When it comes to designing the ‘best’ exercise program in the world, you would think that it should be quite advanced and complex to justify the title. Not so. It has been said and I totally agree, that the very best exercise program in the world…..is the one you actually do! Obvious I guess when you think about it, but let’s go a little bit beyond that today. Doing it, is clearly a pre-requisite of ‘any’ program and especially the one I’m about to describe. I just think you have to almost force yourself to learn this, it’s that important!
Out of all the people who exercise regularly, there is a high percentage that are fully able to get the cardio thing going consistently without too many problems. Let’s face it, it is the easier of the big two. The other one being, Strength. Of course there are other aspects of fitness and health and training etc., but Strength and Cardio are arguably the two most important components of an exercise program. I did say ‘arguably’ because there are other very important tasks that could bid for that mantle.
But today I want to talk about putting together a strength training program that really makes sense. Now I didn’t come up with the various movements that make what are known as the “Primal Movement Patterns’. I didn’t come up with the name either! The specific names and description come from fitness and wellness industry giant, Paul Chek. Check him out if you want to read some very interesting angles on health and fitness, including mind, body and spirit.
But getting back to the task at hand. What are the movements that will help you move better in your world? The answer, competent execution of the primal movements which, according to Chek develop in a specific order from pre birth to more or less the first year on the planet. He argues that the maintenance of those patterns are critical for successful movement ongoing in life. I can’t help but agree.
They are: Twisting, Pushing, Pulling, Bending, Squatting, Lunging and Gait. He has very good explanations of how this all develops. It also happens to cover pretty much everything we need to be able to do to function well in the world when you think about each of the move’s applications. Obviously there is a basic minimum of movement that allows us to be independent and have a good quality of life and then there are the specialists who, with advanced ability, can take it all the way to be an Olympic level athlete. You get to choose how far you want to try and take it, that is if you are up for the challenge of getting this type of routine in to your life.
The primal movement patterns happen to be a great structure from which to develop a strength program. If you can do it consistently, you will virtually guarantee yourself a highly functional, capable and, to use one of my favourite (and yet to be trademarked 🙂 descriptions, a life of ‘useful fitness’. This terminology came from the idea that I had many years ago, when I saw the fitness industry so narrow in it’s view of fitness, that it seemed to be all about single movements in single planar directional machines and only to achieve what you ended up seeing in the mirror. I felt (and still feel) it was more about what the training allowed you to do outside of the gym that mattered, more so than what you were actually doing in that space.
Anyway, todays video is all about the squat. It’s application to the real world is clear. When you can’t sit and stand out of a chair you will have lost a big part of what could keep you independent. Don’t think that a squat is only what you see in the featured image with this post, that is an advanced move that not everyone is suited to even doing ever. I have recorded a very short video that shows you 3 levels of doing a very simple squat. There are many more ways to develop the squat pattern but understand that you can do an assisted version, a simple body weight version and a loaded version depending on where you are starting at and how far you want to take it.
As always, if you have any questions, give me a yell.
The most important addition to your repertoire of life time habits is a regular smart exercise program and specifically strength training, that is if you want a better life.