The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

15 minutes of muscle confusion

I’ve had an interesting reaction from combining two super-short workouts. I’m always looking for things I can do on the road, with no equipment, in small rooms. My first choice is Coach Sonnon’s FlowFit, for numerous reasons. But it’s emphasis is slightly different than hard-core fitness. It is an extremely sophisticated re-structuring of the Five Tibetans, adding the Six Degrees of Freedom, and capable of creating a very nice aerobic effect. There is a way in which it is unique: I’m not certain I know of another technique that will take an untrained person across the “Second Wind” (Neuro-Immuno-Endocrine response) barrier at the SAME TIME as you are maneuvering the Six Degrees of Freedom. My suspicion? That doing this allows you to access many of the same psychological effects ordinarily only available to advanced yogis and martial artists (this is per minute of practice, of course. Most FlowFit sessions last 15-20 minutes). So the potential benefits are just massive.

But I recently tried alternating days of FlowFit with “Card” sessions. That is one of wrestling God Dan Gable’s favorite protocols. You take a deck of cards and shuffle it. Select four exercises that work your entire body. Designate each exercise to one suit. Deal a card. Do the number of reps of that exercises indicated. Continue for time, for the deck, or until fried. Matt Furey likes these four exercises: Hindu Pushup, Hindu Squat, “V-up” situps, and “Tablemakers” (Tibetan #4, a modified back-bend).

Nice stuff. I thought of doing something even more wicked, though. Flip a coin every morning. Heads, it’s FlowFit. Tails, it’s cards.

Now, if you choose your four exercises carefully, so that 15-20 minutes will, on the average, toast you, you can create a micro-exercise pattern that works everything in your body, and also takes you deeper and deeper into the body-mind connection (FlowFit is simply superb for this). Plus, you have double-randomizing going on, so the Muscle Confusion principle is really working for you. Of course, you could use Club Bell or Kettle Bell exercises, chin-ups, or anything else—just work your whole body.

In combination with I.F., my guess is that you could create quite an effective, short, never-boring routine. It’s kind of fun to flip a coin in the morning, and never have any idea at all what kind of misery you’re about to inflict on yourself. I’m doing FlowFit 2 these days, and believe me, it is such a sophisticated series of Body-Flow movements that I have to slow down to make certain I’m keeping my breathing in the groove. It’s almost a relief to have a “Card” day, with it’s inexorable, brutal simplicity.

Of course, if you have a routine that’s already working for you, STICK TO IT. But if you want to try something fun…hey, it’s only 15 minutes a day!

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