I have had these two words stuck in my head for a while now as they have strongly affected a lot of my decision making in the gym. In my eyes I look at the concept of movement mindfulness as being one of the most effective however rarely talked about components of exercise selection and execution. The two words hit me like a bolt of lighting one day while taking part in a yoga class. Coincidentally one of the more mindful movement experiences that I have encountered. While I am not a full time yoga enthusiast by any means the concept of it completely re-shifted my thinking when it comes to what I prescribe. More importantly how I prescribe exercise. There are numerous methodologies of exercise and numerous proven methods of these methodologies at our disposal to get where we want to be. Numerous answers for numerous ambitions, however I have seen it enough to know that over prescription combined with a lack of pure direction is not a long term path to reaching your desired outcome whatever that outcome may be.
I had mentioned in one of my earlier posts about stillpower being indispensable when pursuing an optimal level of fitness. Mindful movement to me is no different as the ability to acquire kinetic control over your body is gold in my eyes. While I used to worry about rest length, sets, reps, and tempo, it has been the ability to instruct people to develop a relationship between their brain, nervous system, and body that I now take a lot of pride in. Everything mentioned above has its place but in my eyes it is how it is executed is where training transitions from science to art. Of course a deadlift 3 rep range is meant to develop strength. However where I have the most fun and coincidentally see the most benefit is what you can do to make the most of that deadlift. The ability to feel the relationship between the soles of your feet and the floor. The ability to feel your mid back light up by feeling the bar with your hands. The ability to see a client nod their head knowing that they are feeling what is meant to be felt before they get the bar off the ground. That to me is where exercise becomes addictive. To me this is where exercise goes from a mindless chore to an endless pursuit for perfection. The idea that you are re-establishing a connection with your body that for a lot of people did not know existed.
I was kicking back this past Wednesday before a flight and had to watch a classic golf flick Tin Cup and it really occurred to me how alike lifting weights/yoga/pilates really are similar to the pursuit of golf perfection. If you go into each with a grip it rip it mentality it is just a golf swing. Likewise with the deadlift as it is picking the bar off the ground with a straight back and putting it back down with some control. However it really does become a fixation, and a long term one at that. I'll end it with the line from Mr. Roy ''Tin Cup'' McAvoy that made me want to put this on paper as well as make me understand why I spend so much time in the gym and so little on the golf course.
''The critical opening phrase of this poem will always be the grip. Which the hands unite to form a single unit by the simple overlap of the little finger. Lowly and slowly the club head is led back. Pulled into position not by the hands, but by the body which turns away from the target shifting weight to the right side without shifting balance. Tempo is everything; perfection unobtainable as the body coils down. There's a slight hesitation. A nod to the gods."
Move Improve...... Mindfully,
PS. I am currently in Kansas City Missouri taking in arguably one of the best kept secrets in the fitness industry and that is The Fitness Summit. For any fitness pros who may be reading this I highly suggest you check this out. Honorable mention to Kansas City as well for being one of the most pleasant surprises I have encountered when it comes to the travel schedule.