Have You Thought About The Way You Move?

Routine tasks that you move your body through without much thought like bending down to pick something up can be wiring in bad mechanics.

Notice how the vertebrae bulge out when she firsts bends down, then when we correct the pelvis position her muscles contract around the vertebrae and protect them.

This shows how your body can just go through the motions however it thinks is correct, but your form might not be what you think it is. Fast forward and repetitive movements like this or exercises done wrong repeatedly will eventually lead to injury and cause “idiopathic” aches and pains.

This is why our training sessions do more than physical work because the brain is intricately involved in controlling your physical movement. We teach you to be mindful of how you’re moving in order to correct and reprogram sustainable function.

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.

Pain & Anxiety Relationship

Suffering from chronic pain and anxiety?

Both correlate to the way your body handles stress, based on your physical frame aka posture. A slouched posture correlates to depressive episodes and high anxiety, because your fascia stores emotions- ie; childhood traumas, environmental stress- and those emotions influence the way you carry yourself.

It’s rare to see someone with a strong posture suffer from depression and unmanageable anxiety, because their structure cultivates a better response to handle those stressors. The goal is not to avoid stress, but to teach your body to handle it more efficiently.

It goes deeper, but if you’re on the fence about improving your health, learn Functional Patterns training. The results fix structural imbalances influencing your physical and mental health, producing a body equipped to handle stress.

Learn more here.

*pictures based on Functional Patterns Training Methodology Results from FP Practitioners world wide. Notice more resilient structures vs. body language before training.

We’re the only facility in San Antonio and surrounding areas that train Functional Patterns and have 3 Functional Patterns Practitioners on staff! If you’re not local to SA check out the Practitioner Map to locate someone near you, for results like these!

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!

The Only Gym In San Antonio With…

We’re the only gym in SA to offer a 25 FOOT pulley machine to train the specifics of the human body in motion. This new piece of equipment allows our trainers and their clients to truly test their body’s function!

This pulley machine has a 25 foot cable length and provides resistance for dynamic exercises that mirror walking and running. Plus other aspects of human motion like rotating and throwing. This cutting edge piece of equipment will allow us to continue treating clients with pain, compression, scoliosis, joint restrictions, movement impairments, muscle atrophy, joint replacement rehab, athletic performance, injury prevention, general function, better movement, and more!

Call us today to set up your initial consultation with one of our Human Biomechanics Specialists! 210-947-4597 or safunctionalfitness.com

Sling Training

Myofascial Sling Training is a way to train the human body that respects the way it evolved to move. It’s not based on arbitrary exercise tasks, but rather on movement patterns that translate to everyday function. Sling training refers to the Myofascial Sling Systems that connect the upper body with the lower body and are responsible for supporting the body during day to day performance. Whether you’re an elite athlete, amateur golfer, a 5K’er, weekend gardener, construction worker, walking the dogs, playing with the grandkids, and just existing in the real world. Whatever kind of movement you’re doing, your myofascial sling network is producing the movement. In order to move well, you must train the muscles in a manner that reinforce the way the sling systems function. Isolated movement doesn’t fulfill the requirement because when the body moves, it functions as one integrated unit- so total body integration will start to potentiate the muscles involved and teach them how to work together to produce efficient movement.

At first glance sling training is falsely mistaken as exercise that doesn’t accomplish strength gains. However once the proper foundation is built, slinging has the potential to build mass proportionally across entire chains of muscle, create strength during movements that replicate the way we function in reality, provide lengthened potentials (flexibility/mobility) for tight and overactive muscles, and unite multiple systems of the body to work together in harmony and promote a cardiovascular workout as well as strength that manifests in everyday movement. Obviously other modalities promote this as well, the issue that we’ve found is that the traditional means are often temporary gains riddled with aches and pains and are not sustainable.

The more efficiently you can move, the less energy you waste and the more muscles you have working for you at one time to provide a safer way to move your body while minimizing the risk of injury. As humans, we typically walk upright on two feet and other movements branch off of walking patterns, so when we train, we should be training the slings to become better during movements that we go through on a regular basis. While some argue that the squat is a staple movement because children often times squat when they play, they’re not recognizing that the way the squat is typically trained… with a bar on top of your cervical spine, compressing your discs, as you lift heavier and heavier weight, in a repetitious fashion… is damaging. The strength gained in the glutes and lower body is often overshadowed by lower back pain, knee pain, hip pain, or general tightness that, over time, begins to interfere with everyday movement. The squat can be functional, but it’s during movement patterns that promote connectivity between the sling system and the rest of the myofascial meridians. The more connected your muscles are, the less compression you’ll experience in the joints because the muscles are working towards a greater contractile potential to absorb the force.

Our gym offers training that enhances the human body and builds it up, rather than breaking it down through pointless exercise tasks. Instead of coaching you to become better at specific exercises, we teach your body specific exercises that are going to help you perform better in life outside of the gym. Our goal, as trainers, is to create a workout program for you that is sustainable as you age, while still allowing you to make progress and challenge the body as your muscles learn new motor skills to enhance everyday movement.

Now vs Then; Posture Results

The importance of posture is gaining more recognition as our society becomes more sedentary. Rounded shoulders, hunched back, sway back, and “text neck” impact most of us on a daily basis. Our environment shapes us, literally. If you sit behind a desk all day, you more than likely have rounded shoulders and a forward head posture, because you’re confined to a computer screen for 8 hours a day. Posture is problematic if you’re body gets “stuck” in that particular position and your body can’t get out of it when you move. Whether you’re exercising or grocery shopping, your posture will manifest during movement. Posture training goes deeper than just reminding yourself to stand up straight and pull your shoulders back. In order to truly get yourself out of that “stuck” position and move better, you have to reprogram your nervous system to allow for the long term fix.

Long term improvements to your posture orient from integrated exercise, not training the posture itself. Remember, the nervous system needs to be involved in the process so the body can intrinsically maintain the changes while at rest. So when you’re working all day, your body no longer accepts that familiar “hunched over” position as normal. Now you don’t have to constantly be conscious about sitting up straight with your shoulders back, you’re body will default to that new “stuck” position. Ideally a better position for your body. When the correct exercise stimulus is provided for the body, it will adapt to that stimulus. This is when the nervous system gets involved and connects with the muscular system, as it does in the real world. Exercise that aligns with this notion has the power to reconnect missing links in the muscles and reprogram the nervous system, making you “unstuck,” allowing for long term changes in alignment.

Alignment, posture, structural integrity, stability, however it’s referred to, plays a role in movement and therefore repeat injuries, chronic muscle aches, and nagging joint pain, which then influences movement further. If your alignment is flawed when you’re just standing or sitting, imagine how that “bad posture” will manifest during movement. Your body is going to compensate poorly when it moves leading to the vicious cycle of injury, aches, pains, and eventually lead to even worse movement quality. Whether you’re moving in the gym or around town, your body isn’t adequately  prepared for life and so it breaks down under all the varying forces. From climbing stairs, running, playing with your kids, walking your dog, GRAVITY! If you want more resiliency against these forces then, when you’re in the gym exercising, you have to prepare your body for life outside of the gym. Your body needs a reference to operate better in the real world by utilizing real life Functional Patterns of movement that translate to the way humans were designed to move. Functional Patterns is a training system that respects human evolution and integrates the muscles in accordance with how the muscles are actually, anatomically, connected. When muscles are isolated during exercise, those muscle connections are severed and over time the nervous system recognizes this dysfunctional state as the new normal. Leading to the bodies inefficient relationship with gravity. As you reprogram the nervous system with the right stimulus, from patterns that actually respect the way the bodies connected and tap into those connections during exercise, then better movement manifests in life outside of the gym. Better movement means less compensations and a solution to your nagging aches and pains.

Below are some results one of our clients was able to achieve, after working together once a week for 10 weeks, toward improving his posture for the long run. These changes are only skimming the surface and we have more work to do, but the only cue given during these photos was to “relax, take a deep breath in and let it out.” No other positional cues were given during the photos so we could see how the posture was actually influenced at the neuromuscular level- hence the structural changes even though he’s resting in all the pictures. Even though both poses are relaxed, there are visual differences between the poses because the posture was influenced at a nueromuscular level. In other words, we woke up some muscles that have been asleep (influencing the posture negatively) and put them to work in order to change the structure of the body at a deeper level, rather than just “standing up straight.”

Before (right) ; After (left)

Side view
Increased intra-abdominal pressure (fuller looking belly) so more muscles in the core are being engaged while at rest to support his new posture at an intrinsic level. Decreased forward head posture (height of his nose and angle of his neck) achieved, not from teaching him to pull his head back, but from waking up his deep front line.

Rear view
Overall spinal decompression (less scapular winging, lengthened spinal column) because of overall ribcage decompression. More space between his body and his arms hanging by his side, because his shoulders were pulled out of their chronic internal rotation.

Front view                                                                                                                                   Intra-abdominal pressure and spine/ribcage Decompression  (positioning of his pecs and height of his ears) resulting from an improved resiliency to gravity and an overall taller Rene. Less rib flare (hands pulled to side of his thighs rather than resting at the front of his thighs), due to the ribcage opening up.

As a result of changing the “alignment” at a neuromuscular level, Rene was able to diminish his lower back pain that he’s been living with for years! Since we aim to lift up the structure of the body during exercise, Rene reported feeling “taller” after every session which is a result of the spine and ribcage decompression, and a more efficient relationship with gravity. Decompression is only achieved at an internal level when the right exercises stimulus is provided, when the body becomes decompressed, the normal resting posture changes. It’s important to note that we did not spend any time after his first session focusing on posture- these changes in alignment were created by focusing on corrective exercise with proper breathing mechanics and body mechanics. It’s all about teaching the muscles to work together in harmony so the body learns how to function as one integrated unit and balance the forces influencing it everyday.

Don’t just change your posture for the short term by pinching your shoulders back and standing up straight. Address the mechanical issues of your body and, in the process, your posture will be changed at a deeper level. Stopping the vicious injury cycle and automatically opening the doors to better movement and pain-free living. Contact us now to set up your consultation and introductory posture assessment. Mention this post and we’ll waive your consultation fee so you can come see what steps you can take toward improving your posture and pain for the long term!