In an age of technological innovation, fitness is taking a huge regressive step. Bars, balls, bells, and numbered weight stacks are increasingly taking a back seat to a decidedly low-tech sculpting apparatus: your body.
"Your classic circuit-training machines were initially designed to idiot-proof exercises by preventing unwanted movements and forcing desired ones," says Geralyn Coopersmith, an exercise physiologist and the director of the Equinox Fitness Training Institute. "The problem is that as they restrict our movements, they hide our imbalances." So, while you can sometimes become stronger and more "fit" using machines, you will also make yourself vulnerable to overuse injuries and nagging aches and pains.
Conversely, bodyweight exercises can't be faked. Think about push-ups, pull-ups, and planks: You either have the necessary skills to do them or you don't. It's no fluke that gymnasts and martial artists tend to have the most breathtaking bodies. "When you train like this, you force your body to work in a balanced way, simultaneously stretching and strengthening, so your muscles develop accordingly," Coopersmith says. "Plus, strengthening your body as a unit, not independent parts, ensures a perfectly proportioned shape."
Enter Mike Fitch, the creator of Animal Flow for Equinox, a new system of fluid, fundamental movements that combines Parkour, break dancing, gymnastics, free running, and circus arts. Fitch had simply grown tired of free weights. "There were years when I was lifting a ton of weights and it was too much on my joints—I felt inflamed all the time," he says. "So I decided to see how my body would change if I explored purely bodyweight disciplines."
We'd say the change was good. See what you think in the video below:
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