You May Want to Sit Down For This

Can you do this?
Can you do this?

Maybe you are like me and have told yours, or someone else’s, small children to sit still and in a matter of seconds they are moving all over the board again!  What gives?  Why don’t my children ever listen when I ask them to do something?  It must be because they are defiant!  Or, is it their attention span?  Or, maybe, ants in the pants (that is one of my all-time favorites)?  Or, maybe – just maybe – these little bodies know more than ours … and what they know is that we are meant to move.  It could be a healthy blend of all the above reasons why children won’t sit still when asked, but I am convinced that the primary reason is that we are designed not to sit still.

At one point in my fitness career, I would proclaim that sitting is the root of all physcial evils.  It seemed too obvious for me and other like-minded fitness professionals.  With the advancement of modern technology and the artificial flavor of our environments, sitting was the logical adaptation to the changing world.  We have to sit stationary in our vehicles to get from one place to the next, we have to sit still to eat breakfast – lunch – dinner, we sit undisturbed while mowing our lawns, we sit unmoved at the computer or mobile device or watching TV … and worse yet, some invisible force is pulling our faces closer and closer to the screen only to throw off our head, neck, and shouler postions, too!  You know where I am going with this – we sit too much and its hurting our physical capacity and desire to move naturally!  But guess what?  Standing for prolonged periods of time is also detrimental to our physcial fitness levels, also!  So, is the answer a blend of the two?  Could be, but I have a more radical proposal to the situation at hand.  The answer comes from a question that my wife likes to ask, “What did the Mohicans do when … ?”

Okay, my answer did not come from this question (even though she does ask it a lot around the home when we run out of something), but I needed an excuse to get that video into today’s blog!  My idea is to get your gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus on the ground and move!  We don’t like to get on the ground because its work to get down and back up for most of us and we cannot sit still in a comfortable, relaxed position.  That, in turn, is the key to why we should sit on the ground!  My favorite sporting season is fast approaching – Green Bay Packers Season!  Somewhere during the season last year, I was sitting in our plush, comfortable chair during a game and stood up to do

Maybe our friends in the East know what they're doing!
Maybe our friends in the East know what they’re doing!

something and realized that my body feels old (and I’m only 35)!  I did that whole stretchy thing you do after sleeping and walked up the stairs feeling more like the Tin-Man rather than a fitness pro.  At this time, I was starting to question the status quo of fitness and the club-manufactured exercises that were being spoon fed to us … so I decided to take a stand during that Packer game and sit down (on the ground)!

Just imagine being on the ground (and not just sitting, but lying on your stomach, back, and sides) for the better part of three hours, with small children mind you; there is nothing close to being still, quiet, or unmoved about that situation whatsoever.  This is the whole point!  Even without the little kids, you are constantly moving from one grounded position to the next and this is so good for your physical fitness … you’re exercising without even thinking about it.  I remember back in the day when it was suggested to do some crunches, push-ups, or jumping jacks during commercial breaks.  Great idea, NOT!  I imagine the few people that did this 30 second-at-a-time fitness dreaded the commercials more than the rest of us and soon fizzled out of their commerical workouts.  Now, with my suggestion, you sit on the ground watching the Packers score again and again, move position and reach for the mobile to check your fantasy football score, then perform a half-kneeling lunge to the other side and reach for your ale … er … unsweetened iced tea, and during this whole time avoid being tackled by your six and four-year old (this year I get to look forward to a one-year old thrown into the mix) and the whole time telling them to go and sit still and be quiet!  I forgot to even mention with the iced tea, you are going to have to get off of the ground to visit the lavatory, then steal a kiss from your spouse as you grab some chips and hummus on your way back to the game!  You just got yourself a quality workout session for three hours on a Sunday!

I thought about how we got so far from the ground besides the technological age and the only thing I could come up with is because we are lazy.  Then at the point we realize that we should probably get on the ground to learn to get back up – we’re too scared.  It really is a sad thing when I ask someone to lay on the ground and you would have thought that I just told them to jump out of a plane at 12,000 feet!  This is the population that needs Fitness Lying Down the most – the ones that hesitate, or are fearful, to get on the ground.  The best part about this equation is how much more is improved physcially and neurologically by the various natural movements of either lying, or sitting, on the ground.  What I like, as well, is the carry-over Fitness Lying Down has on our beloved young at hearts in their daily life.  Learning to properly move on the ground will make more of a difference in their everyday activities than sitting on a machine and pushing forward, pulling down, or kicking out!

Now, for all of you that get your fitness through different modalities, you may be asking yourself, “Where does this Fitness Lying Down go in my workouts?”  The answer is everywhere and anywhere!  The more we elevate our core away from the ground, the more easily compensations can creep into our exercises.  For some of us, plugging theses exercises into the warm-up is efficient enough – just a good ol’ friendly reminder to the brain and body about how we are suppose to move; instead of what we had to endure for over eight hours in the office!  For another group – this in itself is a helluva workout and don’t need anymore right now!  For the majority of us, its a good seasoning to the regular exercises we like to do all ready.  If you did some of what you see in the video above right before a squat, deadlift, bench, pull-up, or run – you’d be juicing up the central nervous system and reinforcing good mobility and motor control – and your exercise of choice would benefit from it!  You can read more about it on the Fitness Lying Down Facebook page.

Just a shoulder exercise?
Just a shoulder exercise?

Think of it this way: when your computer experiences viruses, you need to properly delete and destroy such bugs and then reboot the system.  Imagine your movements as the computer and dysfunctional and asymmetrical patterns are the viruses.  Sometimes all it takes is a daily run of your anti-virus program and a quick restart of the computer and sometimes it take a whole lot more to get the viruses out of your computer to restore the original files (those being clean, functional movement patterns).  You know what happens when you allow the viruses to accumulate and grow – your computer begins running slow with lots of set backs and problems – and no one wants that!  And that is what I bring, I’m the Geek Squad for your body and movement patterns!  Holy cow!  I didn’t even mention the Functional Movement Screen – shoot, I just did!