I’ve been thinking a lot about fitness progression. Hence my last two Scavenger Hunt questions I challenged you to think about. 😉 So how do you know when you are ready to try something a little more challenging, with more weight, etc.? Conversely, how do you know when something is too advanced for you? I often think we look outside ourselves for insight or we completely ignore what our bodies are telling us and end up with an injury. I’ve been pondering when I can add back running or add heavier weights to my lifts and came to realize that I just need to listen to my body.
My children inspired this insight. One day at the playground, I watched as my eldest challenged herself to try a different, more challenging set of monkey bars. While learning how to forward transverse she would only practice on stationary level monkey bars (traditional monkey bars), but once she mastered this skill, she attempted the swinging monkey rings. Meanwhile, my son was attempting to climb the slide without using his hands and my youngest, who had just recently learned to walk, was giving serious effort to walking up an incline. All three children intuitively knew how to slightly scale up their current movement skills.
Then I started thinking about infant development and how a baby first learns how to hold up their head before crawling and then walking (NB some of this is culturally influence, not all babies crawl and onset of walking age varies greatly across cultures). No one tells a baby that they have to work on head and neck strength and control before they can walk, they just do.
One of my favorite aha! moments of watching my youngest learn to walk was how much time she spent squatting before walking. She spent so much time holding a squat and then moving up and down squatting, first holding on to something, then without any support. She put in the work to develop her glutes and lateral hips so that when she began to walk she had the strength to do it.
Babies don’t need personal trainers. Now they don’t have the problems modern life gives us (yet)…so as always consult a fitness professional if needed, but at the same time…give yourself some credit that you know your body, as well as some encouragement and tenacity to try something new today. I am participating in a MovNat (R) challenge through Instagram that inspired me to try something new (rope-grip chin-up). And I surprised myself by completing the exercise with ease! This motivated me to try climbing up the fireman’s pole at the playground and I did it, too! What will you try today? See if you can surprise yourself.
PS Check out MovNat (R) online for lots of great natural human movement inspiration and Original Strength for fitness inspired by child development.
PPS Join the #movelikeananimal challenge on Instagram!