Structural Abnormalities and Lifting Efficiency
Anyone that knows me or has been following my work knows that I'm pretty passionate about exercise and fitness. Today's blog is not about the benefits of exercise; at this point, I think we all have a good grasp of that concept. Today is about identifying road blocks that may be making your workouts less efficient, and more prone to injury.
But first, let's take a look at a couple of pictures:
Now looking at each of these pictures, let's ask a few questions:
Which lifter is going to be more efficient?
Which lifter will be able to support more weight in the squat position?
Which lifter is likely to reduce their chance of injury?
My money is on the lifter on the left. It just makes sense. A level foundation is a critical element to power lifting. It's not optional.
Now this is a problem that can be fixed by many approaches. It can be addressed by fixing some issues involving technique. It may be a flexibility/muscular issue. It can be a wide variety of things. My job is not to become your new strength coach, physical therapist, or trainer. If you are having issues in those departments, then seek your appropriate professional.
However, in many cases that I see in my practice, the problem is a Structural Abnormality. While most people will look at someone's lifting posture on the surface, I'm actually assessing what they look like on the inside. If they look like this image on the right, then no amount of training or therapy is going to help protect this man's lifting ability.
In the past few years, I've had the pleasure of working with dozens of ball players, triathlon athletes, runners, power lifters, and Crossfit athletes. With the sheer amount of training and work that they put their bodies through, structural abnormalities can be almost inevitable.
The worst part is that many times, shifts like these can occur without pain or secondary conditions. Athletes are typically looking for a performance edge. To run a little bit faster. To lift a little heavier. To throw a little farther. All of which requires a normally functioning spine and nervous system.
Think about it, if your body was like a house would you ever allow the foundation to be built unlevel? Of course not. The house would come apart. Then once that starts affecting vital structures like the plumbing and electrical system, then you REALLY have a problem on your hands.
If you're serious about achieving new strength/fitness goals, and if you're serious about the long term sustainability of your body, then a structural assessment will be a critical part to your growth as an athlete.