What if...? Limits and Play

Published 3. September 2012.

Voluntary limits are one of my favorite ways to keep training fresh and to come up with new ideas.

But why would you choose to limit your options in the first place? Everyone loves having choices. Having even more choices then could only be a good thing, right? Nope. When you have tons of options it can be difficult to choose what to do. Indecision is a great way to let that lazy part of your mind take over and think, "well, since you don't know what you want to do...why don't we just stay in this comfy seat right here instead?" Putting limits (rules if you prefer) in place narrows down your options and makes it easier to make a choice. In other words it removes the excuse of "but I don't know what to do!" You know what's really awesome about this entire concept? Limits can also be used to take a space devoid of compelling options, and turn it into a something better. Will it compare to the best training spaces? Nah, but it can still turn a bland space into a good one.

Turn sidewalks into something more interesting
Bland sidewalk, meet suddenly awesome sidewalk.

The easiest way to do this is to set rules for how you can navigate an area. The option I hope hope hope everyone is familiar with is the "floor is lava" game. One hell (hah?) of a way to inject some context and difficulty into any situation. In my last post I was using that during some parts of the video. What are some other simple limitations/rules to try?

  • What can you do without one hand? One foot? How about no hands or no feet?
  • What about using the same move twice? Or make it only usable a second time when linked to another.
  • Stay on all fours the entire time. I love this one, but it can be super tiring. You've been warned. ;)
  • Choose one route, but traverse it different ways each time.
  • Pick a movement and play with different combinations. Make it more complicated by turning it into a sequence that you add onto gradually. Every place will have its own unique options you can try too, and that list is definitely not exhaustive either. I just find myself asking the question "what if I could only do this?" often when I'm training and that leads to all sorts of interesting situations. If you let yourself be creative and don't dismiss ideas because they seem silly, absurd, or even impossible then you will discover all sorts of things. It's all about having fun and enjoying the process, don't worry about trying to discover something amazing; if it happens it will; if not, then you still learned something.