By now, the call for lots of low level activity has seeped into the mainstream. Every other week, it seems there’s an article in Slate or the Atlantic or your local news explaining how sitting is bad for us, or puttering around in the garden is good for you, or simply exercising a few times a week while languishing on the couch or at your desk isn’t enough to stave off physical degeneration. That’s great, but the fact remains that most of us reading this are spending the better part of our waking lives in an office or at a desk. We’re getting paid to stay in the same location all day, so getting “lots of slow movement” isn’t always possible or easy.
What are we to do?
Just as we should eat the foods our bodies were designed to eat, we should move our bodies the way they were meant to move and impose the stressors they were meant to bear. That means squatting, and squatting often. Our hips flex, knees bend, and ankles dorsiflex so that we can rest comfortably in a squat position.
Okay, but isn’t the squat a bit outdated? Why not just use a chair?
You’ve probably heard how modern processed foods use refined sugar, salt, and seed oils to hijack our natural desires for fruits, animal fat, and animal meat. They exploit our wiring and provide hyper-stimulation to our senses, prompting massive overconsumption; some refer to this as “Food Reward.” In a similar vein, chairs hijack our anthropometry, which was designed for squatting. Just look at yourself in a chair:
In my Primal Blueprint Fitness eBook, I promote a bodyweight training program. Though it can be modified with weight vests, at its core it is comprised entirely of exercises that use your own bodyweight as resistance – pushups, pullups, planks, rows, squats, and sprints. For the majority of people who try it, it works great because PBF is a basic program designed to appeal to people from every fitness background. People who’ve never lifted a weight in their lives can jump right in with the beginning progressions, move on up through the more difficult variants, and get quite fit in the process. It’s not the end all, be all of training – and I make that pretty clear in the eBook – but it’s a foundation for solid, all around fitness. Some choose to move beyond it or incorporate weighted movements, some are content.
Sprinting is a powerful asset to any training program. It’s brief and effective and long-lasting and reverberates throughout multiple aspects of health and performance. If you sprint regularly, you’ll likely improve your body composition, strength and fitness levels, metabolic flexibility, stamina, and explosiveness. Since sprinting is “going as fast as you can,” it’s infinitely and instantly scalable to your ability level. Anyone who can sprint but does not is making a huge mistake.
However, with great power comes great responsibility. You have to do it right. Sprinting actually isn’t very dangerous compared to other athletic pursuits. You’re more liable to get injured playing a team sport, where you’re responding quickly to unpredictable changes in the game, moving laterally and vertically, diving and leaping for balls or discs, jostling for position. Sprinting is linear, straightforward. You go from point A to point B. However, the very thing that makes sprinting work so well – the fact that it represents the highest intensity your body can muster – can lead to injury if you’re not prepared.
This is a guest post from our friend Al Kavadlo of AlKavadlo.com. Al has a new book out Stretching Your Boundaries – Flexibility Training for Extreme Calisthenic Strength that’s well worth a look. You can catch Al at the yet-to-be-officially-announced PrimalCon New York later on this year where he’ll be a guest presenter. Stay tuned for all the details.
If you look around any commercial gym, you’re likely to see a wide variety of activities taking place: strength training, aerobics, simulated bicycle riding, people doing god-knows-what on a vibrating stability platform, and of course, good ol’ stretching. Most gyms even have a designated stretch area. Though you sometimes see serious-minded folk in these rooms, the stretching area in many fitness facilities seems to be primarily for people who want to screw around, be seen at the gym and feel like they accomplished something productive.
© 2014 Mark's Daily Apple