Note: this post was supposed to be about climbing and how it relates to being capable but I went off track a bit, but I think the message is one worth reading so I left it as is.
Skills. When we talk about training we are always talking about skills. What does your training allow you to do? Can you handle obstacles and physical challenges? Aside from building the raw physical capabilities what are you teaching yourself to do. When last did you climb something? For most people the answer is “a very long time ago” What if for some random twist of fate you had to climb something now how would you fare? When we go to gym we get stronger and fitter and those things do a lot to help us get through tasks, but we don’t necessarily build efficiency in those fundamental movement skills. I’m not discounting training to be stronger. I’m not saying stop lifting heavy things and start climbing things and take up dance. Actually if you had to do only one thing I would say lift weights. Being strong is never a weakness.
Lift heavy + walk + do new, varied and challenging things (live an active life) = becoming more capable
Let’s look at pull ups. A pull up is an element of climbing, it is a transitional movement. A movement that gets you to the next one. We have made it into an end unto itself and it’s not a bad end really. Being able to do lots of pull ups is not a bad thing. If you can do more than 10 pull ups you are generally not in a shit condition physically? It is a great test of, and way to build upper body pulling strength. Being good at pull ups wont necessarily make you good at climbing though. Especially a lot of the pull ups that you see in the gym these days.
The specific skill does not necessarily develop the larger skillset. It does not develop the greater full body coordination required to climb things. What do we climb these days though? Nothing really for most of us, but if you’ve ever gone on a hike there might be some sections where you need to scramble up. That is a form of climbing. You might need to get over an obstacle or whatever. Like I’ve said previously Capability opens doors and allows you to experience more. Earlier in the post I said strength is never a weakness. Capability is never a weakness.
What does this all mean?
Training isn’t the end it is the means to an end. For the everyday person who wants to be capable and who is not striving to be excellent at one specific thing. Training must build ability… lots of it!
Does it change what we do in the gym?
No, unless you have been doing some useless shit in the gym. If you do the basics; squat, press, pull hinge you are good. If you have carry and transition movements in your training even better.
Does it change why we do things?
If your overall focus has always been to be capable then NO. If you got lost in the minutia of size, aesthetics, your max bench and squat then yes. Don’t get lost in the small stuff and lose sight of the bigger picture.
Does it change how we do things?
Yes, for the most part this is the biggest change in training. It becomes more than just moving weight for sets and reps. It is about how we move those weights. Building efficiency and integrity in movements. Resiliency in joints and adding weight to the bar is secondary to those things. It’s not about how much you squat it is about how well you squat how much you squat.
How to implement movement training?
· When you train, the aim is to move better
· Improve and maintain your mobility
· Get stronger through the basic movement patterns and lifts
· Play; get outside, try new things, games, activities. Challenge your body and your mind. DO MORE
We didn’t go to school to get good at going to school, we went to school to learn things so that we can do things with our life. The same applies to gym. We don’t go to gym to be good at gym. We should go to gym for what it can give us outside of gym. Better movement, strength, endurance, a more resilient body, a stronger mind.