Archive for October, 2010

Hip Twist from The Pain-Free Program

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

A non-technical explanation of the Hip Twist exercise for the person using The Pain-Free Program: A Proven Method to Relieve Back, Neck, Shoulder and Joint Pain

Are You Boring?

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Are you boring? You just might be. Let’s ask someone who would know you better than anyone else-your nervous system. You might be the life of the party or the class clown and at the same time be a complete movement dud.

We regularly have clients who come to see us who have been doing the same exercises for years. Sometimes these are strength exercises, sometimes it’s a form of cardiovascular exercise and sometimes it’s corrective or rehabilitative exercises.

For example, I had a 68 year old client whose back had been bothering him for 9 months before he came to see me. He was given floor exercises for his back by a chiropractor 8 months ago. The generic exercises helped a little at the beginning but provided no improvements for the last 7 and a half months even though this gentlemen did the exercises every morning for 8 months.

Why was he no longer getting any benefit from the exercises? Because his nervous system was bored to death. And even though this gentleman was not getting any value from the exercises, he had developed an almost emotional attachment to them. He didn’t want to give them up even though his body used up with little value they had a long time ago.

I often use the computer analogy when describing the human body to audiences. The hardware of the computer is our muscles, bones, joints, tendons and ligaments. Our software is our nervous system. What you see on your monitor (hardware) is the result of the software.

The human software becomes more effective and efficient with stimulation. What does that mean to you? It means breaking out of ruts and limitations and giving your body a chance to learn new and improved ways of doing things. This is why we reassess our clients every other week and change their exercise programs. A corrective exercise program must be adjusted more frequently than a traditional strength or cardio program so the body’s software can learn in “chunks” instead of being overwhelmed.

Imagine the world in which you live and move is a sphere. You stand in the middle of the sphere. If that sphere is only a little taller than you and a little wider than you, that is the extent of your movement adventure. Pretty boring.
human sphere
Doing the same exercise program for months or years keeps your movement sphere small. It doesn’t matter if those exercises are corrective, walking on the treadmill or the same strength training exercises (particularly on machines); your world has shrunk.

And what happens when you are suddenly forced to expand your sphere during a weekend tennis game or stumble when hiking? You get hurt.

The best way to prevent injury and avoid being a movement dud is to expand your sphere. You do this by gradually and strategically exposing yourself to movements that “feed” your software quality information. But you have to be careful that you don’t take on too much too soon. A strategic plan will be one that expands your sphere according to where your body needs it most AND without the risk of injury.

There are lots of ways to expand your sphere strategically. At Function First, we teach you to move right before we teach you to move more. We begin with quality over quantity. And then when your body is ready, we let you play with the “toys” we use in our studio to keep things novel, engaging and fun. Toys like the Core-Tex™, TRX, BOSU and kettle bells.

Do you need these to avoid being a movement dud? Absolutely not. But will they make the process fun? You better believe it. And it might even make you more interesting at your holiday parties.