When talking about Original Strength, I often tell how the human body was “preprogrammed” with a movement template designed to build a strong, healthy, resilient body capable of performing any task and solving any problem. It’s true. The very movements hidden in our nervous system, the ones we all make as children and the ones we are to continue to make as adults build our brain, our nervous system, and our body. They also shape our minds and our thoughts. Because of this, we all have the ability to become super strong, super agile and super capable.
I believe there is also something else that was “preprogrammed” in us as well: The desire to become a superhero. Deep down within all of us, I believe there is a strong yearning to become a superhero; to become more than we are, to become someone who saves the day, who helps others. A rescuer. An overcomer. A rock of strength inside a storm of chaos. We are to become super. To become. We are not born super; precious maybe, but not super. But we are to become super. To know no defeat because we know no surrender.
It’s in us.
You know it’s true.
Our bodies contain the program to become super and our minds contain the desire to become super. That’s where the yearning, or “the pull” comes from. Think about it. No one grows up wanting to be weak. No one thinks, “I want to be a victim.”, or “I don’t want to make a difference in the world.” Did you grow up daydreaming about being strong and saving the day, or did you grow up dreaming about becoming frail and needing to be rescued? What do you dream about now? Do movies like Captan America – Winter Soldier, Brave Heart, or the Gladiator stir your soul? Why do you think that is?
You were meant to be super. It’s in you. And, if you embrace it, if you engage in your design and your desire, you can indeed become super.
It starts with you. First thing’s first: decide to be super. Rage against weakness, frailness, fragility, AND APATHY. Apathy is your kryptonite. It will kill your design and sabotage your destiny. You must not settle or become complacent with a “ho-hum” existence. You cannot “save the world”, you cannot be an overcomer if you are apathetic and complacent to your current condition or situation in life. You have to decide to rise and take action – you have to decide to matter. Superheroes change the world by the way they live, by running to their destiny. They know their actions and their lives make a difference in the world around them. They choose to change the world through kindness, through selfless acts, through a listening ear. A hero knows even a simple smile can change a complete stranger’s day for the better. Again, decide to be super.
The second thing you have to do to become super is MOVE. Your body contains the key to superhuman strength, and it is so simple: move the way you were designed to move. You were not designed to sit idle for long periods of time. You were not designed to stare at your smart phone, your tablet, your computer or whatever for hours and hours a day. You were designed to move well and move often. It may seem silly, but simple movements can nourish your nervous system and sharpen your reflexes, enabling your body to become super strong, super fast and super powerful.
One movement in particular that can help unlock your superhuman potential is crawling. This may not be too startling anymore as crawling is now becoming more “main stream” in the strength training community, but it may be a stretch for some to think crawling can give them superhuman powers. But it can because crawling builds and improves your reflexive strength. Think of reflexive strength as the foundation for your super powers. It is the strength that not only reflexively responds to the movements you make or the movements that happen to you, but reflexive strength is also the strength that responds in anticipation to movement. It is predictive strength – like Spider-man’s “spidey sense”. Your brain wants to prepare your body to move and act before you even know you need to! That’s how it protects you and helps keep you impervious to injury – by avoiding injury! The sharper, the faster and more efficient, our neural pathways are, the faster and stronger our muscles can respond to life as, or before, it happens.
Reflexive strength is your source of superhuman strength. The more reflexive strength you have, the more strength, power, speed and mobility your body can express. Think Superman or Wonder Woman.
I know this sounds absurd, but you can test this out for yourself by adding crawling to your daily or weekly training routine. If you do this, you will easily be able to determine whether or not your strength and mobility improve by how your performance changes inside the training room, on the athletic field, or in your day to to day life as things just get easier to do.
But enough talk about crawling. Superheroes don’t talk. They act. So, do this to unlock your superhero powers:
Week 1: Crawl backwards on your hands and knees (on a knee accommodating surface) for 5 minutes a day. Keep your head up – no looking down at the ground, that’s silly. Keep your chest tall, and keep your mouth closed. If you have to open your mouth to breathe, or if you have to drop your head, rest and stop the clock until you can resume crawling with your lips closed and your head held up. Accumulate 5 minutes of backwards crawling. No big deal, right?
Week 2: Crawl backwards on your hands and feet for 5 minutes a day. Again, keep your head up, your chest tall, your mouth closed, let your knees track inside your elbows, AND keep your bum down below your head. This is not a bear crawl. If you have to open your mouth to breathe, if you drop your head, or if your butt pops up above your head, stop the clock and rest until you can resume the desired form. Accumulate 5 minutes of backwards crawling.
Week 3: Crawl backwards for 8 minutes. Alternate crawling on your hands and knees one day and crawling on your hands and feet the next day. Use the same crawling rules as above and accumulate 7 minutes of backwards crawling.
Week 4: Aim for 10 minutes of backwards crawling, alternating between crawling on your hands and knees one day and crawling on your hands and feet the next day. Same rules! Accumulate 10 minutes of backwards crawling. Hopefully it will only take you 10 minutes!
If you do this, if you act on this simple challenge with this simple movement, do not be surprised if you experience new levels of strength and enhanced athletic performance. Actually, be very surprised because it is AWESOME. When you engage in your movement design and build your reflexive strength, you unlock your superhero potential and it becomes evident. Things that were once difficult (like an overhead press) become easy, new PR’s suddenly happen, aches and pains suddenly disappear. It’s quite wonderful, really.
But again, don’t take my word for it. Test it out. Decide to be super.
Rage against fragility. Resist apathy. Know no defeat. Move like you are supposed to (Crawl a little – for now, until you are ready to fly). Become Super. It is that simple. Not easy, but simple.