Since being introduced to Functional Movement Systems, I have been quite intrigued by some of the ideas Gray Cook presents. He wrote a blog recently, which can be found at functionalmovement.com, entitled “No Moving Parts.” He puts his own spin on the concept essentially touching on the idea that the less “moving parts” there are to an exercise/workout (i.e. standard gym equipment) the better and more functional it becomes. He mentions a few of his favorite activities such as kettlebell training, trail running, and paddle boarding. The reason I found this subject so interesting/inspiring is because Gray and I very much see eye to eye on this topic.
About a year ago, I was in a workout rut. I was bored with my workouts. I was using the same old weights and machines and never wanting to get off the couch to go to the gym because I was bored. A patient at Crane Rehab had recommended a book filled with bodyweight exercises called You are Your Own Gym (only about $12 on Amazon.com). I bought it and fell in love.
I’m a large man giving me plenty of weight with which to do body weight exercises. The book opened my eyes to all the different ways to modify exercises making them easier and harder depending how much I want to punish my own body or how hard I want to work a client. Sure, doing only bodyweight exercises all day everyday would get boring and I’d be lying if I said that’s all I do, but, as Gray mentions, all of my workouts use equipment with No Moving Parts. Kettlebells and Combat Ropes have become some of my closest friends and most mortal enemies during a workout. The kettlebell is a tool that requires much skill and practice while the ropes call for brute force and power. Combine these tools with my own 220 pound frame and I've learned to put together some fun and creative workouts.
Bodyweight exercise is functional, it increases flexibility, it increases stability, and, best of all, it is much more cost effective than exercise equipment! Since implementing this system with myself, I have prescribed a slew of these kinds of workouts to clients of all kinds ranging from 25 to 69 years old and all have seen great results and really seem to enjoy themselves. I challenge you to give it a try. Exercise in some form or fashion this weekend, at your own capacity, with no equipment. Run along the streets or through the park. Do some pushups, situps, squats, bear crawls, body drags, pullups, burpees or just throw yourself around a bit (safely of course). If you run low on ideas feel free to ask! I know I found a new appreciation for what my body can do and what I can do with my body.
Brad Holstein NASM-CPT, FMS-CP
Jayson DeLeaumount, DPT