The importance of floor movement

There have been a few pieces flying around the interwebz in the last few months about the importance of floor living.

My kids live on the floor, they are up and down off of it and crawling around constantly. Something happens as we get older – we stop playing, worry about being ‘dirty’ and start to avoid being on the floor, and pretty soon it becomes difficult. This is wrong, we shouldn’t abandon moving around the floor just because we are ‘grown up’.

Most of what I’ve seen written recently has focused on the basics of sitting on the floor, getting up and down and crawling – which are fundamental. It can also be taken a bit further and be much more fun.

Where to start?

Start at the start. Ask yourself – when was the last time you sat on the floor for a decent amount of time?

Dan John made a great suggestion in a recent post: “Watch all the television you want, but you must be on the floor sitting when you do.”

Then practice getting up and down off the floor any way you can. Think about how you are moving and try to make it as easy as possible.

  • One way to do this is practice Turkish Get Ups without weight.
  • Roll on the floor and try some basic crawls – I highly recommend you check out Becoming Bulletproof for more on this.

Once you become more comfortable on the floor you can add variety into the ways you get up and down off of the floor, try different crawls and maybe start to add weight to the movements.

This article on the MovNat site has some excellent examples of how to do this.

And then…

Then take it beyond the fundamental and useful. Get playful and add additional complexity to how you move. Doing so will also bring additional confidence in your ability for floor-based movement.

I’ve mentioned Ido Portal’s floreio work and the book Capoeira Conditioning before and both are excellent examples of how to take this stuff further.

It’s also worth looking into basic tumbling – forward and backward rolls, plus cartwheels. Tumbling Drills is a great resource.

I put some of the basic stuff into my warmups and do more complex movements on my ‘medium‘ days. I think this kind of movement can really help people stay healthy as they age – the more comfortable you are moving around the floor the less you will fear being or falling onto it.

Give it a go – you’ll learn a lot about your body and have a loads of fun.

Here’s Ido Portal showing where you can take this stuff

Keeping training productive on little sleep

I’m still finding my way with my current exercise schedule. As I mentioned in my last training post, sleep is quite bad at the moment. It is getting better but day-to-day I’m still dealing with a pretty hefty sleep deficit.

This means that exercise sessions of around an hour feel hard to recover from. 45 minutes is ok sometimes, but it really depends on what I have been doing. I’ve been trying to find a way to arrange everything so that I feel like I’m being productive and am doing something most days, but not leaving myself exhausted in the process.

Luckily Tom Furman recently posted a programme he calls the Isaac Hayes template which gives a great solution. It breaks the days up into a cycle of hard, medium and easy, with a short session each day.

I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now, running through the cycle twice in a week from Sunday-Friday with a rest on Saturdays.

It’s been working well. The sessions are easy to recover from and sticking with the principles of hard, medium, easy has stopped me worrying about fitting everything into this training session and this week. Instead:

  • Two days a week I work on strength
  • Two days I improve movement and plug any gaps
  • Two days a week I do something restorative
  • And one day I rest and play

As mentioned in Tom’s post: you will not become super-advanced in anything training this way, but instead:

“It’s training for life. You avoid boredom, don’t get overtrained and maintain balance. This truly encompasses the idea of being process oriented vs goal oriented. Show up and do it. The more you show up, amazingly, the better you get. The intensity is built on a base of consistency.

Consistency I can do, it’s the per-session intensity/volume I’m struggling with. So I’ll just show up on a regular basis and see where it takes me.

Here’s how I group everything together. All sessions are done in around 30mins. I will change exercises every 3-4 weeks, but may be a bit more random with the medium days.

Heavy – either 3-5 reps very-hard, or 6-10 reps fairly-hard

  • Gymnastic rings/Muscle ups
  • Dips
  • Push up varieties
  • Chin up varieties
  • Headstand push ups
  • Rope climbing
  • Gymnastic static holds
  • Pistols
  • Natural leg curls
  • Heavy KB swings

Medium – multiple planes of motion, mobility

  • KB timed sets (lighter weights)
  • Powerclub swinging
  • Florieo/capoeira conditioning
  • Prasara yoga
  • Handstands
  • Bridging
  • Postural stuff with bands – pull aparts, good mornings
  • Kettlebell farmers walks
  • Extra ab work

Light – aerobic, stretching

  • Easy running
  • Crawls
  • Light yoga
  • Stretching

Designed to Move: a great initiative from Nike

Nike has launched a fantastic website called Designed to Move. The content is based on a report produced by Nike and over 70 partner organisations that aims to better understand the underlying issues related to physical inactivity and help consolidate the facts and findings on the topic.

The aim of the campaign is to reverse the current trend of inactivity in children by taking two actions:

  • Create early positive experiences for children
  • Integrate physical activity into everyday life

I think it’s a great initiative. As a dad I take this stuff seriously, and I think it should be a priority for all other parents too. The health and financial costs of doing nothing are unacceptable.

This is taken from the site (emphasis mine):

“Just a few generations ago, physical activity was an integral part of daily life. In the name of progress, we’ve now chipped away at it so thoroughly that physical inactivity actually seems normal.

In less than two generations, physical activity has dropped by 20% in the U.K. and 32% in the U.S. In China, the drop is 45% in less than one generation. Vehicles, machines and technology now do our moving for us. What we do in our leisure time doesn’t come close to making up for what we’ve lost.

“Today’s 10 year olds are the first generation expected to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.”

That is a scary statistic, granted it is for the US but the trend is global.

Give the site a look. There are loads of resources including the full report and also an infographic that summarises the finding – click the image below to see the whole thing.

DTM_Infographic1

Infographic image ©Nike, Inc. (2012) DESIGNED TO MOVE: A Physical Activity Action Agenda.™

The joy of juggling

My most recent hobby-project is juggling. I have been meaning to learn for a while as it looked like good fun, and it turns out it is.

I finally got round to buying some balls a couple of months ago and have just about got the hang of a three ball cascade, which is the basic three ball juggle. My current record is 62 throws in a row.

I’m going to get a couple more balls and some clubs to start working on some more difficult tricks, and also so there are spares for the girls to play with. They have a great time with them too, but now I’m consistently using all three balls they feel a bit left out.

I love it – it’s pure purposeless play, and that is a very good thing.

Current training – March 2013

The most notable change this month is that I’m taking a break from judo. Both my girls’ sleep is particularly bad at the moment, between them they are up at 1-3 times every night and it’s starting to take its toll. By the time I’m supposed to leave for judo training on a Friday night I’m pretty much ready for bed so rather than go anyway, not be 100% on the mat and be extra exhausted the next day (part of the oh so previous weekend!), I’m going to stay away for a few weeks until things settle down. I’ll train at home on Fridays instead, but can manage the time, volume etc much better there.

Other than that it’s all roughly the same. I’m now using the 20kg kettlebell for jerks which actually feels easier than the 16kg as the extra weight helps me keep my arm relaxed and get more drive from my legs.

I’ve also switched snatches for long cycle jerks. The progress I had with my snatch technique last month disappeared so rather than bang my head against a wall I’m switching to a lift I know I can do. I’m not training to compete in kettlebell lifting so the lifts are largely irrelevant. The point is just to lift the weight many times without putting it down.

The gymnastic ring work is still treating me well so I’ll stick at it for a while longer. I’m adjusting the volume and intensity depending on what stage of the jerk progression I’m at.

Sunday

  • A1: 20kg turkish get up – 1R/1L x 2
  • B1: OALCCJ 16kg jerk edt up to 10mins @ 8rpm
  • C1: Tuck back lever – 20, 30 sec
  • 360 Pulls – 1-3 x 2

Monday

  • A1: Squats
  • B1: Handstand practice
  • C1:Straddle L (bent leg, low)
  • C2: Rope climb

Wednesday

  • A1: 20kg turkish get up – 1R/1L x 2
  • B1: OAJ 20kg edt up to 10mins @ 6rpm
  • C1: Muscle up/ring routine
  • D1: 28kg KB swing

Thursday – run

Friday

  • A1: Squats
  • B1: Handstand practice
  • C1:Straddle L (bent leg, low)
  • C2: Pike press HeS