Saturday, August 13, 2016

So, Just How Are Your Muscles and Joints At This Particular Moment?

Before I begin a training session, I always ask the client, “So how are you today?” With newer clients, I sometimes have to clarify the question: “How are your muscles and joints today?” The usual answer from most clients is: “I feel fine.” My usual response is: “Well let’s see if I agree with you.”

Together we begin moving through some of our standard warm-up/assessment routines. We do some shoulder rotation. Together we notice that the right shoulder looks and feels a bit tight. We do some full body rotational movements. We notice that rotating both right and left looks and feels tight – not nearly the same range of motion that he typically has. We notice that rotating left looks and feels especially tight. The day is Thursday. We last trained the previous Monday. What happened since then?

Maybe he cleaned out the garage, doing an unusual amount of reaching, lifting and carrying in tight spaces, and with less than perfect body position. Maybe he drove four or five hours, under very tense driving conditions. Maybe he played tennis for the first time in many years, and didn’t take sufficient time to warm-up.

Or, maybe he did nothing special, other than waking up and going about his day. But going about one’s day can involve little bits of bad off-balance lifting, bad movement, bad posture, too much sitting, or too much mental or emotional stress, and possibly all of the above. And now he has walked into our training session with a different body than he had just a few days ago.

So, should we proceed with the workout that I prepared for today’s session?

Absolutely not!

Instead, let’s start undoing the damage. He and I have done this before. It will just require some slow, gentle, functional movement that will be as much about tapping into the brain and nervous system as it is about loosening up the muscles and joints. And then, maybe we can swing some heavy kettlebells.