING EFFICIENT?
We don’t just DO movement, we refine it to the highest level – because we want you to fall in love with movement itself, not just grinding away in the gym. Through the mindful application of technique we rapidly increase not only the strength and conditioning of a given movement pattern, but the underlying foundation of overall movement competence. Which means, chiefly, less injuries and higher performance of any given task with less effort.
- Relaxed, diaphragmatic breathing during increasingly complex movement skills (not just while meditating)
- The optimal balance of relaxation and tension while lifting and carrying (more isn’t better with sub-maximal loads)
- Subtle refinements in body position during crawling to ensure optimal scapular rhythm and torso stability, which means easier crawling AND a better feeling back
The days of mindlessly “repping out” to just “feel the burn” with no thought given to one’s form are coming to an end. People are waking up to the truth that efficiency is a necessity for longevity. So, whenever training, strive to make the hard things look easy because you’re moving with efficiency.
3. IS YOUR TRAINING ADAPTIVE?
It’s one thing to be able to do something successfully, such as carry a heavy object a half mile. That’s what we call “effective.” Effective is a good starting point. It’s another to do the same task with efficiency, meaning at the highest level of performance, with the lowest energy expenditure, and with safety. But the highest level of a given movement isn’t about load or even efficiency; its about performing a given task with efficiency in complex environments. That’s what we call “adaptability” and its the apex of human movement. And, like anything else, it has to be trained to be earned.
- Being able to carry a child across a slippery boulder field
- Being able to walk on ice and not fall
- Being able to run (and walk) barefoot across mountainous terrain
- Balancing on a muddy log during a river crossing, while carrying an injured friend
- And my favorite: Not hurting yourself when picking up an awkward object at a weird angle (i.e. a common injury among super strong lifters)
You see, if you only ever train in a perfectly controlled environment (e.g. most gyms), where everything is flat and smooth and dry and well-lit and air conditioned among other modern day conveniences, then you’ll be missing out on one of the most valuable aspects of training – adaptability. Of course, you’ll want to be wise in your application of this principle, for your safety and others, always making sure to train within your limits, minimize danger, and progressing gradually to greater challenges. Speaking of which…
4. IS YOUR TRAINING HOLISTIC?
The human body requires stimulative stress through the full spectrum of natural movement patterns to stay healthy over the long haul. True holistic training factors in the importance of progression, dose, movement variety, and environmental variety, as well as the gradual process of mastery.
- Competence in crawling should precede advanced or even intermediate climbing drills such as pull ups.
- Deconditioned trainees shouldn’t be confined to only lifting and PT-inspired remedial drills. They should be working on the fundamentals of all 8 movement domains in a progressive, safe way.
- Random acts of fun variety, such as swinging a heavy object like a mace, should come after fundamental and general movement competence.