I know some people who like to watch TV or otherwise distract themselves with just about everything they do. They go through the motions, but they are not applying consciousness to the effort at hand.
Exercising like that will not develop the deep skill. But what I’m going to talk about, movement-based training, will. Take a movement like the military press (pressing a weight from shoulder to overhead) and concentrate just on the movement. You will learn some things that go well beyond the description of moving a weight from shoulder height to an overhead position.
You can consider your arm position, you can consider your foot position, your chest position, how tightly you hold the weight… You can find the optimal position for your body to press a weight overhead. Your press will evolve over time and you may discover the most efficient way to press a weight for your particular body type. No one can tell you this, it is learned over years—that’s the deep skill.
You may be wondering, who cares? Well, the press works a lot of muscles, so by training the movement, and becoming more efficient at it, you’re learning how to contract more and more of your muscles. Then you start contracting those really small muscles and get that defined look that is all the rage according to all the cover models I’ve been seeing.
You’ll look better. You also avoid that “what exercise should I do?” question. You’ll do the press, dammit, and you’ll like it. The single arm press is one of the coolest exercises you can do. Who doesn’t want defined shoulders and arms?
I’m a minimalist. I don’t see the point in wasting time and effort in exercising. I have a specific purpose. I want to maintain a reasonable degree of strength and I like my muscles to look defined and healthy. It helps to look the part when you talk fitness and exercise.
I also like the idea that I’m given a body that I can figure out how to use more effectively. I like the idea of moving more weight while using less energy. I think that makes sense. Learning my body deeply.
The deeper I learn my body, the less I need to stimulate those muscles to maintain my edge. I think very hard about how lazy I can possibly be.