Okay enough of that silly foolishness let's get down to the serious foolishness (see what I did there ; D).
About 8 months ago during one of my epic late night study sessions for an impending test I came across Ido Portal's channel on youtube while waiting for the next match of Call of Duty Ghost to get going (yes my study sessions involve frequent intermittent breaks of video gaming, fitness blog perusing, and youtube vegetating, but hey don't judge me everyone has their own style!). And I was completely mesmerized and blown away by how Mr. Portal moves and transitions between a various number of different positions.
Coming from an athletic background I have seen my fair share of great athletes who were extremely good movers, but the way Ido flowed in and out of each movement with such grace and ease was really something amazing to watch.
Flash forward a couple hours later and several dozen videos later I found myself stumbling upon Dewey Nielson's youtube channel which also had number of similar flow videos on it in addition to some great locomotion examples.
Needless to say that evening I was opened up to a whole new concept of moving and training that I hadn't previously considered or thought a whole lot about and while I personally couldn't see me or my clients doing such what I would call far out their drills I felt that it was definitely something I could integrate into my and their training.
My number one idea for application of such movement was as part of the activation, mobilization, and movement prep (I use the abbreviation AMMP for this part of the training session, so when I say get AMMP'd I really do mean it) of the training session either as a replacement or enhancement for the stereotypical dynamic warm-up.
You see I have always kind of had a beef with dynamic warm-ups (you wanna fight about it!? Family Guy anybody?) because they often times involve so many exercises that they can be quite difficult to teach all at once and quite frustrating for a client to remember. Nothing sucks worse than having a client text you that they aren't the gym and can't remember a single exercise on the program sheet.
I also have also felt that traditional dynamic warm-ups are still the only part of training that are still composed of isolation exercises that feel disconnected and disconcerted (kind of like the Obama Administration ; D).
But after watching some of Ido and Dewey's youtube videos I felt that similar drills involving a flowing transition from one position to another would make great ways for someone to warm-up for a training session.
I also came up with the idea of trying to create these flow drills using traditional dynamic warm-up exercises all sequenced together into one drill so that a new client or trainee would be able to first master the basic exercises and eventually progress to linking them all together into one big flowing warm-up.
All sounds like a good idea, right? Yeah it did to me too until I actually got on to the mats and started experimenting on myself with such movements.
I quickly came to realize that the old adage "it looks easier than it is" was specifically referring to such drills. I am not kidding you either that shit is hard!
The proficiency and precision it takes to go from a standing position to a standing position while changing levels and patterns in a graceful manner is extremely difficult. Especially if you are like me and played linebacker for most of your football career and if asked to do so would have to equate your level of gracefulness to that of a bull in a china shop.
But with some time, effort, and creativity I eventually started to actually improve my ability to move and "flow". The more I did the more I enjoyed it. It gave me back a since of athleticism I had been missing for a couple years since giving up competitive sports.
And over the past few months I have come up with a number of flow drills for warming up that incorporate traditional warm-up exercises into a sequential order.
You may not be convinced as I am that this is a better way of going about warming up and I wouldn't say your wrong to have your reservations as I still do have some of my own, but let me share with you some of the reasons really quick why I am becoming more and more of a fan of flow drills replacing the traditional dynamic warm-up.
1. Integrating the body to move and work as one as it was built to do. This same argument has been made time and time again for the reason why we should use large complex movements in our strength training and conditioning.
2. Mobilizing in positions similar to those going to be exposed to load and trained on a regular basis. Moving joints through their full range of motion while in positions that will be trained and exposed to load later on will give the greatest benefit and transfer to training.
3. It kills two birds with one stone. You mobilize the tissues and also raise the body temperature significantly at the same time. Trust me after going through a flow drill several times you will be sweating.
4. Flow drills allow for greater efficiency which is something that I am always striving for in programming. The purpose is to give the best results with minimal time of investment and flow drills allow us to do all the same things one would do in a traditional dynamic warm-up, but save time because all the movements flow into each other.
So if I have convinced you that flow drills are pretty freaking sweet the next question you are probably asking yourself is "then why isn't everyone doing them?"
The answer to this question I think has two parts.
First I think people are leery of exercise and training to begin with even just basic exercises and movements so asking them to get down on the floor roll around and move freely is kind of a big stretch for most. This is one of the biggest reasons I have yet to really introduce it to a lot of my own clients is because I just don't think some of them will go for it. Which isn't anything negative on their part it is just human nature to be leery of new and different things. I mean the human race wouldn't have survived long if we had gorged ourselves on every new plant we came across or tried to give hugs to each cute and cuddly creature we encountered.
Second most people just aren't mobile or athletic enough to jump straight into such warm-ups so a traditional approach to warming up is more practical, safer, and easier to teach. But once someone progresses to be quite a proficient mover they should be progressed from that traditional warm-up to a more integrated and sequenced warm-up approach.
Regardless of these two obstacles my purpose is to try and progress my approach to training by adding new techniques and strategies that all answer the three most important questions with a big fat yes. These three questions being: is it practical, is it purposeful, and is it effective.
And in my opinion dynamic warm-ups that flow together in an integrated, sequenced, and repeatable pattern do.
How To Perform The Flow Hip Mobility Standing to Standing
Shit, I don't think this one can be explained in a numbered procedure so just watch the video and try imitating my movements. If you have questions though after watching don't hesitate to post them in the comments below.
Don't forget to get over that "hump" today! =D
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training