Work Out for Fitness
It might be great to say you can bench press 400 pounds, but what if you can't use that strength to carry an injured friend away from danger? That mom
who can swim laps around everyone at the pool? What will she do when she needs to dive to the bottom to save a child? And the weekend warrior who loves
to frequent the paint ball range? He needs to work on his agility during the week to make his weekend game tops. This is where real world workouts come into play.
In the early 2000's it became clear to many trainers that the current gym culture of just running a treadmill and working a circuit on the machines
wasn't cutting it for their clients. Thus began the re-birth of the real world workout. Since then, it has become more and more popular for trainers to
talk about the goals clients have for themselves beyond just their weight on a bench press. Trainers are asking what people want to actually do with
that strength and then are creating functional workouts to help them achieve that goal. This is being done with all types of clients - fire fighters,
stay at home moms, and weekend warriors alike.
This really was a re-birth of real world workouts. It wasn't a new idea to focus on functional movements over using machines or to emphasize total
fitness over bodybuilding. We can trace this type of workout all the way back to the beginning of civilization. When men and women lived in the jungle,
they lived in such a way that they didn't even think of their life in terms of fitness. It just came to them naturally, hence the reason it is called a
"real world workout."
Since we don't live in the jungle anymore, you may be asking, what does a real world workout look like today? Drawing heavily on the training
philosophies found in physical and occupational therapy, a real world workout looks at your practical goal and tries to help you accomplish it.
The classic example from therapy is of a patient who needs to be able to lift 50 pound boxes in order to go back to work. It will do him no good to be
able to lift a 50 pound weight though. The movement and muscles required to lift a weight and a box are completely different. So a real world workout
might involve lifting an object bulkier than a weight (such as a sand bag) and rotating your core to load it onto a flat surface.
Go back to the fire fighter mentioned above; if he wants to quickly carry an injured man out of a burning building, doing a bunch of cable rows is not
going to get him there. He needs to complete a workout that mimics his goal. Instead of working the machines at the gym, he should increase his
explosive power by throwing a medicine ball or tossing tires across the gym floor.
This approach really focuses more on total fitness. When you do that, you get better results faster. And your workout is infinitely more interesting
than just following the retired folks around the machines.