Is This Silent Problem Killing Your Workout?

Killing Your Workout

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:

A Squat with a tilted pelvis will cause the weight overhead to be tilted as well. The body will absorb the compressive stress of gravity unequally.

A Squat with a tilted pelvis will cause the weight overhead to be tilted as well. The body will absorb the compressive stress of gravity unequally.

Level weight, level pelvis, gravity acts on the structure of the spine equally.

Level weight, level pelvis, gravity acts on the structure of the spine equally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

A structural x-ray assessment of a near normal pelvis and spine.

A structural x-ray assessment of a near normal pelvis and spine.

A structural x-ray assessment shows that the pelvis and spine are clearly tilted to the left. Can this affect a lift?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Can Running Hurt my Structure?

Can running hurt my structure?

Running is #1 exercise of choice for people seeking to increase their fitness. Programs like Couch to 5k have spurned millions of Americans to strap on some running shoes and hit the streets toward better health.

However, running is the most common source of sports related injury in the country. Injuries to the foot/ankle, knee, hip, and low back can often side line a runner for weeks, while knocking the wheels off their fitness goals. I see this far too often when taking care of runners with chronic injuries.

Running like this over time will cause structural shifts, and pain. What's wrong in this picture?

Running like this over time will cause structural shifts, and pain. What’s wrong in this picture?

Many times, the problem isn’t the sport itself, but the way the sport is performed. Improper running form from poor running posture or repetitive heel striking are the most common culprits. Over the course of dozens of miles, heel striking can jar all of the joints of the lower extremity causing the spine to shift out of place. Of course, once the spine shifts out of place, then secondary conditions will inevitably result.

So how can you make running safe?

  1. Change your form. Go to your local running store like “The Runner’s Depot” which usually give great classes on Natural Running, POSE, or Chi Running.
  2. Evaluate your footwear. If you’re wearing the wrong shoes, then you will continue to get injured. Most local running stores have experts ready to fit you for the right shoe for your specific foot.
  3. Get checked for any underlying structural shifts that may be causing weak running posture and reduce your body’s ability to heal and repair.

Don’t let injury knock you off track from your weight loss and fitness goals. Run long, and run safe.

Ladies. I know you're just admiring my form....my running form

Ladies. I know you’re just admiring my form….my running form

ALSO. There’s a FREE intro to Chi Running at the Runner’s Depot Store in Davie on Saturday February 9th.

Chi Running Class
11:00AM – 12Noon
Runner’s Depot – Davie
Learn proper running form that will keep you performing your best and running injury-free. Certified Chi Running Instructor, Dr. Alan Miller will explain and demonstrate the proper technique for good running form and run you through some quick drills that you can use in everyday practice to keep you running healthy and happy!
FREE Class – Open to Everyone – Limited Space
Call now to reserve your spot – (954) 474-4074

Icebergs – symptoms versus causes

 

Most people are familiar with the image on the top. An image of a lowly iceberg. It looks so simple to simply steer around and bypass it on the way to smoother seas.

But if our past was a good teacher, then we know that by only paying attention to the surface, we can miss a dangerous obstacle in the depths.

 

The Complete Picture

Our bodies are equipped with an incredible array of signals to let us know that something is wrong. Sometimes it comes in the form of a pain in the back, draining fatigue, or chest pain. The purpose of these signals is to tell us that something is wrong, but it’s up to us to look within to identify the cause.

As long as we continue to exist in a healthcare system that only seeks to reduce symptoms, then we will continue to get the same results as those who only saw the tip of the iceberg.

Unless we look towards the body’s Innate healing capacity, and why it’s not operating at 100% full function, then we are missing the boat on the health challenges of millions of people. And there’s no amount of drugs, natural medicine, surgery, or insurance money that can save that ship from sinking.