bodyweight fitness

THE IMPORTANCE OF GOING BAREFOOT

How often do you take your shoes off just to feel the grass between your toes, walk around the house barefoot because you can? My guess is probably not often enough ...

Your feet are incredibly important and were designed to be mobile, otherwise you wouldn't have 26 bones in such a small body part. But feet that sit in shoes all day long (particularly high heels, steel-capped boots or any heavy, high-ankle or thick-soled shoe) are not happy feet. They need to breathe and have the freedom of movement.

Because of the amount of nerve endings found in the feet (more per square centimetre than any other part of the body) , they're your gateway to proprioception (awareness of where your body is in relation to space). So imagine if your feet were stuck in thick-soled, flat shoes all day, not knowing if there was a need to alter your movement due to uneven ground, inclines, declines or changes in temperature. These are all important messages that should be received through your feet, but when they're constricted within shoes, the brain doesn't receive the feedback.

Stiffness in your feet can eventually affect muscles and joints higher up in the kinetic chain, like ankles, knees, hips and spine. Paying attention to and exercising your feet can change pain experiences in other areas of your body...never underestimate the importance of happy, healthy feet! Here are three things you can do to reclaim your feet.

1. Mobilise your feet.

Using a tennis ball, golf ball or a posture pro (as seen in picture), gently apply pressure to the bottom of the foot and roll back and forth along the whole arch, targeting any areas of tenderness. This can be done in sitting or standing. Spend at least one minute working on each foot, if not longer.

2. Get your feet moving.

Though they seem simple, these foot mobility exercises can make a huge difference. Try any of the following:

  • Spread your toes apart, then squeeze them together.
  • Point your toes, then flex.
  • Point your foot up from the ankle, lift it up a few inches and move it side to side, making small circles with your foot one way, and then the other.

If your feet and toes are really stiff and you struggle to connect with them, use your fingers between your toes to help get your feet moving!

3. Take your shoes off.

Spend as much time as you can barefoot. Walking your dog in the park, doing chores around the house, train barefoot in the gym...anything that re-connects your foot with the ground.

Try it! Your feet will thank you. You'll gain more mobility, stability and, if you're someone who suffers from repeated ankle sprains, you'll definitely benefit from a barefoot lifestyle as your ankles are clearly trying to tell you something!

MOVEMENT...WHAT IT REALLY MEANS!

American Turner Gymnasium 1860

American Turner Gymnasium 1860

An online lecture I saw recently given by Dr Ed Thomas, an expert in the foundation of Physical Education, drove me to analyse what fitness is today in comparison to what it was historically.  Historically, there are three fundamentals of movement and fitness, these are Progression, Variety & Precision.  

Now from what I can tell and have observed over the years is that the majority of fitness enthusiasts seem to do well to take care of the Variety aspect of fitness, it's not hard to keep workouts varied.  Progression seems to be mostly adhered to, it's quite simple, you learn a movement to a satisfactory level until it becomes quite comfortable and then you progress that movement, either by adding weight, increasing reps or challenging the movement to a higher level of difficulty (i.e. advancing from a squat to a single leg squat progression).  Now, I have to take a pause here, although progression seems to be quite evident in most fitness programmes, there is a little issue that is quite niggling…this would be the over-eagerness to progress.  This is a huge issue that is present within our field, you may have someone who is recently able to squat their own bodyweight comfortably but then wants to throw 40kgs onto their back and continue to squat, or a personal trainer who wants to make a client sweat more by handing them heavier weights resulting in a less precise movement pattern.  You can't expect the body to move as efficiently with extra load in a movement pattern that is newly learned with only bodyweight or that is challenging enough with the current weight used.  This brings me to the third and final (and I personally believe the most important) fundamental...Precision.

We need to find a way back to basics and get the population moving well and precisely again, we are so far away from our own mind-body connection that most people just go through the motions of exercise without ever making a conscious connection to how they are moving, why they are moving or how they are breathing.  There was no sloppiness in movement back in the 1800's & most of the 1900's, precision was the key focus and the fitness just followed.

functional movement personal trainer gold coast.jpg

In Gray Cook's book, "Movement", he talks about the origins of Martial Arts and sums up what fitness should and used to be.  Somehow recent generations have managed to distort this approach and turn it on it's back.  Current jobs and lifestyles have a huge role to play and make it hard for the body to hold onto fundamental physical fitness, but not impossible by far!  "Purposeful movement perfection was the focus, and physical conditioning happened as a natural side effect".

primal movement personal trainer.jpg

Modern day gyms are stacked full of equipment promoting dysfunctional movement.  The use of fixed machines encourage your body not to utilise it's core stabilising musculature and instead, rely on your large, global muscles for movement.  In our daily lives we need to be able to squat, lunge, push, pull, reach, run, bend and rotate, all done whilst fighting gravity (not sitting locked into a machine).  This is when our bodies are moving as intended.  These are the movements we need to perfect and do with precision in order to be healthy, fit individuals avoiding injury.

Look at gyms from ancient times and see if you can spot a hamstring curl, a pec deck or a leg extension machine anywhere?  They only use anti-gravity equipment in the form of ropes, rings, parallel bars, ladders etc and hand weights in the shape of dumbbells, kettle bells, medicine balls and clubs.

Train functional movement patterns and make sure you do it with Precision, Variety & Progression in order to achieve true fitness.  Don't rush into a new movement before you have perfected its predecessor and don't load up a movement pattern before being comfortable and strong enough in doing it body weighted first.

PLASTIC FREE JULY: DAY 31

Day Thirty One:

Do you often grab take-out meals & coffee? Have you thought about the impact all that packaging can have on the environment?

The 31st and final blog on Plastic Free July. I hope you have all taken something from our efforts of sharing ways to lead a less plastic life. I'd like to thank everyone who shared; commented or liked the posts and hope that there have been a few "AHA" moments as I know there were for me along my journey of discovering a less plastic existence. It is never easy to change and it does take time but very small changes slowly turn into habits and before you know it you look back and see how far you have come. You are not always going to get it 100% but even if everyone made a 2% effort to reduce their use of plastic it would have a massive impact on our earth!

adelaide personal training physio trainer

Next time you need to grab some breakfast or lunch and you are not in a pressurised rush to get to where you're going then why not just take a breather, slow down, and dine-in. This way you will save on the take-out packaging and your sanity. Slowing down is something our society does not do comfortably and it is adding to stress-related illnesses. Alternatively, of course, if taking out is a must then don't be caught without your re-usable coffee mug; re-usable water bottle; re-usable cutlery and depending on the kitchen, you could even try and take your own container with you to put your food in, leaving zero footprint ;-). Now that's making a difference!

Make a change...
Re-think your thinking...

What Is Animal Flow?

In this video Animal Flow creator Mike Fitch demonstrates what the "flow" in Animal Flow is all about.

Animal Flow® combines ground-based movement with elements from various bodyweight-training disciplines to create a fun, challenging workout emphasising multi-planar, fluid movement. 

It is great for improving mobility and core strength.  It can be applied to all levels of fitness although it does require a fair bit of load on the wrists but as long as you do not have any restrictions in wrist mobility your wrists can build up to accepting the load over time with the help of a good warm up and slowly building up the amount you do in each session.

At moov personal trainers we like to incorporate Animal Flow into most of our workouts, including our groups training, whether it be one movement or a few.  I have found them to be extremely effective in positively effecting our fascial system.

Have a read of a review on Animal Flow by the lovely Ryan Hurst at GMB...just follow this link.

 

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An easy, fun workout to do in the comfort of your own home...using your bodyweight to get the heart pumping and the muscles bulging ;-)

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Learn how to "moov" into flexibility with our easy to follow video routine. A 36 minute video with a variety of dynamic stretches and stability exercises to enable you to gain flexibility. Educating you along the way so you understand WHY we are getting you to do each movement.

Suitable for all ability levels.

Add To Cart