Body Blind Spots
Training. It should make you stronger, more mobile, and more easily able to do things you want to do outside the gym. I believe it should also teach you something, and make you a better owner/operator of your own body and mind. Often that experience comes in the form of realizing you are capable of more than you thought possible, which is really fun and inspiring! But what happens when you discover something about your body isn’t working as well as it should be? Something that you had no idea was even a problem until you asked your body to do something only to find it couldn’t or wouldn’t? This is what my Yoga Tune Up® mentor Jill Miller calls “body blind spots”.
- Treat yourself with curiosity and kindness. If you discover a movement pattern that is challenging for you, be willing to work on it with patience, ideally with the guidance of a coach or physical therapist. Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to progress as quickly as you’d like. When I was treating my shoulder injury, I was encouraged by my doctor that there was no reason I shouldn’t be able to recover and take heavy weights overhead. But with years of not treating previous injuries, and doing absolutely no upper body work whatsoever, I would need to be patient and take my time.
- Don’t focus only on what you “can’t do”. Sometimes when we discover an area that needs a little extra TLC, all we can focus on is the stuff we aren’t able to do as well as we’d like. While I was being a good girl and doing my shoulder correctives, I was sometimes annoyed that I couldn’t do get ups and snatches, of course. But mostly I just tried to find the ways that I could still challenge myself, and as a result I learned how to do pistol squats during that period!
- Look at how you are moving (or not moving) your body as a whole, not just in the gym. Do you train a few hours a week and spend the rest of your week seated at a desk during the day and a couch at night? Do you perform lots of repetitive motions? How is your posture and body mechanics when you are doing regular activities? How often do you practice mobility drills, self massage or other recovery strategies outside the gym? The truth is, if you only ever practice these things in the gym a few hours a week, it’s not nearly enough. I find I need a daily practice of some kind of mobility, strength and self-massage work in order to keep my neck and shoulders feeling and performing as well as they can.