Read the Book, “The Thinking Body” by Mabel Todd

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By Sal | August 4, 2010

Originally published in 1929, the book “The Thinking Body, A Study of the Balancing Forces of Dynamic Man,” by Mabel Elsworth Todd reads like a breath of fresh air.

Todd says it best in the Preface written in 1937, “Mechanical balance is provided for in the organism, else it could not have survived its primary encounter with gravity, momentum and inertia, as they were met upon from the water…Relaxation is the crying need of our age, but what it is and how to attain it are still unanswered questions.  This text presents the fact that bodily balance in accord with the principles of mechanics is a poignant means for conservation of nervous energy.”

In the 295 Todd lays out the plan for true functional training, which can also be called “purposeful training,” and does a better job of clarifying the need to perform the majority of exercise while in the standing position than the vast majority of the modern day, so-called fitness gurus.  After reading this book you should have a better understanding of the what Core Training really is, and understand the value of ground-based, compound movements.

Todd tells us, “The human being is a composite of balanced forces,” and supports this statement by describing in great detail just how our bodies are built and how they meant to move.  The skeleton works in concert with the dynamic mechanisms – the muscles, ligaments, fascia – and she tells us how their intricate distributions produce movement. With this road map, fitness development and athletic development coaches (formerly known as personal trainers and strength coaches!) will be able to develop better workouts and – if they are very creative – effective exercise variations.

After reading “The Thinking Body,” you will have a more discerning eye – a more critical eye – when determining the exercises that you will use in your training sessions.  The book is full of revelations, too many to mention here, and after all I want you to buy the book and read it yourself.  But did you ever think about why people have such a hard time standing still, both kids and adults?  Did you know that standing “at attention,” with chest held high, is actually not good posture? How do you feel about deep breathing?

These and other interesting and vital issues are discussed at great length in the book, a book that I highly recommend that you all read.  Check it out here.

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