Thursday, October 31, 2013

Shifting Focus?

At my recent PT appointment I had (or rather, was given) an "aha moment". 

One of my biggest frustrations right now is going to the gym for hours each week, doing every strength exercise I can, but still not being able to fend of injury. Isn't building strength supposed to be the holy grail for runners and injury prevention?

Well, apparently it's not necessarily that easy. Who knew?

So, I was complaining to my PT how my back hurts, my hamstring hurts, my IT band hurts, my foot is achy . . . and wasn't all of this supposed to be gone now that I'm not running? What gives? He explained that you can be quite strong, but still not recruit the correct muscles. For instance, you can do lunges all day long for your butt, but if your body isn't recruiting the butt muscles to do the lunges, then it isn't really going to help. 

Some of us need more help with our fine, small muscles before we start focusing so heavily on our big strong ones. Well, huh

My PT worked on my back and core some (OUCH) and taught me a whole bunch of new basic exercises to help strengthen my core, my butt and my hamstrings. 

I left the appointment with a list of things to do 3-4 times a week-- and it's seriously going to take me easily 30 mins each time I do it! But I made me think, maybe instead of ramping up my strength training, maybe I need to reign it back in a little bit. Instead of loading up a barbell for back squats when I get to the gym, I can do simple, specific "donkey kicks" and keep focused on my back and core to make sure that they are properly engaging as I do them. 

Of course, it's not an all or nothing thing, necessarily. I can still go to the gym and lift my weights, only now it's under the caveat that I'm really focusing on my core while I do so. 

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