Monday, September 28, 2009

How I spent my Sunday

This past Sunday, I had an amazing experience in Discovery Park, Seattle, WA!  First introduced to me by Binkle, was concept of MovNat, the brain child of Erwan Le Corre.

With my increased interest and along with others (#1#2, #3) in Vibram Five Finger training, I came across a natural fitness program geared towards reconnecting with nature and finding a "context" in which to train.

What I, and ten other gentlemen learned from this 6 hour clinic with Erwin enlightening:

First: The philosophy of MovNat depends on finding situations that are adaptable and that require focus.  Prior to MovNat, I could be found in the IMA gym working out on Life Fitness Strength training machines while listening to my favorite NPR podcast.  With these machines, I could follow my progress and chart my total reps, weight, and the last time I isolated a specific muscle group.  However, with this training regiment, I became dependent on the machines, and the machines only helped me to lift more weight in one particular motion. Learning from the MovNat philosophy, if I broadened my mind and the context in which I trained in, I could work more muscle groups, faster, and more efficiency.  Plus, I could apply my efforts to a multitude of different situations, and I wouldn't be limited to just the repetitive movements on a pulley system.

Second: It's OK to be lazy.  In fact, it's encouraged!  Body weight exists because of gravity, but it doesn't have to slow you down.  By utilizing the principles of "body weight transfer" and "body weight shift" one can use gravity to improve movement, balance, climbing, and positioning during a training exercise.  Our "lazy training session" consisted of learning how to use minimal strength to climb a tree limb by developing a body weight transfer from our two handed grip, to a three point system = adding a leg! Then, using a body weight shift and swinging our free leg and allow the momentum to rotate and propel our body around the tree branch. Success!

Third: Creating context helps focus, increased motivation, and makes training fun!  In a jumping exercise, the group focused on limiting our landing and take off points - as if we were jumping from small ledges and avoiding clefts down a mountain side.  In our climbing example, it was important to focus on our
"body intelligence" and know when to have our arms tightened, and when to have them relaxed and ready for movement and action. 

Lastly: Running is the ultimate training activity.  Think about it - you rarely "walk for your life," or "bike for your life," but perhaps to a slightly more extent you can "swim for your life," but you always "RUN FOR YOU LIFE!"  With increased focus and attention to running, it's possible (and preferred) to use gravity to propel yourself forward.  Using your legs to catch yourself in mid fall.  Again, with a body weight shift, minimal muscle movement and energy is needed to run.  This concept can be used in other situations as well to increase efficiency.

Other activities we covered in our MovNat clinic included principles of Throwing/Catching, Balancing, and Lifting.  Each of these single topics could have been covered exclusivity in just one clinic and by the end, we would have only learned the basics behind each movement.

11 + 1 at the end of MovNat training.

Several of us have expressed a continued interest in training together and have created the Seattle-area barefoot & Five Fingers running group and the Seattle Natural Movement group, both on Facebook.  All are welcome and encouraged to join either group and to find out more information if so desired.

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Alex

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