How To Match Up Your Body With An Exercise

training strategy Dec 05, 2015

I like ice skating, it requires some skill and grace, which is something that I enjoy (with my dance background). My boyfriend Chris and I were invited to an ice skating "party" on a lake. The ice must be hard enough since it's been so freakishly cold around her recently. Chris tells me that he owns a pair of skates, but they are half a size too small. We agreed, that he could probably wear them this one time, but he wouldn't enjoy it too much. His feet would hurt after a while.

It's not difficult to figure out, that it's just not a good choice to wear skates that are too small. That it's not the shoes' fault, not the lake's, nor the feet's fault that ice skating will not be pleasurable like that.

When it comes to exercise, you might think one particular technique (yoga, Pilates, Cross-fit etc.) doesn't work for you because of your back, knees, neck, or any other body part. I hear it all the time:

"I tried yoga, but it hurt my back."

"I tried Kettlebells, but my my neck got really tight.”

In their minds, the form of exercise (yoga) or the equipment (Kettlebells) was the problem.

Or it sounds something like this:

"I can't do lunges with my knee."

"Deadlifts make my hips so tight.”

Turns out the problem is neither the exercise nor your body.

You're trying to fit an exercise "on" your body, instead of adapting the exercise to fit your body.

Obviously, in Chris' case the solution is, to buy a pair of skates in his size. When you have difficulties with a specific exercise, you have 2 options:

Choose a different exercise with the same goal

If you can't do a plank on your hands, then we'll just have to find a different exercise to get the same muscle effort. If the reason why you're doing plank is to strengthen your core, then why don't you come onto your elbows, to avoid the wrists. You'll still get the benefit of the core strength.

Slightly modify the exercise.

This way you can still do the same exercise, but you won't hurt your body. The benefit will slightly change - and I didn't say decrease - just change.

When you think of the many many ways the human body can move, who says you have to do a sit up as fast as you can. Who says you have to keep your knees completely straight, even when it bothers your knee or lower back.

A skilled movement teacher can tell you why you should do an exercise in a specific way, and why it is better for your body this way.

Every person's body is different and unique. Chris' foot happens to be a size 9. So no-one would ever suggest he should wear a 8.5 shoe.

If you cannot lift your arms more than 100 degrees in front of you without arching your back (due to lack of mobility in the shoulder joint), no-one should ever recommend Up-Stretch or Down Dog as a good exercise for you.

If your big toe joint is arthritic and can't bend fully, you shouldn't be forcing it to bend in a plank, just because someone else is doing it in a class or on a video.

Makes sense? Stop moving in a way that hurts you. Listen to your body.

Blessings as always!

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