Tag Archives: function
Yep, it’s Star Wars day.
The classic story based on the heroes journey, it’s one we all love, well, all the cool people love anyway.
Looking back at the films and how they’ve changed in regards to the style of fighting and level of physicality required is quite interesting.
The original trilogy 4-5-6, had a very Arthurian feel.
It seemed as it their lightsabers were as heavy as they were powerful, any extended dynamic movements were kept to a minimum.
Then came the prequels 1-2-3, far more crouching tiger.
Super dynamic and resembling something skin to Wushu and various Chinese styles of fighting with there movements and grace, it made for quite the spectacle, especially when Darth Maul revealed a double bladed lightsaber.
Finally the saga ended as 7-8-9 finally got released, a mix of the two from above in terms of style, strong yet graceful, however the lightsaber duels wherever much emotional statements and conversations.
Looking at the actors their physical conditioning was on an entirely different level.
What can we learn from this?
1 – Being a lightsaber wielding badass is cool
2 – Skill needs practice, daily practice
3 – We need strength and athleticism to work together
4 – The body moves best as one piece
5 – Being leaner will give you a fighting change of the above
All of the above can be done outside of the gym, perhaps even at home where a large amount of the populous currently reside.
Start working on your movement capabilities, your overall GPP, and add in weight training that is useful or at least has a deeper purpose, that is if performance and being able to do things is one of your goals.
A 5 day training week may look like this:
Day 1 – Movement Practice – Tumbling, Jumping, Falling
Day 2 – Strength Training (barbell, etc)
Day 3 – Movement Practice – Flows, Breathing, ROM
Day 4 – Off
Day 5 – Strength Training (kettlebell, etc)
Day 6 – Movement Practice – Crawling, Climbing, Patterns
Day 7 – Off
Some would call the above ‘functional training’, however the funny thing about functional training is that it can be whatever you want it to be.
Using the above template can certainly give you the physical attributes of a Golden Age Force Wielder, the force will take some more time to master.
May the 4th be with you.
It’s kind of really popular now.
Like really popular.
However before you can move on to all the fancy stuff, form a lifters perspective, can you do the basics?
Most think they can
The truth is many can’t
Here is a simple yet effective movement screen I use with clients to assess their ability and see what we need to work on.
My basic movement screen is as follows:
– Standing on 1 Leg (eyes open, then closed)
– Goblet Squat
– BW Hinge (double leg & single leg)
– Press Up
– Bat Wing
– Floor or Wall Angle
What do the above actually assess or do?
Let’s take a look.
Standing on 1 Leg (eyes open, then closed): Aim for 30 seconds without any movement with your eyes closed.
Goblet Squat: Aim for a full ROM with no upper thoracic collapse.
The ability to stay braced and maintain upper thoracic extension/stability while achieving a full flexion of the hip/knee, it also highlights ankle/foot stability/mobility issues (weigh shifting, heels lifting etc)
– BW Hinge ( start with double leg & then single leg): Aim for a full hip hinge while maintaining solid posture, no rounding or loss of balance.
Full hip hinge while maintaining core bracing, natural posture, proprioception and stability.
– Press Up: Aim for full press-up with no break in form (elbows tight to sides, bum pinched.
Bracing, posture, while moving through time and space in a pressing fashion, full ROM through elbow flexion and also control of upper back (scapula) retraction/activation.
– Bat Wing: Aim for full retraction of shoulder blades and upper back contraction – do this against a wall.
Upper back control, scapula retraction and full ROM, plus bracing and good posture throughout the movement.
– Floor or Wall Angle: Aim to get your arms fully extended overhead with no change in your posture (excessive back arching).
Upper thoracic ROM, shoulder ROM, stiffness in lats/lack of core bracing.
– Plank: Aim to hold a solid position from head to toe,no sagging.
Core Bracing and posture consistency.
The above tests are an overall assessment to see if the person doing them can control their body correctly and move through time & space without any issue.
A lot of people struggle with these basic movements and worst of all ignore them, opting to go for more advanced movements that they’re just not ready for.
Basically building on disfunction.
Think of it like building a house, you wouldn’t do it if the foundations were crap of the area was known for subsidence, that’s just a recipe for disaster.
Now from an enjoyment stand point the train that these styles of assessment will require the client to do can seem very boring and basic, especially when we live in a world that demands MORE MORE MORE.
A lot of people fall in to the trap of wanting the fancy fun things to do and while there is nothing wrong with this it can cause a lot of issues later down the line.
Plyometrics (jump training).
Is it fun?
Is it safe?
Yes, IF you have correct movement patterns and the strength/stability to perform the movements correctly, if you can’t hen it will lead to injury, especially in the knee, trust me I’ve seen it.
Did you know according to the research done by Prof Yuri Verkhoshansky, to do basic low level jump training you should be able to squat your bodyweight for solid reps – that’s bodyweight on a bar by the way.
For Depth Jumps and other more advanced techniques the recommendations are up to 2xBW on the bar, not many can do that.
^^ You will find this info in the book Super Training & also The Science & Practice of Strength Training if memory serves me correctly.
Keeping this in mind.
How many people do you know who do training that is far lack of a better term, way beyond their pay grade, a fair few I’d imagine.
I know a few and I have even done it myself in the past, injury was my reward because like all competitive people I did too much of what I wasn’t ready for.
Building a solid and wide foundation will allow you to hit a higher peak.
Yes it may be a tad dull at the start, it can also be hard to hear, however it’s sometimes necessary.
Take a look at your own movements and patterns, are they solid or could they do with some improvement?
Truing hard and stay safe
To train muscles or movements…
Which thought process is right?
Technically they both are, however it simply depends on the purpose of which you are training.
You’ll find older lifters speak a lot about training the muscles, feeling the contraction, the blood filling the area and being pain free and younger lifters look to train movements to better improve their performance and ability to move in a pain free ROM.
Both schools of thought are good, however if you follow movements first and then add in some specific work for the muscles you will often find that you have more longevity.
As with anything it’s about balance, we need both.
Let’s look at one of the most most known exercises and how both concepts apply to it.
The humble push up.
Not as easy as people think because a great many have very very poor movement patters and as such struggle to perform even one correctly, meaning they will not be a bel to ‘feel’ the correct muscles working.
Can you now see why we need to train both movement and muscles?
Optimally you will train the movement (the pattern/sequence of events) first then the muscles specifically in said movement.
It’s entirely possible to train muscles with poor movement patterns, this can lead to injury. If you don’t think this is true just take a look at people in the gym and you’ll see plenty of people with impressive physiques who train their muscles very well with poor patters. You’ll also find old lifters who did the same and have a few injuries for their troubles.
If you’re not sure how to perform a move correctly, seek out a trainer/coach to help you.
Train movements, then muscles and you’ll find you can stay in the game for many years to come.