Random movements and dealing with the reality of the world
Updated: Jul 28
When we talk about ‘doing exercise’ or ‘getting stronger’ most of us will automatically assume an image of a gym, maybe a fitness room, racks of weights or of sweaty blokes preening in front of mirrors. Maybe you think of a yoga studio, or a taichi class, or a pilates class.
So what is the purpose of the gym? These are specific spaces designed for a specific set of exercises to either increase cardiovascular fitness or to increase strength. They are body change spaces and mostly involve exercises that don’t have a real bearing on the reality of living. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy going to the gym. I like the slightly grimy, well worn-in gym that smells a bit of sweat and hard work. I don’t like the shiny ones with sparkling equipment and smelling of air freshener.
But the big challenge with gyms is that the exercises you do there pattern your body into a narrow range of strength and experience. If you are going to do a squat with your legs shoulder width apart, knees pointing forward, then that is the position that exercise will develop strength in. If for some reason you need to turn your leg out and bend it to the same degree, you aren’t going to have the strength to call on from your squat exercises. There will be some transfer, but the reality is that you haven’t patterned your squatting in that direction and therefore you might be surprised to find yourself in a compromising position.
What we do in the Renaissance programme is focus on trying to do our exercises in as many different positions as possible. We don’t live our life in one configuration of bending our joints and moving, we live our life experiencing multiple variations of joint movement, or turning our body, of lifting our arms. So we therefore need to do our movement exercises in as many ways as we possibly can.
In one exercise, the first shapes exercise for example, over the course of 5 minutes you might create 80 different shapes, all with different arm, back and leg positions in terms of joints, weight spread and rotation. And as you go through a session, you will create more and more different positions, even different by small amounts is good. By the end of the session you will have created hundreds of positions, and put your body through an experience of moving, increasing range of movement and increasing strength and the experience of balancing that is directly relatable to living.
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