Friday, August 31, 2012

Back & Shoulder Basics

Can you really apply the scriptures to all aspects of your life?  Do the scriptures have anything to say about helping your body be more healthy and fit?  The ancient prophet Nephi says to "liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning"(1Nephi 19:23).  I will be bold in my attempt to liken the scriptures to health and fitness in this installment of:
Can Scripture Power Help Me Be Healthy?

I had a remarkable epiphany this summer and it all came about because of my shoulder injury.  Head-strong me, I separated my shoulder and bruised the heck out of my body on an ill-fated, death-defying zipline run.  After a month of ice and rest I could mostly move my arm around, but I still couldn't lift a gallon of milk.  It was time for physical therapy.

All the exercises at physical therapy focused on making sure I had good posture and that my back was strong.  My therapist taught me that when I engaged the muscles in my back (squeeze the shoulder blades down and together) it took all the pressure off the shoulder joint and gave my arms free range of motion. (I am happy to report that I can now do as many push-ups as I could before the injury:)

Check out how many muscles there are in your back.  We have a ton of muscle tissue to use to support our bodies.  The back muscles are larger and can be stronger than the arms muscles.  I know I fall into the trap in exercise  of focusing on arm work-- getting awesome guns for that amazing flex.  But biceps and triceps and (my) weak joint  can only do so much.  Our back muscles are designed to be strong to support our bodies and our limbs.

Now to the $64,000 question.  What do the scriptures say?  The Book of Mormon tells of a time when a group of people were captured by an enemy and forced into bondage.  In their labor and suffering they prayed to the Lord to deliver them.  The Lord in his wisdom did not immediately remove the burden, but strengthened the people that they could not feel the burdens on their backs.  "Yea the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease." (Mosiah 24:14-15)  I like easy work!

When we rely on the Lord he can strengthen us in ways we could never imagine.  When we rely on our "arm of flesh" to perform our labors (push-ups, pull-ups or any other exercise/work ) we increase our risk of injury and limit our potential.

God designed our bodies.  He knows how to best use them to accomplish his work.  So let the Lord strengthen your back, so your arms can do the work He has for you.

We want good posture for this exercise!

Need a ridiculous Back Exercise?

This exercise will encourage phenomenally good posture.  After mastering this simple exercise, apply the squeeze and push down principle to every activity you do.  You will be surprised how much more power and endurance you will have in your workouts, yard work or even house work.

Wax on!  Wax off
Wall of Hell: (it has this name for a reason)  Grab a towel or two and stand, with feet shoulder width apart, facing a wall.  Extend your arms so they are touching said wall at shoulder hight.  Lean slightly into your hands.  Squeeze your shoulder blades together and press them down your back.  Engage your abs and tuck your hips slightly forward. (This is my therapists definition of good posture.)

Circle the hands first clock wise for 30 seconds then counter clockwise for 30 seconds.  Connect with your inner Karate Kid-- wax on (30 seconds); wax off (30 seconds).
Start small and work up to 6 minutes of continuous circles.  Take a break when your form starts to deteriorate.  This exercise is all about developing good form.

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