The classes, workshops and private instruction presented by Form is Function are results based. The descriptions detail the goals, purpose and impact of the session. A list of activities, equipment used or body parts supposedly “worked” as description can be worse than useless. It can distract from the only important aspect of the class: the result.
Circuits & Ladders – These are ways of arranging physical training in order to challenge the mind and body to adapt to change. In circuits we change exercises rapidly, and also circle back around to give the student many chances to improve in the session. Ladders are progressive changes in volume or intensity, while doing an exercise. Weight ladders are changes in the weight of an implement, rep ladders are changes in the repetition count of successive sets of exercise. Beginners are given thorough training in technique and form at each station of circuits or “rung” of the ladders, before they are allowed to move on. These sessions will surprise you in how much exercise gets done in a short time.
Russian Kettlebell Lifting in the Park – Form is Function ran this class four years in the warm months. Now we return to the beautiful and atmospheric Pioneer Park in Nevada City. Our equipment choices are limited to what we can transport into the park for each class. That is why the class is named for our main implement. The good news is; with a small pile of kettlebells we built athletes of epic abilities. This time the course will be even better: safer, faster and more dramatic in results. Running from 2 April to 1 November, these classes change lives. Over the summer we will also teach unique Soviet/Russian calisthenics and flexibility training. We will also bring in occasional “guest” equipment: extra heavy kettlebells, barbells, dragging sleds, Indian clubs, Western wands and more.
The Seven Pillars of Movement Wisdom – 7 Pillars is perhaps more fluid and changeable than simple, rigid programs like Easy Strength or Walking Through Walls. The 7 Pillars are: Alignment, Awareness, Timing, Tension, Relaxation, Breath, Gaze & Emotion. Yep that’s eight. These are different from the original course, and we may change them again in order to serve our students more effectively. 7 Pillars starts with basic exercises and is adjusted each session according to the goals, needs, limitations and progress of the students. 7 Pillars is comparable to the very conceptual, Destruction of Illusions course. Every class addresses to some degree all 7 pillars. We do not practice variety for entertainment. Students finish this course with substantial increase in full body strength and improvement in all athletic qualities. They have a clear awareness of their own physical competence and confidence.
Easy Strength – Form is Function has operated this course, with constant improvements, since 2012. ES is based on material of the same name developed by world class strength coaches Dan John and Pavel Tsatsouline. In this program we practice the five basic human movements: hip hinge, squat, push, pull, and gait. We also do slow and fast lifts. The exercises, the set and rep schemes, even the length of rest periods, when to lift and when to rest, are precisely laid out for the student. People who like to turn off their front brain and train entirely in the athletic body love this course. Those who are used to the frenetic, awkward stumbling of typical exercise classes at more mainstream facilities may feel in unfamiliar territory at Easy Strength. Those people will also be shocked at how fast they make unexpected breakthroughs in all athletic qualities in short order at ES. The course is ideal for beginners. It focuses on building a basic foundation of strength. The inclusion of 100 to 200 repetitions of kettlebell fast lifts, performed in high intensity interval, provides sufficient speed practice and heart and lung challenge for maximally healthy and well rounded exercise. We do Easy Strength in group classes twice a year for a couple months.
Peaceful Warrior Conditioning – This class is designed specifically to support the practice of Aikido, and other martial arts. Strength, speed, balance, mobility & flexibility, stance, breath, heart & lung capacity and injury-proofing are all addressed to create a foundation which makes Aikido safer and easier to learn. PWC improves the satbility of our student’s knees and resilience of shoulders, places where Aikido practitioners tend to collect injuries. The energy expenditure profile of the class also prepares students to attend Aikido classes immediately after. The students go to their Aikido energized, not exhausted. The course is designed with steady input from Sensei Frank Bloksberg and other high ranking Aikido instructors since 2011. You do not have to be an Aikido practitioner to attend.
Training for the Strength Sports – TSS is a session set aside for Form is Function athletes competing in the strength sports. These are, Strongman and Strongwoman sport, Scottish Highland Games, Circus strongman, powerlifters and others. We have had snowboard racers, actors, dancers, cage fighters and other martial artists as well. All are welcome to train with us. Realize you will be doing whatever our athletes are doing that night.
Curvy Girl Athletics – This course will soon be offered to our women only. The instructors will be Form is Function female staff. It focuses on the physical ability and well being of women. CGA is a natural evolution at FIF, moving the “fitness” conversation further away from a narrow, appearance centered or weight loss narrative, to a focus on true health and useful physical ability. It is a safe space where women support each other speaking and working very frankly, on the physical issues that concern them, without the distraction of male dominated cultural bias. CGA supports all the varied athletic ambitions of women and girls, professional, amateur and recreational. We do this by providing top, proven world class instruction in sport specific strength and conditioning, injury prevention, mental and emotional aspects of competition, nutritional support and more. CGA is not about weight loss, it is not about “fat and fit.” It is about avoiding pitfalls on the modern American “fitness” landscape, and about building a better physical life.
Physical Literacy – Physical Literacy is a term used often by my teachers Ron Jones and Gray Cook. I doubt if the idea originated with either of them. I will bet physicians in the ancient world were discussing physical literacy five or six thousand years ago. PL is a foundation of the indispensable basics. Being able to do a correct push-up is physical literacy. At least seeing a correct push-up is an important step in the process. Being able to control your own body in basic tasks is physical literacy. In this class we make sure people can do the things they should be able to do. Students who are very adept and athletic are given progressively more challenging drills.
Total Bad Ass – TBA was developed when I allowed a group of skilled and motivated students to do as many hip hinge pattern type exercises as they wanted followed by as many squatting pattern movements as they wanted in class. My job was to insure correct alignment, technique and intensity. I would fill in the remaining time with whatever exercise I thought the students needed in the moment to complete their practice of health and athleticism. People became very strong, powerful and resilient in every way. The students were mostly women who knew each other well and used to call each other “Bad Ass” as a high compliment. That was years ago. We run the course today as originally designed.
Gorilla Strength – This program often follows immediately after Walking Through Walls. GS is an excellent companion to WTW as it moves that centered, foundational, ground based strength out to the limbs, hands and feet. Gorilla Strength has more range of movement, more variety in speed, movement and stance. A substantial portion of GS is performed with the feet off the ground. Students who complete WTW and GS in sequence tend to have a level and range of strength and power very few people have seen or understand.
MQE: Movement Quality Evaluation – MQE is not a class, it is a process conducted by chief instructor Eric Kenyon. In the class schedule you will see certain classes are preceded by the initials “MQE” and the instructor is listed as “EK.” These classes may be a preferred choice for beginners who have injury issues, or concerns about learning something new. The MQE classes are also a good check point for advanced students who may have sophisticated questions about their own ability and understanding of class material.
Walking Through Walls – is a term I first heard from coach Steve Helmecki. It is a kind of implacable or unstoppable physical power, centered on broad foundation. I picture students who complete this program as supremely strong in all basic human movement and posture, and supremely confident in that strength. The program is simple, the choices are few, the weights are heavy. There is little attention paid to endurance, muscle mass or other extraneous qualities. It is a program to be followed for a limited time, 2 or 3 months. WTW builds a superb, broad and solid foundation for the successful execution of more sophisticated athletic objectives.
Destruction of Illusions – This course destroys illusions. For instance: the illusion that some people just can not or will not be strong, powerful and athletic. Another illusion we destroy is the common belief that effective exercise must be complex or sophisticated. The delusion that high performance athletics are predicated on high injury risk is also shattered. Students progress swiftly in all basic athletic qualities: strength speed, power, stamina, heart and lung capacity, and in all basic human movements.
Strength Farm – This session is named for the local farmers who come to this class seasonally. Some of our work is designed as antidote to the compensations that hard working farmers develop. Other parts of Strength Farm develop directly the high level of full body strength/endurance needed by the farmers every work day.
Exercise and Mother Russia – Designed especially for the new and expectant mothers at The Nest. This session has been jointly taught by two instructors: Amy Zuhlke and chief instructor Eric Kenyon, both parents of young children. The aim of Mother Russia is to make the lives of new parents easier by teaching correct lifting, better body alignment, and better decision making concerning exercise and physical health.