Flow is one of the three “rings” of the Circular Strength Training System. CST evolved from Scott Sonnon’s physical challenges and learning difficulties as a child. He developed CST to address the multitude of diverse learning styles, and to give access to Flow at any stage of physical challenge or impediment.
In his study and refinement of the system, he incorporated a significant library of science to create the system. Here you will receive a concise overview of these concepts, which will give you the ability to address the diverse and varied mental, emotional and physical obstacles which we may encounter on our road to unbinding flow in our fitness.
You may experience a flood of emotions when reintroducing flow into your fitness.When we return to the internal experience – without shame or judgment or prejudice – a great deal of inner restructuring will occur, simultaneous to the outer transformations.
When these physical responses take place, work within your skill level. Guide yourself through the Intuitive Training Principles. Keep moving but be mindful to keep your safety at the forefront of all your movement sequences.
Prepare yourself for what is to come and ensure you’re keeping good technique, minimizing discomfort and minding appropriate levels of exertion.The benefits of this system are as robust as they are many. Knowing what you will encounter will help you navigate it when you experience it; and understand will happen as an outcome.
Two Types of Forces: Driving and Restrictive
This point is rarely addressed in fitness systems.There are two types of forces which improve the health and performance of the human organism: the generation of driving forces – or power output; and the removal of restrictive forces – or decreasing drag.
The driving forces are like the accelerator on your car; and the restrictive forces are like the emergency brake. If you stomp on the accelerator without disengaging the emergency brake, you will have some sort of rapid part failure.
And yet, that is how many fitness systems train their members: to push harder and harder, without considering the many brakes that have engaged during their adaptation to increased power output, and increased life stressors.
All of your fitness efforts will yield more efficient results by removing the internal blockages, impediments and preconditions which stop, slow or injure your ability to safely apply force.
Flow explores all of the potential ranges of motion, by moving through each of the six degrees of freedom, so that as restrictive forces appear, you can disengage them, and maintain optimal flow.
Tabula Rasa: “Clean the Slate”
The first ring of Scott Sonnon’s Circular Strength Training® (CST) System – called “Intuitive Flow Restorative Mobility” – seeks to “clean the slate” by removing the restrictive forces which inhibit your ability to perform efficiently and healthily.
First, remove the problematic limitations to your physical movement in order to receive 100% of the benefits from the additional driving forces generated by the “fitness effect” of movement training. But always return to Tabula Rasa to remove the inevitable performance impediments which slowly begin to limit your performance health.
It is impossible to have perfect technique (a “10”), but even with very good technique (let’s say an “8”), you will still have accumulations of slightly imperfect technique (the 2s). If you don’t clean the slate of those minor deviations in perfect form, they eventually develop into aches, pains, twinges, tweaks, then injuries. So, we will always cycle back to Tabula Rasa, and investigate all six degrees of freedom to hunt down restrictions and restore flow to them.
Flow under Resistance: Adapting to Driving Forces
The ability to flow with external resistance demands you to move in the most efficient manner possible.Your brain actually adapts to make your effort easier by creating new neurological paths in your muscles and in your brain itself (called “plasticity.”) As CST builds from simple to compound to complex movements, and then back to the simple again, you will be able to hold optimal form with very good technique by downshifting to simple components when your form begins to deteriorate under stress (as opposed to the conventional approach of just banging out more repetitions regardless of how much your form has degenerated).
The ability to flow with internal resistance requires that you move in increasingly more complex and challenging patterns.This keeps your brain, and as a result your entire body, youthful and vibrant, since neuroscientists have proven that aging is a process of losing complexity.Therefore, adding complexity to your movement, reverses the aging process.
Physiological Differences of Flow:
The key to flow is moving and challenging the body dynamically, so we train whole bodily movement, not individual muscles.
What makes Flow so successful is its specifically designed format, beyond the confines of linear training protocols in conventional fitness approaches.
The unique inclusion of the Six Degrees of Freedom (6DOF) in Flow means you will connect your movements into the synchronous patterns we refer to as “flows.” You perform a flow through a continual chain of movement which allows you to tap into the integrated systems of your body: your neurological system, your endocrine system, and your immune system through your myofascial body.
The mental, emotional and physical euphoria associated with this phenomenon is called “flow-state.” The “kinetic chains” (movement sequences, or flows) were designed to stimulate the physiological mechanisms which release that state of optimal human experience.
What makes Flow so singularly successful in this goal is that every single exercise was specifically chosen, crafted and dissected for all fitness levels so that everyone – no matter where you are in your recovery and growth – can open and challenge your anatomical ranges, and thereby unlock this state of flow.
These aren’t fluffy, ephemeral concepts, but a “hard science” of the peak performance state, historically restricted to elite level sports competition. Due to Scott Sonnon’s background as a multiple time USA National Team Coach, coupled with his lessons learned from overcoming the hurdles of his physical and learning difficulties as a child, he developed a system founded upon the vetted and concrete sciences for everyone to access this phenomenon on a daily basis.
If you want unconventional results, you need an unorthodox approach. If you want integrated fitness of mind, body and spirit, then you need a program which was specifically and scientifically crafted to enable that integration. Flow involves an unorthodox, but integrated approach to fitness not merely for the body, but for the whole person.