Monday, June 20, 2011

Neolithic Deficiency

One of the side effects of being a fitness coach is that when looking at a human, I notice things I never used to.  What I notice these days - aside from how many people don't seem to know how or what to eat and are therefore either obese, or just 'heavy', or skinny but sick - is how many of us don't have any awareness of, or strength in, our hips and our backs. 

When you climb a flight of stairs, what muscles feel fatigue in the effort?  If you sit, stand or walk, where are your shoulders in relationship to an imaginary line rising through the center of your torso? 
A Fitness Coach is a person aspiring to be expert in;
-how humans exert force
-how to help humans exert more force with less effort (aka "how to move well")
-how to develop a comprehensive training approach that enables training adaptation in strength, speed, endurance, stamina, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy, by definition maximizing fitness
Watching a movie last night, it was apparent that the leading man was very attentive to his appearance - why not?  He was apparently taking good care of himself based on his ability to look like a movie star.  But it was also apparent that his phyisical training was all about the appearance side of the body, not the performance side.  That is to say, he had body builder pecs and abs, but neolithic-chair-sitting man's back and hips.  His shoulders were rounded (shoulders pulled forward to tight pecs, and ignored upper back muscles).  The minimal hip function was like most every person over college age (and many under college age) that we see -the hips appear to generate very little force as the person with the diminished hip function will do all of their 'work' with their quads, which have smaller levers and less force generating capacity.  In other words, the quad dominant human works harder to create the same force, and becomes force limited sooner.  Generally, quad dominance accompanies hamstring and glute deficiency, and often spinal erector deficiency.  Wrap up the whole package - suboptimal hip function, weak back muscles from the hips to the shoulders - and you get folks who have pain in their knees, backs, shoulders and necks.  When and if they exercise - jogging, cyling, swimming, sport, or just yard work - they face increased risk of injury. 

Everything is growth or death, and I know of no exception.  And this is why you care.  You don't have to be that guy/gal with the stooped, rounded shoulders, shuffling along trying to take it easy on your knees/back, wondering why they call that post-retirement life "the golden years." 

What to do to remain physically vibrant as you age - that is the question. 

Dance?  Heck yes.  Swim?  Of course.  Ride a bike and jog and play around on a eliptical trainer?  Those things are a good start, but if you've lost your hip function and the strength in your torso, these activities will not repair those deficiencies.

Do what you were built for - run, climb, pick up heavy stuff, move it around, throw things, jump and play physical games.  Think you are too old for that stuff?  Tell that to these ladies (60+ female contenders for the CrossFit Games Open): 
Or this gent:

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