Those Who Follow Blindly Will…

Follow An Idiot Off  A Cliff Towards Injury, Pain & Lack Of Pole

In the world of the internet everything is readily accessible.. and that’s awesome. However said information is not always correct nor appropriate.

Does anyone remember this lovely diet for "optimal health"??

Does anyone remember this lovely diet for “optimal health”??

One of the things I love about polers, and people with goals in general, is that they are always looking to improve themselves. And along with the internet they are able to follow ready made plans and programs.

Unfortunately though, most people are often following these programs blindly.

I’ve ranted before on the existence of “30 Day Challenges”, specifically the push up and squat challenges which I find just borderline of ludicrous. If you were able to see the absurd form used in most people’s squats and push ups, having them perform upwards of 150 repetitions each day will only cause more harm than good. I promise.

But alas, my rant today is not on those challenges.

rant1_0

Instead, I’d like to focus on the unfortunates of “monkey see monkey do”.

Let’s start with this fact: I don’t teach stretching. I do not offer flexibility classes nor do I promote any specific plan or program designed by me to improve your flexibility. You may wonder why.. after all, I’m a Certified Strength Coach, a flexible one at that!

But the truth is, I specialize in strength and how to develop it. I have never been formally trained as to the proper techniques and necessities needed to increase flexibility. Or, how to modify for those with different body types.

All types require something slightly different

All types require something slightly different

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know how to stretch and I design programs for myself and I have no problem giving general advice.. but not a specific program.

Sometimes, the issue with the pole world is everyone wants to become fast learners. And while I love that people are so dedicated it can get a bit scary. But injuries from improper inverts aside, what I’d like to focus on today is quality of instruction.

The internet allows anyone and everyone to post tutorials and programs for others to follow. My issue with this type of “training” (for lack of a better word) is that the majority of the time these people have absolutely no extensive knowledge of what they are trying to accomplish.

Take the splits for instance. Look online and you will find hundreds of programs to “Get flat splits in just four weeks!”. And while some of these are valid and from reputable instructors… most are not.

Instead, they are of the quality “it worked for me so try it’.

Clearly this demonstrates me anatomical knowledge!

Clearly this demonstrates me anatomical knowledge!

My issue with these types of programs is that they don’t take into account prior knowledge, form, skill level, muscular imbalances or previous injuries. Simply do this and you’ll succeed!

And with a little luck and work you may… but you may also have created an imbalance you’re not aware of (like opening your hips in the splits instead of keeping them squared forward which can and will result in injury and mobility issues down the road)

Fun Stretching Facts
The purpose of the stretch reflex is to protect your body. As a muscle is stretched your body sends a message requesting contraction of the muscle in question. Pulling, pushing or placing too much tension on the muscle that is now contracted can easily result in injury

Stretching using reciprocal inhibition will get you the best results. This means that you must contract the antagonist muscle while trying to stretch the agonist. To do this, you must understand the relationship between muscles.

PNF stretching is one of the best ways to increase mobility & flexibility. Though there are a few different types, you must understand the principals before implying it

 

What does the box above mean? It is my way of showing you that there is more to stretching than simply “leaning into your hips”. If not done properly or following a well thought out progression (ideally designed for you specifically), your cause for injury is much higher.

So instead of aimlessly following programs or mimicking the exercises of someone flexible, do your research and get quality assistance.

Find classes, programs or instructors who understand the connection between muscles and what they are capable of. Ensure the person you are mimicking or accepting guidance from knows how to modify for specific imbalances, injuries or goals.

Regardless of how you chose to learn, take pride in your body and stop following blindly.

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