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Polykinetics; The SELF Method

 Michelle L Vargas

Est. 2014

PolykineticsThe multidisciplinary approach to converting mental stress into a physical power.

The effects of how physical fitness and exercise improves our overall mental health and mood has been the focus of COUNTLESS studies over the course of decades, and the evidence is indisputable. However, even with all the medical studies and evidence gathered, there's never been a physical fitness method exclusively designed to help combat symptoms associated with various mental illnesses and disorders like: depression, anxiety, PTSD, SAD, mood imbalances and maladaptive behaviors, until now.

 

Polykinetics, at first visual glance, looks to be far to simple to be effective for most to benefit from, but as many quickly learn, the kinetic sequences become more and more challenging and the effects of your efforts penetrate far beneath the surface, targeting internal pains and unnecessary mental anguish that can cause major disruptions and health-related hardships in your life and distress in the lives around you.

 

Remember, this is not a "loss weight, feel great" approach or an attempt to forget painful past memories.  This is a technique that actively converts emotional energy into a physical energy.

 

Just as Einstein said, "Energy cannot be created, nor destroyed.  It can only be changed from one form to another.", and that's exactly what Polykinetics does.  

 

After experiencing Polykinetics, you'll never look at painful experiences, distressing memories or getting physically fit the same again ever again.  With proper practice, you'll build up physical strength and an empowering mental resilience that can help protect against the physical and mental stress of life's hardships we all face as humans.

How does Polykinetics work?

Polykinetics consists of three main components that are strategically interrelated: moves (physiology), music (neurology) and mentality (psychology);---And these three elements are harmoniously synchronized in such a way that it allows you to reap maximum benefits, physically and mentally, at the same time, in HALF the time. Sessions can be done completely in private or with a group of your pals, it's all up to you and how you are feeling at the beginning of the session. 

 

When practiced properly, you'll experience what is known as a kinetic meditation.  This is a meditative state you would expect to experience when doing conventional meditation (sitting still with legs crossed), however, kinetic meditation is achieved while the body is in a constant and rhythmic motion. Nothing new, just not well known to most people.  By doing this, you're adding all the health-related benefits of traditional meditation, only performed with a modern day twist.  

To really see Polykinetics for what it is and what it is capable of doing, we must take a look at each branch of science used individually and how they're applied within this revolutionary fitness method.

The exercise moves are mixed combinations and intervals of coordinated and controlled body-weight exercise segments known as "kinetic sequences". Most of the exercises I know and trust are inspired by my martial arts background---one of the few physical activities that require both cardiovascular and anaerobic conditioning in order to be effective. Only no martial arts moves being taught here, only the fundamental basics of those exercises are used in Polykinetics.

 

Each kinetic sequence contains both, aerobic (cardio) AND anaerobic (strength training/muscle toning) exercise elements performed concurrently. This is perfect for those who have limited time from day to day. The moves are then utilized in a technique called "repetitive micro-pulsation", A form of deep internal motion oscillation that allows the rhythm of the body to be synchronized to the beat and tempo of the music being used---ultimately, resulting in an increase of neurological activity, as well as, bringing balance to the circadian rhythm of the brain.

 

These rhythmic micro-pulsation maneuvers also allows the muscles to "warm up" quickly and safely without wasting limited energy or time doing a separate 10-minute warm-up workout.  In Polykinetics, these elements are built directly into each and every workout since a lack of energy is usually the first predominate physical symptom people experience with the onset of a mental illness or disorder. This way, Polykinetics utilizes exercises performed in a specific way so that your body actually generates energy instead of exhausting it.  Most participants report feeling "energized" after a single 20-minute session. 

Introducing: The Polykinetics vertical core crunch and bilateral forward punch exercises.

Polykinetics also utilizes two rarely known exercises that are particularly...unique. These two exercise moves are known as the "vertical core crunch" (VCC) and the "bilateral forward punch" (BFP); and when these two unique moves are coordinated together, it allows you to incorporate all three major areas of the body: upper body (diaphragm to the top of your head), core (diaphragm to the hips) and lower body (hips to your feet) at the same time.

 

The VCC is also frequently called the "base" move since it is the most frequently used exercise movement within the entire Polykinetics method; simply due to the belief that the most important area of the physical body (not including the brain) is in fact the core---therefore---the core area of the body is continuously used within each and every kinetic sequence.  This is by far one of my favorite exercises personally for the sake that I am able to work the entire core from a standing position and without tugging and pulling on the back of my neck in unnatural ways; an unfortunate commonality and redundant risk to take with conventional on-the-floor core crunch exercises. 

 

How do you do a VCC exercise?   

The VCC is executed from a standing position with feet typically at shoulder-width apart. By turning the dynamics of the crunch exercise from horizontal to vertical you're now getting a 360-degree range of potential motion which allows for several different sub-variations (VCC 1, VCC 2, etc) to the original in order to target certain areas or to increase the overall intensity of the workout. 

The base VCC (VCC 1) is as simple to do as breathing in and out.  Participants lift up on the upper body (similar to taking in a deep breath of air), pulling the shoulder blades together, and then while exhaling, drops the upper body down onto the upper core muscles closest to the diaphragm.  Since this is also where your stomach organ is, the VCC will cause building muscles to push back inward gently against the stomach, creating an all natural appetite suppressor.

 

Furthermore, when the VCC is done properly, and over time, will also act as a natural decongestant due to the force of air being pushed out of the lungs.  Many participants (especially those who smoke) reported a decrease of phlegm in their chest and improvement in overall breathing within weeks of continuous use of the VCC exercise.

Other variations of the VCC exercise include either leaning slightly backwards or forwards, side to side contractions, and various positions of the arms which can greatly alter the intensity or focus point of the workout. For example, if  you extend your arms out in front of you, placing one hand on top of the other (think of your arms making a letter "V") and push in a forward motion as you do the VCC exercise, it will GREATLY increase the difficulty of that exercise. Same if you place your arms straight out to your sides, hold them above your head, or in any other position, it will intensify the effects of the vertical core crunch, all without ever missing a single beat!

How do you do a BFP exercise?

The bilateral forward punch is much more basic, yet just as vital as the VCC. It has the ability to work the arms, shoulders, upper and middle back, neck, and chest simultaneously in a simple back and forth (oscillating) motion. Just like the VCC, the BFP is typically done from a standing position (although you absolutely can do this from a sitting position too!) with arms bent at a 90-degree angle while the hands are tightly together in a fist (think of holding onto a cup by a handle) By doing this, instructors are able to gauge the "strength" of your bilateral coordination between the left and right cerebral hemispheres of your brain and insure they are communicating effectively.

 

Variations of this exercise all depends whether you're keeping your fists parallel to the ground or punching at an upward angle, or downward angle---both of which intensifies the effects of the vertical core crunch when used in tandem.

Other basic body-weight exercises used within Polykinetics:

  • Forward-facing right angle leg lifts

  • Side to side leg lifts.

  • Mid-stance squats

  • Static/tension holds

  • Various arm exercises with or without the use of dumbbells (optional)

And many more!

Polykinetics also uses intensity indicators (J1-J3) during sessions to help push you during a sequence.

J1 - minimal applied intensity - This is used mostly to help "warm up" or "cool down" the body during sequences in order to prevent hyperventilation or risk of injury.

J2 - moderate intensity

J3 - full intensity - Full effort, give it all you've got!

The intensity indicators will normally follow the flow of which ever song is being used, but at others, instructors can use these to throw in some surprise twists into a workout to keep both bodies and brains continuously engaged and challenged throughout the entire workout. This also helps to prevent the common problem of plateauing.  Due to no two songs being identical, 

The best part about the Polykinetics method is that you can infuse the technique into ANY exercise of your choice, not just the ones chosen for kinetic sequences. They key is to ditch the counting and let the intensity of the music lead your efforts. All you have to do is keep your movements consistent with the beat of which ever music you're using and you'll feel a very different kind of physical workout each time.

Moves: The physiology of Polykinetics

Sequences are designed to target various physical aspects, such as: endurance, flexibility, body balance, agility, mobility, general focus, general motor coordination, memory, response time, cognition and clarity!

Music: The neurology of Polykinetics

"Music therapy is a flexible treatment modality, able to promote wellness, facilitate symptom management, and improve the quality of life of those with mental illnesses." Data suggest that music therapy intervention results in clinical improvement in individuals with a range of mental health needs, and these benefits are seen among individuals with varying diagnoses, ages, and ethnicity. The data also suggest that music therapy is cost effective, has little adverse effects, and is well received by those with mental illnesses." 

-Lori F.Gooding PhD, MT-BC (2018)

 

The melodic aspect within Polykinetics does much more than simply provide enjoyment during workouts.  It is a secondary instructor to every workout and is responsible for invoking and regulating various aspects within sessions. Most importantly, music is proven to stimulate and increase activity in several key areas of the brain, not to mention, a universal medium between all living things regardless of preferred style.  Harvard University calls this "intense melodic training".

Polykinetics works with virtually any music genre and virtually any song you choose to use. Just stay aware that slower songs can be just as challenging as faster ones which is indicated by a song's beats per minutes (bpm)

---Just as our hearts have a bpm, so does music.  Coincidence?

As most know, how we perceive ourselves and of the world, greatly weighs in on our state-of-mind on a daily basis. This is not your typical, "Go team go! or "just think happy thoughts" kind of lip-service. No, In Polykinetics, the applied strategies are used to identify potential struggles, as well as, promote clarity and wellness in all forms: physically, mentally, and emotionally.  This area is also where you will face some potentially difficult internal feelings and/or thoughts. Various different types of psychology are used within this method to invoke emotional or physical responses during sessions.  Some times they are pleasant and fun, others, not so much.  Just as it is in life.

 

We ALL have a spectrum of mental health as we do physical health and these two areas of health are strongly interrelated, but we often focus so critically on the physical that we neglect our mental, which can have devastating effects. Therefore, Polykinetics works to align your life to be in a "dualistic balance" between physical and mental, your positives and negatives or strengths and weaknesses. 

 

Our #1 goal with Polykinetics is to educate the importance of BOTH areas of health, instill critical life-optimizing universal perspectives which are vital to our overall quality of life.  Furthermore, we strive to inspire a completely new perspective on utilizing fitness as a healthy, adaptive personal growth outlet for mental health related struggles.   Polykinetics instills various mental disciplines that will help you reach your highest potential by removing fear and doubt and replacing them with determination and strength. --The true mental mentality of a survivor.

 

Mentality: The psychology of Polykinetics