Chronic pain and limited athletic execution are Rubik's cubes waiting to be solved. Every body is different.
Issues felt by an elite baseball pitcher are not the same as an office-bound executive. Sitting for hours and pitching a 90mph fastball all year long hurt the body in a different way, yet both root in the repetition of the same motions without adequate compensation.
Our collective wisdom fails to highlight the impact of daily movement habits like sitting for hours and driving a car as a leading force behind the global health epidemic. People are wired think in calories spent and throw themselves in high-intensity workouts of all types to power the furnace. Most are too stressed for such sport and lack the proper mobility and strength to execute any physical activity. Injuries do not discriminate between weight lifting, jogging, yoga, or pick-up sports.
Exercise is not better than doing nothing when the former hurts you into the latter indefinitely. Basic foundations like a healthy relationship between the shoulders and the hips are crucial to withstand the physical demands of exercise on the body.
These joints are designed to function best when they are free of each other. The unfortunate marriage of the two is common amongst new students who see me for chronic pain or decreased athletic performance. A mismatched union of the sort, bound against their will by the turmoil of life and no divorce in sight. One is forced to follow when the other moves, and vice versa.
The students seen in the video below had varying athletic backgrounds, felt similar chronic back pain and averaged the same total sitting hours. Neither had the mobility and strength to sit comfortably in a deep squat position without getting stuck along the way or tipping over - red flag numero uno. Most of the pain subsided after mobilizing their hips free and strengthening the posterior chain of the lower body, but traces of an unwanted fusion between the joints remain.
Now, watch the trouble and compensation occurring at the neck when they lift the stick over their heads, on the left, and note the difference at the end of a shoulder/hip upkeep session on the right. Do you see the freedom?
The raised heels compensate for the remaining imbalances. The motion is impossible for them to execute otherwise. We came a long way since not being able to squat deep, but a tedious journey towards optimal performance remains ahead of us. Until then,
A good place to start can be to hold the deep squat bottom position for 30s upon awakening as demonstrated by our students below.
Post by Alex Bernier