Most of us are twisted in one way or another…and I’m not talking about anything that you might be involved in (that’s your business). What I am talking about is how your body holds itself. Whether you realize it or not your body is probably contorting itself in order to give you the illusion of being “straight”.
Here is what I want you to do. Go into a quite, darkened room and close your eyes. Keeping your eyes closed, start to march in place. Make sure that you are bringing your knees up to that the top of your thighs are parallel to the ground. Set a timer for 60 seconds and march until the timer goes off.
When you open your eyes see where you are in relation to where you started. Odds are pretty high that you will have turned significantly to one side. If this is the case, it indicates that your body is twisted.
When we take away the auditory and visual stimulus (which is achieved by the quite, darkened room) your body will start to show you how it really holds itself. We don’t even realize it but our body will contort itself in order to keep you moving straight ahead. The underlying causes of this contorting are imbalances in the body that must be address in order to avoid injuries.
When you take your eyes and ears out of the equation your body will simply “untwist” itself and as a result you will start to turn as you march. The side you twisted towards is usually tight in the hip flexors and quads and weak in the glutes. This imbalance means that you are overcompensating for this bad movement with the other leg.
All of this adds up to one thing – you are losing pedaling power and you are going to break down and get hurt at some point if you do not restore balance to your body. Odds are you are already dealing with some sort of chronic pain as a result of this imbalance and the bad movement it causes. Your exercise program needs to play a major role in this correcting this.
I highly suggest that if you found yourself facing a different direction when you stopped marching that you avoid much in the way of two legged exercises. Every time you use both of your legs at once your dominant leg is making up for the bad movement on the other leg which just reinforces the imbalance.
Instead, concentrate on single leg exercises, particularly the Split Squat and Bulgarian Split Squat. Both of these exercises will help to retrain the bad movement on the weaker side which will save wear and tear on the other side. Restoring balance between your limbs is essential. Some studies have shown that imbalances between limbs are one of the biggest indicators of injury potential. You ignore these imbalances at your own peril.
This twisting is also one of the biggest reasons that people seek chiropractic, massage, yoga, Pilates and a whole variety of other means of lengthening, loosening and restoring balance to the body. All of these methods can be helpful, if they are being applied in a way specific to your condition. Taking responsibility to know what you need and how to best address it is the best way for ensure the results you are looking for.
So try the march in a dark and quite room…you may be surprised by what you find out. If you are twisting take some time to build your single leg strength and quality of movement. Using your training program to help restore balance is the best way to make sure that it is helping you do more than just burn some calories and not setting you up for a future injury.