Interesting thread. This is in response to a post here:
And the following is just some rambling thoughts I have on this and may not add up to much or even address the thoughts raised in that thread. So, for what it’s worth, here you go:
I guess most of the time I just don’t look at things in a way of categorizing them. I just train. I just do.
Movement begets movement.
Movement with various loads/objects/bodyweight begets flow.
I don’t think:
“How do I train this snapshot in a movement pattern?”
“How do I connect the dots from crawling to standing?”
“How do I connect or flow the strength in dead lifting to the mobile strength in exploding off the line of scrimmage into an opposing player?”
Unless specifically focusing in on rehabbing an injury, where maybe something very specific must be stretched/strengthened, etc, I don’t view any lift or movement as separate from the rest of my movements or patterns.
In other words, a hinge as being separate from a push, or a crawl as separate from a stand.
I guess a particular movement, like a goat bag swing (hinge) is sort of a series of snapshots in time. It’s a small piece of a larger moving picture. Life is a constantly changing movie, not a 30 second video.
Maybe many approach training as if it is a 30 second video repeated as separately from the rest of their movements in life?
I think that is the sad thing in training for many:
It has to be this or that.
I think it should be this AND that.
I think it’s all about exposure.
Bodybuilders are not the best athletes.
Neither are Power-lifters.
Nor are marathon runners.
Now, true, they are all athletes if they compete, we might say, in their particular sport.
But what is the quality of movement or their ability to flow from one thing to another given a large variety of tasks outside the things they compete in?
More on this in a bit.
Sitting is a specific task. So is standing.
Crawling is a form of mobile sitting.
Walking is a form of mobile standing.
Think about that for a minute.
Sit in a chair. Think about your posture. Now drop out of the chair onto all fours. Note the same basic posture, being in the sitting position but for the arms extended to help support your body. Start crawling and it is a horizontal-mobile-sit. However, because of the changed position (vertical sit to horizontal sit and effect of gravity on changed position) and the effects of movement, the muscular effort and recruitment is higher.
Standing vs. walking, well, same vertical posture but greater involvement of musculature adds in mobility or movement. And it spirals up to running.
As far as brachiating is concerned, which is swinging from a ladder rung to rung, or tree limb to tree limb, I don’t really see the problem. Connected with javelin throwers, I see the thought that they are sort of mimicking the motion of throwing the javelin. It would be a good movement for them.
This is highly simplified, but, when brachiating through rungs on a suspended horizontal ladder as you reach out in front of you to the next rung and grab it and release the hand behind you the weight of your body causes the anterior muscles to tighten up, especially on the side of the body reaching forward.
I know a lot of other muscles and things are involved, but that’s what you will feel, that front/somewhat side musculature firing. Once the body swings through to a bottom position, the loading is more akin to the loading of a pull-up. And when you reach for the next rung, the arm strung out behind is now stretching the anterior musculature of the upper body. It is basically elongating while still under an amount of contracture until the other hand grabs the next rung.
So a javelin thrower has his arm back in a similar position and then contracts the musculature of the upper body, really the entire front of the body as they pull the javelin from behind to hurl it forward.
Take a look at this video here (not the best quality, but it works for our purposes):
Look at how the arm gets long just as the athlete prepares to hurl the javelin forward.
Certainly seems brachiating would be great for a javelin thrower.
But if you don’t have access to brachiating through the trees:
I am thinking that single arm sledge hammer hits on a tire with a 3- 6lb sledge hammer would work too.
Think about it, you grab the handle near the end, swing the head lightly behind you and then begin to pull the hammer over your head. This may look very similar to the arm position of a javelin thrower at the start.
If I were going to use this for a javelin thrower, I think I would have them park the sledge behind them as they stood with legs splayed in the position where they are about to throw, that position where the arm is extended and long to the back.
Then rotate around and forward and thinking “long arm” have them pull that sledge up and over in an arc to slam into the tire on the ground. This puts that musculature under stretch and then into contracture. The anterior side will get stretched and worked at the same time. If you try this, you will no doubt experience some soreness if you are not use to it. It would be a “same but different” sort of movement, I think. Or maybe not?
However, I would probably have them start with a 3 pound sledge and a long handle. Most 3 pound sledges are called drilling hammers. They have short handles, so you will have to change the handle out for a longer one. You could probably get a similar feeling by putting a light medicine ball in a sack and grabbing the sack sling it back and long arming it over to smash into the ground or a strategically placed table.
I would work both sides. It would not take much weight to do this. A competition javelin weighs in at 800 grams. So, 28 grams to the ounce, do the math, equals about 1.78 pounds. Pretty light compared to standard discus at 4.4 pounds.
Now, if you look back at that video you will note that most of these guys upper torso does not incline much past 30 degrees past vertical at release. A lot of the energy is coming from that rotational spiral being unwound. Yet that “X” pattern of being crossed up doesn’t look quite as great as it does for a discuss thrower. The back arm doesn’t seem to be lagging back as far as in the discus, though I could be wrong here.
So, maybe an overload exercise such as the one arm javelin sledge swing could allow greater expression of power to be applied in that short area of the actual throw.
Someone would have to be willing to try it without changing anything else in their training for several months and then testing the effects on their throws. It will either help you throw farther or not.
Now, back to this whole movement, flow thing.
As I said, I think in part, the ability to be able to flow from one basic movement or quality to another comes from exposure.
No I’m not talking about buying a yellow plastic rain jacket.
I’m talking about exposing your mind and body to many different forms of movement. If we repeat the same pattern enough times we become good and then great at it. It becomes flowing or smooth, we might say. But too many repeats of this can cause repetitive stress injuries.
And focusing too much on one thing may make you great at it, but add in something unfamiliar and you will not perform it as easily or smoothly because of lack of exposure to other things.
Now for the competitive athlete, that’s the only way to be competitive and make a living at it. To be great at golf ya gotta golf. A lot! Especially if you want to make money at it.
But for most average people, its not smart training. It’s like an office worker who sits all day and then tries to run on the weekend playing a game of tag. They can’t run fast or far or cut quick and end up twisting an ankle, pulling a groin or ham-string.
Not enough exposure to different things, to different movement patterns. They can’t flow from sitting to running and cutting.
Play basketball all the time and nothing else and then try playing baseball or helping someone move, you won’t be too good. And you will get plenty sore from the new exposure to stimuli unfamiliar to you.
People will even get hurt using a screwdriver or hammer because of having an office job and never doing anything different. They get great at sitting.
Now, someone who has played a bunch of different sports as a child and worked a large variety of physical jobs has accumulated a vast pool of movement patterns that they can draw upon and allows them to easily flow from one thing to another and to pick up new patterns of movement readily.
Everything is connected. The body is one piece. So exposing it to many things builds the quality of movement in many ranges, planes, degrees, angles, whatever you want to call it. You become used to expressing strength, speed, power in all kinds of ways. You learn to leverage your strength and wedge your body into nearly anything in any way. The mind learns by being exposed to much variety.
So does the body.
So, a beginner must learn basic patterns of movement. Some static and some mobile. But in time, repeated exposure to variety adds in adaptability to fluid, ever changing circumstances and they flow from one thing to another. They learn to apply strength or dexterity or power from this to that.
So, some specific, focused training on some pattern like a hinge (goat bag swing)
A pull (pull-up)
A push (push press) for example.
Measurable, repeatable, projected outcomes, ability to cycle weights, reps sets, etc.
And some exposure to variety:
Sledge hammer hits
Tree climbing or monkey bars
Cycling, rowing, running, swimming, climbing,
How about taking one KB and doing one set of every single exercise you know with a kettlebell? And when you are done, try coming up with some new moves or even learning a new move you haven’t tried yet.
Learn to move doing a multitude of things and the flow will be there when you need it.
So some specific familiar training mixed in with constantly changing unspecific, unfamiliar training. A little of both goes a long way toward being athletically built and functional in many areas of life.
Eventually everything becomes familiar.
Paint your canvas with more than one color using more than the same size brush all the time.
Expand. Explore. Innovate.
Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.