Would you rather?
Put in hard work in the gym - experiencing hard work, heavy, burning muscles, soreness, etc
experience pain in your body from say weakness, poor posture, or injury that comes with inactivity and immobility?
Your body WANTS to keep you safe, well, healthy. It wants to keep you in balance. If it’s not working well, is not in it’s normal state it WILL adapt.
This law of adaptability and balance works for calorie balance and metabolism, but that’s for another blog in the future.
For today we’re talking about exercise.
When it comes to exercise - specifically movement, posture, and muscle balance it works the same. If something is weak the body will adapt.
Adaptations may be using other muscles to carry on the load or changing a movement pattern. Visually, you can see this when someone has an overdeveloped muscle or body part, or their form is poor (signaling a muscular imbalance and weakness).
Situations like these lead to acute injury (tearing or pulling something suddenly), or chronic injury (overuse and slowly progressing), and PAIN whether it’s a full blown injury or simply a mild ache that’s ‘always there’ or ‘off and on’.
Funny, well actually frustrating thing about this is often times when there’s pain we steer away from exercise, movement, or mobility. (Now this would be necessary if we had a serious break, tear, or acute injury)
BUT for weakness/imbalance/over(under)use issues creating pain the worst thing we can do is completely avoid exercise and movement.
There are a couple of things you should and can be doing to steer you in the right direction. Away from pain and further injury and toward an optimally functioning stronger body.
1) Posture. Correct it! Good posture, while sitting standing and moving is critical! Posture is happening throughout the day, not just in the gym. So if we’re hunched over a desk or computer you’re teaching your body to hang out in poor body positions and this is creating tightness in some areas and weakness in others. Stop that NOW! Consciously paying attention to your posture will do wonders. Plus, it adds to your daily Movement and NEAT! (A TOTAL win when Movement is at the bottom of the pyramid when we’re talking about the 4Ms of Metabolism and Fat Loss!). If you often forget about your posture you can start with simply learning to engage your core - abdominals section specifically the transverse abdominals and pelvic floor - as part of your workout session. Set reminders during your day to check in and reengage your core. (I won’t force or suggest this to you, but as a gymnast in order to remember to keep your midsection engaged there were some clubs that had gymnasts wear a fitted elastic band around their waist, the feeling triggered a reminder. We also had coaches constantly reminding us to stand tall and not let our belly’s stuck out! This goes WAY farther than looks and aesthetics - it’s about wellness and strength and fitness!). Some areas it’s easy to have poor posture include sitting in a car, sitting and working at a desk or computer, exercising and lifting without being aware and focused on form and the rest of the body, performing movements during your day where you’re lifting, reaching, or moving something heavy awkward or different than typical. There’s a LOT you CAN do to make it a habit to have good posture and movement. For example, a walking desk, standing at a higher desk versus sitting, or sitting on a stability ball or unstable surface.
2) Release and lengthen right muscles and body parts. Likely if you’re overstrong or understong in an area you’re going to be tight somewhere in the same general area (those muscles are on overdrive to hold you in place, it’s no wonder you feel achy!). So, a combination of regular massage, self-myofacial release (trigger point, foam rolling, stick, etc), and stretching. Some daily or more, some weekly or monthly. A looser muscle allows other ones - the CORRECT ones - to fire and work better. WIN!!!
3) For a period of time stop training and performing exercises where you have poor form or where you’re overusing the wrong muscles.
4) Instead, DO strengthen the body parts that are weak. Building up these weak areas will correct imbalance and help you stand, sit and move better and pain FREE. You may be able to train other stronger muscles and those that are overdeveloped but with less intensity and volume. Doing this for a period of time - phase - then slowly building back into a well-rounded Program is the idea and goal here.
5) Keep moving! Movement is soooo important to feeling your best, living well, thinking and performing. Find ways to living an active or mobile life. Walking or biking places. Commuting without motor vehicles. Finding hobbies and leisure or recreational activities you enjoy that require movement. Taking breaks during your day at work. Standing to take phone calls. Stretching in between tasks. Doing burst exercise - 1 minute all our effort of a single exercise - a few times during your day... get creative, adventurous, have fun!
In the end, taking care of your body means making sure you are living and moving optimally. Aesthetically, it can be easy and encouraging to only work the muscles you see and want to look better. But this will not create a balanced well body visually or physically.
I haven’t provided any specific exercises here as they would create a much longer post.
However, I have some seminars coming up that will go into specific exercises and protocols for upper body, lower body, and low back issues and we will hit these points then!
Please reach out for the dates and details of these seminars!
If you’d like even more individualized guidance, or help sooner I’m happy to work with you one on one to develop a program phase for you!