Fitness and Form: Is Form Everything?

Fitness and Form: Is Form Everything?
I started my Kettlebell journey close to ten years ago. I was instructed by a certified trainer. So naturally, form was something that was definitely emphasized. Afterwards, I started to develop my own kettlebell movements and released a DVD on My Mad Methods Productions (later bought out by Onnit). Once I started putting my new stuff out there I got mixed reviews. Some people loved it and felt it was a natural evolution for kettlebell training. But, the form police came out as well! A lot of traditionalist openly criticized my movements and told me my form was bad and that I would hurt somebody.
Your form when performing any fitness exercise is always important. But what everyone should know is that form varies from instructor to instructor. Even when it comes to something like the kettlebell swing. One organization teaches one way and another organization teaches another way. So, if 5 different kettlebell organizations teach the swing differently, whose form is correct??
Is form everything? In my opinion my student’s safety is everything. It is my priority to keep my student’s injury free. Form is something that is taught and refined over a long period of time. Nobody’s form is perfect 100 % of the time. Plus, I have new students trying out my classes all the time. Do I expect them to have perfect technique in their first class? Of course not. Does that mean I should not even let them workout because their technique is not there? Hell no! When people come to your class, they are there for a workout. If you don’t give it to them, then you may have lost money there.
Some organizations brainwash their pupils to believe their technique is above and beyond everyone else’s. I read an article from a man who was master instructor from a prominent kettlebell organization. He was talking about how he was invited to teach a boot camp at a local facility. He went on about how he didn’t like the boot camp because it wasn’t enough time to correct everyone’s form. He also said he could never do boot camps if it meant that form would have to be sacrificed. I thought to myself, man this guy obviously doesn’t have students. Lol So, I did a little digging. I checked out his Instagram account. Just as I thought, Mr. Master Kettlebell instructor had a few videos of himself in a garage doing the most basic and boring workouts ever. SMH! Just because someone is certified doesn’t automatically mean they are capable of teaching. To be an instructor, one must be flexible and be able to adapt.
Keep in mind these are the same guys that heckle me and tell me my form is imperfect. Yet, I make a living from teaching. How ironic! Lol I will also tell you, from my experience, the people that always critique and heckle are the ones training in their garage or living room. The arm chair experts.
If you ever want to make a living by being a trainer, you must be patient and give your client what they came there for. If they came for a workout, then that’s what you need to give them. If you spend an hour just correcting technique and they don’t break a sweat, don’t expect them to come back.
I believe one of the reasons people are so concerned with technique is that they believe it leads to injury. In all of the years I have been teaching, I have come to the conclusion that improper warm up is the number one reason people get injured. Once your body is thoroughly warm, it can sustain most strenuous workouts as well as different sporting activities. Take Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for instance. During the course of a BJJ fight, almost every position you’re in is a mechanical disadvantage. You are constantly lifting, pushing and pulling from awkward positions. Do you think we stop and say, “let me shoot that double leg again, my form was a little off?” lol In fact, I have trained a ton of BJJ fighters over the years. A large portion of them have back problems. After I warm them up, most of them are like, man, we don’t even really warm up, we just train hard.
So, is form everything? I believe warming up and my client’s needs are everything. Form should always be emphasized. But a trainer has to be patient and realize that form is something that comes with time.

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Is your Fitness Functional?

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Is Your Fitness Functional?
Functional fitness has got to be the biggest buzz word in the fitness industry today. If you google “functional fitness”, the definition according to Wikipedia is, “functional. training is a classification of exercise which involves training the body for the activities performed in daily life. For me that definition sums it up clearly. Yet, those two words have taken on an entirely different meaning.
The fitness industry is just like any other industry. There is always a trend. Even in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Competitions there are trends. One minute everyone was playing deep half guard, then it was berimbolo etc… So we are now in the era of functional training! The problem is, everyone is tagging functional to marketing campaigns and what not. It has taken on a different meaning.
I feel that people think that if you are doing a compound exercise that it is functional. I don’t agree entirely. I see some people doing the most outlandish stuff ever on Instagram. Then they say how functional it is. I’m thinking, functional for what exactly?? Maybe he thinks because he was working multiple simultaneously that its functional?
Functional for me is mimicking movements you do in everyday life. We walk, squat, lunge, reach, bend over, pic things up, get out of bed, pic up babies, carry babies around etc… But, if you are like me, I train and teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu every day. So, my functional training is a bit different than most people. That is why I developed Kettle-Jitsu.

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Functional for me is also teaching your muscles to work together harmoniously. We achieve that in my boot camps with certain exercises that are staples of my curriculum. In almost every class I teach, I include different variations of dead cleans, squats, lunges, presses, rows and dead lifts. I believe those exercises are amongst the most functional for regular everyday people and combat athletes. Functional exercises for combat athletes are, rocking chair, snake move, deck squats, combat cleans, swings, Turkish Get ups, and high pulls etc…
I believe functional also boils down to the piece of equipment you use. I feel that your body, barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells are the most functional tools you can use. With those tools you can comfortable, clean, squat, press, lunge, and hinge. If you cannot comfortably do that with something, then for me it’s not that functional. But just because it’s not functional doesn’t mean it’s useless.
Let’s use the Macebell for example. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a long metal pole with a ball attached to it. You can perform compound movements with it. But do they actually mimic anything you do in everyday life? We do not even hold things in our hands in everyday life in the same manner necessary to use a Macebell.
So, if you are truly looking for functional workouts, take a deeper look into the movements. Ask yourself, does this mimic anything that I do every day?

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