That is what I tell my clients when they ask if they should be doing strength training. The answer is they are already doing strength training! Most of us do not realize the work that it takes our body to stand up in alignment with the line of gravity – ankles, knees, hips shoulders, and head in vertical and horizontal lines. It actually requires more strength than we think – just a different kind of strength and in different places. The paradox is when you have that kind of strength, it feels effortless.
Try this little test: Stand with your back to the wall, feet 4 to 6 inches apart pointed straight ahead. Let your butt and shoulder blades lightly touch the wall. Does your head easily touch the wall? If it does, great, leave it there. If it does not, you don’t have to force it back, but it shows that you lack some postural strength. Set a timer for 3 to 5 minutes and just stand there. Begin to notice how you feel and where you start to feel tense and uncomfortable. Do you start to fidget? All of these are signs that you don’t have the postural strength to stand up straight along the line of gravity.
Here’s another paradox: You cannot strengthen those postural muscles by going to the gym and doing what we typically do on those machines or with weights. Most of the postural muscles are really deep in the body and have been inactive for a while due to compensations. If you don’t re-activate those postural muscles but go to the gym to lift or whatever, they stay asleep and you strengthen the compensations until they start creating pain or injury.
Many of our clients are fit active people who participate in strength training and classes but have had to stop because of pain. Their biggest fear is that because they are not lifting weights or doing the cardio kickboxing class, their bodies will turn to mush and lose muscle tone. RELAX, that Egoscue program is a strengthening program! I can guarantee you won’t lose anything. In most cases, you don’t have to stop doing anything but you’ll have to do your Egoscue program first and then do those lateral raises (or your exercise of choice) a little differently and a bit more consciously.
Then, it’s almost like magic….you’ll feel better, stand taller without effort and you’ll be stronger than ever!