Tag Archives: healing

Correcting some movement impairments


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.



Active Recovery

Recently, after a hard workout, I feel tired -and the next day I just feel beat up.  Tired. Sore. Hungry. Unmotivated.Classic signs that I might be overtraining.  An idea that seem so unlikely because I’ve worked out a lot harder before and been just fine.  I’m tracking my food and taking notes on that so see if maybe it’s my diet, but in the meantime I’m spending a lot more time in Active Recovery.

  • Active Recovery is using blood flow to remove lactic acid and other waste materials from muscles so that we can continue to exercise and heal.
  • Active Recovery is continuing an action or activity at a much lower rate after a hard exercise session or a long event (say running a half marathon).  It is the cool-down.
  • Active Recovery is repeating a workout a day or two later at a lower intensity and lower volume to assist in healing.

So there’s a lot to active recovery.  And, I’ll admit it, I haven’t been good about using this tool as well as I could .  But what does this all mean?

When I weight train, I often go fairly hard- working to get close to muscle exhaustion failure in the 3rd set or so.  If I were a good lifter, I would then take time between sets to actively recover- some dynamic stretches (easily swinging my arms or legs), some static stretches, walking around or easy jogging in place- something to encourage the blood pumping, reoxygenating the muscles, and clearing lactic acid from the muscles.

Yeah, I usually stand there breathless and sweaty, take a sip of water, and get ready for the next set.

Near the end of a training session, the ideal actions would be to do what are often called “finishing” exercises in the weight lifting schools: after working complex, large muscle groups – you move down to exercising the smaller muscles groups and supporting muscle systems.  The ideal reason to do this: keep the blood flowing at a lower rate so that it help in healing.  Move slower, and less intensely letting the body cool down slowly.  At the least, I could jump on a treadmill or elliptical and have a 10 minute or so go at some steady cardio.

Me?  I tend to go all out until I’m so tired that I drop my water bottle and cannot hold on to equipment.  Then I take a warm to cool shower to cool down.  (heads head in shame at admitting this.)

Two or three days later, I should return to a recovery workout.  This is a session using light weights and high reps to increase blood flow to the muscles while limiting micro-trauma to the muscles.  (If you are a baseball fan- this the “easy throwing day” that starting pitchers use between their starts).  A recovery workout could be a full-body workout or simply a few exercises added on to a complimentary workout.

Yeah.  This just doesn’t happen at all.

Because I’ve felt so beat up lately, I’m taking some time to work out this plan and seriously implement a plan of active recovery.