Last month on a beautiful January winter’s day I was honoured to host clients of SOGO, 2XU and Runner’s World at my 5 ANIMAL FITNESS MOBILITY WORKSHOP targeted specifically at runners as part of the “SOGO RUNNING SEASON” initiative in Hong Kong!
Blending East and West
Hong Kong is the perfect place to showcase my “5 Animal Fitness / Mobility” philosophy which blends Traditional Chinese Medicine and Yoga with Western mobility and fascial lines.
I was privileged to work with a group of enthusiastic participants.
With a focus on building your movement periphery and learning how to improve your Range of Active Movement (“ROAM”), together with an understanding of corrective exercise, the workshop shows you how to achieve these goals safely and effectively.
5 Elements – 5 Animals
Like the 5 Elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Wood / Fire / Earth / Metal / Water), I present this in terms of movement patterns represented by Animals- Tiger Squat, Dragon Twist, Bear Bend, Crane Push/Lunge, Monkey Pull/Lunge.
After going through each of these movement patterns and preparing the mind and body for general physical activity, the workshop then focused specifically on running.
The Crane and Running
The CRANE represents the fundamental movement patterns of LUNGE and PUSH.
Many of the mobility exercises and stretches, and the resistance exercises I attribute to the Crane are very helpful for running.
The Crane mobility drills emphasise opening up the chest, upper neck, hip flexors and hamstrings; these muscle groups tends to become tight in runners.
One of the key activation exercises in the Crane is to “hip hinge”, which is essentially the initial strike to mid-stance in the running gait.
Furthermore, the Crane is associated with the Lung meridian; running is about developing lung capacity and efficiency.
How Can 5 Animal Mobility Help Runners?
In addition to working through the specific Crane movement and mobility patterns, runners can cycle through each of the other 5 Animals to identify areas of weakness in the body.
Performing non-running specific movements also rounds out your body, increasing your overall fluidity in movement and Range of Active Movement, and can help to prevent overuse injuries.
Why Mobility and Not Flexibility?
Flexibility strictly speaking refers to range of motion of a joint, where stability is controlled movement.
Mobility is “Range of Active Movement” (or “ROAM”). My goal is to help improve people’s range of motion and fluidity of movement.
Often, people will address one- but not both- of these; the whole concept of 5 ANIMAL MOBILITY involves dynamic warm ups, flexibility stretches and activation exercises.
I also touched on the importance of Rest and Recovery which is the most important thing for runners (or any athletes) to focus on in between training sessions.
It is the time between our workouts where we develop, where our muscles grow, and where we recharge ourselves.
2XU and SOGO RUNNING SEASON
I have been very privileged to be associated with 2XU in Asia Pacific.
I first came across 2XU in 2009 when I was training for a 250km ultra marathon in the Sahara Desert.
During the race I wore 2XU compression socks and shorts, and between running and while sleeping, I wore 2XU products to aid recovery.
Over the 6 days of the race, I actually got faster amongst my tent-mates because I recovered the best.
I advise my high-performing clients and those who travel a lot to wear 2XU gear while sleeping.
I think 2XU compression products have always been at the forefront and the best in the market- each year they get better off the back of their R&D.
I wear 2XU fitness gear every day when training myself, and training my clients.
I met “SOGO RUNNING SEASON” through 2XU and I applaud any company that encourages people to enjoy regular and varied exercise.