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Saturday, February 20, 2016

In Which A Father Voices His Suspicion

Listening to an episode of the Super Strength Show the other day, and one of the guests made mention of an idea I keep hearing bandied about in the fitness/S&C community. Namely, that there is some sort of pre-determined sequence of movement that every single child on the planet goes through, from rocking to crawling to standing (this notion is then often attached to a system that somehow purports to put adults back in touch with those patterns because science...or something).

In case the title isn't obvious, I have my doubts.

Let me be clear here: I'm no scientist, nor any kind of expert on human development. I'm a martial arts coach, writer, and burgeoning kettlebell instructor. It's quite possible I'm wrong on some of this.

In a similar vein: it's quite possible that the systems claiming to reconnect us with our primal movement patterns or whatever work just great. I'm not saying they don't.


I'm certain that this notion that everyone learns to move in the exact same predictable pattern is wrong. Not because of my background as a coach, writer, editor, or whatever, but because I'm a father (my greatest and most important title).

I have two children. Neither one of them followed the steps I hear prescribed by the gurus. My youngest (who is a little over a year), does not crawl. She refuses to. Instead, she moves by pulling herself forward by her heels, in a movement we affectionately refer to as "scootching". If you've ever seen BJJ guys do a "butt scoot", you've got the right idea.

But she does not crawl. She actually will not stay on her hands and knees...she pushes up into a sitting position immediately if she's placed there.

My son did crawl, but he did some other things as well, including a period where he essentially walked on his knees. It looked painful as hell to me, but he was happy with it. Now he just walks or runs, like most near four year olds.

Now, here's the thing. I have a really hard time believing that my kids are so unique and special that they are the only kids on the planet who didn't follow the prescribed pattern. Which makes me wonder if the prescribed pattern is really that necessary at all.

Again, the systems might work great. Rocking, crawling, all that stuff seems (apparently) to help people. Honestly, I don't really care what you're doing for physical activity if it makes you feel better and it works for you. You do you, as the kids say.

But I'm not sold on the idea that everyone should move the same way, or that we all start out doing so. My own kids cannot be the only exception to the rule. There's no way.

Which, yeah, makes me a little suspicious of the origins of these claims, and of the stuff that's being sold to the general public. As I often am.

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