What muscle does that exercise work? I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked that question. Given the rather “out-of-the-box” nature of our programs and bodyweight exercises, they draw attention. But people don’t quite know what to make of them.
So of course they fall back on their most familiar frame of reference—the bodybuilding paradigm. So, they ask “what muscle does that work?” If I’m in a flippant mood, I’ve been known to answer “all of them.”
But usually I’ll take a bit more time to explain the method behind the madness. I explain that although we’re building a fine physique with our bodyweight exercise, we’re doing it by concentrating on movement, not muscle. So by taking the body through its paces using bodyweight exercises that are based in efficient movement, we’re not only changing our physiques to look better, we’re making them more functional and injury-proof.
We’re also laying the foundation for increasingly rapid learning of OTHER skills. Because we focus on correct movement through varied degrees of freedom, we actually rewire the nervous system, the muscles and the facia to move well. And those new movement patterns can be called on when we need them.
So whether you’re trying to learn a new sport or just keep yourself upright when you slip on the ice, training for movement, not muscle, is your best option. And bodyweight exercise is one of the most efficient ways of getting there.
Here’s a great bodyweight exercise from Scott Sonnon’s original Body-Flow program. I taught this to one of my buddies a couple years ago, and to this day it’s his favorite! He told me recently that he does it every night as part of his evening routine just for the way it resets his system and connects him with his movement.
It’s called the Leg Thread. Give it a try and let us know in the comments how it goes. It may be tricky at first. Make sure you think from the core outwards rather than the limbs in. It’ll make all the difference in the world.
Here’s to a new you, one bodyweight exercise at a time…