Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New Toy In My Toy Box!

It should really be called a tool. But when you can have fun at the same time...

 I've been wanting to purchase this product for a long time. The Animal Flow Workout. Creator Mike Fitch has combined several disciplines into a fun and challenging way to increase strength, agility and in my opinion, general bad-assery.

Why I love this?

Let's start by asking another question. What is bodyweight training?

Here's a wiki-quick'n'dirty.

In the last year or so I've developed an interest in bodyweight training.  As I have explored more contemporary forms of dance instruction and my own strength training, I have found that many elements of bodyweight training can give a dynamic twist to any choreography, as well as give you one heck of a workout! Global Bodyweight Training, Mike Fitch's creation as well, is chock full of tutorials, tips and inspirations. As a younger lass I never really thought about doing handstands, and definitely not pull-ups or chin-ups. No time for regrets about missed opportunities of the past! Now pull-ups and chin-ups are a part of my regular workouts through the week. I've even got my 19 year old daughter learning on the pull up assist machine at our gym. Don't have access to an assist machine? Here's a great tutorial from Global Bodyweight Training.

How will I apply The Animal Flow Workout to what I do?

Aside from increasing my own knowledge, strength and abilities in my exploration of bodyweight training with AFW, it has great applications for dance. Especially more contemporary forms. Dance has always been athletic in various ways. But nowadays even more so. Click on an episode of SYTYCD and you will see amazing feats of agility, strength, timing, acrobatics and grace. While some of those things were never my strong suit when I was heavily immersed in performing as a dancer, as a teacher (and a perpetual student) it is important for me to set up some foundation for my ballet/contemporary dance students (almost exclusively female) to seek out opportunities to increase their abilities in those areas. As a woman I hope that I can pass that along to my adult dance fitness students as well. Don't let memories of gym class humiliation stop you from finding out how amazing you really are!!

Back to a tool like AFW for dance training. Using some of the techniques in Mike Fitch's AFW in my contemporary dance classes has helped both me and my students with our strength and agility. I'm excited about digging in even deeper!

Throughout the years, when teaching early childhood creative dance or playing with my own little ones, moving and dancing like different animals was always energizing and fun. You got winded because you knew you were playing hard. Why should "play" be removed from the "grown-up" world of working out? Look around in the fitness community these days and you will see "play" in exercise is making a strong comeback. I say comeback because there is evidence that that is how we started out. Mark Sisson, creator of Mark's Daily Apple and author of The Primal Blueprint has written some really good stuff about this topic; here, and here.Visit his website and find even more great info.

Some playful moments from a recent family vacation;

Admittedly, I'm not the best at spontaneous play. Perhaps getting my family on the lawn with some cool animal inspired movements will lead to all kinds of adventures.

So go check out The Animal Flow Workout, Global Bodyweight Training and Mark's Daily Apple.

Thanks for reading.

Enjoy the dance that is life!

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