Are you Weak AND tight
Sound weird? In my experience, this is the single most prolific and dangerous set of symptoms. Most men and women I meet don’t even realize they’re a ticking time-bomb for injury and poor aging because of those two words.
Years of not working out. Years of not lifting any real weights. Years of not using your body the way it was designed…like you probably did on a daily basis as a child. Years of not working to stay mobile (notice I didn’t say flexible).
These are the reasons most people end up weak and tight.
Why do I say this is the most dangerous pattern? Imagine this. You have a 12 year old car sitting in the garage. You haven’t taken it out for a spin in 5 years. You haven’t given it an oil change, checked the tires, or done anything to maintain it beyond fill it with gas and start it up.
Then one sunny, summer afternoon you get a wild hair and decide to break it out. You open the garage door, throw on your shades, take it out on the highway and floor it. Then, duh, bam! The engine burns up and your car is a wreck.
This is what happens to thousands of people every year who have been inactive, sitting at a desk, out of the gym and succumbing to the aging process. Years of neglect followed by exercise that doesn’t work to fix weakness and mobility at the same time.
Then one day you go to pick up heavy luggage, or do strenuous yard work, or move a piece of furniture, or hit the gym…and the same thing happens. Bam, your body freaks out and you’re injured.
So…was the problem the weight you tried to move or the fact that you took an unused, un-tuned, immobile body out for a spin after far too many years of sedentary life?
Sadly, too many health “experts” compound the problem by giving advice like this. They look at your body that hasn’t been used correctly and blame exercise or weights on your current pain. They give you advice like:
· Do a safe routine with LIGHT weights- WRONG
· Do something safer like running- Way Wrong (running is a skill like any sport, and if you don’t have mobile hips, a strong core and good knees, running is a poor starter exercise)
· Stop doing your workout because it’s causing pain- Rarely correct
Ok, so this last one probably trips you up, right? At first glance it reads like the prudent advice. But tell me this, if your issue is a weak and immobile body, how much time off or time resting is going to fix that?
Drum roll please….zero. This advice makes no sense. Unless you have a legitimate injury that will be further injured by exercise, and I would only put the most extreme injuries in this category- torn ligament or muscle, slipped disc if and only if further training will cause more damage- then time off is almost always a silly and excessively conservative approach.
Most pain does not fit into those categories. 90% of the pain I see people suffer from comes from a much less severe cause…and usually it’s the result of tight muscles in one spot, poor mobility in a nearby joint, and a lack of strength in one or many muscles surrounding.
The “problem” that needs fixing, if this applies to you, is the fact that your body has gotten both weak and tight.
So let’s be proactive and do something about it. Let’s create a plan that will take your body from Weak and Tight to Mobile and Strong in the least time flat…with the smallest possibility for injury.
How to become Strong and Mobile:
1. Use a proper warm-up. That doesn’t mean just break a sweat, it means that you start to warm up and move your primary joints (hips and shoulders) in safe planes in a way that will encourage them to perform better when you add weight. Second, do drills that “wake up” the core- ie. Plank, although there are many other options
2. Be realistic about how strong you are- and I promise you that you are a LOT stronger than you think. I also promise that the fear mongering about heavy weights is silly, and the real issue is a lifestyle devoid of exercise that perpetuates the situation of weak and tight. You are built to be strong. It’s time to move the weight your body is built to
3. Challenge your body with movements the access the 3 power zones- hips, core and shoulders. Warm-up all 3 zones, then strength train all 3 zones. Opt-out of non-functional, muscle-isolation exercises (ie. Leg extensions and bicep curls) and choose full body, multi-joint exercises (ie. The front squat, kettlebell swing, pull-up)
4. Build the desired intensity to burn fat and reshape your body. If you are weak and tight, my guess is that you’re also not happy with how you look. If you truly want to reshape your body, you’ve got to work at a desired intensity. That means an 8 out of 10 in the effort scale much of your workout. Replace boring cardio with strength and intensity and you’ll slash workout time in half!
5. Pre-hab your body for amazing physical changes and pain-free living by properly cooling down. That means deep stretching, mobility drills (especially working on where you are currently immobile), and nutrition that will help recovery of your muscles and energy
If you follow this 5 step plan consistently, 3-5 days a week, you are capable of amazing physical and emotional transformation. I have seen clients recover their strength and mobility at any age, any athleticism and any weight.
You really are capable of amazing changes…you just need the right program.
Dedicated to your health,