What Has Working Out Become?

I see a lot of people at the gym, working on their squats, pushups, bench presses, etc. For the most part that’s all I see people doing. Isolated exercises and the scheduled group classes. But even with the group classes, if you break down their exercises, it’s the same type of workout, just with different cadence and frequency: squats, pushups, lifts, and side to side movements.

It wasn’t until I became a trainer 5 years ago that I started to realize that these exercises made up the majority of most people’s activities.

Disclaimer, I’m not bashing on exercise. I’m glad that people are in the gym and working out. My question is: Is that it?

I remember in Phys Ed and even in my martial arts classes we would start the sessions with exercising the prime muscles using primal and functional movements, squats pushes, lifts, etc. That was warm up until we’d get to the skill portion, wether it be a sport, dodge ball, or in martial arts, sparring or form drills.

The point being is that those same exercises back then were to compliment and improve a greater physical skill set.

Fast forward current observations.

A few days ago, I saw someone working on their lunge squats. I ran into them a few moments prior in the locker room, nimbly picking up their bag and shoving it into an overhead locker, walking over the benches to get to the washroom, overall, fairly nimble with good movement. I see them on the floor and their doing individual lunge squats, pursed lips, eyes concentrated, and slowly coming down, and up. One. Rep. At. A. Time. With. Determined. Delicacy.

The point of it is, it looked as if squats were a new skill set they were trying to master. A skill-set that defined what a workout was.

I’m being too harsh maybe. But here’s my question: Have we as a society become so static in our day to day, that our work out sessions become more rehabilitative than functional? Have we made our physical movement library to a mere collection of squats and lunges? Or are we just more focused now on aesthetics vs functionality? And if the latter, to what purpose do we see our bodies serving?

Would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.


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