First & foremost, athletic movement is about human movement.
How you move.
I’m often saying to clients in my sessions – its not about achieving the end range of the move, its what you use to get there..Im not impressed that you can do 10 reps in side kick kneeling, for example, if your shoulder is hiked up, your hips aren’t level, your bottom knee is wonky and your toes are curled up.
You are compensating to achieve those reps. You are cheating.
Its not about doing loads of sit ups, leg lifts, rotations, side bends, planks, push ups.
Its what you use to get you there
Its what form you have, from beginning to end.
Its what you use to flex and extend.
Its how you move, not how you look that defines an athlete.
Sound movement practice cannot be achieved with limited flexibility, poor stability and mobility.
Limited ankle mobility means a more mobile knee – which creates instability in a hinge joint that wants stability, if its too mobile because the ankles are lacking mobility, the knee will tell you about it.
Instability in the shoulder and /or wrist can lead to pain in the elbow. Too much texting, overworked flexed muscles in the fingers, tight pec minor, weaker rotator cuffs, tighter elevator scapula, weakened rhomboids. Do you know which is which and whats going on in your system?
Your body is sensitive to input.
Tight & weak muscles change the input, the sensory system has to adapt, creating changes in your kinetic chain, all the way up the system.
This creates pain, fatigue, bad form, dysfunction, stress.
Mel Collie ” Which exercises help improve your memory?
Memory, cravings and mobility can all be helped by doing exercises that help certain areas of the brain respond & grow.
The eyes and ears and spine are connected via track in the brain, connected by neurons that control eye motion, the balance system and spine musculature.
If the brain doesn’t perceive the spine to be mobile, or stable, it will NEVER, allow the full potential range or contractile motion to be realised from your limbs.
Engage your brain and it will reward you with better muscle facilitation, range of motion, balance and movement performance.
I give clients rapid eye movement for homework to do, they are a function of the front cortex of the brain, the CEO if you like, the boss.
I believe that skill work is lacking from traditional approaches to exercise.
The more complex the movement, the more your brain loves it, plus, the more focused your attention as you perform the moves, the better overall result.
When you eventually manage to perform the movement well, as you practice and practice and practice, you are rewarded with a sense of accomplishment, the hormone Dopamine, floods the system.
So, other than just exercising for body composition, which is all the rage right now (must have a flatter belly, must have a flatter belly…..), is it time to flip it and choose movement skills for a re enhanced brain function, more fun and engaging than punishing yourself on a treadmill for example.
Your brain requires feedback from all joints.
A simple movement like standing, lifting up one knee, the opposite elbow coming forward to touch, then change knees and elbows, so you cross over each time, when you have that nailed 10 reps, without falling to one side, add a walk forwards as you do the movement, then walk backwards doing the movement.
Then close your eyes 🙂
Cartwheels, forward rolls, handstands – kids movement we all did.. but sadly as adults, don’t do anymore, but they are all bone strengthening , all weight bearing, all fun to practice.
Improving attention improves mobility, staying focused as you exercise, enhances mobility.
Activate your cerebellum today,and your future will be a lot brighter for your brain function.
Get yourself to the park and get cartwheeling with the kids 🙂
Mel Collie | Why Is Posture Important & should you care?
I’m called a the posture geek, by friends as well as clients, so its without doubt I’m going to say yes, posture is important, but why is that and what happens when it isn’t, is it hard to put right?
1. Wonky spines – we’ve all got them, if you sit a lot, stand a lot (mechanics, nurses for example) then your spine is going to be a bit wonky.. You will have issues with health, as the body is out of alignment. Its not about being perfect, its about being healthy and having a life that ts without pain, but better health, a bit like having the car well tuned and noticing how well it runs afterwards, has that happened to you? Happens to me when I put air in the tyres, feels like a whole new car driving experience. The issues on our health can range from the obvious back pain, neck pain, knee pain, to digestive issues, skin disorders, headaches.
2. Knees, back and hip pain can occur when they overwork because other muscles arent doing their job. This could be because the upper middle back has been stretched by sitting at the desk, standing over the car (mechanics. standing over patients (nurses and Dr), standing a lot (postman carrying heavy post bags, shop workers) Your body needs to keep moving, the brain will find another muscle to do the job if the ones that should be helping you, aren’t working as they should. That sound a bit weird doesn’t it? I though so too, after all, if the muscles are in the body and all attached then why aren’t they getting the signal? Well, that signal to act can be disrupted by things like injury(even from an injury when you were little) over training, under training,not doing the right exercises for example.
3. Its not hard to put right, but it takes effort, like anything else in life, if you want results, you have to out in effort, there is no magic pill, unfortunately, but would life be dull if there was… However, using the nervous system is a short cut to getting good and fast results.
Something as simple as lack of rotation in the mid body can mean the knees, hips and lower back over work to replicate that movement.
How can you measure where you are right now with your lack of rotation (if you have any that is) is this link of little old me showing you something you can do everyday.
Use it before and after you train, work, run, ski, surf, climb, roller skate..it tells you that the activity you’ve been doing has affected your movement, has it reduced or increased?
For example, during a 1:1 training session, the nervous system takes a pounding as you exercise, and if you are already stressed through work worries, home worries, shallow fast breathing, dehydrated or digestive system is affected, then you may find your muscles react, posture changes, pain happens.
If you are about to set off and do a training session, check your nervous system before (Use that video link!), during and again after. This way you can see what is and what isnt working for you,. not what someone else expects you to do, but what you can do, what your tolerance levels are for that day.
You are different everyday.
Treat yourself with the respect that you deserve, use that wisdom to have a stronger, flexible, healthier skeleton. A stronger spine with a life of less pain, more stamina and better movement.
Sign up here – http://eepurl.com/zpgYf – to get all my up to date “Stronger Spine” news. Videos, blogs, recipes, cutting edge research on how to feed your spine to make it stronger for life.
Whilst the planet is still stretching hamstrings, expecting them to “let go” (which they wont , because they are tight for a reason…ever wondered why?) ..theres a small section of the fitness industry that searches for the truth and asks “why” and searches for the truth, trying to change the industry to avoid the untruths that still abound on the internet.
Anyhow..heres the thing, I went searching for more answers, mainly to help my hamstrings lengthen, help my glutes work (squats do work, but only if the muscles are responding well) and to understand exactly how the body responds to exercise and nutrition.
Heres what I discovered : the body is a complex system ( No surprise there) but at the same time, it responds to simple ways to re-boot it.
Heres one – your nervous system is in charge, you know that I am sure, but if you didnt, it means to check with your brain that its happy before checking with your muscles.So, with that in mind, heres one way to get your brain to let go of your restrictions…(see your brain at the CEO, and the rest of your body as the departments, if the departments are short of staff or have issues, their reports back to the CEO will warn it of a reduction in the workforce, which means reduced production which means reduced performance )
So…the CEO see these things as a threat :
(not necessarily in that order)
Whats a threat to the brain? Now thats the question, because it varies from person to person as your are unique, so a threat can be :
Family stresses (getting the kids homework done, cooking, planning holiday, car needs an mot, keeping everyone happy etc etc)
Lack of Sleep
Judgemental comments from other people
Failure at work
Past Injuries (the brain doesn’t forget you broke your toe at 5 years old or fell over at 2 years old)
Athletic performance (worried about strength, falling, stamina, failing)
Its a little known fact that something as simple as lack of hamstring length can be improved by massaging the head and forehead, a focus on deep breathing for a minute x 10 a day, improving vision with simple exercises and spatial awareness drills.
All of this and more you can find in an hours assessment, online or at my home studio in Llanberis, Snowdonia.
Its so fast and so amazingly simple, its like that illusionist, Dynamo, looks simple, happens quickly, leaves a lasting impression.
A few years ago, I remember a friend calling to me from across the road as I walked to the shop , she couldn’t get my attention because I was in a world of my own, and I was looking at the ground as I walked.She told me off for looking at the ground too much..and you know, I did that a lot, she was right…
Now, I see this all the time in clients with tight lower backs and painful shoulders and necks, they look down a lot, its as though their head weighs too much to lift it up and keep it there, and in a way, thats true..but it runs a little bit deeper than that..
Theres something called the green light reflex, and it looks a little bit like this, and call also be known as a classic Swayback Posture:
Is that you? What does it mean though? Its my posture for sure!
Hips pushed forward, extended knees, weight in the heels ( you feel as if you would lose balance if you shifted your weight forward to the front of your foot)
A green light posture can show that your mind, your beliefs, is for someone whose mind is always on the go, always doing something next, rather the a focus on the here and now. Worry and anxiety can also be a part of this posture.
If you look at the lower back, and the rib cage just above it, most of the pressure rests on the first couple of your
lumbar vertebrae, creating a painful, tight lower back, its not weak, its being over worked.
Yes, this is an extreme version of the posture, and it can vary, but this is just one way of seeing whats going on in your body and mind. There can be a restriction in the pelvis and shoulder region, pain in the lower back and hips is very common as is breathing into the upper chest.
You can work your glutes all you like (these are usually “weak” in a green light posture) but if you don’t address the cause, then you are just putting a plaster on it, glutes , like abs, don’t just work because you are doing an exercise for that specific muscle.
You can do loads of squats, but your brain might be using the wrong muscles to get there and back, and you can then look at your bum and wonder why it isn’t tight ! the same can b for abs, you can have a great 6 pack, but have a rubbish abdominal connection, usually because the neck is doing the work of stabilising, rather than the “core”.
So…if you do look at the ground a lot, if you worry about what others think of you, and find it hard to get your hand behind your lower back if you stood against a wall and the lower back was flat against the wall, then this is for you.
You look up to the sky a lot, you look at the sun, the clouds, the stars, the wind, the trees. the rain, taking washing off the line, getting a glass from a high shelf in the cupboard, and when you do, its called extension. Yet in a Pilates class, you might feel scared or worried about doing an extension exercise (In Pilates its called “swan dive” and is done lying on your front but can also be done standing)
We worry about extension because we think it is going to hurt our backs, but the opposite is true,a lack of extension will hurt your back, and using the wrong muscles too, as I say in sessions, its not how you get there, but what you use to get there.
How can you extend without pain?
1. Lengthen the spine first, create space between the tailbone and crown of the head, as if you had to create space for an extra vertebrae at your mid back, the heart line. (or the bra line for girls.) This lessons pressure on this area of your back and creates more strength for your spine.
2. Lift from the chest, rather from your lower back, as if, ladies, you were sticking out your boobs, and guys , as if you were lifting up your heart to the sky.
3. Eyes. use the signal from your eyes to switch on the muscles that help you extend, and look up with the eyes, not the head, just the eyes, if you look up and reduce the space from the back of the head to your shoulders, you are compressing the neck, which is what you don’t want to do very much of. Just look towards your eyebrows with your eyes as you extend. See what happens.
Embrace extension, it can bring a lot of freedom and strength to your back, shoulders and neck.
Posture and movement assessments online and from my posture studio in Llanberis, Snowdonia. Each takes 60 – 90 minutes and is a load of fun, because you move more freely in each session, its simple, easy, and unbelievable , and yes, sometimes people cry, me too, because you can now have more movement, without pain. Nice.