Why Do YOU Exercise?

Most people exercise to stay in shape, often not realizing what that actually means. Is staying in shape about looking good, or feeling good? That’s subjective.

To our trainers, “staying in shape” means feeling good. And the looks usually follow. That means understanding why we exercise. It shouldn’t be because you’re beating your body up to outwork negative behavior, like overeating, being sedentary, or managing stress. When you first address the behavior that’s causing you to feel the need to exercise you can then begin to use exercise as a tool to address your physical function.

While exercise is a good behavior, it can also be used to cope. Like having stress run your life and instead of turning to drugs you use exercise. However this can lead to wear and tear on your body if you don’t address what’s causing the stress to begin with, because you become an adrenaline junkie chasing after the endorphins from an intense workout. The intensity causes wear on your joints and you can’t sustain it. So now that you can’t workout like you used to in order to “manage” your stress, you turn to food for comfort. Exacerbating the problem, and never addressing the root cause.

If you decide to modify behavior and get to the root of stress and the way your body responds to it, you can de-stress without having to workout. And then you enter the rare state of using exercise as a way to improve your function, performance, strength, and mobility, all while fixing your joint pain, muscle aches, body stiffness, and old injuries. So exercise becomes a sustainable habit and builds your body up, instead of breaking it down.

Learn to fix your behavior that’s leading you to use exercise as a drug and you’ll solve a lot of the problems holding you back physically and mentally. Our team is here to help guide you through the process!

Check out www.FunctionalPatterns.com for more information.

How To Move Better

Tension built in the muscles takes pressure off the joints, ligaments, and bones and allows the muscles and tendons to work as the support system for the body.

This all sounds ideal, especially if you’re someone suffering from pain and restrictive movement because of pain. However it’s not guaranteed to happen if you do exercises that compress your structure. Squatting with a bar on your back causes compression on you vertebrae, bench pressing limits the range of motion of your shoulder girdle and disconnects the pec muscles from the powerful oblique muscles, deadlifting causes your lower posterior chain to work but neglects the upper and causes your lumbar spine to overwork.

All of these are very common exercises that are prescribed to build strength, but often what you aren’t aware of is it’s at the expense of your joints, spine, bones, and ligaments. The physics behind these movements causes the muscles to load exclusively through one direction of force, whereas in reality, the same muscles are constantly being used through multiple angles of force.

There are a few problems with this way of training. The movements themselves don’t allow the force to be balanced out through other angles, and so while the muscles are being worked, the nearby joints and ligaments are also being strained. The movements also don’t allow other muscle chains to integrate with the targeted muscles, which leads to overuse and fascial disconnection from the rest of the chain. Finally, since the movements only train one force at a time, when you go to use your body in the real world, the muscles aren’t thoroughly prepared to be resilient against the multiple forces acting on it.

These movements do make your muscles stronger, but only within the context of the exercise itself. Once your body is off the bench, or the bar isn’t on top of it, your muscles have not been conditioned to withstand other forces. Additionally your muscles have not been conditioned through integration and all the built in connections are not linked efficiently so muscles are working on their own to help support you. Like you’re in a canoe with a group and you’re the only one doing all the paddling- the group should work together to make the paddling easier and the water more enjoyable. Your muscles should learn to work the same way.

Another point to consider is that the exercises themselves cause strain on the joints, ligaments, and bones from the dysfunctional mechanics during the movement. But the exercises can indirectly affect the joints, ligaments, and bones later down the road, by not offering the right support from your muscles when you move in the real world. In other words, the exercises aren’t preparing your body for reality.

Exercise should be used to build resiliency to life outside of the gym. This concept is one that our trainers always remind our clients of when we teach them exercises that align with this principle. The result is a stronger body, leading to less pain and old injuries being resolved in the process.

Come to our gym and learn what is best for your body and how you should be exercising to promote longevity and sustain your fitness.

A Purpose Of Exercise

Keeping as many muscles on the body engaged as you move through an exercise is crucial to reinforcing the way your body functions outside of exercise ?

Creating and maintaining tension is priority to prevent going through the motions with a flaccid structure ?

Just like a flaccid ??doesn’t work, a body void of muscle tension won’t work optimally either. This is what sets the stage for pain and injury down the road ?

If you expect to live life without dull aches and debilitating pains, all of your muscles need to function the way they were designed to, to support your body the way you want them to??‍♂️

Work one-on-one with our team of trainers to build your body for the life you’re living! Contact us today to get started!

210-947-4597 OR info@safunctionalfitness.com

Without This, Physical Activity Suffers!

activity like this, requires muscles that work, in order to perform without aches, pains, or injuries.

Without proper muscle activity, physical activity suffers.

If your muscles don’t work when you work, your body picks up the slack in deficit ways.

The body is king/queen at compensating, which means if you want it to achieve a range of motion it will do it, but it will use whatever muscles it can to get there.

When you don’t use the correct muscles to move your body, you risk injuring yourself or triggering pain from improper mechanics.

Your mechanics are directly related to your muscle function, so muscles that don’t work are going to cause your body to move inefficiently.

Walking the dogs, playing tennis, exercising, standing, and general movements all require functional muscles if you want to perform these activities without consequences.

The consequence for dysfunctional muscles, is poor body mechanics, poor body mechanics contribute to movement compensations, which lead to aches, pains, and injuries.

Let our team of trainers help teach your body how it needs to function, to move without pain!

Unconventional Gym Exercises

The exercises we teach at this gym don’t look like your typical gym exercises and you must think that they don’t build muscle or they don’t build strength. What you don’t realize is that they support muscle integration from multiple chains of muscle in a manner that replicates the dynamics of human movement (weight transfer, contralateral reciprocation, total body integration, etc.) and promotes muscular and neurological balance through the system. Key ingredients for a strong body for life versus a strong body for exercises that don’t carry over to life dynamics.

Our team of trainers don’t just stand around and count reps because there is more to exercising than just doing this exercise for 15 reps, and then this one, and then this one, only to get your heart rate up and break a sweat. That’s important but there is more to it because, if you’re just going through the motions then you could be using the wrong muscles to perform the exercise.

We want to teach you how to contract a muscle properly and at the correct time. In doing so, your body will begin to reprogram new functions to support your movement patterns- during exercise and real life! Without muscles contracting to move your body, your joints begin to pick up the slack and wear and tear is induced in parts of the body that aren’t capable of handling the demand. This is when injury risk goes up and aches and pains creep in.

If you want to avoid injuring yourself and inflicting pain, that can be prevented, then you must learn how to move well and what muscle functions are involved in certain movements. The better you can execute muscle functions during exercises, the better those functions will manifest in reality when you’re walking, running, playing sports, or just living in real world conditions.

The secret is that the exercises you perform must mirror the way your body performs in the real world. So when you’re doing the same exercises you did in high school athletics, or what you read in a fitness magazine, or what you see other gym goers doing, your body is missing out on the crucial variables that separate ‘moving your body” from moving your body, using the correct muscles to control ranges of motion and functions that your body should be capable of performing in the real world without pain. In short, you’re either habitually going through the motions the way your body defaults to movement patterns or you’re using your muscle functions to intentionally control those motions and re-train the way your body moves through ranges or motion. A lot of times the traditional, conventional exercises that you can perform by “monkey see, monkey do” don’t replicate the way your body moves in reality and that can cause misuse and misfiring of muscles when you’re just trying to move in general.

Exercise is more complex than seeing an exercise and then doing what you see, because without the proper understanding of what you should be feeling and how your body should be functioning you could be training your body to contract the wrong muscles and compensate your way through an exercise, which leads to performing poorly for the dynamics of the real world.

As pictured, the exercises in this gym allow the body to move through the dynamics that compose human movement. The more skilled you become at these types of exercises, the more carry over those exercises have to life outside of the gym. Which is what your body needs, to function without aches and pains. When executed properly, the exercises we teach offer the combined benefit of strength training and physical rehabilitation at once.

Before you write these exercises off because they don’t look tough, don’t require lifting heavy weight, or look like dance moves consider this, maybe the way we’ve been taught to exercise as athletes, bodybuilders, powerlifters, yogis, etc., is incomplete. Maybe it’s too much for the body because the body hasn’t mastered the basics of fundamental movement. Aka human biomechanics, the complex intricate details about the way the human body moves around, and then creating and teaching exercises that match up to that movement. If you don’t train these fundamentals, how can something like lifting a heavy bar, on your spine, up and down, or moving through extreme ranges of motion, or even moving through ranges of motion that our body didn’t evolve to do, like animal crawls. Maybe all of this has some good intentions behind the practices but if our muscles evolved primarily from movements like walking, running, and throwing, then we should train those movements and create exercises around those movements. Instead of movements that we create for sport or ego boosts or just arbitrary patterns that our body, literally, at a functional level, should never have to go through- like a crab crawl or a warrior pose. Maybe we need to be a little more critical about the repercussions from some exercise practices, and the long term effects they have on your fitness, joint health, total body function, and pain. Maybe then, the need for rehab will go away, if we build strength around the movements we do most, rather than exercises that limit your strength to that exercise (in a gym and not outside in the real world). If your body is strong at what you do most, then it compensates less and has more functional capacity.

So remember, if you want to be strong, you have to be efficient at what you do most. Come try a month with us and we’ll teach your muscles how to function, in the way that your body moves, to build the strength that you need to navigate the demands of the real world!

 

Muscle Power

A muscle will produce more force when it is used in integration with the other muscles in its fascially connected chain/sling.

To add to that, if you focus solely on “lifting heavy” weights on a limited range of motion exercise like the bench press (as evident by the picture), you’re packing on unfunctional muscle that can’t reach its full length potential when you need it to, away from the gym.

This can alter the tension relationships between your muscles and cause postural imbalances and injuries/pain further down the road.

It’s important that muscles function as they’re designed to and that exercise respects and enhances those functions.

We’re less about exercising and more about functioning. If you work to enhance the function of a muscle then as a byproduct you’re exercising, because if your muscle doesn’t function the way it should, then the simple act of trying to teach the muscle to perform that function will be a challenge on your muscular and nervous system, and produce the same benefit as exercise but with the added benefit of enhancing your muscle function.

The exercise pictured, the bench press, is not an exercise that you can learn or even relearn function for the pecs because it doesn’t allow the pec muscles to function the way they need to. It only isolates the pec muscles in one plane of motion, and with a limited range of motion that they rarely ever go through in the real world. Think about it, how often when you’re walking down the street or running when you play sports do you drop down to the floor, lie on your back and push weight off your chest? Or even drop to the ground and do a pushup for that matter? The answer is obviously, never! So this is an example of an arbitrary exercise that really doesn’t serve a functional purpose. Maybe for an offensive lineman on a professional football team, but even then they are standing upright when they are pushing someone off of them so the context of the bench press lift doesn’t carry over as much as we think it does.

The bench press lift itself is fairly limited and doesn’t train the rest of the fascial chain/sling that the pec muscle is a part of, so it’s not going to produce as much force or power because it’s just the pec muscle activating by itself.

Try this. Tap your index finger on your desk and feel/listen to the sound it makes when it contacts your desk. Now use your other hand to pull your index finger back (essentially winding it up) and then let your index finger slam down on the desk. It should produce a louder sound and feel more powerful than just tapping by itself. This example is showcasing how weak the muscle is when it works in isolation, but by pulling it back with your other hand you are involving more of the nearby muscles and stretching the fascia that houses it so when you let go it’s ready to produce more force because of more muscle recruitment achieved from a fuller range of motion.

So when you train your pecs, absent of their fascial connections, you’re missing out on the nearby muscles that the pecs attach to resulting in less power output. Additionally you aren’t getting a full range of motion (like your finger pulling back more) to get the pec fibers to stretch more, so that you can get a deeper contraction after the stretch. Although we’ve focused on the pecs as the example, the same can be said of every muscle on your body. The more muscles you can connect with a movement, and completing a larger range of motion will allow better force production and power from that muscle, resulting in overall better function.

When you have been used to a certain way of training and exercising your entire life, whether from high school athletics, body building magazines, commercial gym culture, or YouTube videos it can be hard to grasp the concepts of what real functional training aims to do. So if all of this doesn’t make complete sense, don’t fret, this is on the cutting edge of where the fitness industry is shifting and it challenges the brain and body at the same time. We’re here to help provide clarity and direction for those wanting to workout to enhance their function in life outside of the gym. This approach is different from general exercise to just get a workout in, versus exercising to improve the function of a muscle and a muscle chain/sling as described above. The latter will have the body in a healthier state and improve the overall fitness of the body, as opposed to becoming better at exercises we’re teaching your body how to become better at functions so it can perform in any given scenario.

For more visual examples demonstrating this concept, be sure to follow us on social media, @safunctionalfitness, to see exercise videos showcasing how we train entire muscle chains through entire ranges of motion.