There are a select group of people who mention how they might want to do some work with me soon. They’ll pass by me on the gym floor and dangle the opportunity of us arranging a session or joining a mobility class. Like a twelve ounce rib-eye in front of a dog, maybe, just maybe, when I entice them enough, I’ll get the joy of improving their mobility. The reality is when these persons decide to book in with me or attend a class, they’ve waited long enough for the ‘issue’ to have gotten bad, like real bad. As in, I can’t avoid this anymore, help. In dire straits, people begin to grasp the seriousness of an issue. Unfortunately, most everyone happens to learn this way.
When time is set aside we get an opportunity to discuss how this issue came to be. There is often a shouldering of blame placed to a particular movement: it must have been those deadlifts at 6am that did me in. Well it could be likely they didn’t improve the issue, but let’s take a look. We’ll begin to assess. Typically we'll take a look at the joints involved in ones movement, so, all of them. Once we've figured out their deficits in strength or passive range of motion, we can begin to paint a picture. We'll then dive into lifestyle: how much time they spend doing just about anything in or around their training. In these moments we can begin to develop ones understanding as to how this issue came to be. Usually we can sort out, the deadlifts weren’t truly the thing to blame.
I’m not saying that there are not acute reasons for ones discomfort or injury; there are serious breaches of capacity that happen. When someone hits you in the face with a bat, that is probably why your face is broken. Just because one thing is true, doesn’t mean the other is false. It’s important to understand everything that led to the moment you got hit in the face.
There is a threshold of what your joints and tissues can handle, and every aspect of your life feeds into their function, or dysfunction. You can think of your capacity as a cup. Fill it to the rim with water, and a single ounce more will overflow (the acute reason). What makes it more difficult is we often don’t have a good grasp on how big our cup is, or how close we are to the rim. Blindfolded, we don’t know how close to the rim we truly are. The single ounce that did us in is easy to blame.
There are a number of measures that can go into preventing something from happening, or even more realistic, mitigating the outcome of such something happening. The time we spend doing whatever dictates the outcome. We must work towards building a thicker larger cup, and begin removing the blindfold. The shouldering of blame is now placed on us. That alone can be very difficult for one to face. Prime opportunities to address these issues are when they are not so serious. You know, the same time one is toying with the idea of attending a mobility class, or addressing something one on one. We are all here, as coaches, as a community, to provide insight in the moments. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
A bat to the face is still a bat to the face,
Emile Maxwell Connaughton