It’s one of those days, you just finished a grueling workout at the gym and your joints are aching, your lower back is stiff, and your tendonitis is flared up. Your workout buddies deal with the same aches and pains so you write it off as normal, just part of getting old, and what it takes to stay in shape.
We’re here to tell you that it is not normal, getting old doesn’t have to feel painful, and if you really were “in shape” your body wouldn’t be in a state of chronic aches and pains. Although all the above is commonly experienced by the majority of gym goers, it’s not supposed to be that way. In fact when you move correctly and your muscles contract properly you experience a state of wellbeing.
Imagine this; you just finished an intentional workout, your body is feeling light and springy, you feel a pump all over your body like your muscles are getting stronger, yet you feel like you just stretched out your entire body, your spine feels decompressed, and your shoulder and knees don’t hurt.
This is what your body should feel like after exercising, and it can once you learn how to use your muscles to move correctly. This is what our trainers teach; we don’t count reps, we make sure every rep counts. We train you to intentionally move your body against your default mechanics to override dysfunctional patterns and optimize your movement.
One thing is for sure, our training is not like what you see in the mainstream (maybe that’s why so many people are in pain) or like anything you’ve felt before. Come in and learn what you need to be feeling to fix your body, with our beginner friendly introductory session!
When you work hard in the gym, you expect the exercises you do to carry over to the real world. In the form of strength, flexibility, stamina, energy, health, and overall fitness.
For the genetically gifted ones it does, but what about the average folks who do what they’re supposed to do and still fall short? Why are they busting their butts every day at the gym but still can’t lose weight, still have joints that hurt, still not feeling strong or mobile? To answer those questions you have to ask what they’re doing. Are they really doing the right things or just doing what everyone else is doing and expecting to get lucky with their results. Or are they doing what worked for an athlete that was already born with overall better muscles, minimal body fat, and naturally fit?
If you’re already born that way, this post isn’t for you- you can keep doing what you’re doing and succeed in spite of what might be wrong for others. If you’ve tried everything but still can’t make progress then read on.
Our trainers work to address principles of health and fitness that often get overlooked, not given any thought at all, or are sometimes too hard at first to want to learn. The fact is every body is unique and what works for one person might have to be taught completely different to another body. Another little valued fact is that every body has a similar blueprint for how muscles are designed to function. If you don’t follow this blueprint then it’s hard to make progress that is sustainable. If you do follow it (with slight modifications for your individual needs) then you’re able to achieve the strength, flexibility, and fitness that you’re working toward. You need to work smarter not harder.
If you’ve been chasing after health and fitness for years or even decades, look in the mirror and ask yourself… “how’s this working out for me?” You can’t keep doing the same thing (exercises, eating habits, sleep, recovery, etc.) and expecting different results.
Something is not always better than nothing. Usually it’s the other way around, the mindset that something is better than nothing. Jogging for a few minutes is better than not moving at all, but not if jogging causes your knees or your back to hurt.
Our trainers are of the mindset that something is not better than nothing, if something causes pain or adversity. Instead we teach you something that is better for your body and your needs. This ensures that you continue to make progress and you can sustain your fitness as you age. Because what’s the point of doing something if it wrecks your body and you aren’t able to do it for long.
Pushing past joint pain because you need to jog in order to lose weight for an upcoming wedding or because you keep gaining weight, isn’t healthy. It would be healthier to do something with your diet and eating habits and lose weight by addressing those. Then you can use exercise as a way to strengthen your body by moving correctly instead of rushing through a workout because you feel the need to punish your body for being overweight. Punishment during a workout often means pain after the workout.
If this sounds like you then you need to consider why you exercise. Do you want to lose weight, do you want to be strong, do you want your muscles to work so you don’t have pain? All of the above are possible but your path to achieve them needs to be intentional and holistic. Meaning you shouldn’t feel like you need to outwork a bad diet, food should be fuel used to give you energy for your day or a workout. It shouldn’t be used to cope from stress or overeaten regularly. Exercise should be used as a tool to build a strong and stable body progressively overtime and not a means to an end.
Diet and exercise work together to help your health and fitness. Rushing through a half-assed workout isn’t how your body was meant to be trained. The mindset that something is better than nothing isn’t a healthy one because it promotes a half-assed result. Spinning you in circles, not losing weight but not gaining extra weight from an unhealthy, unsustainable cycle. Lose the haphazard “something is better than nothing” motto because it’s limiting your potential.
How it started; how it’s going.
Started with numerous issues, most notably was scapular dysfunction that contributed to pain in the upper traps.
The first exercise is conditioning the muscles of the shoulder girdle & thoracic spine to integrate instead of putting all the demand on the traps.
The second exercise is reinforcing the corrective mechanics and putting those muscle connections to work during movement.
The result is a better connected body that can disperse force through the kinetic chain and balance the workload for the muscles.
As we continue to clean up dysfunctional movement patterns, moving correctly will train the body to operate efficiently and handle the demands of the real world without pain and injury.
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.
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.
MUSCLE INTEGRATION MAKES UP EFFICIENT MOVEMENT. THIS IS BECAUSE ALL OF OUR MUSCLES ARE LINKED THROUGH THE KINETIC CHAIN. IN OTHER WORDS, WHAT HAPPENS IN ONE AREA OF THE BODY HAS A DIRECT OR INDIRECT EFFECT ELSEWHERE.
THE POWER OF THE KINETIC CHAIN CAN MAKE MOVEMENT THERAPEUTIC BECAUSE IF YOU HAVE KNEE PAIN, THE PAIN COULD BE CAUSED BY WEAK GLUTES. SO BY STRENGTHENING THE GLUTES, YOU RESOLVE YOUR KNEE PAIN.
IMAGINE YOUR KINETIC CHAIN LIKE A ROW TEAM, WHEN ALL YOUR TEAMMATES ARE ROWING AND DOING THEIR PART, THE BOAT MOVES WITH LESS EFFORT. BUT WHEN ONE OF THE ROWERS ISN’T DOING THEIR JOB, IT PUTS MORE RESPONSIBILITY ON THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE TEAM. THE TEAM GETS TIRED FASTER, BECAUSE EACH MEMBER GETS OVER WORKED,
WHEN LINKS ARE WEAK AND NOT DOING THEIR JOB (LIKE THE ROW TEAM ANALOGY), MOTOR COMPENSATIONS DRIVE YOUR MOVEMENTS. WHEN YOU DON’T MOVE WITH OPTIMAL MECHANICS YOU RISK INJURY AND REPETITIVE DYSFUNCTIONAL MECHANICS LEAD TO PAIN.
IT’S IMPORTANT TO GET YOUR KINETIC CHAIN LINKED UP AND FUNCTIONING LIKE A ROW TEAM THATS IN SYNCH. WHEN YOU EXERCISE IN A WAY THAT ADDRESSES THE WHOLE SYSTEM AND THE WAY IT INTERCONNECTS, YOU BUILD MUSCLE FOR THE WAY YOUR BODY IS GOING TO USE IT IN REAL WORLD CONDITIONS.
Your body adapts to the demands you constantly place on it. This summarizes the science behind the SAID principle; Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. For example, by only doing squats for your lower body, your body adapts to this specific physical demand, but not to other patterns or environments for the lower body, like walking or running.
Another example can be if you sit for extended periods of time, your body will start to change and adapt its structure to the sitting environment that it’s constantly in. This makes it difficult to move correctly when you try to pick up your favorite recreational sport or hiking trail on the weekends, and leads to overuse on certain muscles and eventually pain or injury.
With only so many hours in the day, we all have minimal time to exercise. Which offers a unique opportunity to impose specific demands to counteract the effects of your normal environment. Meaning if you sit a lot, initially you’d want to choose exercises that promote trunk and hip extension, to work in opposition to the spinal kyphosis and hip flexion patterns of sitting. As opposed to sitting all day then getting on a bike and cycling; same pattern/demand as sitting. So nothing improves and your body further adapts your structure to your sitting environment. This can be a problem when you expect your body to perform like it always has.
Circle back to our initial example about squatting and the limits it places on your lower body function. The muscles of the lower body- glutes, quads, hip flexors, calves, plantar fascia, etc.- have all evolved to help the human structure walk and run. It wasn’t until the 1960’s-1970’s that Arnold Schwarzenegger popularized training the muscles outside of their intended functions and with exercise patterns that didn’t replicate the way the muscles worked together to produce human specific movement. A couple decades of consumers training the human body this way (coupled with a more sedentary lifestyle), led to a disassociation with our natural movement and one of the main reasons most people deal with some form of ache, pain, or injury. The body has adapted to exercises that don’t mesh with the way the body actually needs to move.
Whatever demand you put your body through repetitively, intensely, and subconsciously will be what your body is forced to adapt to. Make sure what you’re teaching your body has a carry over to the roots of your human function, so you can continue to move well, without pain, as you age.
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!