Move Like a Human: Why You Shouldn’t Exercise – Parkour Generations

Movement is more than the sum of its parts. Reduce your patterns to linear, closed chains and guess what – that’s all you’ll ever be able to handle.

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Stop exercising and start moving.


You’re exercising like a machine – and it’s not giving you the results you want.


If you’re doing exercises on gym machines taught to you by trainers, you’re accepting the limitations that others are placing on your potential fitness.


Repetitive, linear, core-stabilized, mid-range isolation moves will never give you results you want to see in the mirror.  The reason is clear: standard exercise deconstructs natural human movement into what this author calls “linear, closed chains” resulting in athletes with specifically strengthened tissues sitting next to underdeveloped tissues.


According to Laird Hamilton, “When you sit down on an exercise machine, with your back against a chair, you tend to shut down the rest of your body.”


Think about it – you go to the gym and strap yourself into a chair complete with armrests, leg rests, and handles – are you working out or watching a movie?  Stabilizing your body in this way and then building disproportionate strength in one set of muscle fibers while all the others become progressively weaker in a relative sense is diminishing your ability to move the way your body evolved to move.


Exercise is not movement, at least the exercises taught in the modern gym aren’t.  They are small, highly mechanized snapshots of moments – only the tiniest slices of the 4-dimensional time-space continuum in which we move – the slices that can be easily built into machines and marketed to gyms and health clubs.  They limit your understanding of movement and reduce your potential to that very narrow slice.


You will never gain agility from a leg-press machine, but try just one of these squats.  You will never see the kind of shoulder definition from a overhead press machine that you can get from this one move.  These are examples of holistic movements that combine different types of muscle contraction (concentric, eccentric, isometric) with multi-dimensional (sweeping curvilinear arcs and twists) movement.  Use the outdoor environment and find movement challenges that are “quirky, technically challenging, and require the body to think”.  Train outdoors on structures that weren’t designed for that purpose and the resulting micro-variations will build the kind of strength, agility, and muscle definition you will never find at the gym.



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