This past weekend I flew to San Antonio to visit one of my best friends Nick. If there is one thing that Nick has taught me over the years, other than how to be an incredibly generous friend, it’s that fundamentals win championships, as he likes to say. Which probably means being part of the Spurs organization is a great fit for him if you know anything about the Spurs. Expanding on that concept a little, I like this Dan John quote, “I think greatness is usually seen in the courage to master the fundamentals”. Think about that the next time you’re wondering if you should be doing something different in the gym or in any other endeavor.
Back to flying. As I stood in the terminal awaiting my flight to San Antonio I couldn’t help but observe sooooo many people using their phones. Not so much to communicate with their voice but their hands. There weren’t too many people reading books either which I at first thought was a little strange and disheartening. Although I did see one man reading some very large pages of paper that had a lot of writing all over them. Anyway, I quickly realized that reading a book wasn’t going to make anyone’s posture any better as they sat slouching in preparation to sit slouched for likely hours on their flight. Just a lot of this going on.
Sitting and texting, or flying for that matter, isn’t necessarily wrong or a bad thing. It just got me thinking about how important movement training is. The goal is often times to feel better and look good naked but to think about it in even simpler terms, in the very least one could just spend their time in the gym (or wherever) while in pursuit of those goals, doing the opposite of what they are frequently doing the rest of the day. In other words, get tall, squeeze your butt, move your neck or get your body moving laterally, or vertically to just name a few.
Finally, I learned recently that expert trainer Tracy Anderson now has a men’s workout program. Yes!!!! In the men’s classes they use heavier weights than the women, like as much as 5-10 lbs, because they want to be strong and agile like a jaguar and not strong and clumsy like a bison. Her words, not mine. She also states, “Lifting weights over and over is not good for us. Overuse of your joints is not good. Compartmentalizing your muscles, making them bigger and bigger and bigger, is not good for us. This is not the animal we are meant to be.” As we all know, when you have big muscles it automatically means you’re less flexible and more clumsy like a bison (* note sarcasm and see picture below). She also had this gem, “Men want to be panthers. They want to be machines that function. Right now, it’s all about being ‘skinny ripped’ – you want to look good in a tailored suit. It’s important for men not to overdevelop.” Well, I guess it depends on your goals Tracy. Reading all of this made me chuckle as I casually watched college hockey players on tv move up and down the ice with incredible speed, much like a panther or jaguar one might say (she’s really got to decide which animal guys actually wanna be), and I thought about what their training programs likely entail. Maybe they should try her program so they don’t overuse their joints or get too bulky and lose their speed and athleticism. Hey, I’m all for people moving as I stated earlier, but strength, and I mean force production, is functional. That’s real life. You just don’t get that with tiny weights and hundreds of reps. Alas, ‘ol Trace, I’m just going to keep teaching what I know to be best until I learn otherwise.
– Mike Baltren