Mind Muscle Connection

Neuromuscular reprogramming is just fancy jargon for training the brain/body connection via the correct exercise stimulus.

We have our clients utilize a mirror for most exercises to point out when their form is compromised leading to injury and understanding why the way they perform certain functions causes pain.

The consensus is that their brain thinks the way they’re already doing it is right. But when they get a reality check in the mirror they can finally see (and feel) the cause and effect from improper movement.

Your brain is always going to prefer to stay in its comfort zone and move through the path of least resistance, which is what prompts your muscles to respond with inefficient patterns. A pro tip we teach our clients is to slow down the movement and focus on controlling the details. Your body will learn how to use your muscles efficiently to move correctly and retrain your brain in the process.

Come feel what our gym does differently from the rest in the industry. Set up your initial (no obligation) consultation so we can get to know your body and you can get a feel for our style of training.

Functional Alternative to “Traditional” Glute Bridge

Why is this exercise superior to the traditional variation of the “bridge?”

This exercise is teaching muscles to contract the same way they do to support these joint positions in reality. Not necessarily this exact position, but the overall position of the joints relative to other joints.

For example, the problem with the traditional glute bridge is that it trains the hips to extend while the knees are in flexion- when in reality this joint position combo doesn’t happen. When your hips extend, your knees are also extended- so it’s important to match the exercise up with what happens in reality to condition your muscles the way they naturally work.

Google “glute bridge” and you’ll see the difference in the exercise pattern between the traditional technique and the functional technique. Basically speaking, when your hips lift up they are extended, and when your hips are extended in real world movements, your knees are also extended. Hence why we teach our clients to perform the glute bridge with the hips up and the knees straight. This way teaches your muscles to associate contractions with the way they contract in the real world, providing more muscle support for your joints inside and outside the gym.

Our team of Functional Patterns trainers do a phenomenal job educating you about why certain exercises don’t work the way we thought they did. Instructing you through functional alternatives that train your muscles to function properly with the rest of your body, in the context they’re supposed to work.

Alignment 101

The position of (fill in the blank) influences the rest of your alignment. Because our body is interconnected, one structure’s alignment will influence another’s. For example when your pelvis is out of alignment, it pulls your spine out of its natural alignment. The spine’s position effects the position of your ribcage, head and neck, as well as further down your chain in your knee and ankle joints. Basically your center of gravity is thrown off.

When you’re misaligned, muscles pull you in directions you otherwise wouldn’t be in, to fight for “balance” and trick your brain into thinking everything’s positioned where it needs to be. You’re alignment (or lack of) influences how well you stand and move, and that influences how your body responds to its environment, functionally or dysfunctionally. The latter leads to pain and injury.

Posture 2.0

Posture is often associated with standing upright with the shoulders pulled back and the chest opened up, but posture is more than just standing straight.

Your body can’t hold one particular posture when it moves, so your muscles need to learn how to change “postures” when it changes positions.

When you think about what it means to have “good posture,” consider how that relates to your body in motion, and the changes movement produces in your body’s alignment.

When you bend over to pick something up, your pelvis is going to be in a different position while you’re bent over, than when you’re standing upright.

Therefore, your posture changes. It’s not about staying stacked a certain way 24/7, because certain functions require certain positions. Your muscles need to learn to drive your skeleton into those positions and get you out of them, so you don’t get stuck in a certain posture.

Posture changes constantly, and it goes deeper than what your posture looks like when you’re at rest. It’s one thing to be aware of your posture when you’re sitting, standing, or lying down. But have you ever given any thought to what your posture looks like when you’re moving? Exercising, golfing, walking, hiking, boxing, dancing, running, etc.?

Good posture means your body can maintain integrity throughout its structure, when at rest and when moving. Structural integrity is achieved when your muscles are functioning correctly to support your alignment and intrinsically stabilizing your body from external demands.

The better your structure can withstand external demands, like gravitational forces and daily activities, the better your alignment will become at rest. Your body won’t be beat into a certain posture, or “comfort zone,” because it will be strengthened to withstand those effects and align into a “neutral zone,” always ready to change and adapt to balance the demands placed on it.

Not all training is going to respect the concepts described above, some exercises may even cause your structural integrity to weaken- making your body more vulnerable to the forces acting on it. The exercises you perform should enhance your body’s capability to withstand gravity and daily activities, without adversity.

If you want all the gravitational gains, without the compressional pains, set up your consultation with one of our biomechanics trainers today!

Less Pain Is Possible!

Is pain keeping your from the activities you enjoy? Have you been told surgery is your only option?

At SA Functional Fitness our pain management trainers restore the function of your muscles to support the integrity of your joints!

This is important because without proper muscle functions, your joints take on the stress from the force that your muscles should be absorbing.

Over time this leads to inflammation in the joints and causes pain from the joints working in a way they weren’t designed to.

Each trainer plans exercises to get to the root of your dysfunction causing adversity on your joints, or pain in general.

Most of the time surgery can be prevented, delayed, or faster recovery after surgery, from the right kind of exercise.

We work with numerous clients dealing with knee pain, back pain, hip pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain. Our goal as biomechanics trainers is to fix the underlying issue that contributes to pain in the first place. Sometimes this isn’t always possible, so our next goal is to mitigate the pain, or set your body up to recover from surgery faster and fuller with exercise before surgery.

If this sounds like something your body is searching for, then call us today to get started with one of our trainers!

Heavy Lifting

Relying on heavy weights to produce muscle activity is like cheating on an exam, you pass but you don’t learn anything for real life.

Your muscles should be capable of producing maximal tension with optimal positioning of your bones. Skeletal movement engages muscle automatically.

The way your skeleton aligns when you move determines how effectively your muscles engage to support your movement. Whether you’re exercising or moving through real world conditions.

Cheating on an exam creates dependency on a cheat sheet, much like needing heavy weight to feel a muscle working creates muscles that don’t work well in their natural environment. (Reality, not a gym).

Integrated Fitness

The human body was designed to move as one fully integrated unit. The muscles connect with each other through patterns such as walking, running, and even throwing. When the muscles connect (talk) with each other, the body functions efficiently and compensations during movement are kept to a minimum. Poor movement compensations are the cause for most of the body’s aches and pains, and can be prevented by training the body the way it was designed.

If you want a fish to get better at swimming, you wouldn’t teach it to walk on land. The body of a fish is designed to swim, the same way the human body is designed to walk. Walking is a fundamental movement that every body utilizes at some point in their day. Whether you walk around the neighborhood, to and from your car, in the grocery store, or at the park, your muscles are engaging through reciprocal sequences (opposite limbs connecting) that allow it to propel itself through space. When exercise doesn’t account for reciprocation of body parts and the muscles get trained through isolated movements, it conditions the body to disconnect during basic human movements like walking. When the body is disconnected that’s when movement compensations arise, so every step you take, while you’re walking the dog around the block or walking into the gym, is a step that’s forcing your body out of its natural alignment. If you don’t do anything to remain aligned then every time you move, you’re telling your body that this misalignment is the new normal, and your body gets stuck in this position. In order to regain better alignment, you need to train your body the way it naturally moves, by engaging the myofascial sling system.

The body has a sling system that is interwoven in the myofascial network and those slings are responsible for connecting the upper body with the lower body, the same way they connect when you walk, run, or throw. (Yes your lower body is involved when you play fetch with your dog- if it’s not, then that’s a shoulder injury waiting to happen). The slings connect the right shoulder, through the external and internal obliques, to the left hip, and all the way down the front of that leg. Then around the bottom of the foot, back up the rear of the same leg, to the left glute. From the left glute, up across the spine towards the right lat, which then finishes back where it started, at the right shoulder. Then you have an identical sling connection connecting the left shoulder to the right hip. This is an in depth view of whats typically referred to as the body’s “X.” When you move, force is transmitted through the sling systems and balanced between the two sides so that you move efficiently. All of our muscles are encompassed in these slings so they’re working in harmony to balance out your movement. When muscles are isolated during exercise they stop working in harmony, so now the slings aren’t balanced the way they were designed. It’s like removing the lower left section of the “X,” it’s not going to be able to stand the way it was, instead it’s going to have to lean to one side to find balance. Our body works the same way, when the slings disconnect, you can still move, but you’re going to move with more imbalances.

If left untreated, muscular imbalances cause disturbances in your gait and shifting in your posture that contribute to joint pain and muscle aches. Since the body is no longer working optimally, the joints absorb the forces that the sling systems should be balancing. Imbalances in the sling systems cause some muscles to overwork to pick up the slack of the primary movers, leading to strains in those muscles. For example, if your hamstrings aren’t engaging when you walk, the calf usually picks up the load and since the calf wasn’t designed to handle all the responsibility it gets tired and the muscles in the bottom of your foot start to work by themselves. Hello plantar fasciitis. The same can be said of the lats and pecs not working in unison with the sling systems and being plagued with rotator cuff issues.

If you expect to live a pain free life and move freely, then exercise must account for reciprocal movements that engage the myofascial sling systems through Functional Patterns that mirror real life. Sitting on an exercise bike or a weight machine at the gym is good for your health, but it’s not preparing your body for life outside of the gym to the extent that sling training will. All exercise is better than no exercise, but not all exercise is created equal. Depending on what you want to get out of your time spent working out, evaluate what is going to be the most beneficial for your goals. Do you want to be really good at rowing or cycling for an hour but unable to run to save your life or do normal activities of daily living without experiencing aches or pains? It’s your life, build your body for how you want to live it.