Imagine it’s Monday afternoon around 4 p.m. and you’ve been stuck at your desk for the past eight hours. Once again, your day hasn’t gone as planned. You planned to exercise today. You may even have brought your workout clothes with you to duck into the gym on your lunch break, but a long-winded conference call and an impromptu concept session with your boss kept you working straight through.
Your energy is low because you’re running on fumes, your always-achy back and shoulders hurt from sitting all day, and the truth is, you weren’t all that jazzed to train in the first place because you know you’ll just be doing the same tired activities you’ve been doing sporadically for what feels like forever. You’ve been spinning your wheels, and it’s reflected in the way you look and feel.
You’ve noticed that days like this have become more the rule than the exception to it, and you feel an overwhelming desire to break out of your rut, to bust out from behind your desk. You’re desperate to look and feel better…but HOW?
My name is JVB, and some version of this story has been recounted to me by literally hundreds of people the first time they walk through the door of our gym, the Movement Minneapolis. Some have never picked up a weight or exercised (on purpose) before, while others used to be college-level athletes. Most fall somewhere in between. Regardless of their background, many of them — and very probably you, too — have one or more of these things in common:
My heart goes out to these people, because I know how easy it is to get caught up in the familiar and stick with what you know, even when it’s grown stale. That was me once, a long time ago. (But more on that in a little bit.)
Our bodies are constructed of layers of muscle surrounding the axis of our spines, and because of that structure, we have the ability to bend, rotate, reach, and roll.
Our bodies have the potential to lunge and jump, to brace against force and to drive against it, as well.
If reading this is triggering a bodily memory that’s making you antsy to get up and GO, I’m not surprised. Except in cases where extenuating circumstances apply, this is how most of us moved about as children.
But somewhere along the way, most of us stopped moving in all the ways we can. This doesn’t apply only to those who are sedentary. Even those of us who do belong to a health club (in America, that’s 52.9 million people, according to recent research) tend to perform the exact same movements nearly every time we go.
Unfortunately, both ends of the spectrum—too little exercise OR too much of the same old thing—can lead to pain in the back, hips, shoulders, elbows, and so on. (In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, about 80 percent of adults experience low-back pain at some point in their lifetimes! That pain is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed workdays.)
Most programs include plenty of exercises that are performed in what’s called the sagittal plane, where you move or bend forward and backward, but they are sorely lacking in the frontal plane (where you move from side to side) or the transverse plane (where you rotate or resist rotation). They’re also lacking in exercises where you are called upon to move quickly and explosively. Since the body operates on the principle of “use it or lose it,” that’s exactly what happens: You don’t feel safe or prepared to perform any kind of movement. (Don’t worry, you can get it back!)
If, on the other hand, you increase your strength by performing exercises where you move in a myriad of ways, you will cement a foundation of strength that cannot be shattered when confronted with everyday challenges such as:
Listen, life ain’t always pretty and the weights we handle… Read more…