The word “domestication” has become somewhat interesting to me recently. According to the people over at dictionary.com, domestication means:
“To accustom to household life or affairs.”
Now, you may be wondering why I am on about domestication and why it’s at all relevant on a strength site.
Well, the more I see people training. The more I worry about gym domestication. It’s becoming increasingly rare to see anyone training with anything other than barbells and machines. Don’t get me wrong. I love barbell training.
If you want to pack on muscle, train with a barbell. If you want to build relative strength, train with a barbell. Hell, if you want to lose weight, train with a barbell- I have two 10 minute workouts for that here!
My point is though, that people are adapting to movements that are only specific to the gym. It’s gym domestication.
If you give someone a sandbag, a log or another person to lift and carry, they more often than not, simply can’t do it and it’s usually followed by a myriad of excuses… “Its dangerous training that way”, “The weight is off”, “I haven’t trained for this”.
I can't help but the see the parallels between training with a natural stone and life. As humans, we strive for answers, for order and we seek to control everything – our actions, surroundings, each other. Yet despite this, the world is chaotic. It moves on when they zero regard for our thoughts, actions or processes. The stone, much like life is chaotic. It's the essence of instability, uncertainty and couldn't care for one second what I'm thinking as I'm lifting and carrying it. It fights me as I strive to control it and I wouldn't have it any other way.
It seems that people are only getting fitter in a gym sense. Not a human sense. They are simply adapting to the demands placed on them in the gym. You may be incredibly fit in that sense, but how much carry over does it have to everything else?
Combat, much like the real world is unpredictable.
There are no set movements. There are no set demands. It’s utter chaos that you are forced to deal with.
Our bodies are incredible machines that adapt and grow to any demands placed on them. Unfortunately, this is a good and a bad thing. If you sit all day, with bad posture and limited movement, which is not too uncommon, your body will adapt to the limited ranges of motion. Likewise, if you go the gym every week and just bench press with shitty form followed by a half-arsed set of push-ups with equally shitty form, your body will adapt to that limited movement.
The key is to mix things up.
Never discriminate against any methods of training. Mix in barbell training with kettlebells, bodyweight training, gymnastic movements and odd object training.
I’ve said it numerous times in this post (semi rant I guess…) that your body will grow and adapt to the demands you put on it. If you mix up your training, train numerous ranges of movement, with numerous movement patterns, you will become strong, mobile, flexible and dominant all over. Real world strong, not just gym strong.
Never fall into the trap of performing the same movements over and over again. Mix things up and have fun with your training. Definitely mix in some odd object work. If you need any starting point with odd object training, be sure to check this out.
Remember, training is more than the hour or so in the gym. People are losing muscle mass, mobility and health at an alarming rate. I encourage you to spend time moving throughout the day. I encourage you to train with awkward, odd objects and well as with barbells and your own bodyweight.
Train your body hard and your mind as hard.