Saturday, September 22, 2012

Try exercising in 2-dimensions (circular movements), rather than always exercising in 1-dimension (linear movements)

Wow!  That's a lot of words for a title.  What do I mean by this?

Please reference the following link to see an informative video made by Movement Specialist Jackie Mason, posted to Google.  Former classmates together, Jackie was actually in my particular Feldenkrais Professional Training Program with me in New York City back in 1991 through 1994, when we both graduated together.  Click below to see how Jackie's extensive knowledge of Movement Education comes through in the following video.

Movement Matters with Jackie - Part 8 - Relieve Back Pain with Rotation
58 minutes 5 seconds in length.

I did not intend for you guys to watch the complete video, it being over 58 minutes long.  Although if you decide to do so, you may find it very helpful.  I just wanted you all to see the first 3 minutes of Jackie's video, where she makes a good point to say how we, as people, when it comes to working out, treat our joints as "hinges".  Rather, to put it in my own words, we usually only move our limbs and the rest of our body parts in "1-dimensional" kinds of movements.   That is, we move "straight up and down", or, "straight back and forth". These are how most conventional workouts are designed.  To give one example, take the popular weightlifting exercise, the "Military Press".  You "press" or lift a weight directly above your head (in a straight line), and then you gradually lower the weight (in a straight line) back to "neutral" (the starting point) to then be able to repeat the same trajectory many more times.  This is moving in one dimension.  This is OK to work out like this some of the time, that is, to move "linearly".  However, as Jackie infers, we should probably also work out our limbs and other body parts in "2-dimensional" kinds of movements, rather, in rotational kinds of movements as well.

Thinking in these terms, check out the following video uploaded by Jack Cascio onto back on December 14, 2011.:

Intense "Pull-Up Workout" Get Faster!,
1 minute 54 seconds in length.

Jack Cascio is a revered fitness trainer, nationally renown for his knowledge and skill in improving athlete's sprinting speed and jumping ability.  I like how within this video, Jack demonstrates some great upper body, pull-up exercises, which, believe it or not, can ultimately influence your running speed.  [Remember, "Everything is connected to everything."  Thus, if your upper body is primed, it ultimately influences the finesse of your lower body (your legs).]

Note the second exercise that Jack demonstrates in this video, the "Around the Clock" pull-ups.  These are good in that they are not the conventional linear, or 1-dimensional pull up.  Rather, they are a 2-dimensional, or circular, kind of movement.

Circular movements are great for developing athleticism.  Speaking of which …

The “Push-Up”

We are all familiar with the classic exercise, the push-up.  This is a wonderful exercise.  However, keeping in mind what we have been discussing, it would perhaps also be beneficial for you if you modified the movement from time to time.  After all, muscles like to be exercised with variety, at all different angles and perspective.  This is why it is sometimes helpful to change up your routine from time to time.

As you know, the starting position of the standard push-up requires you to position yourself on your hands and the toes of your feet, with your head, torso, and legs above the ground, with your arms pushed-out or extended.  Thus, your arms are relatively “unbent”.  From here, you begin to allow yourself to come toward the ground.  Rather, you “go down” toward the ground.  That is, you allow your elbows to bend in order that you be able to, for instance, touch either your nose, chin, or chest to the ground.  Then, you immediately push out or extend your arms in order to push your body away from the ground in order to return to the starting position once again.

Note that this is a “straight up and down”, or linear, motion.

Here’s a fun modification to the push-up, which incorporates circular movements.:

I enjoy doing these.

From the starting position, the next time that you go down toward the ground, be different.  Try to throw in a little “twist” or circle to the movement.  That is, for instance, as you move downward toward the ground, have the intention of going downward as well as, at the same time, toward the right.  That is, allow your face to simultaneously drop downward toward the ground as well as toward your right hand.  When your face is about halfway toward the ground, then begin to allow your face to begin to move toward the left so that, after your face touches the ground, it continues to move toward the left so that when it is halfway up, it is over toward your left hand.  Continue the upward movement as you begin to simultaneously move your head toward the right.  Continue in this trajectory so that when you finally arrive up to the initial starting position, your head is once again in the center.  You have now just completed a full circle!  Bravo!

You may have just discovered how this modification to the standard push-up, this circular movement, seems fun, interesting, as well as maybe even empowering.

This circular movement may feel difficult at first.  However, as you get stronger and more skilled, it becomes easier.  You may even find that as you become more proficient with this movement, you’ll be able to increase the size of the circle, rather, the diameter of the circle.

Can you think of other movements or exercises that you can do to incorporate circular movements, instead of doing the conventional linear movement?  Go ahead.  Be creative. 

Hasta la vista,

Guan Yin Acupuncture & Feldenkrais® Center
Dr. Lin Cheng Speer, LAc, OMD, PhD
James Speer, Guild-Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner®
1003 Wilshire Blvd. Suites #203, 206
Santa Monica, CA 90401
tel. 310-395-1952
"Health Is All that Matters!"

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Even a Mercedes Needs a Tune-Up"

Greetings everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful, enjoyable and active summer.  If it was "too active", or more than you could handle,
please feel free to come in and see me.  Whether it's because of your tennis elbow, swimmer's shoulder, "computer user" carpal tunnel wrist pain, housemaid knee, runner's knee, or for your "office chair sitting" sore neck or back, I can provide you with hands-on Feldenkrais Movement Re-Education work for your body in order to learn a new pattern for movement.  Or, more simply, for body pain relief and healing.

If it's been a while since you've been in, you might be interested for coming in for your "monthly maintenance session".  As a long-standing client of mine likes to say, "Even a Mercedes needs a tune-up."  :-)

I look forward to seeing you soon!

To great health!

Guan Yin Acupuncture & Feldenkrais® Center
Dr. Lin Cheng Speer, LAc, OMD, PhD
James Speer, Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner®
                           Injury Rehab Therapist

1003 Wilshire Blvd. Suites #203, 208
Santa Monica, CA 90401
tel. 310-395-1952
"Health Is All that Matters!"