I just finish seeing the new mixed martial arts movie “Never Back Down.” I was amazed with the functional fitness training in this movie. There isn’t anything new in this movie since it was a modern day version of “The Karate Kid” with “Rocky” like training yet the fight scene’s are more realistic and exciting then in the Karate Kid movies.
“Never Back Down” is the story of Jake Tyler, a tough kid who is the new kid in town moving to Orlando with his family who has relocated to support his younger brother’s attempt to become a professional tennis player. Just like in the Karate Kid and numerous other kung fu movies the bad guy’s girl friend falls for Jake. The bully Ryan fights him and humiliates him in a party in front of all his classmates. Jake then meets his mentor Jean Roqua who teaches him the philosophy of the martial arts as oppose to street fighting and begins training him. I don’t think that I need to tell you the rest or the end of the movie since you do not have to be a fortune teller to predict the rest of this story.
As a martial arts/fitness instructor and a Rocky and physical training in movies buff I truly enjoyed watching this movie. I could not believe my eyes yet this movies training was just like I the way that I train my martial arts students and the way that we train our fitness students in my XFT (Xtreme Functional Training) class. The movie focuses on interval training with kettlebells, medicine balls, plyometrics, gymnastics rings, flipping tires, punching heavy bags and focus mites. This type of training was identical to the workout that I filmed for Telemundo’s TV show “Protagonistas y Mas” in December 2006 before the premier of “Rocky Balboa.” At our martial arts fitness center you will see our students training in a functional way just like they worked out in this movie. This movie took this type of functional training deeper than any other movie has to date. Yet, this type of training isn’t new. It was the way that the cast of the 300 movie trained to get in shape for the movie.
Approximately 4 years ago in this column I predicted that this type of functional training would be the workout of the future. I wrote that the gym of the future would look more like the gym of the turn of the last century with room for plyometrics and calisthenics, with medicine balls, tires, kettlebells and rings. This type of workout builds functional strength and muscle for sports and martial arts.
Hollywood stars, UFC and mixed martial arts fighters have been working out this way for some time now. It has taken less time than I had expected for functional training to become main stream yet as I said 4 years ago what is old is new again in fitness training. So, if you want to workout like in the movie “Never Back Down” and look like the cast of “The 300” movie functional training is definitely for you.