Tag Archives: movement

Jedi or Sith, which would you rather be?

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.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Too General?

Mastery over ones own body.
 
Why wouldn’t you want that?
 
Genuine question.
 
Since working in the realms of fitness for as long as I have I know and understand plenty of superficial reasons why people either want to just look good in a t-shirt, or run marathons and various other things.
 
The longer I spend simply watching how people move it’s quite alarming how many just can’t move well.
 
Often there will be excuses as to why this is.
 
The majority of those excuses are bullshit, the only time they are not if for a crippling injury, medical condition or unfortunate contraction of a disease that effects the CNS.
 
A simple case for those of us that don’t have any of the true reasons we wouldn’t move well is a simple fact that comes in the form of not seeing value in moving well.
 
We’re lazy, idle, always wanting the easier path to walk.
 
All fine to choose, however none are worthy of more than surface level respect and courtesy.
 
Moving well goes beyond lifting weights, playing sports and specialising in one specific thing, which are acceptable to do, it’s just worth remembering to do that it will cost you something.
 
To move well you will be a generalist, someone who can do a lot of things with a reasonable level of skill/competence, yet you’ll not master any of them specifically.
 
That said, in such generalism you’d find mastery of your own body.
 
Knowing it’s limitation, how far it can go, what it can & can’t do, able to acquire new skills with ease and turn your hand to anything with no real fuss.
 
Again, you won’t master anything except control of your own body.
 
You’d be a very good human, a good mover.
 
Great for longevity and health, plus it gives yo a lot of room to learn skills, tricks and various other things, and while you’d not reach the peak of any one thing, you’d be able to have fun and hold your own in a lot of others.
 
How well do you think you move?
 
Me, I move like shit in a general sense.
 
Yet like a lot of people I’m still scared to purely focus on movement and fully go down that rabbit hole because my ego still won’t willing give away certain threads its cloning on to in the realms of lifting weights and all the metal strife that comes with it.
 
Yep, that’s me, scared of progress through fear of loss.
 
The knowing mind, truly a cursed gift.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Running to get back in shape?

Dare to venture out of an early morning and you’ll see plenty of people running.
 
It’s become a fast favourite of those wanting to get back into fitness.
 
Truth is though, that running isn’t the best way to ‘get back into shape’ or even to get in shape in the first place.
 
Such an activity is good if you want to become a better runner, well, provided you’ve got good form to which I will point out that hardly anyone does.
 
Hence why the injury rate is so high.
 
Below are 6 alternatives for getting back into shape that are far more productive and beneficial over simply pounding the pavements.
 
1 – Skipping
2 – Calisthenics
3 – Kettlebells
4 – Odd Object Lifting/Carrying
5 – Movement Culture
6 – Sprinting (on grass or a race track)
 
In all fairness training methodologies are nothing more than tools at our disposal to be used.
 
The only real prerequisite that I personally stye is this:
 
Whatever you’re choosing to do, learn to do it properly.
 
Too many people allow their ego to get in the way, often thinking they will ‘get good’ at something first before hiring a coach or asking for help.
 
Foolishness, utter foolishness.
 
This is because by the time you do hire someone to help you’ve not got a false & inflated sense of your own ability, not to mention form problems that need to be be addressed.
 
Usually that means people needing to regress and get worse, much worse in fact, before they can improve due to having so much to fix.
 
Of course people dislike this, blaming the coach/instructor.
 
I’m going to be honest with you, it’s rarely if ever the coaches/instructors fault, and 98% of the times anything that causes us issue is often a result of our own choices.
 
Even in this time of isolation & Online instruction you’ll find someone to teach you the way.
 
You’re either ignorant or arrogant to not utilise the help offered to you.
 
Speaking from a place of both ignorant and arrogant past experiences I can vouch for this mistake being one YOU don’t want to make, trust me it’s not worth it.
 
Give the above some thought.
 
Remember, running may be the easiest thing to do because it’s ‘free’ yet in the long run you’ll be made painfully aware that it was never free because nothing ever is.
 
The fee often comes in the form of ankle, shin, knee, lower back and hip pain, sometimes to the point of total debilitation and having to retire from running entirely.
 
So my dear people, don’t be a fool, hire or at least speak to a professional first.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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5 things you can do daily to improve your body.

This will not be a sexy as a met-con or some ghastly conditioning circuit, however it will yield far more benefits.
 
You see the older you get the more you’ll appreciate this.
 
We shall keep the timings nice and short so that if you choose to do all 5 in a row you’ll only need 10-15min tops.
 
Of course you can do any of these for longer, yet we’re all busy people so 10-15min is far more reasonable.
 
1 – Sitting in a squat for 2-3min.
 
Drop in to a squat, hold it, feel your body relax in to the position and breathe deeply into your diaphragm.
 
2 – Hang for 2-3min.
 
Grab a bar and hang in any way shape or form (asking the cat makes for a lovely hang).
 
3 – Loosen your Upper Thoracic for 2-3min.
 
Use a foam roller, trigger point peanut or something similar and place it in each of these places (lower/mid/upper thoracic) and let your arms hang overhead.
 
4 – Move for 2-3min.
 
Squat down, lift your arms overhead, stand up, hinge down to touch the floor, inchworm out as far as you can without letting you hips sag, inchworm back in and repeat for improved movement.
 
5 – Move again for another 2-3min.
 
A down dog to an up dog to the worlds greatest stretch (yep, that’s it’s name) will leave you feeling revitalised and far more mobile than before.
 
All of this is pretty simple.
 
It’s also highly effective and I can almost guarantee that 98% of people will be too lazy to do any of it, shame.
 
Try the above, then perhaps add in your own little bits.
 
Rolling around on the floor is also a great addition when you’re build some future movement capabilities.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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5 simple things you should be able to do

How much time do you spend crawling around on the floor or climbing things?
Once upon time the rising fame of Ido Portal took hold.
People across the globe found themselves moving.
This stuck around and is still going strong yet the overall notoriety of it and chatter has diminished, the big question is why?
From an experienced eye it would be this; ego.
While moving is easy enough and there are plenty of regressions that can be put in place the average person doesn’t like feeling stupid, unable to do something or weak.
Supporting your weight on your hands/feet and being in a quadrupedal stance is very humbling for many.
It is at this point the realise the exact place they’re in when compared to someone like Ido who is essentially a movement god.
Sadly knowing just how far you’ve slipped down the ladder of being able to move is a massive hit to a lot of people.
I remember talking to someone about this.
My standpoint is simple: most general movement/exercises are not difficult it’s just that the average person is very unconditioned (weak, overweight, immobile).
^^ This clearly caused offence, even if objectively true for the level of person we were discussing people sadly get too caught up in ‘feelings’.
All of this is only in reference to being on your hands and feet simultaneously, you’ve then got having three, two or one limb on the floor and that is where things really get interesting.
Some will say that as the complexity increases things become more advanced and yet when you see children doing such things without a care in the world can you really say that?
(Obviously there are advanced movements, however in regards to the average person and their ability what is being asked is literally at ‘baby’ level of crawling capability)
Then we have the giant slayer that can tripped a persons mindset.
Climbing a rope without the use of ones legs.
Something we should be able to do, yet many can’t, that should tell you something about the state of the world.
Believe it or not I do understand how it makes people feel.
You know, not being able to do things.
To many it makes them feel like a ‘lesser’ person.
Judged, ridiculed and all the other shameful feelings that are linked together.
The interesting thing with shame and it’s many faces is this; no one can make you feel ashamed unless it’s something that you already feel/believe.
Seriously, I’m sure you know someone who had all the shit thrown at them, people endlessly trying to shame and bring them down, yet they simply shook it off and were not phased by it.
The reason why is simple, to them they had nothing they felt ashamed of or that they need to feel shamed by.
Shame it like guilt, it can’t be forced on you, it’s something you have to allow someone to put on you.
Anyway, back to movement.
Can you do these 5 basic things:
– Climb a rope without using your legs 5-10m
– Bear Crawl unbroken for 50m
– Duck walk 50m unbroken
– Bound Jump your own height along the floor
– Sit in a deep squat for 5min without struggle
Nothing earth shattering or out of the realms of possibly for all people.
Give them a go, once you’ve gotten your confidence from finding out you can do them all try to add just moving to your training.
Start off with 10min per day.
You never know, you might just fall in love with it.
Enjoy,
Ross

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Mobility Master

Being able to move unimpeded and pain free is something a lot of people want.

All it would take is one quick google search and you’d find all the information you need to put a plan together, alas many of us are too lazy for that, thus we will just let our body slowly stiffen and lose its ability to move well.

When I’m away teaching there are a few key drills I will put in to warm ups to see how well people move, it’s also easy to spot just by looking at people who that is.

Total body coordination is something we’d really do well not to lose.

It’s it quite surprising how many people will watch the other people in the groups I teach that move what I’d consider ‘normally’ and are like “OMG, wow, that’s amazing.”.

Ummm not it’s not, that’s something we everyone should ideally be abel to do, so in truth the people that can more are not amazing, you’re just really really broken in a moment sense.

Don’ts get me wrong, I’m not talking about people moving like Ido Portal from day one.

More along the lines of having basic coordination skills and not making yourself look like your 80 because of how crap your movement skill is.

These are the three main movement I will get people doing (they give me all the knowledge I need).

1 – Inch worms (a lunge step to upper thoracic rotation is also added in)
2 – Spiderman/Lizard Crawls – ideally hey get their chest as low to the floor as possible
3 – Duck Walks & Sit Through

If the facility has one then I’d also like to see a rope climb as well, beginner level is using feet, I’m ideally after people to climb and descend using arms only.

The reason for these is simple, the first tests mobility/flexibility/stability.

The second looks at mobility, stability and strength.

The third is mobility, balance and movement coordination.

If we have a rope then that tests strength because I’ve found that while some people more well they are very weak.

When time is short and I need one simple test to assess everything in one go it will be the TGU (turkish get up), I will proceed to see how heavy they can go with the gold standard being 1/2 their bodyweight per hand, if someone can do that then good things happen.

Give the above a try, you can hope on YouTube and find them all easily if you’re not sure what they are.

You’ll also find adding these to your assessment methods will highly who need what and in what dose.

Try them yourself because while you don’t need to be perfect at everything you do, you need to be competent in demonstrating it well, otherwise you may look a tad foolish.

Enjoy,
Ross

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***6 Steps to Solid Sessions***

No long monologue today.
 
Time to get straight in to the good stuff, easy to follow steps to create training worthy of the gods.
 
Well, maybe not the gods, at least legendary hero though.
 
The structure of session I will use as an example in each is as follows:
 
W/U – warm up, potentiation biased
Skill – learning something new, refining technique etc
Main – building strength and lean mass (muscular bits)
Accessory – often within main element (weak points)
Conditioning – can be for CV or addition to main/acc
C/D – cool down, CNS optimisation bias
 
Let’s go.
 
Step 1 – Movement first.
 
Simple as it sounds many lack any large amount of movement based exercises in their training, as such you are going to want to make sure you get this down first.
 
You will have something movement related in every session, it can be for warm up/cool down, skill acquisition, main exercises, conditioning or accessory (weak point) purposes, however it will be there every session.
 
Example:
 
W/U – Leopard Crawl 100m – 5min
Skill – Loaded carry medley – atlas stones – 15min
Main (strength) – Sandbag clean, carry and load -20min
Accessory (postural) – SA Waiters walk – 10min
Conditioning – Farmers Walk & Suicides – 5min
C/D – Yoga Flow – 5min*
 
*If you’ve trained in the PM a Yoga flow surrounding internal torque will trigger the para-sympathetic nervous system, if you hit the gym int he AM then you’ll need one focused on external torque.
 
You get the idea, yo’d have one movement related element in each session, you can of course have a full session of movement like the above as well.
 
That’s the first step done covered.
 
Movement is life, quite literally in most cases.
 
Giving it the attention it deserves in your training will yield results beyond what you ever expected, trust me, it’s totally worth it.
 
Until next time.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Honestly, this is blindingly good information.

A short tip to improving form instantly.
I can’t take credit for this little gem, it is something in the lifting world the Russian athletes of the world have done for a while.
 
You will also find it common in various other sports as well.
 
Why?
 
That is simple, it is because of the exceptional amount of feel it provides you.
 
Close your eyes and lift.
 
Yep, lifting with your eyes closed if one of the best ways to sharpen up your form instantly.
 
Is it dangerous?
 
Meh, potentially, then again, you wouldn’t want to try it with your 1RM, perhaps starting off with bodyweight and then moving on to lighter loads is more sensible.
 
What pulling down the lids on your peepers will do is nothing short of amazing.
 
You will start to feel your bodies movements.
 
The balance biases, the instability, the movement patterns and so much more.
 
If something is off you will wobble, feel unstable and probably bail on the attempt, and that’s okay because you can try again.
 
Being the complex creatures that we are,w e rely heavily on our sight.
 
Maybe we shouldn’t, not all the time.
 
Give this little tip a try with smaller movements first the are lower overall risk.
 
Over time build up to doing it with larger compound movements.
 
With enough practice you’ll be Daredevil in no time.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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What’s old can be young again

You can’t stop the hands of time.
 
Eventually you will become old, withered and grey, or bald.
 
You can however delay the degradation of your body by lifting weights and making optimal nutrition choices.
 
Take some time and think.
 
Do you want to be 75+ and always in constant pain, with little to no ability to move and do things for yourself or do you want to be one of the 75+ that can still get out and about on their own and have the quality of life they did in their 50’s?
 
Regular training (lifting weights & cv work) will help, this is because if you don’t give your body a reason to stay healthy, it won’t.
 
It’s the whole ‘use it or lose it’ concept.
 
Funnily enough it’s quite an important one to keep in mind in regards to your body and ability to live an active life.
 
I’ve been lucky enough to work with a wide range of clients.
 
The biggest changes and appreciation of them comes from those in their later years of life 65+.
 
Why?
 
Simple, it gives them back a little of what they’ve lost.
 
I wish I could help them get it all back, however the damage was already done from years of neglect, sad yet true.
 
If your goal is sport, competitions or anything else, great, fill your boots, however give some forethought to the future and your body to come.
 
Here are five key points to remember that happen to us as we age:
 
(based on a typical untrained elderly person)
 
1 – Tonic muscles get shorter and tighter
2 – Phasic muscles get weaker (especially in the *PKC)
3 – Bone density goes down
4 – Resting heart rate elevates
5 – Your hormones are less than optimal
 
*Posterior Kinetic Chain
 
You can address these points in the following way (like today, don’t wait)
 
1 – Have a daily flexibility/mobility routine
2 – Kettlebell swings, loaded carries, Get Ups 2-5x P/W
3 – Lift weights 2-3xP/W, focus on compound movements
4 – Daily cardio can be useful, not HIT, simple LISS (walking)
5 – Nutritious food & some extra supplements daily
 
Now this is of course a massive topic to delve in to, however if you do the above, with a focus on health, movement and longevity – as opposed to being a gym bro or gym bunny, you’ll set the foundations for long term health.
 
Just because we get older it doesn’t mean we have to get old.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Some simple tests to try

Movement.
 
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?
 
Squat-Hinge-Push-Pull-Brace
 
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
– Plank
 
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.
 
Balance/proprioception/posture 
 
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.
 
For example:
 
Plyometrics (jump training).
 
Is it fun?
 
Hell yes.
 
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
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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