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.

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.

Why We Do What We Do

A lot of you have been asking what we do, and the simple answer is we want to bring value to our customers lives. Whether that’s helping them out of pain, building muscle and strength, aligning their posture, or getting them to move better to reduce their risk of injury. All of which go hand in hand.

The fitness world is littered with trainers that promote getting stronger but usually at the expense of your posture, muscle strain, joint pain, and movement restrictions. We opened our doors to be a solution to this approach to getting fit, by teaching alternative techniques that simultaneously build strength and mobility without damaging your joints or exacerbating muscle imbalance.

We are Functional Patterns practitioners providing training that your body needs to function without adversity. Come try our gym to experience where personal training meets physical therapy. We help you reach goals you thought weren’t possible!

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!

Stretching Doesn’t Fix Anything.

If you are stretching or doing any kind of mobility work to help alleviate an ache or pain, read on.

Have you ever wondered why medication gets a bad reputation? Aside from the fact that the pills cause side effects that didn’t exist prior, the real reason medication isn’t widely accepted is because it doesn’t fix anything. The pills only help you manage the symptoms. And yes we realize some medication may be necessary but the disease that caused you to have to take the medication in the first place should be looked at as the culprit and effort put in to eradicate the disease instead of just accepting the disease as normal and taking pills to “live” with the symptoms.

If you are stretching or doing mobility exercises to eliminate aches and pains, you’re only managing the symptoms. They don’t fix anything long term. Just like the disease you’re taking the medication for, you still have the disease when you take the pills, you just don’t have as many symptoms. But if you stop taking the pills, your symptoms return. Just like if you stop doing your stretches and mobility drills, your pain and stiffness returns. So that should tell you that those exercises aren’t truly getting to the root of the problem (like a doctor who doesn’t get to the root of what’s causing high blood pressure but just prescribes pills because it’ll make living with the issue doable) and nothing gets fixed from the stretches you’re doing.

Not only do they not fix anything, they’re likely doing more harm than good to your body because you’re over stretching tissues that hurt but the cause is likely rooted elsewhere. This is why we use movement to fix aches and pains because once the body is operating efficiently homeostasis can be achieved and balance restored through the structure.

We want you to know there are better exercises to do than stretching and mobility drills that only provide temporary relief. You see, stretching away tension doesn’t work as intended because your body needs tension to support itself, otherwise you become like a wet floppy noodle. Knowing this, our objective is to teach your body how to properly distribute tension to the right parts of your body, to relieve tension in unwanted areas of your body. Then you don’t feel the need to stretch because your body is operating in a state of balance.

If you’re truly tired of constantly moving with pain and discomfort. If you’re truly tired of having to rely on some sort of half step protocol to give you some quick but short term pain management. If you’re truly looking for a way to fix your dysfunctional body for the long run. Contact our gym today and set up your last physical evaluation. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to rely on medication the rest of your life and would rather treat disease with dietary and other holistic changes, then think about your body the same way. Do you really want to keep spending time out of your day on stretching if you’re only counteracting the effects of the imbalance in your body that’s causing the problem, or would you rather spend a little extra time, initially, figuring out what’s causing the problem and fix it effectively so you can get back to living life on your terms!

“Corrective” Exercise- Training For Life.

Corrective exercise shouldn’t be in its own box.

All exercises should include corrections to enhance your body mechanics.
Proper mechanics lead to better movement and moving better leads to less wear & tear on your joints and ligaments.

If you’re exercising with a trainer that’s just there counting reps or showing you exercises that you can find on YouTube then you’re missing out on the critical biomechanical corrections needed to build muscle and strength for what your body wants to do away from the gym.

We aren’t here to show you exercises for the sake of exercising. We teach you what exercises your body needs and how you need to do them to strengthen your weakest link(s), enhancing your function and performance in life outside of the gym.

Stretching Tight Muscles

Stretching aims to get rid of tension. But your body needs tension to support itself.

Not all tension is bad, your body needs to learn how to properly distribute tension to the correct muscles.

When tension is redistributed to the proper areas of the body, muscles don’t feel the need to stretch because the body is in a state of balance.

This concept is a basis for correcting muscle imbalances.

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.

 

The Limitations of Traditional Stretching

Flexible muscles are crucial for multi-purpose function, but your muscles also need to activate as soon as they stretch, so you can move efficiently. Stretching, with the intention of reaching your muscles as far as you can and holding that position as long as you can, promotes a flaccid muscle function. If your muscles are flaccid then they can’t activate effectively. An ideal way of stretching would promote a stretch in a specific track of muscles and an activation along the opposing track of muscles. This way prioritizes the stretch and activation phase of muscle function.

Taking it a step further, the same concept of stretching is applicable during well sequenced exercise. When you position your body for a movement, one track of muscle is activated and the opposing track is stretched. When you initiate the movement, the stretched track begins to activate, and the previously activated track begins to stretch to facilitate the movement. When you walk for example, during a step, one leg is forward and the other is back. Then, during your next step, the leg that was back travels forward as the forward leg stretches into position behind. And the sequence is repeated as you walk down the way. If conventional stretching techniques are prioritized without respect to muscle function then your entire body structure can become flaccid. Then you lose your resiliency to gravity forcing down on you when you sit, stand, or move! So your body compensates instead.

Those compensations, when repeated repetitiously, train your body to accept the compensations as the new normal. When you move with poor body mechanics, whether you’re walking down the street, exercising, or doing what you do most, your body reinforces these improper  compensations. So how do you build your body to move efficiently? Implement exercises that prepare your body for life outside of the gym, while respecting human anatomy. In other words, every exercise should incorporate the activation/stretch sequence while moving in a way that integrates the entire body, through a pattern that translates to movement in the real world. Then the chronic need for stretching is alleviated and tight or achey muscles can be better managed through proper myofascial release/trigger point therapy.

Flexibility is a good thing, but flexibility without muscular tensions associated with extreme ranges of motion are problematic. Contorting your joints, compressing your spine, and manipulating your body into positions for the sake of getting a “deeper stretch,” may not work for you, the way you intended, in the long run. Our muscles are like rubber bands, when they stretch they immediately sling shot to propel our body through space. Over stretching causes our muscles to lose their elasticity, the ability to “sling shot,” and we’re left with muscles that don’t function the way they were designed. If you want to improve the flexibility of your muscles and the mobility of your joints, while respecting the way your body is connected, then book your consultation with a complimentary introductory workout.

 

Pain

Most of us are accustomed to pain at some level, whether it’s a dull ache or a sharp debilitating pain. Sometimes we feel it during day to day activity, specific exercises, or worse, it keeps us up at night. We seek relief from our doctor and they usually refer us to a physical therapist and we get some relief but as time goes on we find out that the relief is only temporary. We begin battling the same pain and discomfort, so we start reaching for the Advil or the Extra Strength Tylenol even though we know that’s like putting a Band Aid on a broken finger, and our problem doesn’t get fixed. The good news is that we have a solution to chronic problems like lower back pain, knee pain, and shoulder pain.

What sets us apart from traditional remedies like physical therapy, massage, chiropractic, and other methods of personal training is that we implement exercise according to how individual muscles work in harmony with the other muscles in your body and the requirements necessary to translate those exercises to sustain pain-free movement in life outside of the gym. We aren’t saying that those other remedies don’t work or that you shouldn’t try them but if you have tried them and haven’t had any long term relief then you should consider implementing our practices. We aren’t like most gyms, we spend our first few sessions drilling in the basics to establish a firm foundation to operate from. “Basics” meaning, breathing, posture, and proper body mechanics to enhance the way we exercise and improve the way we live.

While other methods look to the area that’s feeling pain to fix the problem sometimes that’s not looking deep enough. By understanding how the muscles in your body connect and what optimal movement should look like we can decode why you experience knee pain every time you take a step. For example, when we walk our torso should rotate to connect our upper body to our lower body, if we aren’t rotating the trunk when we walk then our body compensates in the hip, knee, or ankle joint down the kinetic chain, or into the shoulder joint up the kinetic chain. We analyze the way you walk and move to determine if your body is compensating in one area resulting in pain in another area. Our goal is to get to the source of your pain not simply treat the symptom because that may not be the cause, and if you never get to the real cause you never find long term relief.

Our methods don’t stop there, once we have your pain managed and your foundation established we begin to introduce exercises to retrain your body to hold proper muscle activations. That way when you move your muscles are doing the work and not your joints, so the pain you once experienced doesn’t return.

We’re here to tell you that you don’t have to live with your pain! If you’d like to learn more about how we do what we do and specifics about how we can help your individual needs then please contact us to set up a free phone consultation!