Slow the *Bleep* Down
When was the last time you held a plank and thought about the activation of your glutes or holding your pelvis in the right position? Better yet, have you ever focused solely on expanding and contracting your rib cage while breathing efficiently in a plank position? What about how the position of your hands relates to the stability in your shoulder? Or are your planks as simple as holding yourself up in a push up position with your hands and feet on the floor and who cares about the position your in?
Fitness - real, long-term, sustainable fitness - consists of many things. Two of the most important things I can think of are intensity and position. The balance between these two is the key to staying injury free and getting lean and healthy, not just for today but long term. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the competition or the music or your coach pushing you. I get it! However, if you don’t slow down once in a while and take time to be mindful of how your body is moving and what is out of place or not moving correctly, then your movement practice goes from something that is rewarding and effective to a patchwork of random tweaks and injuries that you’re always trying to keep up with.
Slowing down will require you to take some intentional time to dig, learn, and think about what deficiencies you have and how to correct them. Some of you might have to work with an expert, a trainer, or physical therapist to help you understand what is missing and how to begin the process of fixing it. This doesn’t mean you have to stop all intensity. It just means that you should take time before, after, and during training to manage your position. Our bodies can buffer movement dysfunction until we can no longer manage more movement dysfunction. There’s a reason why your knee, hip, back, or hamstring hurts. Unless you were hit by a truck or have some kind of pathological disease in your knee, then it’s most likely the dysfunctional movement patterns you have. Be intentional with doing corrective activities that can help ensure that injury does not occur.
I don’t know about you, but at my age I don’t bounce back as fast from injury anymore. And while I would love to add 20 more pounds to my back squat and take 30 more seconds off my mile time trial, I am happier if I can continue to train with intensity and not get injured. The only way I can do this is to continue to be mindful of the way I move and give it time and attention as I continue to tweak, practice, and work at my deficiencies in movement.
What do you do to assess and correct your movement?