Akin to the dietary advice that does not see mans present day problems steeped more in lifestyle than dietary choices, the exercise industry is not answering the call of health concerns. While the public grapples with soaring obesity rates, with the health and fitness industry suggesting any number of quick fixes, it fails to see it is a matter of lifestyle.
Though it is impossible to pin-down the precise date, somewhere in the 1960’s, when the modern exercise world that in-fact still bore a resemblance of the physical culture movement of the 19th century, it lost its connection to true needs of the public and became more a purveyor or gadgets and grandiose notions.
Long removed from a walk in the park, a cross-country ski session through the snow or any number of activities, society was convinced to drive to the gym to walk on a treadmill, to stay locked in their homes, walking nowhere while gazing wondrously at a television. The perversity of the modern exercise world is so extraordinary yet with generations accustomed to such bizarre notions, the obvious is no longer obvious.
While I this goes well beyond aspects of a short, staccato commentary, life is meant to be lived. Fitness, however you personally choose to define that, needs to have a more organic flavour to it, where it improves the quality of your life in all facets. For upwards of fifty years this basic tenet has all too often forgotten and the public, with the world teeming of activity, stands by the window, walking on a treadmill as life goes by.
Once we understand the near vast difference from much of the exercise culture to the embodiment of the “enhancing life” a broad spectrum opens up where we are not engaging in activities, dare I say having fun. The notion of exercise as drudgery is erased and instead activities for any number of age groups and interest levels develop, each with an organic connection to the notion, “life is meant to be lived”.
Some groups already understand this implicitly and whether you are with mountain climbers, martial artists, Surfers, ballroom dancers or any number of actives there is a commonalty of enhancing their lives through activities. Each has its own particular flavour and while it may not be for everyone, the notion of being active and having fun needs to be a focal point of the exercise world’s future.
With this notion serving as the underlying theme, “exercise” can return to its roots that are more “simple”. I contend that while the public, heavily influenced by marketing, overcomplicates matters of exercise and diet. Simplicity is the key but in an era where the public rushes out to use gleaming chrome machines, the basic ability to maintain posture while under duress is often missing.
This occurs in any number of situations from athlete’s seeking the missing link to advanced training, yet unable to stand on one foot, or for that matter not realizing a key weakness in their feet, to training regimes sorely lacking range of motion.
The examples are countless but as a case in point in speaking with noted MMA coach and Law Enforcement expert Danny Dring as well as Charles Lavallée on concerns of those of the “thin blue line”, it is easy to see how the best-laid plans are overturned. Within this sector, the individual must deal with long exhausting work shifts that could very likely be without incident for extended stretches before a flash of adrenaline in dealing with a dangerous situation. How their physical and mental preparation for this will have enormous impact on their job performance and the ultimate test of Law Enforcement training, survivability.
Yet the question that many in the LE community as well as the entire exercise culture have is their training truly beneficial to their goals? Frequently the answer is that their efforts would have been better suited towards a “simple” approach that is not-only more straightforward but will satisfy the goal of maintain posture while under duress. Once again, the examples are endless but while questions often prevail over say, Bench Press technique and protocols, the rather common ability of performing one-hundred push-ups is a rare commodity.
“Simplicity” is often the answer to many exercise related questions and within this idea of push-ups, this basic ability should be at foundation of training. While the push-up is often maligned as out-dated, athletes or everyday exercise enthusiasts should be able to master this basic movement long before intense questions on Bench Press protocols. In addition to the classic “50-50” (fifty push-ups, fifty sit-ups immediately after rising in the morning), I utilize a common approach within a training session the build work threshold. Repeating every six minutes, the individual performs a series of push-ups, set at fifty percent the maximal volume. Hands placement should vary, along with fisted push-ups in the right environment but at all times the speed of the repetition should be as fast as possible with perfect form. Through this highly “simple” approach, the individual will build work threshold, upper body power, naturally “relative” strength and more importantly understand, what you do today, is a little easier tomorrow.
Inside the Diamond Mine is a regular column prepared by John Davies for USP Labs that will contain secret tips on how to gain the most from your training as well as answering issues direct from our readers.