There was an error in this gadget

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Above the belt.

We runners tend to think below the belt. And it makes sense, I mean, common issues of concern to runners are piriformis, hips, hamstrings, calves, ankles, and feet. When something goes wrong below the belt, rehab, and worse, time off looms ahead more often than not. Thus, as runners we also pay more attention to these problem areas. We strength train to prevent imbalances. We stretch and do yoga to keep things loose and nimble. We ice bath to reduce inflammation. We roll on the foam roller to work out the kinks.

But what about above the belt? Last Saturday I was at my brother-in-laws 40th birthday celebration/hooraw out in Hammett, Idaho. There was zip-lining, shooting, dancing, and mini-motorcycle racing. While shooting at clay pigeons (notice I say AT), my shoulder dislocated. Now, this has happened before but I can normally put it back into place. Not this time. And so, for the rest of the night and into Monday I had a lame wing. On Monday afternoon, my physical therapist got things back in line and relieved the pain. Turns out, my shoulder joint is pretty damn loose - thus the continual dislocation issue.

Which brings me to my point, we spend so much time treating below the belt that we often neglect above the belt. Aside from core work, what do we do to care for our whole body? Namely, our arms, shoulders, neck, upper back, etc. Sure, we may lift weights and do yoga but do we care for the upper half with the same tenacity as the lower half? Not often. The concept of following a concentric action with an eccentric one comes to mind. As well as working all muscle groups evenly to stay balanced above the belt. For example, I do loads of push ups and consequently have tight pectoral muscles but I don't stretch that area. This tightness has been one of the causes of my shoulder being easily pulled out of alignment.

For the next couple weeks, I am going to take things down to the basics. Strip my strength routines down to the core and put my concentration into correct alignment and balancing the muscle groups. Another thing we runners are is lazy. Yes, I said lazy. We put so much emphasis on the running aspect of training and sometimes half-ass the rest. I am as guilty as anyone.

So, take OFF the belt and treat your body as a whole unit. You might be amazed at what it gives you in return.

No comments:

Post a Comment