the joy of strength training


November 15th, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Review: Brutal Recess DVD

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Bodytribe Fitness kettlebells, clubs and barbells

Brutal Recess is the new DVD from Bodytribe Fitness, makers and purveyors of the excellent Strength Rituals DVD which I reviewed in 2009.

The focus of Brutal Recess is mobility, not as a separate topic or something that is tacked onto the end of training, but mobility as something that can be incorporated into training, with playfulness and intensity.

Like Strength Rituals we see workouts filmed in unusual outdoor locations (burpees in a lake, yoga on a bridge) and in workshops where folks are trying out these movements in real time to Bodytribe founder Chip Conrad’s instruction. This is kinda fun as you can play along too.

There is some really interesting and innovative movement here. I particularly enjoyed Bodytribe trainer Tav Bayerhoff’s burpee variations (watch the clip on youtube!) but there is also yoga-influenced movement, martial arts-inspired rolling, clubs and macebells, tires and bands, stairs, walls and water.

A segment on self myofascial release (using foam roller, medicine ball and lacrosse ball) is also useful stuff.

Interspersed with the workouts are Chip’s explications of his brutal recess concept and general approach to health and strength. What makes Chip’s approach different from your average fitness guru is that he always brings it back to ‘why’. Why do we want to be strong, why do we want to be mobile? How do we benefit, how does the community benefit?

I know all too well from working in a gym that most of the people who walk in the door don’t really know why they are there, and that personal trainers or coaches are reluctant to explore these topics. I think the Bodytribe approach gives trainers a framework for talking about these bigger issues, as well as giving individuals or at-home trainees some great tools and techniques.

Brutal recess (and for those who don’t speak American, it’s ‘recess’ in the ‘playtime’ sense of the word) is about putting us in touch with a simple, primal instinct; something that keeps us in the moment. I hesitate to use tree-hugging language such as ‘getting back in touch with our selves’ but that’s kind of what it is. Involving lots of cool toys and challenging movements, of course.

So Brutal Recess – which like Strength Rituals is a 2-DVD set – is available from the Bodytribe website here.

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