Allow this in to the back of your mind when you train and it will never steer you wrong.
If you have it at the heart of your ethos…the body will tell you where you need to go and what it is that you need to do.
99% of all of the fitness progs I’ve ever seen or read…completely skip and overt the basics and/or fundamentals of the human body.
They miss out the necessities needed to be able to move properly for a specific…unique…individual structure.
It’s all about six packs…secrets and sexiness…I don’t see a basis to maintain longevity…homeostasis and balance…while continuously progressing.
Most people in this day and age…deep down…if they are honest…get in to fitness so they can “lose weight”…or change their physique…due to the psychological pressures placed upon society from the conventions we are expected to adhere to.
It’s about looking a certain way…Only a small amount go out…off their own back to seek the health benefits rather than making it purely about aesthetics.
It’s usually when it becomes last chance saloon that forces the majority of people to have to go out and seek the health benefits…when it’s gone too far…this is what I have seen and experienced on a daily basis for many years. (Again this is NOT to say that there aren’t people solely looking for the health benefits without a care for aesthetics)
My friends…trust me when I say this…If you logically “balance” your nutrition …cut out the booze…drink more water…learn a little bit about your body…and aim to move with more alignment and efficiency than you do now…then you will see a massive change in the way you look and feel.
If you are looking to “lose weight” and increase health…you don’t need to be smashing your body every waking moment of the day…and that even applies if you are looking to build a muscular “sculpted physique” as they say.
If you have done the above and feel you have got no results…then it’s time to look ourselves in the eye…in the mirror…and come to one of three conclusions.
1. You didn’t do it right (which is nothing to be ashamed of…took me years to start getting it right)
2. You’re lying to me and yourself
3. You have an undiagnosed pathology that needs to be medically assessed.
It doesn’t matter about what level or what stage you are at…your experience…or fitness levels.
It matters about which exercises you should…or shouldn’t be doing.
I’m going to take and elaborate on point number one.
Don’t listen to the majority of these watered down glossed up Facebook and Instagram heroes…these personalities selling you a dream and a shit load of products to make it come true.
Listen…to yourself…your own body…stop believing when you are told that things are the definitive absolute best or worst for everybody.
Stop believing squats are the best legs exercise…dead lift the best back exercise…bench press the best chest exercise…press ups don’t build muscles…6-8 reps for this 10-12 for that.
Stop believing that this marketed method of training is the best…or that marketed method is better…and listen…to…your body.
Not one person is the same…not one size fits all…and what you should be doing is going to differ from what I should be doing.
I see fit and healthy people on a daily basis where it’s structurally bad enough for their ankle…knee and pelvic joints…that they have to walk…sit down and stand up on…let alone squat.
So…you would never want to get them to actually squat…you would want to pattern them to…be able to squat…properly and efficiently…and if not possible…in some instances…you would then want to pattern them to be able to perform the necessary functional movements for life…as safely as possible for their structure.(sit down…stand up…and walk etc)
The skill in training…is not walking around with big muscles…that’s why steroid use is so crazily rife…the skill lies in understanding where to follow the body…and it will always guide you.
All exercise is always to do with length to tension relationship and ratio. There can’t be a definitive exercise or training method because of this.
Looking at things basically…If you have short or dysfunctional hamstrings for example…then this can have an inhibitory effect on the opposing quads…affecting length and tension harmony…which in turn creates a global shift across the structure…because things simply aren’t being held up and together correctly.
Muscles across the chain have become too short…and too long in compensation…which alters movement and firing patterns.
If you take this example of the hamstrings then…put simply…if they become too short or “tight”…or if certain areas become too congested with no room for glide…there are repercussions at where the muscle originates and inserts…and with it’s overall functionality…contractility and motor control.
As the muscles originate and inserts at other vital points of your body (knee/pelvic area) it will have to create compensated movement pattern.
If the hamstrings have shortened…the quads will be in some way inhibited and lengthen to adapt to the imbalance.
This again has an impact on the pelvis and knee which creates individual movement patterns…affecting functional alignment and control.
It’s not quuuite as simple as that though…that’s a straight forward example so you get the idea of it without having to add in all the areas of compensation and deviation and their person specific patterns.
You cannot be “fixed” without being assessed…and you can’t begin to strengthen a weak or elongated muscle without first addressing the short muscles that are affecting or inhibiting it.
Its not a case of stretching stretching stretching…it’s a case of lengthening the right muscles that are stuck…and strengthening the ones that are weak or too long…while still maintaining that healthy balance between the length and tension relationship of your musculoskeletal system.
If you go stretching a muscle that’s too long you risk damage and further compensation or structural instability.
So if you add again say…a squat to the equation…or add a barbell…on your back…the question I ask…is why are you loading that imbalance?
It’s not ideal to be walking/moving on your joints with dysfunction let alone loading it.
That’s why I say listen to your body.
I’ve had many people say things to me like”ahhh well blah blah broke a world squat record with tight hamstrings…blah blah broke a deadlift record with a strained lower back” and I say…yeah…I can believe it…because your dysfunction can develop into your strength…I’m not saying they can’t.
What I am saying is that in the end something goes if you don’t address the issues.
It might be next week…it might be in 20 years but when it goes…it will bring a level of physical/mental pain and debilitation that will make you question your endeavours over and over again until they become regrets.
Rather than question later…question now.
Some people will have tight hamstrings…and not be able to get in to the squat…some people will have tight hamstrings…compensate…and be able to get in to a “squat” …some people…will use the force of the weight on their back to drop them in to the exercise…but no matter anybodies argument…it’s still unaligned…which leads to further postural deviations when living normal life(sitting/walking/breathing)
Next time you feel a short muscle…remember its changed the alignment of different things across your body…which may mean certain exercises will be of detriment unless you focus on realignment to be able to safely get into the position.
Don’t allow anybody to tell you…YOU NEED…to do this exercise…it’s never as simple as that.
Focus on an agonist muscle…and see what its antagonist is saying back to you…follow it all round your body!