Play is an important part of human physical development, throughout our entire lifespan. Within the modern fitness industry, play is almost always confused with fun, or enjoyment. While these are still important factors, in nature, play refers to the rehearsal of specific techniques for real life contexts. Cats and dogs will regulatory engage in ‘play’ fighting, as do small children. In fact, every species on the planet engages in playful activity. The only species that doesn’t exhibit this naturally and voluntarily are adult humans. This is why we created the EVO playground – a space in every club that offers a sanctuary to explore, practice and refine movement skill.
As young children, play is primarily driven by bodyweight movement, as we learned to stabilize, manipulate and coordinate our bodies through space. This holds true in the EVO playground – a bodyweight dominant training space. Traditionally, outdoor playgrounds appeal to us because they offer simple, achievable and empowering physical options, e.g. swinging, climbing, hanging upside down, jumping, hopping, and general monkeying around! Out of this came the concept of having a training rig or frame that allows us to reconnect with our inner child.
What’s more interesting is that the design of the play space is key to long term engagement. Environments that are simple, accessible, spacious, colourful and non-intimidating result in not only higher engagement long term, but higher initial engagement. This is observed in playgrounds all over the world – where adults will often spontaneously engage with their children in climbing, hanging and swinging. At EVO frame design is a serious consideration, as we look for unique ways to capture the outdoor proprioceptively-enriched environment, and bring it to every club.
Remember, curiosity and imagination are key ingredients to playful movement. Next time you train, imagine you are 4 years old, and look for different ways you can use the frame. For a moment, forget sets, reps and times. Whether you just want to hang from the bars, swing across the monkey bars, hang upside down on the trapeze bar, or play hopscotch on the floor markings – engage your body and mind in something new, something playful.
Do you already know our article about Improving power for Volleyball?