Strive for body harmony, not specificity

by Jeff Spencer November 08, 2017 3 min read 0 Comments

Strive for body harmony, not specificity

Body Harmony

Who doesn’t want to perform at their physical potential? We all do. Why? Because of what the performance brings back to us. It can be tangible e.g. better health, sponsorship, and opportunities or intangible, e.g. enhanced well-being , prestige, and influence.

These are, of course, just a few examples but think you get it. In its simplest terms we get something back for what we do that in advance we believe will enrich our lives.

The question is how do we get to that potential? There’s lots of experts out there that have their “go big” or “moonshot” formulas, rabbit’s feet and good luck charms.

Most often to make something big, like going from where we are to our potential means making the path to get there more complex and detailed. And, for sure many do think that by sheer volume and intensity of information and action they’ll get there. 

That approach does work for some goals and not for others. Big risks to that approach are injury, illness, burnout and lack of results. This is particularly true for highly ambitious, driven individuals who are used to willing their way forward.

Many times these downsides occur from lopsided life and preparation. For example, a cyclist who rides too often too intensely can create postural asymmetry that can affect recovery and overload structures that in time will become compromised and possibly fail. Neck strain, headaches, and low-back pain can crush a top performance and are predicted outcomes of not enough training diversity.

 

There are two approaches to improving performance toward full potential.

We’ll call number one the logical path. And, the second the system path.

The logical path works on developing the specific body requirements for the individual activity. If we want to improve our running then we run and do things related to running only.

Conversely, the systems path looks at the body as a whole and develops the whole body to get all the parts of the body, and its physiology, synchronized into an integrated whole to be a better runner.

The upside of the logical path is that it makes sense to the rational brain and is more easily executed as fewer moving parts. The downside is that it creates structural asymmetry that puts strain on parts that will under-perform reducing long term gains toward full potential.

The upside for the systems path is that it creates exponential performance gains from the full body harmony created by all the parts doing their part “well-enough” to create a harmonized body functioning as a single integrated system that produce performances greater than the sum of the parts. The downside is that it may not make sense to some people and they won’t subscribe to it therefore not getting the gains from it.

 

Here are some easy to implement ways to get performance gains from a systems approach:

  1. Do some form of full body decompression and elongation 2-3 times a week for 15-20 minutes. Chi-gong, tai-chi, and yoga are great choices.
  2. Stretch anti-gravity muscles daily. Stretch the pecs, neck suboccipital muscles, lats, external hip rotators, hamstrings, psoas and calf muscles daily.
  3. Swimming is great for all sports. Doing slow laps for recovery is extraordinary a couple of times a week.
  4. Jog and bounce on a mini-trampoline several times a week.

Diversity creates harmony within the body. Harmony is the gateway to full body cooperation. When the body cooperates with itself boost in overall specific improvement occur.

Jeff Spencer
Jeff Spencer

At just nine years old, I used to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to practice hitting a baseball up and down our street. That competitive spirit led to winning a national championship at just ten years old and then becoming an Olympian at twenty-one. For the past forty years, I’ve been a professional student of human achievement. I’ve been driven by this unshakable question: why do some people succeed and others fail? After retiring from professional competition, I went back to school to earned advanced degrees in health and wellness. In the decades since then, I’ve worked with athletes in nearly every professional sport, Olympic gold medalists, and millionaire entrepreneurs. I’ve had a front-row seat as I watched these world-class achievers do what they do. For more information: drjeffspencer.com



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