How To Strengthen Your Body Starting With Foundations
Six packs, toned triceps and strong thighs look nice. There is no doubt that strong quadriceps, glutes, core muscles are essential, they are stability muscles in the body.
What I was to talk about today is the difference between looking strong and actually being strong.
When they look at me, many people don’t realize that one of my kicks or a punches can actually cause them a lot of pain.
I don’t look particularly strong, but the foundations are strong and when everything comes together there is a lot of power behind a fist.
Today we are very focused on strengthening the larger muscle groups such as glutes and hamstrings. And yes, they are really important as they are stabilizer muscles.
However, we are missing something. Something really important. We are missing the small muscles in our bodies. Just because we don’t see them or they don’t bulk up that doesn’t mean they are not there or they are not important.
Furthermore we also talk a lot about posture and we focus on core strength. Which, again, it’s essential. But how can you strengthen your core in the wrong position?
What I mean is this. We have developed an incorrect body alignment as a consequence of sitting, slouching, looking down to our phones to text, leaning to one side when we talk on the phone, carrying our bags on one shoulder and so on.
Our body is in an incorrect position to begin with. So why strengthening it in that position?
What I recommend before anything else is understanding how you should hold your body, proper alignment, first of all.
Then, with that alignment in mind go ahead and strengthen your core muscles….in the correct position.
Every joint has a position where it’s at its strongest.
For example your wrist in the case of a punch. If the wrist is slightly bent up or down, when you punch it will give in and maybe even injure it, or even fracture it, depending on the impact.
I disagree with punching against a pad for beginners. That is why, although I come from a Martial Arts background, Karate Shotokan since 1995, I never do this with my clients.
A punch is so much more than just throwing it in a pad or bag. And those round punches that PT’s teach their clients damage the shoulder, the rotator cuff. Plus how someone who has never punched before hold their wrist. Ok, I will stop here and write a separate blog about it.
Another example are the knees when you run. There is repeated pressure on the knees. The angle at which the impact falls is the one that decides whether there will be an injury or not.
Pressure is there but it’s the angle the pressure falls on that damages most.
Strengthen from the inside
After you become aware of body alignment begin working on your deep core stability muscles: diaphragm, pelvic floor etc.
You will not be able to isolate these muscles but what you can do is practice techniques which targets them. For example the crawls I do with all my clients.
They are safe on the back and strengthen the inner/deep core muscles as well as other stability muscles in the body.
Balance techniques are also a great way to strengthen the deep core muscles. Not only that, balance exercises strengthen the small stability muscles in your joints.
So your joints strengthen starting with deep foundations. And the slower you go the better with these type of exercises, particularly at the beginning.
Fast or slow?
I think one of the most overlooked element with all exercises today is the speed at which we practice the exercise.
Plyometrics (explosion) exercises are very important, particularly for runners. Muscles need to fire up. So they should be in your workout plan if they aren’t already.
What plyometrics overlook is the small stability muscles which strengthen through slow movement. Movement that requires stability.
Let’s face it, everyone can do things fast, but how many can slow down to a snail’s speed? Now that’s control over your body.
One whole unit
Your body is designed as one unit. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that running is only about the legs and lifting or punching only about the arms.
A strong punch comes from your feet. It involves the whole body, not just the shoulder. Maybe I will explain how this work in a video rather than writing.
Everything you do is more efficient if you use your body how it is meant to be used. In a correct way of course. If you use your whole body and it’s not correct then we’re not getting anywhere.
Do you need more personalized advice or would like to go into more detail? Contact me.