How are you developing muscle? Of course, many of you are trying to build it for aesthetic purposes. But is it correct? If not, there may be a better way to build it. We have been practicing functional training here at the Ironcult for a long time.
In functional training, you are building strength that carries over into daily life. For example, consider sandbag training. That kind of training mimic activities that you engage in real life. You don’t believe me? Shoulder a sandbag. You will realize what I am saying is true. You will feel every muscle of your body coordinating and operating simultaneously. That’s the need of the hour, we do not need to isolate the body into individual body parts. Yes, I have seen guys pumping their arms for an entire day! Pumping their ego! Can you believe that? However, when they do this they are operating with dissociated bodies and minds. Instead, they should concentrate on movements that treat your body as a unit and so should you.
Unfortunately, we dwell in a world where appearance is everything. For instance, say you have been training at a gym for 5 long years. And assume that you have embraced functional training. In other words, aesthetics don’t matter to you. You are happy that you are strong and functionally fit: You can run fast, you can lift pretty heavy weights. But you don’t look so great. To make matters worse, a friend of yours makes a nasty comment and says, “Why don’t you have big biceps? You have been hitting the gym for a long time.” That question can hurt you. However, you need to ask yourself, “Why am I doing all this?” Is it only to build muscle and celebrate your ego?
If you are doing all this to build muscle, there is no reason to read further. However, if you believe it’s good to get better at many things then move on, my friend. Don’t try to define fitness in terms of physique. Rather define it terms of functionality. Can you hike a mountain, cycle long distances, play a game of football or hockey, practice yoga, and practice martial arts? If so you have achieved optimal fitness.
We are currently encountering a paradigm shift emerging in the fitness field. It’s called the movement culture. The recently conducted movement workshop by Avinash Kumar at Ironcult was an eye-opener. It has opened up new possibilities. In this practice, the focus is to move, play, dance, build organic, primitive, strength and try to adapt to different situations. You try to become a better version of yourself. So, strength is not the only concern. There are several other factors, which define your fitness more appropriately. However, it is difficult to adapt to a commercial gym to this culture. For the success of a commercial gym is dictated by monetary profit and the muscle mass you gain. However, muscle shouldn’t forgo strength and strength shouldn’t forgo movement. Movement should precede muscle and strength. Imagine you possess great musculature but that musculature isn’t backed by strength. Or imagine you possess great strength, but you cannot move freely. For example, maybe your strength athlete who can dead-lift 500 pounds but is unable to hang on a bar for a minute. There’s an imbalance. You should address the shortcoming and try to become a fitter person. Mentally adapting to new movements has been scientifically demonstrated to enrich the brain. Hence, you have achieved a better version of yourself.
PS: I am willing to adapt to the movement culture, as I expect that it can assist me in tackling my genetic condition. I can foresee an immense possibility to rewire my genes. For instance, the drills Avinash made us perform over the weekend challenged me like I have been never challenged before. I saw a marked improvement in my unstable gait.