Monday, November 10, 2008

Equal Opportunity for All Muscles

This weekend was a crazy weekend for raking leaves. Ahh...the pleasures of living in New England. Well, I'm not one to complain about it---I just accept it. As I raked the millions and millions of leaves strewed across my backyard, I couldn't help but wonder how many of my clients always seem to complain of pain after an activity...like raking leaves.

As I raked I observed the motion. I am right-handed, so I held the rake with the top pointing over my right shoulder, and the rake towards my left foot. During the action, I noticed my right hand powered the movement mostly but it was not at an advantageous position. It was somewhat abducted out and somewhat internally rotated. The left arm was consistently adducted and pulling inwards against the load (hey it rained, so the leaves were wet and really heavy), therefore, relying on some serious pectoral involvement. I thought to myself, as the pain of "creep" started to settle in...hmm..."how about switching arms?"
So I did, and *poof*....equal opportunity for all muscles. It took some getting used to, but I think I was able to take away some of the stress off the upperbody simply by switching the loading patterns.

We can always switch things up in the gym also, simply by changing the loading pattern. For instance:

Horizontal to angled pressing

Vertical rowing to horizontal rowing
Parallel squat to staggered stance squat
Simply altering the loading pattern is a great way to ease off fatigue in the same muscles; "wakes up" other muscles that are normally not accustomed to use; and mentally challenges the body to work in a great capacity. The message here? Rake leaves and learn more about your body.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, these 'little things' that people may not think much about, which happen during all that time spent outside the gym add up.

    A client may paint the fence with the same hand for two week straight - tell her to switch!

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