How To Get Everything Right When Exercising
“There is just so much to think of, I can’t keep it all straight!”
Knowing I’m demanding when it comes to form, my clients lament how challenging it is to remember to get everything “right” while we work together. I reassure them that they aren’t doing anything wrong. We are working with their body’s way of cheating out of the movement. Feet and hands are the most neglected parts of our bodies, followed by ankles and wrists. The majority of us spend so much time worrying about our abs or butts to remember that we have an entire body we inhabit for life. When we check out or focus only on one area, other things fall apart.
So how do you remember everything?
The short answer is, unless you have years to truly dedicate to the art of movement, it’s almost impossible. This is why most top trainers and athletes have someone else helping them out.
What the regular person can do.
There is always the option of working with a trainer who can help make corrections, as well as having a (large) mirror to give you visual feedback. Some of us, myself included, prefer to not be around a mirror as much as possible, so we have to learn how to rely on our bodies.
I think of the alignment process as a continual body scan. Are my feet in alignment and keeping me properly anchored, or are they turned out with the toes lifting off the ground frequently? How about my knees, my hips? Are the muscles of my deep core properly engaged and working to bend or stabilize me? Are my shoulders where they’re supposed to be, or do I need to anchor them back in place? Is my head stacked with my spine, or is it turning and pulling me out of my alignment because… SQUIRREL!
Then it’s back to the feet all over again. This quick scan happens even while performing the movements. For some exercises, I know I have areas that compensate worse than others. Those get a little extra attention. While I’m on my bike, the bio-feedback is a little more noticeable. It’s become second nature to sit up on my saddle, actually get out of the slump, and feel my power surge.
Each exercise you perform is going to require your body to work slightly differently. This is great! Once you master the basics of the body scan, it will help you to be able to “get” the movements you’re trying to learn or perform. Understanding your body as a whole unit will ultimately allow you to take your work further.