If you woke up tomorrow and had no muscles, you’d be in trouble. Let’s start with your heart. It’s a pretty important muscle. It moves blood and all that blood carries through your body. Your diaphragm is another important hunk of muscle. It’s what moves your lungs and allows you to breath. Jaw muscles are a personal favorite as that’s what moves your jaws and allows you to eat bacon. Your leg muscles help you jump and walk and run, the muscles in your fingers allow you to flip people off in traffic, and there’s a very important muscle that allows you to keep yourself from farting in public.
In the end, the primary function of all of your muscles is movement. You, as a human being, were designed to move. You were designed to self propel from point A to point B. You were designed to stand and run and push and pull and otherwise get around a disc golf course on your own.
Since this is the primary function of muscles, that should also be the primary function of training those muscles. Whether you are training for disc golf specific movements or something else, the focus of healthy training should always be for movement. If training for disc golf equals training for movement, then our disc golf home gym should be set up to help us work on movement more than anything else. Having huge guns will not improve your disc golf game. Having an arm that will move quickly, powerfully, and with great control will greatly benefit your disc golf ability.
So what are we moving in disc golf? We don’t really have any heavy equipment or implements (unless you are Dave Feldberg’s caddy) to move, so that leaves only our body. With that in mind, what better way to train ourselves to move our own body than with body weight training. If you can’t effectively move your own body through space, you will have one heck of a time trying to get a disc to move through space properly too.
When we hear the term “body weight training”, many of us think of our high school gym teachers. Countless rounds of burpees, push ups, sit ups, and pull ups (or in my case at that time in my life, hanging from a bar and grunting) made up our gym classes. I much preferred the good old days of junior high where we played dodge ball instead.
As we grew into adults, we left childish things behind. Even for those that continued to work out, stay fit, and join gyms, most people left the body weight training behind them. We instead went to the gym and did “adult” workouts with weights and machines. At best, we did some sit ups to work on our abs of steel. Many of us became convinced that we needed Nautilus and Hammer Strength and Life Fitness and many other contraptions in order to train our bodies effectively. Even if we wanted to work out at home, we felt like we needed equipment to be effective. Some of us even bought a BowFlex….. Twice.
The interesting thing is that many of us think we need this equipment when we can’t even move our own body weight effectively. Lots of people can’t perform simple acts like squatting down and standing back up without emitting sounds that closely resemble the mating call of the giant sperm whale. They can’t lift little kids up over our heads without exclaiming, “you’re getting too big for this!”. They have trouble with even the most basic acts of moving themselves around.
The point is that if we can’t even effectively move our own body weight around, we have no reason to adds weights or machines. If we can’t get down and knock out 50 pushups, we have no business bench pressing something. If we can’t pull our own body weight up via a pull-up at least 10-15 times, we have no reason to jump on a lat pull down machine. If we can’t move our own bodies through space, we have no reason to spend any money at all on any training equipment.
That’s why I want to take a break from recommending equipment for your disc golf home gym and instead recommend gaining proficiency with some basic body weight training. Yep, I’m talking about push ups, pull ups, leg raises, hand stand holds, body weight squats, and other similar movements. There’s no muscle you can’t work with body weight training. All you need is a space to do it in and maybe a pull up bar.
Aside from being the common sense place to start training, body weight training has a bunch of other significant benefits.
- It’s cheap! You just need your body, and like mentioned before, maybe a pull up bar. I had a few people tell me that the sand bag I recommended in a previous post was too expensive. Well, this is about as inexpensive as it gets!
- It’s safe. It’s how your body actually moves. You are not restricted or put into unhealthy or compromising positions by equipment or bars. It allows your joints to travel through their natural range of motion. You aren’t overloading yourself with a bunch of weights that your muscles are not yet ready for.
- It’s efficient. Body weight training usually involves compound movements that work large groups of muscles. There is very little need to ever spend hours in a gym doing things that isolate single muscles.
- Anyone can do it. Can’t do a push up? Start on your knees. Can’t do a pull up? Put your feet on a chair and give yourself a little help. There isn’t really a minimum fitness requirement to start moving your own body weight around.
- It incorporates balance and flexibility, especially when you get to some of the more advanced movements (there is a ton more you can do besides the standard push up, pull up, sit up combination). Try doing some single leg squats without holding on to anything. Get good at that and you’ve built some serious balance.
- It works. Gymnasts are the biggest proof of this. Their entire sport revolves around moving their body through space. Most of their training and conditioning is done while performing gymnastic movements. I challenge anyone to say that an active gymnast is not fit and extremely strong.
- Your body can tolerate a tremendous amount of body weight work. It can be done in very high volume if you want. If you were to just do some body weight work every day and nothing else, you’d eventually get into really great shape. Check out what happens to members of our armed forces through boot camp. I had a few friends go through and they were in noticeably better shape after boot camp than before. All they did was body weight training and conditioning.
So before you run out and get any more pieces of equipment for your disc golf home gym, see if you are proficient in body weight training first. All you need to start a solid body weight program can be found here. Try those out for a while. You’ll be surprised at how much you can gain doing just those by themselves. You just might find that your disc golf game will thank you too.
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