Compensation – “something that counterbalances or makes up for an undesirable or unwelcome state of affairs.”
In this case, in your body.
Unaddressed compensations are one of the leading causes of injury in most athletes. Including you.
Because I know how important it is for you to be an Athlete For Life, I will keep reminding you of this vulnerability.
Don’t feel alone. We are all susceptible.
But if you don’t acknowledge this soon, then you are setting yourself up for injury. And a much deeper hole to climb out of after your body breaks down.
To move from being vulnerable and closer to being bulletproof, read on.
Revisit and Refine the 7 fundamental movements:
- Rotate / Anti-Rotate
It’s often in one or more of these movements that compensation shows itself. And it will perpetuate as long as it’s not addressed.
When you prolong poor quality in your movement, it causes an accumulation of stress in your body. And that negative buildup creates a domino effect that diminishes your athleticism.
Compensation is a silent killer. So it’s time for you to play detective to see “who done it”.
Let’s start by more closely examining your movement patterns. So you can get the full scope of what your body is capable of in function and in dysfunction.
To do that, it’s helpful to look at how and when your body may have developed compensation in the first place.
Each one of the above movement patterns is what you witness when young children play. Children are almost flawless examples to us adults of how free we should feel in our body. Even their strength-to-weight ratio is off-the-charts better in comparison.
It’s ironic that for most of us, our demise in the fundamentals of movement also started when we were kids. When all we wanted to do is to express ourselves and learn through play, we were told to sit still for lengths of time.
It is what our parents, teachers, and society have conditioned us to do. And it’s only getting worse for future generations.
Think about the ratio of time in academic classes in comparison to gym class. And then factor in home study, watching television, “screen time”, and sleep.
Then compound that with our adult life full of sitting during your commute. Not to mention, working behind a desk for hours on end.
The ratio of being sedentary to being active is completely off kilter.
This situational immobilization causes a slow decay of our most basic fundamental movements. These are the movements that as children we had almost perfected.
The good news in all of this is that your body can regain much of what was lost. Those patterns are still within your capability.
It will take a combined effort on your part with the following 7 steps:
1. Discover your deficiencies through a functional movement screen. It’s best to work with a professional who has the training to help you identify them. And then make the right adjustments to your daily routine to correct any issues.
2. Practice daily self-care with corrective and proactive exercises. This includes:
- Self-myofascial release on a foam roller or other rolling device.
- Stretching and mobility in three planes of motion (sagittal, frontal, transverse)
- Stability and strength in the same three planes of motion.
These basics can do wonders for your durability!
3. Ditch your sitting habit whenever and wherever you can.
- Get a standing desk and vary your position often.
- If you have to drive, park further away from your destination so you can get some in some walking.
- Get off the couch and roll out on the floor while watching TV.
4. Go barefoot whenever and wherever you can. The sensory receptors on the bottom of your foot help to re-educate proper function. Running is the exception since most of us live in a concrete jungle.
5. Walk, crawl, climb, or run at least 30 minutes every day. It will help maintain the primitive patterns that have helped to keep the human species from extinction.
6. Practice awareness of breathing with your diaphragm with all the previous steps. Without the proper mechanics at this core level, all fundamental movements will suffer.
7. Be mindful to incorporate all seven fundamental movements in a meaningful way each day. By this I mean, “grease all the grooves” by training quality before quantity.
Following these steps is necessary for all athletes, from the pros to youth sports.
It’s my mission to help spread this gospel that all practitioners of health stand by.
To help you with your first step of discovery, I’ve provided a self-assessment screen in my Search and Rescue Mobility (SARM) program.
And for the second step, your results allow me to assign you the right daily self-care program to help keep you healthy and strong.
It starts with the lower leg. So get yours here.
As always, stay athletic.