Does Your Fitness Routine Need More Functional Training?
Holistic Functional Training vs. Traditional Isolated Training Methods
“Understanding and being in harmony with yourself opens the gate to higher levels of self-awareness and contentment.” Ricky Warren brings this mentality to life with his gym Bodyweight Gurus. Ricky’s coaching style is based on form, precision, and alignment. He uses knowledge of human biomechanics to ensure maximum performance and adapts his programs to include physiotherapy and rehabilitation techniques.
About Bodyweight Gurus
Parvati Magazine: What inspired you to start Bodyweight Gurus? What does the name mean?
Ricky Warren: In Sanskrit, the word Guru means “that which dispels the dark”—so someone who provides enlightenment on a subject. I started the school to share the knowledge I’ve picked up over twenty-five years of personal experience and dedicated research/study in the performance and detailed workings of the human being. I feel that working to connect fully with one’s own body is an integral part of a happy life.
PMAG: Bodyweight Gurus unites yoga, calisthenics, Olympic-style weightlifting, and martial arts. What are the benefits of this combination?
RW: These are all functional training methods focused on skill, mobility, flexibility, strength, and power. The combination of these sports and arts covers all areas needed for a healthy and empowered physical system.
A Functional Training Approach
PMAG: What is functional training and why do you emphasize it?
RW: Functional training is any type of preparation for the body intended to increase performance of certain skills or biomechanical functions used by the person.
PW: How has your degree in biology affected the way you train yourself and your clients?
RW: It has given me a solid understanding of not just human anatomy and biomechanics from a cellular level upward, but also a deep insight into how everything in the universe is connected through the larger biological/physical ecosystem—how those things communicate with each other, understand each other, and behave as a result.
Holistic Fitness vs. Isolation
PMAG: What is the holistic approach to fitness?
RW: The holistic approach to fitness is to acknowledge the body as a uniform being – to not look at it as individual bones and muscles, but as a machine which works as a unit. It is also a vessel for the spirit, or energy body. An example is how stress is created and transferred across the body in many ways – it is referred to other areas when one area becomes imbalanced or overused. Through our teachings we aim to bring the body into equilibrium and ease, by working on everything from strength and conditioning, rehabilitations of injuries, to release and healing of the tension stored from stress and trauma.
PMAG: You use the words “form, precision, and alignment” to describe your coaching style. What does that mean in practice?
RW: Without correct knowledge of technique or progression, you find yourself guessing. Guesswork is never the smart option, and can often set you back further than studying under someone who has been through those mistakes and made it to the other side. Guesswork or unsafe training causes imbalances and injuries over time – it’s imperative to have a good understanding of how the body was designed to move more efficiently before deciding how the body should achieve the task.
Ricky Warren is a qualified sports coach and joint-mobility specialist accredited to coach across the UK, EU, and the US. He founded and runs Bodyweight Gurus, a leading school in calisthenics, yoga, and movement based in London, England. When not teaching, Ricky works on projects and media productions with brands such as Adidas and Reebok.