Guest Post: 'Is your Body on the Right Path?' by David Jackson

Your body tells the story of the choices and decisions you have made; it's a reflection of the journey you've been on. And though the origins of that journey are important, it’s equally important to know where you’re going, and ultimately hoping to end up.

By using the example of myself, I hope to demonstrate how your body’s journey doesn’t necessarily stay on a single path, but can deviate as a result of constructions and encounters along the way. These alterations aren't necessarily a negative thing though. Sometimes, choosing a new direction can help us reassess our true end goal, and potentially reach it even sooner.

The Starting Point

Physically, my body reflects two stories; there remains a number of injuries resulting from a long career in rugby, as well as the more recent physical developments from the calisthenics training I’ve since adopted. But why did I transition from professional rugby into calisthenics?

Well ultimately, this decision derived from a forced retirement, having sustained a head injury during a routine Nottingham Rugby training session, which put me out of any training for nearly six months.

Once recovered, though I couldn’t return to sport, I continued lifting weights in the gym, utilising the same sessions and exercises I previously used whilst training as a professional rugby player. However, that training had previously had a purpose - an end point; the game at the weekend. I needed to be a certain shape for stability, a certain level of fitness for endurance, and a certain degree of agility to manoeuvre around the field. This was my weekly focus, but now that I was retired, why exactly was I continuing to train in this particular way?

The Journey

Training had become stale without a purpose. So thank God I met Tim when I did, before I became completely demotivated. He introduced me to a new form of training; my destination needed to change, and so I needed to pursue a new path - my calisthenics journey had begun!

The challenge that calisthenics brings in mastering and controlling your body, in being able to complete movements or positional holds (such as a reverse lever or human flagpole) provided the challenge I was looking for. For me, it's now a personal endeavour to constantly improve myself, whether that’s the ease with which I perform a particular shape, or the length of time for which I hold it. And suffice to say, I'm addicted to that challenge! I'm the oldest I've ever been (it might surprise you to know!), and yet in the best shape of my life thanks to this newfound form of motivation.


What is Calisthenics

As Tim explained in his own calisthenics based article, ‘EatClean, Train Clean,’ it's what many people describe as the most natural form of training. And he's right. Having to position and align your whole body in certain positions, and have the ability to create the necessary tension to hold that position, such as my favourite; the human flag, means there is no hiding place. It requires the correct alignment of joints and optimal muscle synergies.

The End Goal

Calisthenics has not only challenged me in terms of strength, control and balance, but also in correcting the postural and joint alignment of my battered body, from having played over 300 championship games for Nottingham Rugby.

Not only can I control my body more efficiently now, but I also better understand it, as a result of this natural form of training.

So what story does your body tell, and is it time for a new chapter; a new direction?

Calisthenics was the deviation my body needed, and it could definitely work for you, too. If you want to get started with your own calisthenics journey, then keep an eye out for training tips and blogs from both me and Tim through Be An Athlete, and why not check out the series of calisthenics workshops we're running in Nottingham - see our official facebook page for details.

About Jacko:

David Jackson is a former professional rugby player, whose training moved towards calisthenics after he was forced to retire from rugby due to a head injury. He is now a Director at oneathlete, where he provides strength and conditioning, and performance mindset support to athletes. David is a Be An Athlete Ambassador.
w: Twitter & Instagram: @JackoHumanFlag

About Tim:

Tim is a professional strength and conditioning coach, working with elite Paralympic athletes, and is part of Team GB for the 2016 Games in Rio. He has coached athletes to medal success at European, Commonwealth, World and Paralympic competitions and is a Be An Athlete Ambassador.

w: Twitter & Instagram: @TimVsGravity


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