If you watch animals stretch, you will see they work the whole body, not isolated muscles. So should we!Elle X
Hey all. Quick fire questions … have you ever seen a dog stretch just its hamstring? A horse do a lunge? A cat stretch only its traps? Or a rabbit do a bicep curl?
No No No.
Why? Because they don’t work isolated muscles. They work the whole body. Very often you may see you dog arch its back then go into the very appropriately named downward dog. Notice in one move it’s opening joints and stretching muscles and in the other move it is doing completely the opposite to those joints and muscles by closing and contracting them.
Not designed for isolation
The body is just not designed to work in isolated muscles or groups. I was reminded of this the other day when I had a rather honed and toned client come in who absolutely looked the part. He looked like he could lift anything.
Maybe he could as a one off, but when it comes to functionality he just couldn’t cut it. He told me how he had helped his builder friend at work for a couple of days, he mentioned how much he had struggled.
He said his body was so exhausted by the end, he couldn’t wait to get back to his normal office job. He also commented on how the friend didn’t even seem to break a sweat and was half the size of him and didn’t work out at the gym like he did.
The builder friend’s body had functionally adapted to the work. Every joint and muscle worked in a systematic flow to the job that was required. The muscles and joints all had their place and time within the job required. No muscle was bigger or smaller than the other, they were balanced and working in harmony. This balance made the work feel effortless.
My client’s body was not used to working in flow rather in opposing muscle groups and in isolation. This is all well and good for a bicep curl, but realistically, how many of those do you do in a normal day’s work?
Stretching for everyday life
The above all applies when getting clients out of pain. How many times have you been given exercises by a health professional to strengthen the glutes, load up the quads or stretch the hamstrings?
How has this worked for you? Have you found the pain goes away short term but comes back? The pain remains the same or the pain moves to another area of your body? The answer I often hear is yes to all of the above. This, again, is because the body in everyday life does not work this way.
You as a whole
At MoveWell you will always be looked at as a whole. We will work to balance the timings of your body through functional moves that are inherent to the gait pattern (the way we walk). We may look at one area but this will always be integrated back into the body. This way your body knows how that change has happened.
Because the moves are never into pain the body allows change to happen faster and quicker.
To finish up – if you have been given isolated exercises by your health professional, start questioning them why. Use the analogy of the dog stretching. Push them to grow and for them to question the way they work. They may never have thought about it before and this might be their break through. Questions encourage a person to grow.
Until next time …
Knowledge is absolutely power but only when ACTION is taken