When it comes to functional movement, which one is better: isolation of a certain group of muscles or the whole body moving in a synergistic fashion? It is relatively obvious that when you train the body to synergistically move as one solid and functional unit you would be creating a foundation for it to move as functionally and optimally as possible. We could actually train the body to have such a foundation with workouts similar to the full body kettlebell workout shown above.
Before we start getting into the actual workout, however, let’s attempt to further this thought by taking a venture back in time when humans had to really worry about a certain concept known as ‘the survival of the fittest.’ The survival of the fittest, as I am sure most of you know, is an evolutionary idea given credit to a guy by the name of Charles Darwin who traveled to some distant islands during the nineteenth century and hypothesized that the more fit a specimen is, the more likely it will be able to survive and pass on its genes. Likewise, those specimens who were not as fit would inherently die and not be able to pass on their genes. Therefore, there would always be a constant improvement of the given species as the good genes would pass on and the bad genes would die off.
After considering this idea, who do you think would have the best chance of surviving the longest provided that they are both on the same stranded, predator infested island and they are equal in all other categories: a modern-day bodybuilder or someone who trained their body to move as functionally and optimally as possible?
If you were to ask me, I would more than likely put my money on the individual who has trained their body to move synergistically.
I understand that if you are reading this article right now, you are probably no longer in a position where you have to really worry about the survival of the fittest concept. I’m not trying to tell you that bodybuilding is bad and that you should not do it. Quite frankly, we are all different, and we all have different desires and overall goals. If you desire to be a bodybuilder who trains in a way that involves isolating certain areas for the purpose of sculpting the body the way that you want, then by all means, do it.
However, if you are wishing for functional movement, the ability to complete any activities of daily living that come your way, and live as a healthy individual, then I hope that I am providing you a gateway to do just that.
The full body kettlebell workout shown in the video above goes through six primal movement patterns that are essential to our ability to move in the most functional and optimal of ways.
These six movements include:
- Moving the Feet in a Rapid Manner
Make It Your Own
The great thing about workouts is that you can always adapt the workout to fit what your goals and needs are.
If your goals correlate to cardio and physical appearance, then keep the workout how it is, using 20 reps for each exercise and a relatively lighter weight.
If you desire to be more powerful or increase your brute strength, then lower the amount of reps for each exercise and increase the amount of weight that you use.
If you desire to be more explosive, you could always add in a certain explosive quality to each exercise. For example, when you are doing the lunge exercise you could finish the lunge movement by jumping, rather than just stepping, back into your starting position.
I hope you are starting to see what I mean, when I say that you can alter your workout to fit your individual needs.
I’m not here to tell you how to train. We are all different and we all have different desires and overall goals, so there really is no common way to train for everybody. All I am trying to do is present you with some ideas that you can incorporate into your training which can hopefully help you reach your goals. If you wish to isolate certain muscles and you wish to have that bodybuilder physique, by all means, do whatever your heart desires—hit those machines and isolate the hell out of your body. If you desire to move in a functional and optimal way, then start treating your body as a single unit working in a synergistic way. The full body kettlebell workout is a great workout to do just that.
Greg Pearson is an exercise science major at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania with minors in biology and coaching. He is also a lifelong athlete – involved in the sports of basketball, baseball, football, track & field and volleyball growing up. Competed at Shippensburg University in the shot put, discus, and hammer events as a Division II Track & Field athlete. You can contact Greg via e-mail: [email protected] or his linkedin profile.