A great deal is made of the human capacity for endurance running, with the take away being that doing lots of endurance running is best way to be a healthy human. While endurance running and walking was certainly an important movement adaption in human evolution as eloquently argued in Daniel Liebermans the story of the human body , that does not mean that running is the sina qua non of human movement adaptions. Outside of hot arid flat lands our running capacities are far outstripped by animals like wolves which can trot at steady 5-10 MPH over for a hundred miles over terrain humans have trouble keeping on ATV’s in.
The human movement adaption in general is about our versatility and adaptability, we are slow compared to most large mammals and weak, not nearly as agile as felines and primates but as the videos featured on this blog show we are capable of incredible movement diversity and complexity perhaps more so then any other animal.
If we were too look for single movement capacity that has really helped define human success running would have to compete with throwing. We are not the animal kingdoms best endurance runners outside of specific environments. But we are its best throwers no other animal can throw with the power and accuracy of human being, and no other mammal relies on ballistic weaponry for as it primary means of hunting and defense from predators.
One could argue that throwing spears turned humans from slow weak, cow toothed scavengers into the worlds top predator.
Unfortunately throwing is not a big part of most non sport training, because most training now happens in gyms and heaving javelins, shot puts and kettlebells around your average planet fitness would probably earn you a lunk alarm in addition to being destructive and dangerous.
This is too bad throwing is vital physical skill and one of the best means of developing power and hand eye coordination. When we lift a heavy weight we have decelerate before the end of the range of motion of an exercise, when we throw we get to accelerate through the entire range of motion making it a more powerful power stimulus, and of course few things are as satisfying as good catch or accurate throw.
My challenge to you go train outside and practice some throwing.
For inspiration check out these awesome old polish weight lifting video from 1960 featuring the weight lifting team practicing throwingwatch the whole video for an amazing view into an overall approach to physical development.
Kettlebells and medicine balls are great tools for training throws, the use of the kettlebell for throws was a major part of the soviet training system that has not been picked up with the popularity of kettlebells in the west unfortunately.
But rocks and logs work great too. You can just go to a beach skip some stones to work on coordination and skill then grab some large drift wood logs and caber toss them for power development.
Have fun with it but be careful make sure your throwing path is clear and warm up well if have not been throwing regularly because of the possible power generated throwing can be very stressful to our physical structure, ease yourself into the practice.