Monday, June 05, 2006

No Pain, All Gain

Touching one’s toes causes a lot of people to experience lower back pain -- with good reason; it is the improper lifting alignment, with the weight too far over the center of gravity and balance. One should instead, only touch one’s ankles, and maintain the contact of palms over the legs from the ankle to the waist when bending over and back -- as the proper flexion mechanics. Movement in that manner causes no back pain. Yet that is the essential power movement of the body -- to lift, and also is the powerful rowing motion that taps the strength of the hips and legs, while ostensibly seeming to be a back exercise.

The back is just the final extension of that movement -- to tap and express the power created by the hips and legs -- working along the lines of the body to create maximum power (thrust). The hands, which hold the resistance (weight), have to be as close as possible to the body to have a favorable alignment; holding it too far away, produces an unfavorable alignment we experience as back pain. Touching one’s ankles produces the favorable alignment that touching one’s toes is not. That is the cause of much back pain -- that the weight is too far forward over the center of balance and proper alignment.

Yet frequently, in diagnostics, the examiner will ask one to touch one’s toes -- causing back pain in the doing, even when it would not manifest otherwise, in the proper positioning produced by touching one’s ankles instead and maintaining contact of the hands along the legs throughout the movement. The reason for this is that the hips and legs will adjust to make the position possible (bending at the hips and knees) -- whereas in the toe touch, the hips and legs are immobilized so that the back bears the stress entirely.

This proper starting position, with palms on the ankles, is critical to being able to perform the ultimate power movement of the body, which is the straightening movement in bringing the hands to one’s waist -- as in lifting or rowing. It can be a fairly demanding exercise performed for a high number of repetitions, as a complete (aerobic) exercise routine, and is in fact, a popular gym apparatus. It is also an exercise usually called in P.E. classes, “Toe touches” -- which as I pointed out, is ill-advised. It should be “ankle touches” -- and then one can perform as many as one wants without the stress of back pain, from improper positioning. That’s very important in performing the ultimate power movement of the body; one does not want to use that power to produce an injury.

In exercise, most injuries are self-inflicted, for one reason or another. It doesn’t just happen. It is the improper positioning at the start -- in which the skeletal structures are most vulnerable. Injuries in the end position are relatively rare -- because that is the position of greatest strength and musculoskeletal integrity. When people have a propensity to being injured or experiencing pain, it is usually because they are in the improper beginning position, or if it is in their finished position, it is not the proper finished position.

Many exercise movements, are not the proper range of that muscle design, but are purely arbitrary -- having no real function and purpose other than that the designer thought to develop function in that manner. It has no real usefulness -- at a great risk of injury and pain. Properly designed exercises as well as machinery, should produce no pain.

Yet many proponents, will insist they know what they are doing by being able to produce maximum pain and discomfort in their trainees as though that were a sign of high proficiency and understanding -- a litmus test for effectiveness. Many other educators have been taught/teach in that same manner -- of thinking to make everything as difficult as possible, and therefore, useless, if not injurious. Many do so because they are convinced that they are the “experts.” Such knowledge should not supersede what the common senses are telling one. Real, useful knowledge, confirms one's experiences about the world.


At June 07, 2006 5:36 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

There are none so certain, as those who have never discovered the truth of anything for themselves -- but have always relied on somebody else to tell them the truth, and so these latter, have no idea of the uncertainty of knowledge. To these, knowledge are like laws handed down from God to Moses -- and are absolute and not to be questioned. Only, such people now work at universities and other sinecures -- and pride themselves that their knowledge is useless and can never be used to anyone’s benefit -- as the true and noble purpose of knowledge (information).

Their ideals, should have nothing to do with realities, they swell with pride. The purpose of knowledge, these people are proud, is simply to create more things to know -- as though that was the end in itself, and all human interaction and relationship, was to prove that one knows more of this “knowledge,” than anybody else. In fact, such people spend all their time and dedicate their lives to these imaginary contests against everybody else -- as the meaning and purpose of their existence.

That any of this might come to some good, enlightening themselves and others, would be a waste -- as it did not prove who was smarter than whom, which they think that life is all about. If there are no problems, it is their highest duty to create them for society. With information, that would be to create misinformation, disinformation, deception, manipulation, the dependence on others to do their thinking for them.

That was a model of society in vogue until the dawn of the 21st century -- that the many (masses) did what a few self-chosen leaders told them to do -- without question, even if it was to their disadvantage or injury. Many would observe, “I don’t know what went wrong; I did what I was told and everybody else was doing. How could the experts not know?”

They are imperfect men and not the gods people even until the past century used to claim they were -- like so many wizards of Oz -- claiming to be all-powerful and all-knowing, simply because they had the microphone. Such people think that polls, studies, experts are infallible -- and that is what their credentials mean -- the highest understanding, rather than the minimal. At the highest, is the rigorous challenge of what is known, always being re-examined -- as well as how we know it to be true.

It is the art of knowing, discovering, and finding out -- in which the unknown and non-existent come into being. And that is quite different from telling another with certainty what it is he knows -- which is all he knows. What such people think they know, is what they mistake is all that can be known -- and they are the ultimate judge of the limits of possibilities. They are the supreme intelligence -- and those who do not know what they know, must know LESS and not quite possibly, BETTER.

Intelligent beings, intelligent life, assumes there is life much more intelligent that they can ever suspect and comprehend. Unintelligent beings, assume they are the gods of the universe -- and so they delight in telling everybody else, what to think and what to do.

At June 09, 2006 12:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks nice! Awesome content. Good job guys.

At June 09, 2006 10:01 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Most people are the logical products of the cultural messages they receive. If they are fat and out of shape, it is because they are conditioned to overconsume and not to care. They are directed to pay attention and value all the wrong things -- leaving very little time and energy for the right things.

In the time most people take to do whatever is making them into terrible condition, they could be using that time to shape themselves into ideal condition -- if they just knew how, beginning with the fact that there has to be a clear link between cause and effect, and just not correlation and coincidence.

People who are in-shape tend to exercise more -- but it is not necessarily so that what they are doing is putting them into that shape. By and large, the greatest determiner of who is in shape and who isn’t, at the present time, is genetically determined -- and not the result of scientifically programmed behaviors. But once we can isolate behaviors that do make a difference, it is surprising how little it takes to achieve that; nothing like what is recommended to produce virtually no results -- that are highly touted and exalted in the popular media.

Yet many people are easily deceived and can be convinced to do things that don’t make any sense and produce immediate feedback (validation) of results because they have been educated (conditioned) to believe that nothing is connected (verifiable) to anything else. Many are actually convinced that the proof of anything, is its opposite! That is, he loves you because he beats you daily -- and he is merely showing that he cares!

I guess one could convince such people of virtually anything.

At June 10, 2006 10:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is probably against "your grain" as you are trying doubly hard not to attain "guru status" (with mixed results). But that said:

(Excuse the following caps, big guy)




At June 11, 2006 9:47 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

You should not listen to me, "Jim."

You should find somebody else to harangue, harass, abuse and waste time with.

Communications is a two-way street: You constantly demand that I provide all kinds of documentation of my credentials --while you maintain the safety of your anonymity. Legitimate challengers would reveal who THEY are -- their credentials, their experience and knowledge, so the other could effectively address their particular and specific concerns.

You on the other hand, just like controlling, abusing others from your position of anonymity -- which gives you the immense courage you do not have in your real life.

I have a standing offer to give a free presentation/discussion on exercise whenever ten or more are gathered for that purpose -- from the master-teachers of exercise, world class athletes, medical researchers to the most disabled, hopeless and incompetent.

I've done this all my life in whatever venues and conditions -- and feel justifiably confident to rise to the challenge of these forums -- from the most creative and innovative thinker on the subject ever! That's what I do, that's who I am.

And yourself?

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