7 Fitness Apps Not In Your Phone

We are all wonderfully designed to move. We are all born with the same potential for performing a wide range of physical abilities. Much like a new computer or mobile phone arrives preloaded with a host of apps, we too are loaded with a massive database of ‘apps’.

Apart from the wonderful stuff that happens inside our gooey centres, our physical operation performance apps are pretty awesome. We are made to move, like in locomotive movements and we are made with manipulative skills, like carrying, lifting and such. 

For now, let’s take a look at some of our own lesser practiced ‘locomotion’ movement apps:

#1 I can’t start talking about jumping just yet, without first mentioning our vestibular system. This system relies on the feedback from our eyes, ears and physical positioning to relay to the brain about which way up or down we are. If there is a mismatched message or delay in feedback, we get dizzy. If you’ve ever had travel / car sickness when you where reading, your brain has been part focussing on the reading whilst not totally matching up with the movement of the car. End result, dizziness, nausea and the cold sweats! 

How do we train this? Lead all your physical movement with the eyes. Where the eyes go, the body follows. To really enhance the feedback loop, purposefully carry out movements with quick head and body movements. Rolling on the floor, tumbling, spinning around. Should you find yourself over stimulated and a tad dizzy, try this corrective measure. 

#2 Balance is by far a very undertrained human skill. We can’t deny we use it daily and equally can’t deny plenty of people lose it often. Before I start to riddle, balance keeps us upright but also uses that previously mentioned vestibular system to control muscles in reaction to changing situations. Balance is very much a reactive strength. How does the body react when we have to walk over a narrow surface, along a curb during a rain storm, over stepping stones to cross a creek, over an uneven surface? Many reactions co-work throughout the body’s musculature to keep us upright according to the messages from the vestibular system.

How do we train this? Practice walking on narrow or uneven surfaces, slowly at first. Wobbling is a massive part of the learning curve. We must lose our balance to start to learn how to maintain in. Ever watched a toddler in the early stages of learning to walk? It both scary and hilarious, as they wobble, fall over, get back up and repeat. After a short period of practice they’ve moved onto running, jumping and so on as they upgrade their apps. Here’s an example of balance practice. 

#3 ‘Get up’. It’s inevitable that we all have to get off the floor, and prior to that we will have either taken ourselves to the floor or had an unfortunate trip or fall to meet the floor. The practice of getting to the floor and back up is a wonderful expression of strength connection. Connecting our limbs and torso might seem like an odd statement but aside from the actual physical connection of tissue, many people don’t move with a physical connection of their body parts. There is often a lack of communication between upper limbs and lower limbs and the torso in between. Getting off the ground can take many forms and can be reactive, agile movement or a specific and strategic movement. A quick response to getting off the floor is a reactive movement, very much steeped in historical practice. The way you have always gotten off the floor will be the first choice in most cases. By purposefully practicing a variety of means of getting up, with strategy, the larger your library of options you’ll develop. The wonderful thing about getting off the floor is also that the skills involved translates to getting over ‘things’. Getting over a retaining wall is a perfect example of using get up skills to get over something.

How do we train this? There are many methods of getting to the floor (see video below) but sometimes, just getting down and up a few times a day can be great practice. At the gym we do practice what I call the ‘broken limb’ series, when we practice get ups with the scenario of imagining we have a broken arm, or leg. Much fun for all. 

#4 Crawl. Whilst we’re on the floor, maybe after a fall, or maybe because of some other reason (sneaking indoors after a late night, trying to avoid the neighbour, or because you’re under your house or roof-space) crawling is a skill we’re born to master. It is a pivotal movement sequence we develop as infants that grants us the ability to walk, run, climb as well as provide the brain with a host of neurological development. Like the get up, crawling connects our torso and limbs. You could even say that crawling is very close to being a complete workout to replace numerous gym exercises. Your legs, arms, shoulders, pectoral, upper back, glutes and entire abdominal wall and waist will get an incredible training effect. 

How do we train this? To appreciate the movement and where we start individually, it’s best that everyone starts on their hands and knees, much like we did originally as infants. We may crawl forward, backwards, on an axis, in a circle. These alone will engage many, many muscles. The progression is as simple (not always easy mind-you) as moving onto the feet and hands with the knees just off the floor. This is a game-changer movement. There are numerous other crawling shapes and positions, but starting with the knee hand and then foot hand should suffice most of us. 

#5 Stick the landing! You don’t have to be dismounting a double back flip from a balance beam to stick the landing. Stick the landing refers to landing on your feet, unwavering, and not falling over. This is part one of the sequence of learning to jump. Jumping without knowing how to land is fool-hardy. Sticking the landing may follow a trip, a fall, a temporary loss of balance or slipping off a ladder. From a physiological perspective, it’s also a simple and effective way to load up the skeletal frame. Loading our bones is the simplest method of preventing early onset osteoarthritis. 

How do we train this? The video below demonstrates a simple drill. The purposeful leaning forward and catching ourselves gently on our feet is step in learning how to stick the landing. Performing the drill from a small step is one progression as is performing a jump prior. 

#6 Jump! Truth be told, us adults just don’t jump around as much as kids, and that is a pity. The benefits of jumping include helping us to maintain our agility, joint and bone health as well as muscular power and strength. Jumping is also incredibly playful aka fun. There is nothing wrong with adults having fun. We shouldn’t take ourselves ‘too’ serious. May of my clients have jumping exercises routinely or on a planned rotation. I love to see the smiles and giggles and sense of achievement. Jumping as an exercise does not have to be terribly gymnastic. A short strategic jump or hop is all it takes. A short jump from one stepping stone (or pretend one) to another is great as we tie in vision and movement; foot-eye coordination so to speak. 

How do we train this? A version of jumping we practice often is the leg swing jump. It is perhaps the most commonly employed jump when we have to jump. One leg back swings along with the arms then we forward swing the arms and the leg to propel us forward in a jump. Here is a ‘how to’ video of the leg swing jump.

#7 Hanging! Okay, it’s not a locomotive, not initially anyway. A hang or brachiation from our hands or arms on an overhead branch, gym pull up bar, ledge, cliff face perhaps is a key to unlocking a completely new level of human skills that we are born to do. Brachiation is the act of travelling by swinging from one hand to the next, like all those cool ninja warriors on TV. For the rest us however, to yield the upmost benefits from this design feature of the human shoulder girdle, all I suggest for most people is just hang. Your shoulders will thank you for years after some practice. They will feel great and less prone to tweaks and strains carrying out day-to-day tasks. 

How do we train this? The video below demonstrates options, but feet stay on the ground. We use the gymnastic rings to hold onto to before pushing our butts back and simply hang. W often call the position, ‘water skiing gone wrong’!  Time wise, a period of 5 diaphragmatic breaths is sufficient to start with. That might take 20-30 seconds. We will either hang with upper tension, that is to say, keeping our shoulders pulled down away from our ears, or we’ll relax everything. Which depends on the individual and the comfort feedback the body communicates. 

Running and walking are the other two pivotal day to day locomotion movements that we do do apart from these six above. As the more frequently used movement apps, I thought I would leave them alone and delve into the above lesser considered locomotion movement apps. 

I’d love to know what you think. Maybe drop me a message. 

Perhaps I’ll do this again, but cover manipulation skills that we store in another app! 

Building Real World Agility and Strength 

Being able to negotiate the world around us shouldn’t be taken for granted, despite living in an apparently safe, manufactured world scape. 

Having the skills and aptitude to jump over something or out the way of something, skip, catch yourself if you trip, balance over partially submerged kerbstone during a rain storm – are all just a few examples of physical aptitudes we may encounter. 

More to the point, my point here, it is incredibly rewarding, fun and a bit challenging to train for just such events, whether they are made up scenarios or practice for actual routine events. 

I like to take myself off into the bush every now and again. Weekly if I can. Far from a walk in a park, a bush walk can throw an abundance of physical challenges apart from just walking. 

Often times there’s a short climb up a rock face, a balance walk over a log laid over a creek, slippy trip hazard tree roots popping up when least expected. 

Now, even if you never take yourself off on a bush walk, moving your body the way it is designed IS a daily or at least a weekly preoccupation. Got kids? Grandkids? A garden? 

All these have a side of physicality that you can prepare yourself for. Is it not better to be prepared rather than at the mercy of inability? 

Here’s just a short video example of:

  • balance
  • practicing landing after a jump or a trip
  • crawling for when you have to get down low

Just three activities to demonstrate how real world agility and strength can be really quite different to most gym exercises. 

Got questions? Fancy trying a natural movement training session? 

Sure, get in touch – I won’t bite 🙂 

Crawlebration

Celebrating and Exploring Crawling during December.

If you have difficulty with general movement, coordination, restrictions and perhaps some nagging pains and recurring injuries, maybe uneasy undertaking some tasks, it may be down to an out of use reflexive strength aka your original strength. 

Not to worry, reflexive strength can be restored with some practice, especially with one movement! 

‘Crawling can help you restore your original strength you were meant to have and unlock strength in many areas of your life.’

Not only will your physical strength and movement improve, your acuity will improve, your mood will boost and you’ll feel more capable and resilient to other physical demands of day-to-day life. 

‘It feels good to feel good’. 

Throughout December I’d like to celebrate what crawling can give us with a festival of daily crawling. 

Each day I’ll share a short video blog or a ‘crawl vlog’ to demonstrate various crawling methods and levels to offer something for everyone, because e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e can benefit from crawling. 

If you’d be so kind, I’ll ask you to share the daily crawlvlog on social media, perhaps with the following hashtags for good measure, plus your own of course 😉

#crawlvlog #crawlebration#albanycreeksbestgym #originalstrength #crawlforhealth #crawlstrong #fitstrongbrisbane #merrychristmas 


Bonus…

Adults tend to have quite stiff wrists. A lifestyle of convenience, technology and less than optimal mobility, can lead to wrists being a little overwhelmed by working with the hands on the ground. So here are a few wrist care movements that feel great on the wrist.

Like the minimalist approach? The Mobility page is packed full of various minimalist strength and mobility exercises.

Got Feedback?

Why Do we Practice ‘Get Ups’?

Squat, deadlift, push, pull and various body bracing activities might be the meat and potatoes of our programs for strength.

BUT, I also add in the spices so to speak. Practicing various forms or jumping, crawling and getting up from the floor adds spice to our movement vocabulary and prepares us for when we might actually need the skill… it’s also great fun to play with these physical movements!

Falls, trips and accidents happen, whether during sport or day to day life. But did you know that many people just don’t know what to do when falls happen – they don’t know how to get up when injured, how to crawl or carry themselves to safety or to get help.

Practicing these simple movements, moving us from standing to the ground and back up not only make us stronger and fitter, but better prepare us for ‘woopsadaisies’.

Here’s a quick time-lapse practice.

Brachiation Tips

Hanging or Brachiation offers many health, strength and conditioning benefits.

Shoulder, elbow, wrist and spine health has been proven to benefit from supported or full weight hanging. Grip strength will vastly improve as will hand conditioning. If you’ve not quite mastered pull ups, hanging is a great starting point. 

Hanging whether supported or full, can be carried out both active (with muscle activation) or passive (fully relaxed). 

How much? It would be great if everyone added a minute of hanging every day and build up the accumulation of daily hang-time to multiple minutes in the ideal scenario. But, start small and add  a few seconds here and there. 

#albanycreeksbestgym #brisbanegym #movingisliving #moveitorloseit #conditioning #movnat #albanycreek #brisbane

Do You Value Strength?

No one appreciates the values of strength until weakness becomes a reality of life. A straight-up statement but it’s based on the realities I see whenever someone decides to start training. I’ll hear some of the following… and you can fill in the blanks with any number of verbs. ‘I struggle with ____ing’. ‘I can’t … Continue reading Do You Value Strength?

The 101 on Crawling for Adults

Are you leaking strength?(90 second read) Stronger is not necessarily expressed by lifting bigger weights. Whilst I wholeheartedly adore strength training with barbells, kettlebells, pull up bars, other heavy stuff; it’s too easy to forget what made us strong in the first place and what still has a place to keep functioning better as adults. … Continue reading The 101 on Crawling for Adults

Your Body Just Wants to Move

Starting April I’ll be running a short series of helpful mobility exercises to help everyone move better. Remember, when you move better you can express your strength, fitness and daily life physicalities more clearly and effectively.

Virtual Training

The direction of virtual / online training is evolving at FiStrong with specific directions for the key areas I coach.

Generally the online membership has provided programs in a rotating periodisation. From a well rounded healthy program to a hypertrophy based program to a strength based program. The membership site also includes many random 10 minute works outs but honestly, I see no value in these. I gave into peer pressure to provide random acts of exercise. Haha

The rotating program periodisation works great in the gym under my supervision but I acknowledge that’s not the way many online customers want to train.

Moving onwards, I will be providing training programs, or products in three categories.

  1. Health and movement focused.
  2. Strength focused.
  3. Fat loss focused.

These will be thorough programs with updates as and when I see the need to update any methods or refinement.

These will be one time only purchases rather than a subscription.

The current online membership content will continue to be available for a one time only purchase. The content of this membership amounts to over 5 years on continual training at this point. That’s quite a volume of structured programming and still very valuable, but it’s not the direction I want to continue with.

To access the library of online membership programs, it can be found under ‘services’ tab on the main website menu. Click the button below to be directed to this site.

The new specialised programs will be made available in the coming months. In the mean-time, if you would like some personal guidance in your training, please do get in touch.

Jamie

FitStrong Definition of Strength Practice 

At FitStrong we practice the skills of strength and mobility aka moving strong and well. 

Oftentimes however, outsiders have a mixed thought about what ‘practicing strength’ means. 

Is it bodybuilding, is lifting to the extreme to boast our achievements at the end of the week, is it like the stuff you see cross fit doing – or is it something else? 

Let me briefly define how I would categorise the key three areas of strength training that we practice and who these forms are generally for. 

Restorative strength

This is what I recommend to people who feel weaker through lack of activity, busy lives and work etc. This could be described as rebuilding the strength we know we should have. The ability to do gardening all morning without feeling worn out. The ability to play with our kids, or grand children if we’re at that stage. The ability to be able to get down to the floor and back up without difficulty. 

  • Restorative strength forms the basis of my over 55s classes that run two mornings a week and hopefully a new class midweek (early evening).
  • This service is also available on a one-to-one basis and is covered in some of my current shared small group sessions.
  • Restoring our natural strength and abilities is well in truly covered in customised MovNat programs.

Progressive strength

For sports, special endeavours and explorations. When we have established a good level of strength and want to take it further. 

  • This a service I provide on a one-to-one basis owing to the specialised nature of the programming. 
  • This often occurs in small group training when it’s a common goal.

Transformation strength

Strength is a wonderful tool, an attribute every human was born to possess. Strength can be used to transform someone physically, to lose unwanted body fat, increase fitness and flexibility, increase self esteem and learn valuable lifestyle habits. 

  • Our Amazing 12 program is the service I run throughout the year in waves to help people meet the person they know they are. I know that sounds cheesy and full of hype – but it truely is an ‘awesome’ program with fantastic outcomes. 

If you are curious to learn more about strength training for you, why not get in touch?

The Floor Project

An undeniable truth of modern living is that we are all sitting much more everyday than our ancestors did.

Humans were never intended to spend so much time sitting still, resting in or being supported by chairs, seats and sofas. As evidenced by much research, prolonged sitting contributes to ill mental and physical health. An average day may see the average adult sit for 6.5 hours and adolescents 8.5 hours. (Research Link)

These figures are based on a study from 2011 to 2016. Our lives have changed significantly in the past year also, with home study and working from home being a new norm for many. The physical activity outcome from this change equates to even further potential for prolonged sitting.

My goal with the new Floor Project page is to encourage you to spend more time on the floor, as you rest, work, move and perhaps eat a meal or two.

But why is chair sitting such a problem?

Resting has for multiple millennia been carried out not in a chair, or a soft, embracing sofa lounge; but by resting on the ground. Yes, often with some support from cushions, bolsters or a tree! Humans are animals, designed to move, to thrive by being active and resting when needed. Modern humans however seems to live to rest.

Most humans get out of bed, rest to eat, lounge in a supportive chair in a vehicle to get to work and then possibly rest in another chair to work, only to head home to rest up on the sofa. Often people will include going to the gym to sit on machines to workout too! Not everyone works in a chair of course, but the trend is heading that way.

The problem for health is not just the lack of activity directly, but all the indirect affects or tolls on the body.

  • Poor circulation
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased blood sugar
  • Increased body fat, especially around the waist
  • Reduced ocular muscle use
  • Increased risk of dementia, diabetes, heart disease, cancer
  • Increased stress
  • Reduced muscle tone, strength
  • Pain – neck, back, shoulder pain is common with long term sitters

Choosing the floor

Sitting on the ground is not as popular as it used to be in western cultures. Mostly it is looked down upon, as a poorer option to rest in. We no longer have to choose the floor as a resting position as we have money to buy lots of sitting furniture to sprinkle around the home. God forbid we have a space with nowhere to sit our behinds!

I have had a terrible history with back pain, shoulder pain, hip and knee problems that all culminated (with an outcome epiphany) when I took a family trip back to Ireland in 2016. After only a few hours onboard the plane my hips and lower back were aching. In the terminal of Singapore I spent 20 minutes stretching and doing my usual mobility routine which helped, but once I was onboard again, the pain and stiffness set in quickly. After my arrival all the stretches helped but the sudden change to my lifestyle for 4 weeks of sitting in cars, around dining tables catching up with people really made me realise how troublesome sitting in chairs was.

On my return I delved into the work of Katy Bowman and her passion for helping people regain their comfort with resting on the floor, going barefoot and other wholesome ideas. Since then I have moved away from my armchair and spend my rest time, lunch time, work, study and family movie time, sitting on my yoga mat on the floor. In doing so, my back and hips stay happier for longer.

Let’s look at a list of the benefits of sitting, resting on the floor.

  • Reduced hip tension. Prolonged chair sitting shortens the hip flexor muscles causing tight and stiff hips – a leading cause of lower back pain. When you sit on the floor, the extra moving uses and relaxes the hip flexors.
  • Encourages natural movement and stability. Without the support of a chair, sitting on the ground forces your body to engage trunk muscles for stabilisation and encourages joint articulation.
  • Increased mobility. Sitting on the floor is what I like to call moving rest. The frequent shifting of positions continuously uses and stretches muscles throughout the body, without being a workout.
  • Improved ‘get up’. Choosing to rest on the floor brings with it the great practice of getting to the ground and back up. Much study has been conducted into the importance of being able to move down to the floor and then return to standing.
  • Bed time. Think of the last time you stayed up too late to watch TV. Your cosy chair probably made it easier to stay up. When you’re resting on the floor and that becomes too tiring, your body is telling you it’s bed time.

Being totally honest, sitting on the floor can initially to a challenge, uncomfortable and will take a planed approach to get accustomed to it. Much like wearing a pair of your expensive, fancy shoes takes some wearing in time, it can take a wee bit of practice to get your body used to floor time. Of course, I advice you to choose wider, thinner, less restrictive shoes too, but that’s another topic for another day.

Here is a plan

Rather than jumping into selling all your furniture on gumtree and embracing your new floor based lifestyle, let’s just shoot for some reasonable efforts.

The basic plan below which I’ve imaginatively called The Floor Project is a serving suggestion to play with, to encourage your body to adapt to the demands of floor sitting before embracing the freedoms it will deliver. How quick you get used to sitting on the ground depends on your body, how much chair sitting you do and how much you practice.

You may need to keep your chair close by to assist getting to the floor if you are particularly stiff and maybe use a soft rug, a yoga mat and a cushion can be of use too, to help with comfort.

The sitting position options are numerous. From kneeling, squatting, sitting and lying prone, you have many variations to explore.

Don’t limit yourself to sticking with just one style, shift around and try as many options as you can. Be imaginative. Don’t be worried about what the names of the positions are, just move and be comfortable.

Here I’ve taken 15 different photographs to illustrate your options.

The Floor Project Plan

This plan is basic. You can of course experiment with how much daily floor time is reasonable and practical, but I encourage you to give this plan a go for at least the 4 weeks. Truth is, if you can spend 10 minutes on the floor and don’t feel the urge to get up, why not spend more time down there.

The caveat to this plan is what your body brings to the game. If your legs start to cramp and get pin and needles, well then, practice is up for the moment. Get up, move around and maybe tray again later. The times below are suggested ‘accumulations’ per day. A minute here and there adds up.

Week 1:

  • Aim for 5 to 10 minutes a day of accumulated floor time.

Week 2:

  • Aim for 10 to 15 minutes a day of accumulated floor time.

Week 3:

  • Aim for 15 to 20 minutes a day of accumulated floor time.

Week 4:

  • Aim for 20 to 30 minutes a day of accumulated floor time.

Weeks 5 onwards, I think you can handle more. Maybe you’re ready to move that armchair to the corner and spend your evening time resting on the floor.

If you are more willing, enthusiastic and able, shoot for more, but not to the point of discomfort, pain and such. Just fit in more ground time every day.

Not ready for full blown floor rest?

You can still easily modify your chair sitting positions. If getting to the floor is a trip too far for now, or, if you just have to use a chair at your work station, consider building in some of the above ground based positions on your chair.

You can sit cross legged, side sit, straddle sit and so much more. See below for a few demos. Any frequent change of posture is good. You really want to get out of fixed positions for lengthy periods of time – even 20 minutes in a static position is detrimental. Change is good.

Here is a fun experiment I had on the gym bench. Not quite a chair but close enough. Sure, you might get strange looks sitting at the cafe ‘on’ the chair… or you could sit on the ground. Your call.

Want to get in touch, share a story about getting down to the floor and staying there for a while? Please do, I’d love to hear from you.

Jamie

Over 55 and Want to Move Better and Stronger?

At FitStrong Strength and Wellness I specialise in helping people to move better, with fewer aches and pains and develop essential real-world strengths. 

I am looking for people over 55 who want to get more limber, stronger and physically healthier.

If you know you need to move better and stronger but don’t know where to start, simply fill in the contact form attached below or message me on 0450487237. 

PS this is NOT a Bootcamp 🙂

When?

I am open to start new sessions upon request, day-time or evening. 

No contracts or memberships are needed. We like to keep things simple.

And if you’re not over 55 but like the sound of how we train, get in touch anyway.

Best Workout Ever

There’s nothing like getting to exercise in the comfort of your own home… well, except for having access to a huge number of programs to follow as well.


The FitStrong Online Membership has just that, ‘years’ worth of programs to follow along with. I update programs every month and the membership has a library of short ‘workouts’ too.
Check it out and if interested, it’s just $1 a day!!!

Want a more personal service?

2020 taught us many things. Learning how easy it is to teach sessions online with our laptops and smart phones was one. Now with the click of a button we can meet virtually anywhere together to work through a training session.

Whether you need to give your kettlebells a good workout or you want to get to grips with body weight training, live online personal training is a great solution.

Get in touch below to get started.

EPT

An even simpler solution if you are happy to train alone without the live online interaction is EPT.

‘Email Personal Training’ provides a detailed program for you to follow. With an extensive video library and customised videos just for you, I can quickly compile a program to meet your needs, provided straight to your inbox.

Intrigued?