CaveManFit and Functional Exercise!
Are you Caveman Fit?
Most times when I pass by a modern gym I peer into the window only to see shredded abs and super-sized muscles. I think to myself are these guys really strong? I suppose they’re strong in one dimension, like a 2X4 is strong from one angle, but relatively easy to break in half from its opposite angle. When the shit hits the fan how would their bodies adapt to a combat situation? I mean how in the world did the bench press become the marker from which one is judged as strong and not strong? It’s baffling when we observe the actual exercise and wonder how it can be applied in the real world. Who is stronger, the guy who can bench-press 500 pounds or the guy who can do 100 push-ups non stop?
We’re pragmatists at Strength and Honor in the the sense that we take what works and leave behind what doesn’t. The concept behind functional training is not a new one, it’s basically what man has been doing to survive since the beginning.
For most of human history, work has been a physically demanding activity. Our cavemen ancestors chased down mastodons and hurled spears into their tough, but tasty flesh, American homesteaders tamed the wilderness into productive farms with nothing but grit and sweat, and just 60 years ago, the majority of men in America flexed their muscles on factory floors or construction sites.
Fast forward to today: It’s all about Vanity and not Value!
Physical education a hundred years ago was about developing physical competency for real life. Now fitness is degraded to padded machines and artificial movements patterns that are all about building vanity. It’s all about building “show” muscles instead of ‘go’ muscles.
Most fitness facilities have a variety of weight training machines which target and isolate specific muscles. As a result the movements do not necessarily bear any relationship to the movements people make in their regular activities or sports. So while you might look great in a V-neck T-shirt, you probably couldn’t carry your grandma out of a burning building. No offense grandma. We’re not trying to knock gym goers here, but this is a blog about functional strength and ability.
Most modern fitness programs focus on muscle-isolation and cardio-conditioning. But the body is not used in isolation. Even when there’s no saber-tooth tiger or woolly mammoth to hunt down, the goal of a functional work out should be to perform practical tasks, physical actions that you would perform in the real world, both in-day to-day and challenging situations.
To be healthy, you need to move frequently and ideally, you need a variety of movement patterns, like we do when we are young children. The more varied the movements, the better for health, fitness and resiliency.
Here are some basic tips from the guys at Strength and Honor to get you started.
1) Lift heavy things – rocks, firewood, bags of sand whatever. Not only will you be able to build lean muscle, but you will also get your hormones going for optimal fat loss and muscle building. Keep the weight heavy and the reps low (between 5-10).
2) Sprint often and walk a lot. We have all seem evidence that short bursts of high intensity can lead to more fat loss. It also releases the hormones needed to free up more fatty acids from our fat stores to be burned up.
3) Mix it up. Play, run and jump. Your body is designed to move. Find something you like doing that just so happens to get your heart rate up. Dance, take up a martial art, chase your dog, wax your car as fast as you can…just do something.
Stay tuned to the Strength and Honor team for the next installment, ” Cardio Cronicitis.”