Does the title of this blog leave a bad taste in your mouth? Are you thinking about military-style sit-ups, jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, pull ups, and more? Maybe you are taken back to a time in school when this was part of the curriculum for P.E. and you didn’t fare so well. Rest assured, I am not writing this to bring back feelings of failure, bad thoughts about exercise, or any negative fitness experiences – period. In all actuality, I want you to know this word, calisthenic, should be a part of your exercise life and that life of yours lived outside of the gym.
I enjoy learning about languages and discovering how most of our English words have their origin in either Greek or Latin – the classical languages. Random, Fitness Lying Down guy, random. What does that have to do with fitness, calisthenics, or anything at all? Well, I want people to have a radical view on (what I have dubbed) pop-culture fitness and get back to the reason why we need to exercise, not just why we should. Radical, by the way, has its origin from the Latin word – radix – meaning root. So, we are going to be radical by getting to the root of calisthenic.
We say calisthenic, Greeks say Kalos Sthenos. Kalos is translated into “beautiful” and Sthenos “strength.” Have you ever thought of the old-school calisthenics translating into beautiful strength? Do your present-day exercises equip you to be beautifully strong? What is beautiful strength? I like to say that beautiful strength is achieved when someone masters a certain skill and makes it look easy; it is not measured by how much weight you can lift, but how gracefully you lift it. Think about how a master of the martial arts moves through their sport, and have you ever watched a professional Olympic Weightlifter lift a very heavy weight from the ground over their head in one movement, and have you seen Aaron Rodgers throw a football lately? There is one word that describes how all of these masters move in their sport – effortless.
Now, many of you reading this aren’t trying to earn a black belt, an Olympic Gold Medal, or a Super Bowl ring. All you want to do is move better in life and not experience pain when doing certain activities. We get that and that’s why Fitness Lying Down exists. We offer our clients training that is practical and translates into those daily activities that would be better with some beautiful strength. This is something that you won’t get by being on a treadmill, chest press machine, or leg curl machine. The only way to train for Kalos Sthenos is to put your body in certain environments that promote, what I like to call, body awareness. Simply lying on the ground and standing up can provide an opportunity to capture that beautiful strength. Sitting down in a chair and getting up again can be that moment you practice kalos sthenos.
Can you perform everyday activities effortlessly and gracefully?
In closing, I’ve seen many people in gyms lift a lot of weight, but it was anything but beautiful. Training to lift lots of weight will not guarantee you to move better in real-life situations, but training to move better will allow you to be more successful when life demands you to be strong AND you can do it beautifully! As 2015 approaches, we should resolve to move with more grace and beauty before planning to lose so many pounds – you will NOT be disappointed when you train with this goal in mind.