Original post published, 11th September, 2013
These days we don’t move. Our bodies are exceptional and we don’t realise this. A lot of people think that to be fit and strong they need to spend hours on a treadmill, or put themselves through painful circuits. This can be off putting and intimidating. But what if there was a different approach to health and fitness? What if we looked at the body as something that is designed to move… what if we looked at “Movement”?
I interpret movement as the ability to express yourself through your body. It means being able to allow creativity to naturally flow as you experience and interpret your surroundings. It’s having the freedom and control to move easily, fluidly and efficiently.
The human body is designed to move in different ways and too many of us are losing these physical abilities. Moving in creative and inventive ways allows our body to develop strength, flexibility, balance, coordination and physical skills. It also develops the central nervous system, improving the ability to control the body and engage in physical activities.
Understanding this has resulted in my training becoming a way of challenging my body, and I no longer follow one single way of training. There was time when I focused on nothing but lifting heavy weight. Squats, and some squats and then more squats. I still lift heavy weights but it is a part of my training not all of my training.
A lot of fitness coaches are now taking the approach of teaching movement. To an extent it’s not even about this, but about showing people what they are capable of and giving them the confidence to push themselves and try new things. This is what Gold Medal Bodies or GMB Fitness is all about. Just a group of guys with different backgrounds in sports such as gymnastics and martial arts, they have developed an amazing community, which encourages people to share their passion for training. They provide structured training programmes to help achieve different physical skills and goals. But I want to talk about one programme in particular and structure is not part of it’s description.
When I receive emails asking “what is your Vitamin Programme?”, this is my usual response. Vitamin is a 28 day program focusing on a different movement each day for movement exploration. It focuses on improving motor control while also encouraging creativity and play. It’s unbelievably simple.
Six days out of seven you are given a single movement to learn, practice and play with. The movement is taught in stages, from the very basic progressions, building up a framework to the full movement. If you can perform the full movement there are further progressions and variations to try if you really want to push yourself. Each day you can spend as little as five minutes practicing, or if you find your flow, continue until your body says stop.
Day seven involves reviewing the week and you have the opportunity to ask any questions about what had been taught. You are also given ways of integrating the movements learnt into your own training. With the week summed up, the overview of the next week begins.
Week 1: “Getting to know the Floor”
The first week is all about learning to move over and close to the floor. Different ways of travelling are taught, including crawling, rolling and rotating. You also get to play with moving parts of the body while balancing in static holds.
Week 2: “Coordinating Transitional Moves”
Week two begins to integrate elements from the first week into more challenging movements. It’s more mentally demanding because the level of creativity and variation starts to increase. Not only do you learn new movements but you learn ways of linking movements together. This means you can’t start to build sequence.
Week 3: “Controlling Dynamic Movement”
Dynamic movement involves controlling the body through motion for example spinning, jumping or tumbling. Some of the movements seem overwhelming but when broken down they make a lot of sense and it’s easy to build up the progressions. You start to think differently about travelling through movement because for most of the week you are learning to move away from the floor. You have to control travelling initiated by power and speed.
Week 4: “Smoothing out Combinations”
Even more challenging, in the final week it’s all about putting movements together to create complex patterns. There is a lot of strength involved in these movements, but once again there are progressions for all abilities. Having spent three weeks learning a new movement each day, it starts to become easier to introduce your body to new concepts, and the last week is a great way to see how you have improved over the duration of the programme.
The wonderful thing about this programme is that although it is only four weeks long you can continue with it indefinitely. You might find certain movements that you struggle with and so you are constantly revisiting them over the following weeks. Or you find some movements that feel like a great way to warm up and they become part of your training preparation. Some movements you might just keep developing, keep progressing or continue combining into more complex patterns and sequences.
The possibilities are endless with how you develop your movement skills once you complete the 28 days. This course is a fantastic introduction to movement for any ability. I tested Vitamin out nearly two years ago. I found some movements simple and so I worked on making them smoother and flow better. There were other movements that I could not do full stop and I revisited these at various points in my training. But really the main thing I got from this programme was the understanding that the more I learn, the more I practice and the more I explore, the more I can do. Again it’s such a simple approach.
For anyone who is looking for a refreshing, unique and exciting programme, then I highly recommend it. And if you have more questions please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is what was inspired after completing the programme. It sparked my journey into hand balancing. What would it give you?
The human body is designed for incredible things. So don’t waste yours.