Saturday, May 14, 2011

A New Warmup (Performed Barefoot, of Course)

In the last post I told you that I've found a warm-up to use for all my physical endeavors and that I'd write a post about it.  Here it is.

"What?" you ask!  "What is extraordinary about this warm-up?  It is very simple, kind of mundane and routine, and nothing that doesn't make sense or that one couldn't devise for one's self."

So it would appear.

In fact, in Episode 1 of this same series of videos (the one posted above is the first video in Episode 2), the video creator, Paul Zaichik, himself admits that this routine is simple and does not have the "wow" factor one might be looking for.

But I think there is something special about this routine.

For some people -- and most especially for a person like me -- a routine like this is exactly where they should start when they want to get back into movement after having gotten horribly out of condition and after bones, ligaments, joints, muscles have become stiffer, weaker, smaller and creakier through years of inactivity and disuse.

The movements that Paul Zaichik goes through in these videos are the A-B-Cs of movement.  Every skill, every physical endeavor has it's basics -- the fundamentals.  Many times in a craze and frenzy to become fit, lean and sleek -- in an eager desire to have athletic accomplishments -- people rush through the basics to get to the "good stuff."  The basics are boring, and seem unspectacular.

Yet the basics form the foundation for everything else and if there is a weak link there, injuries are ready and waiting to happen.

Recognizing the shapes and knowing the sounds all the alphabet letters make leads one to being able to make and recognize words, which then later leads to forming sentences and paragraphs, and much later to complicated written and spoken communication that eventually expresses complex and abstract concepts.

What we have here in this video is the alphabet of human movement:  joint rotation, flexing, extending, bending, rotating, stretching, etc...  Getting familiar and bringing one's self through this simple progression of movements is like a recitation of that alphabet that will set a person up for physical activity above and beyond.  It will reveal weak and troubled spots, and at the same time strengthen and correct problems.  They are functional movements that will be used in more complex situations later on.

I admire the patience of Paul Zaichik.  If you check out some of his other videos, he has a vast knowledge of how movement works, especially in the martial arts, and he himself is a master of movement, skill, power, speed.  And yet he is humble enough to sit down and patiently go through a basic movement routine to teach someone how it's done.  That's like a great literary academic sitting down to patiently teach kindergartners their ABCs.  There is something really humble and special about that.

Using this routine would be a great starting place to lead a person into more advanced physical and athletic pursuits.  I got myself involved in more advanced tasks of movement before getting myself through these basic levels of development, but it is not too late to go back and work with the A-B-Cs.  Because I love some of the more advanced stuff I'm doing, I'm not going to go completely backward by giving it all up and starting with only this routine to build from the ground up.  But I think it makes a great warm-up and adjunct to the other stuff I'm doing, and I have already experienced how much better my other workouts feel after going through this fundamental routine.

By the way, if you want to hear his in depth explanation for all the movements in the routine, you can watch through all the Episode 1 videos on the Project Elastic Steel channel.  I did, and found them very informative.

Also, this guy Paul Zaichik is very capable of also producing the wow factor, so check out some of his other videos on the more advanced stuff if you're looking to be impressed in a more conventional way.

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