My good friend, Jason Robillard, who is one of the leading experts and proponents of barefoot (or bareform) running, is engaging in dialog with his toughest critics in the medical community – podiatrists. See his post here. There is something quite important at the essence of that conversation. Actually there are many things and they apply to what we do here at Kemme Fitness as well.
Point#1 - it is essential and necessary, especially for folks like me who share information, to be open and honest, as well as willing to hear opposing views. Not only do we need to hear opposing views, but we need to value them, re-assess ourselves and opinions, and be willing to change.
Point #2 – We need to realize where members of the medical community are coming from. For example, if I were to recommend Kettlebell Swings as a way to strengthen your body from legs to shoulders. Maybe I even say to do Kettlebell Swings as part of a series of exercises for you to do to improve your back muscles to help with your weak back issues. Then let’s say you swing the kettlebell and it slips out of your hands and hits your mother-in-law in the head, causing serious injury. Really that comes down to your own accountability for not doing the swing right.
On the flip side, your family practice doctor tells you to do Kettlebell Swings to help with your back issues and the same thing happens. Guess who can be sued? Yep, doctors have malpractice insurance for a reason. I realize there could be a better example, but the kettlebell one is more funny.
Point #3 – this is more a point I am looking at with Functional Fitness. It is: What members of the medical community have the appropriate training to weigh in on the discussion of how to exercise? A family practice physician, although somebody who understands body systems, is really not versed enough (in general) to tell somebody what exercise program they should do. However, they are essential in clearing many folks medically (ie good enough heart) to start an exercise program. Before beginning Project Yeti, I insisted that Randy had a green light from a regular doctor.
A sports medicine doctor is more experienced and trained because they deal with athletes and how muscles, tendons, and bones work together. They are great to assist people with injuries in order to ensure that any serious problems are addressed.
This then brings us over to the physical therapists. Here is a description off the American Physical Therapy Association website about their vision: physical therapists provide “the diagnosis of, interventions for, and prevention of impairments, activity limitations, participation restrictions, and environmental barriers related to movement, function, and health.” This sounds like Functional Fitness to me.
Over the years I have been getting feedback from physical therapists. I have even removed some exercises off my website after listening to the pros and cons of the exercise from a physical therapist. Conversely, I’ve added exercises that I have obtained from physical therapists.
I encourage anybody who goes to a physical therapist to bring in some of our exercises, ask for opinions/information, and report back to me. The reason for this, is I feel that physical therapists have an advanced understanding of how the brain works with muscles through movements. They understand what muscles are being used under various conditions and what the benefits and concerns are with the movements.
A person once actually called my program a “mishmash of misapplied yoga, half-assed pilates and some misapplied physical therapy and injury rehab exercises done on an unstable surface.” These bodybuilders were enjoying their stabs at Kemme Fitness. However, being associated with what we learn from physical therapists is a compliment in the Functional Fitness world.
So if you are or know a physical therapist, we would 100% welcome your thoughts on what we do here. And (to keep in line with point #1) if you are a bodybuilder, weight lifter, strongman, yoga instructor, runner, etc, and you disagree with me, I hope you feel comfortable to challenge me. Most likely I will be grateful for the chance to learn from you.