Tag Archives: functional fitness

Correcting some movement impairments

http://youtu.be/0TXZX1_ILeA

I've been having a bunch of uncomfortable muscle pain recently: a tight spot mid-spine; some numbness still in my arms; and occasionally my hip flexors are SO over worked that standing up causes serious muscle spasms in my butt. Or my hip flexor along the front of my pelvis hurts so badly I don't want to sit or lie down with my legs bent.

I look a little bit like Frankenstein.

Remarkably, I took the course to learn all about this several years: NASM's Corrective Exercise Training course. Haven't used what I learned in a while, so I pulled out the book to put myself through the assessment.

It's not very complicated: photograph your regular standing posture, looking to see if everything is line. Then video overhead squats from the front, side and back to see how my body moves. I linked to a movement assessment I did a few years ago as an example. (pre-hip replacement).

The theory here is that because of likely injury or overuse, I developed poor (compensating) movement habits:

-spend a lot of time on computers, knitting, walking dogs… anything that requires the arms to be forward of the body will make the pecs tight and the latts lazy.

Stop doing the rehab exercises on the replacement hip and weaknesses set back in.

My Assessment:

STATIC POSTURE: My left shoulder and right hip are slightly high giving me a slightly wonky appearance. My back arches slightly and arms are falling slightly forward.

DYNAMIC POSTURE: My right leg moves out -my left leg does too only less. And my arms fall forward during the movement. My hips don't break when they should so my arms fall forward. From the back, there is a slight shift of my weight to the right.

WHAT THIS MEANS: The arms falling forward indicate tight pecs and underactive latts. The slight shift to the right means the muscles on the right side are compensating for weakness on the left.

Likely overactive muscles: The piriformis (left side), TFL/Glute Min on the left side, pecs. These muscles need slow steady foam rolling and probably some lacrosse ball work every day for about a month.

Underactive Muscles: Adductors, Hamstring, Glute Max, Anterior Tibialis, Erector Spinae, Lattimus Dorsi. These muscles need to be stretched and strengthened with a planned program about 5 times a week for the same month. Then the movement assessment repeated and compared to the assessment from today.

So I know what I'll be doing work-out wise for the next few weeks.

 

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Can We Talk Functional??

Talking with a friend about my workout philosophy I tried to explain that I’m about every day functional fitness.  It confused her, as I’d just bragged about Monday’s workout.

“What is there in your life that resembles deadlifting 120#?”

A LOT!  My bad-hipped dog Katy need picking up and lifting into the car.  Katy is about 65#- far short of that 120#- but she also wiggles and waggles as I lift her.  Also? grocery bags and laundry baskets and dog food bags, heavy cast-iron casseroles, bags of dirt.  While few of these things are the exact shape and weight as a barbell loaded with weight plates, they are all lifting.  And, because I can lift heavier weight, I CAN lift Katy up.  I can pick up friends’ kids who have fallen, and carry grocery bags from the car to the house without needing a nap afterward.  The heavy lifting makes the rest of my life easier.

That is the essence of functional fitness- exercises to make your day-to-day life easier.

Besides lifting heavy objects, I also make myself workout in controlled but unstable ways – working with stability balls and air cushions and 1/2 foam rolls.  I used to use the BOSU at the gym before it broke.

Do I like these workouts?  Not particularly.

Do I do these things well?  Nope

However, we’ve all read and heard the stories of people who’ve fallen and broken bones.  People whose injuries have made them alter their life forever; older folks who’ve died from a broken hip.  In many of these circumstances, the person didn’t know how to recover.  By training my body and mind in these “predictably unpredictable” situations I am training my brain and body to recover.  To fall without doing too much damage.  To catch myself and stay upright.

That too is functional fitness.

Some of the most “functional” exercises you can do?

1. deadlifts (you guessed this one already, right?)

2. lunges (work those glutes and the abductors/adductors/ obliques)

3. squats (strong glutes/hammies/quad and a different plane from lunges)

4. pushups. Your whole body working as one unit?  And getting yourself up off the ground?  Hello!

5. pullups.

6. step ups.  Yeah.  step on a bench and hold it.  Don’t fall or dip a hip or shoulder while stepping up.  Your whole body works this to get coordinated.

7. side shuffles. Balance, adductors, obliques.

8. Farmer’s carries.  Basically pick up something heavy and carry it.  Because we do this ALL THE TIME.

What physical (functional) challenges do you face every day?  And what exercises make it easier for you do these things?