Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stuart W., complete with 20-pound body armor and boots—the only athlete to complete his or her honorary workout as prescribed.

Congratulations Mark C., Terry M. and James H., for completing our Elements Workshop curriculum!

If you missed Stuart W.’s last day, please get it here. Stuart, in his post, wrote something insightful about his experience:

“My first 12 months at MPH were absolutely the most frustrating, and it was my fault. I dreaded when the coaches announced the scaled weights and movements for the group. I always felt I could do better! I don’t think it was an ego thing, but I felt the coaches were under-weighting me. I remember getting so frustrated—I felt determined to crush the workout to spite the coaches and their consistent under-weighted prescription. What I didn’t realize is that they gave me low weights because I showed sloppy form, which I later learned becomes quite painful at heavier weights. My focus to move as quickly as possible slowed my improvement in progressing (although it made me a faster athlete). Over time and with counsel from the coaches, I learned that better form reduced my risk of injury and improved my ability to lift heavier weight. If you are not getting weighted at a level you wish to be at, start by improving your form and flexibility.”

As your coaches, we want desperately for your success, from healthy, steady progress to your loftiest aspiration. No matter success’ definition, position and form are kings—in this way, perfect is always better than (just) good. To attain perfect position, you must have full range-of-motion at each joint, as well as the proprioceptive/neuromuscular/body awareness to move into that space and course-correct when necessary. For many, years of sitting at a desk, standing with poor posture, or even exercising improperly have created postural imbalances that literally push the body out of a neutral, no less optimal position. Additionally, prior injuries that have not been rehabilitated consistently or correctly also often cause secondary, compensatory concerns. In all, this creates immobility in the flexors of the hip, trunk and shoulder, and weakness in the extensor and stabilizer muscles.

How does this present in our environment, in the middle of a workout? As weakness and tightness, of course—difficulty maintaining a neutral spine, knee, hip and shoulder pain, or difficulty achieving the full overhead position, to name a few.

In order to correct this, you must make a legitimate commitment to change. The first step is to simply be aware of how you sit or stand. Hunched or broad shoulders? Neutral back or flexed, or overextended and weak position? Toes out or forward? Then, make an effort to stay hydrated (dry tissues are stiff tissues) and always do your homework. Finally, embrace our heightened focus not only on mobility, but also on stability and awareness in class. Think without ego—make perfect the unrestrained enemy of good.

Rest today.

–Melody, Rebekka and John