Sunday, July 7, 2013

Movement Training Ideas

I'm all for going for a run. It's a great way to blow off steam and burn up some excess calories. It's hardly the best form of exercise for overall fitness though. To develop total fitness, you have to move your body in a wide variety of ways in addition to running. This is why I love outdoor fitness stations.
Fantastic outdoor fitness station I stumbled upon in Buenos Aires
Back in the 1970s, cities installed Parcourse outdoor exercise stations in public places. The stations had labels for how to use them and completed as a set, were designed to target all aspects of physical fitness. They fell into disrepair in many cases though and I'm not fond of many of the modern versions that have replaced them. I've encountered many great versions but most often in other countries.

You don't really need specialized outdoor fitness equipment though. While adult-sized high bars are fantastic for so many movements (pullups, muscle ups, bar rolls, skin-the-cat, toes-to-bar, etc), you can do so many cool movements with standard children's playgrounds. I often get little kids at the playground trying to mimic my movements. What better way to inspire youngsters to develop a lifelong movement habit than through personal example?

Don't overlook climbing up, balancing on, crawling around, carrying things or jumping over obstacles of opportunity in your local park or neighborhood. I love to string up a climbing rope in the park and incorporate climbing into a circuit course using a park bench, tree, steps, wall or whatever.
No outdoor fitness course nearby? Make your own.
Here's a sample workout to get you started:

  1. Run to a playground (1/4 to 1 mile)
  2. Do a couple of passes on the monkey bars
  3. Hold a handstand against a wall or tree for 30 secs
  4. Balance on each foot for 30 secs each
  5. Carry a cinder block in each arm for distance 
  6. Vault or leap a park bench x 10
  7. Duck walk for 10 yds x 3
  8. Sprint home
Experiment with other moves, duration and intensity. There are a bunch of great YouTube videos describing playground workouts or look into the MovNat sample workouts. Use your exercise time as a chance to have some fun while you get stronger and healthier.