Why do we Workout, Really?

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Well the short answer is “to look good.” I’m sure there is a small percentage of America that will disagree, but the fact of the matter is, society has influenced our desire to look a certain way and when the gym gives us this “look”, we enjoy it. I do. The problem is, beach muscles can cause injury and dysfunction. I talk to clients all the time about fancy things like “Upper-Cross Syndrome, Lower-Cross Syndrome, weak TVA, etc.” Most of them don’t care, they just want to “look’ good and not hurt. This is awesome and I agree.

Many people can’t move properly. It is a fact. When you bring this truth into the gym, major problems arise. Most people have no glutes (butt) and they use their neck as their core. When the average person bends over to pick something up, they shrug their shoulders, lock their knees, and use their back. This is a perfect illustration of America’s common dysfunctions. We spend the majority of life in a position of flexion. We drive, we sit, we watch, we eat, we text, we type, we Google, etc. This causes all of our flexion muscles to be over-active. That is problem one. Problem two is that over-active flexion causes our extension muscles to be weak. These are glutes, scalenes, rhomboids, deep neck flexors, etc. These muscles allow us to move properly and keep us balanced, minimizing injury. Asymmetry in the body of any kind will influence injury.

OK Shawn, so what do we do? The answer is functional training. You can train to “look” good AND train to be mobile at the same time. It’s just about putting a little more thought into your workouts. Your foot needs to be stable, your ankle needs to be mobile, your knee needs to be stable, your hips need to be mobile, you lumbar spine needs to be stable, your thoracic needs to be mobile, your lower cervical spine needs to be stable, and your upper cervical spine needs to be mobile. See the pattern? Strong and mobile is the game.

I’m going to keep the homework simple… a plan of action for you is to find your glutes. Before you start your workout, roll your glutes with a Grid or firm foam roller. Do this for at least 2min total. This generates some blood flow and will help you find them. Now lay on your back and squeeze those cheeks as hard as you can. Do this for 20s and do 3 sets. Do your leg workout and really focus on your butt. Drive through the heels on squats and lunges. The glutes is an external rotators of the hip, so when you focus on keep those knees out when you squat, it may help. Developing your glutes and be a miracle for your lower back.

There are exercises you can do to really help your posterior chain. The turkish get-up, the hard/reverse deadlift, cobras, and medicine ball reverse throws. The problem with these exercises is that they are easily done very wrong. I would recommend seeking a personal trainer for guidance or look on YouTube and e-mail me, I’ll let you know if this video is a reliable resource.

Thanks for reading! I hope to hear some feedback.

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1 Comment

  1. You are so right. Many of my injuries stemmed from incorrect movements overcome by brute strength and ignorance . My work outs now are just as intense, but shoulders, knees and lower back do not ache. And I still gain muscle and lose body fat! Thanks for your help…

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