Who taught you how to move? For most of us, nobody. We learned to crawl, walk, run, jump, pick up our favorite toy, and throw a ball almost entirely via our own trial and error. We would watch as a task is completed, and try to mimic this as closely as possible. We have followed this same pattern all our lives when learning a new skill.
Our bodies are unbelievably powerful compensators. They consistently adapt to suit the needs of our environment and help us to get the job done (whether that be in an effective manner, or not). Each person will adapt their body in a different way to achieve similar tasks, and this is why coaching movement can be so difficult at times. Some of ya’ll move WEIRD.
You have moved that way your entire life, and it has served you just fine… Until the knee pain, or back spasms, or “arthritis”, etc. At this point your body has compensated for too long and is now telling you that it is tired. Do your body a favor, re-learn how to move properly.
One common example of poor movement mechanics surfaces frequently as pain in the shoulder. We see this nearly every day. An ache that has been there for years, a “clunky” noise, or a stab that has surfaced recently and is obliterating your golf game. Often these shoulder issues stem back to poor posture! Your Mom told you, Grandma warned you, and now you’re suffering for it. The world we live in is routine movement in front of our body. Computers, phones, driving, lounge chairs, golf, etc. all round us forward. How many daily tasks force you to stand upright with your shoulders back and your palms opened forward? Not many.
Try this movement right now. Find some floor space and lay down flat on your chest (if you’re in a coffee shop, then I DARE YOU!) Now place your palms flat on the floor approximately a foot from each ear. Your arms and head should form a type of W. Finally, pull your shoulder blades together and lift your knuckles to the ceiling, elbows should lift off the floor. Keep your eyes to the floor and focus on not allowing an arch in your low back. Hold this position for 30 sec. If your shoulders aren’t burning by the end of 30 sec, then coffee is on me! Now roll onto your back and try the same movement holding your elbows and knuckles off the ground with palms facing the ceiling. Much easier right?
What this is intended to demonstrate is the immense imbalance we have between our anterior and posterior chains. Now of course, our body is designed to perform tasks in front of us (other than wiping I suppose…) However, the age we now live in forces us forward far more often, which leads to weakness and instability, which eventually leads to pain.
It is important to understand that we are living in an age that compromises movement. As a result, the majority of us never learn how to move properly. Unfortunately, our body does not come with an owners manual. It is up to us to educate ourselves on ideal movement mechanics, optimized nutrition, and efficient lifestyle changes that will set us up to live our best lives possible. Let us be the educators that can show you how to start that process.