At Mocean365, we spend much of our training time dedicated to HOW we move our bodies. We practice skillful and purposeful movement whether that means practicing bike handling skills or balance, jumping etc etc. We focus on body awareness first and foremost and maintaining that awareness whether we are climbing a tree or navigating slippery terrain in the snow and ice. This means being adaptable and NOT specialized on just one form of movement. We agree with the MovNat definition of fitness which is, “Physical competence in responding to demands placed upon you by the environment and the situation”. Which really means that the best attribute you can have in regards to moving your body would be adaptability. Having physical competence in a wide variety of situations without having to train specifically for them would in my opinion be the hallmark of a training practice.
We look at skill work and purpose in our training as a focal point, not as an aside or supplement. Granted there is a time and a place to for conditioning and physical preparation but it would ideally never be in place of skill development. You can acquire the conditioning often enough through the practice of skill development. What constitutes skill work or physical movement skills or makes one move a skill move vs. another? What does it mean to train with purpose? These are loaded questions in some ways as opinions may vary depending on the endeavor you are moving for and who you ask and what there background is.
We can look to the the world of functional movement among others for opinions on this. In the world of functional training(or at least how it began), how you move while training(and competing) is of vital importance. Much of the work of the functional training movement is dedicated to preventing injuries before they happen, the classic “pre-hab vs. rehab” credo. A pioneer in functional training(and someone I was lucky enough to learn skills through at a seminar back in the 90’s), Mike Boyle, says “functional training can be described as purposeful training” Sounds simple huh? With that in mind, you can look at this in a couple ways. What is it that I am training for and what movements best prepare me to do that well while staying as injury free as possible? And in regards to skill work, we can tailor that work to have purpose or better yet some practical context. For example, balance board work has been very beneficial in my own training as I am a practitioner of board sports like surfing and snowboarding. And practicing balance on a 2×4 with and without an external load serves me well in not only recreational settings but in my work as often use dangerous like chainsaws in very challenging terrain.
So instead of just cranking out reps and doing tons of mindless cardiovascular maybe think about how you can integrate skill and purpose into your own movement practice. There is more to a fitness program than looking at improving your ability to just push and pull and squat and lunge. Can you jump, carry, climb, crawl and do it all while maintaining postural integrity and proper breath control. Can you go to an obstacle race and actually do the obstacles or are you just “burpeeing” your way through the whole course? Can you handle your bike in a variety of terrain or are you just lungs on wheels? Can you physically exert yourself wisely, safely for a long duration in almost any situation?
Training with purpose while you develop skills..Now that is the Holy Grail! It takes time but all good things do. In the next chapter of this series, we will get into some specific ideas you can follow to integrate skill and purpose into your physical mocean practice, stay tuned!