Most of us are off balance and don’t realize how much. Many of us have movement dysfunctions and postural distortions from years of repetitive movement. We spend hours each day in front of a computer, seated at a desk, or behind the wheel of a truck or car. We don’t have enough of what’s termed ‘multi-directional, multi-velocity movement patterns.’ When muscles, and the tissues connecting them, are held in the same positions, and perform the same movements repeatedly, they often develop collagen adhesions between the multiple layers of muscle and connective tissues, and this reduces elasticity, which can lead to injury. As with a client of mine who is pretty strong and has adapted to his lifestyle well, we can develop muscular imbalance. He has strong front arms and well-developed muscles in the chest, (though very tight, from pushing and hunching over a desk and not stretching properly over years), while having weakness in the pulling muscles located in the rear shoulder and back. We very often develop imbalances due to lifestyle adaption. Imbalances can lead to pain (in his case, back and shoulder) and increase our chances to become injured. I’m glad to say my client is working hard to correct his imbalance and is making amazing progress! He’s experienced enough to know change doesn’t happen overnight. Just as the imbalance didn’t develop overnight; it was years in the making.
To find balance in your workout, you need to know the basics of human movement and progressive overload. There is an efficient manner in which to execute the five basic movement patterns, which are: squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling and rotating. Once these are learned correctly, it’s important to develop the ability to move in all directions with varying loads (increasing loads very gradually, to minimize the risk of injury). Developing the ability to control the acceleration and deceleration of force, while moving in multiple directions is a great way to develop overall bodily strength and balance. That’s how our bodies are meant to move; in many directions.
Not only is it important to develop strength in the muscles, which leads to stronger bones, but it’s important, as well, to work to improve the health and function of the various energy systems. This is code for ‘cardio’ exercise. When we walk or run, or just move about more quickly than usual, our bodies tap into energy to fuel the movement. This is true for all types of movement. Specifically, when we add a higher intensity movement to our workout, or an intense interval, we demand more of our bodies than usual. Our bodies struggle to produce the energy needed for the activity. Over time, our bodies adapt to the demands by figuring out how to more quickly tap into stored up fuel (fat), to give the needed energy for the movement. As I’ve said, keep doing what you’re doing, and, in time, your body will respond. It can’t help but to do so. Your body may resist for a while, but if you continue to push yourself and explore your limits, you will nudge your limits and your body will adapt and change in the process.
Move your body, but move it safely and well. Find balance in your workout. Find the balance in yourself.
Sally Windham is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor in Blanco, TX. Please send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org