Joseph Sakoda – aka Da Rulk – has made it his mission to help real-life superheroes, like first responders and members of the military, perform at their best in critical jobs. He also helps the fictional ones in the form of none other than Chris Hemsworth, who swears by Da Rulk’s functional movements to maintain mobility, even when he’s bulking.
“My dad was a police officer, so it has a special place in my heart when I train them,” he says. Rulk explains that training first responders is a matter of adapting functional training to suit their work, but that same ‘adaptability’ is what makes functional training perfect for pretty much everyone, emergency personnel or not.
“That same adaptability can be applied to someone who’s just starting out, who’s never worked out before,” he says. “Or someone who used to be an ex-athlete and now has injuries, and now we have to modify accordingly. The ability to adapt is very, very important.”
With a background in kinesiology and biomechanics, the celebrity trainer is the founder of bodyweight movement curriculum Raw Functional Training (RFT®): a revolutionary approach to movement that is designed to improve mobility, increase functional strength and ensure all of the body’s systems are operating at the highest level of efficiency.
Here, he breaks down exactly what it is.
What is Raw Functional Training?
Rulk: Raw Functional Training (RFT®). It is a curriculum I designed that utilizes body weight movements to improve mobility and increase functional strength.
What does it involve?
It uses sequences of body movements to enhance core stability, joint mobility and overall function strength and conditioning. It is perfect for all fitness levels and all ages because it uses your own body weight to simulate common body movements at maximum efficiency. You will often find people who are doing Raw Functional Training crawling on all fours, like a bear or baby. This is because crawling is a fundamental movement pattern. Babies crawl to get strong enough to sit up, sit up to stand, stand to walk.
What are the other benefits?
The benefits of RFT® are endless. It significantly improves movement patterns, coordination, mobility, agility, and balance. It increases muscle strength, particularly in the core, aerobic and cardio capacity, it helps to prevent injuries and helps to keep joints active and mobile. Mental strength is also a huge benefit of Raw Functional Training.
How effective is it?
It gives you a better understanding of your body and what it is capable of doing. You become more in tune and responsive to the way you feel, and at the same time you will build muscle strength and have your body moving more efficiently.
Who have you trained?
Rulk: In the U.S, I work with a lot of first responders, Elite Military, Fire Fighters, Law Enforcement and Ocean Safety agencies, Olympic gold medallists, MMA fighters, pro athletes and many Hollywood celebrities including Australia’s own Chris Hemsworth.
My passion however lies with the first responders and elite military and fire fighters. While they are very fit, when they attend critical call outs, they often find it difficult to perform at their peak. They are often exhausted as they aren’t executing the skills they have been taught. Raw Functional Training is a huge asset to them as it builds on their sensory processing. How they process new information in different environments is crucial to what they do. By using the techniques taught by me, their bodies become adapted to moving in different patterns. They commence adjusting to situations they are not accustomed with which is crucial in their line of work. When they enter an unknown situation, it is important they know how to manage their adrenal system so they perform at a higher level.
Raw functional training: sample workout
1. Modified side gorillas x 40 seconds
Rest 20 seconds
2. Modified hostages x 40 seconds
Rest 20 seconds
3. Forward to reverse crawl x 40 seconds
Rest 20 seconds
x 3 rounds
x 3 reps per round