Could Personal Training make your WORK LIFE easier?

The average human body is capable of moving through an astonishing amount of movement patterns and directions but, with that, comes an increased risk of injury - even outside of the gym or doing strenuous activity. 

Our daily routines - work/social lives etc. - cause us to naturally favour one side more than the other through certain movements or tasks

(i.e.- sitting with the phone under one ear whilst we type on our keyboards, sitting in kyphotic (hunched over) positions for hours on end whilst we drive to and from work, sit in front of a computer all day, etc.)

all of which, over time, lead to some muscles becoming tight and overused whilst their counterparts become weak and inactive.

This may not cause any pain or dysfunction to begin with, but, when these inactive muscles are suddenly called upon to start working, they will not be able to handle the increased demand and will, therefore, injure - leaving you in a lot of pain and having to pay for a therapist who will have to put you through even more pain and cost to rectify the issue. 

Every person is different. So there’s no reason why these “bog standard” exercises that the “next guy” or “Instagram’s most popular trainer” are telling every man, woman and child to do through their latest “live broadcast workout”.

 Will be right for YOU - they don’t ask YOU what YOU do all day every day, they don’t care about what you want to be able to do in 10/20/30 years time, they just care about their fame and your money!

Personal Training is just that - it’s PERSONAL and it IS about YOU, what YOU want to do and what YOU need to be able to do for the rest of YOUR life.

Having worked in various sectors from building sites & landscaping, to car park management, to office work and, of course, personal training.

I have seen and experienced first-hand the physical demands that each of these roles place upon the body. Someone who works at a desk for 8 hours a day is no less at risk than someone who works on a building site - in terms of muscular injury anyway. 

Although the amount of stress required by the body to perform the daily routines does vary:

The builder will probably only hit a nail in with their left hand, or only lift things over their right shoulder, or only plaster a wall with their left hand.

 Whereas, the office worker may use their right hand to use the mouse, whilst having the phone under their right ear for 9/10 calls that they make, all the while their left hand does very little, by comparison, throughout the average day to balance this out. 

This may not seem like a lot, but, when you add in the factor that the office workers’ posture probably decreases over those 8 hours.

Their legs are flexed for those 8 hours (meaning their hamstrings are shortened and their Gluteal muscles will “switch off” and their quadriceps will sit in a lengthened/stretched position).

 This adds up to quite a lot of uneven stress being placed upon the body every day and will lead to injury through lack of muscular activation.

The builder, on the other-hand, will be using one side so much that they will most likely suffer the opposite - overuse injuries due to one side being used far more than the other to carry out strenuous activity which will cause tension and tightness in the muscles used - they will eventually be over-worked and will injure to prevent serious damage occurring.

 source: google images

source: google images

When you take all of these single-sided actions and shortened muscle positions and perform them routinely, day-in, day-out over the course of weeks, months and years, our bodies will adapt to this and we suffer overuse injuries on our favoured sides or overload injuries on our less-favoured sides - depending on how our daily routine changes. Our bodies are very good at adapting to what we need them to do and, likewise, to what we don’t need them to do.   

 

By having personal, individualised coaching sessions this will allow a qualified professional to assess your movement patterns, analyse these in relation to your goals, daily routine/function and what you want to achieve in the gym/in your working life etc.

And then create training sessions that will not only allow you to exercise safely but also keep you exercising safely, for longer - therefore keeping you working towards your goals and off of the therapists couch!

Coaches and Trainers can help to identify any muscular imbalance, or a potential cause of imbalance - sometimes even before the individual is aware of it themselves - and address it before it becomes and issue. 

 source: thejandaapproach.com

source: thejandaapproach.com

 

Even coaches have one-to-one PT sessions every now and then or ask their colleagues to watch them perform certain movements to check their form, and these are people who have not only been exercising for a long time, are qualified to teach exercises, but also routinely instruct different members of the public on how to perform different exercises - all of whom have different body types, movement patterns and movement capabilities.

So you would think that a Coach would have pretty sound movement patterns, right? Well, even they tend to favour the things which work well for them or make things "easier". 

If even they have to ask for someone to check things for them, then there's even more reason for people who are new to exercise to have PT/Private Coaching sessions!

 

So, if you are thinking of getting into fitness, want to change your current fitness routine or start to incorporate different movement patterns into your daily routine to preserve your ability to carry out your daily function, then you should strongly consider speaking to your local fitness facility and getting in touch with one of their coaches to have some assessments.

The exercises performed in a gym aren't purely applicable to people who use a gym, they have so much carry-over into your ability to perform every day movements such as walking, standing, sitting, climbing stairs, laying down and getting up again - literally everything you need your body to do!

If you tripped and fell over today, you could probably get up again fairly easily, because you have the muscular strength to do so. Fast forward 10, 20 or 30 years - will you still have the strength to do it then? What will you have done to preserve that strength over the years?

 source: google images / WatchFit

source: google images / WatchFit

 

Personal Trainers/Coaches don’t just think about what you need to do today and tomorrow, they think about what you will need to do in later life as well and will help you to maintain the abilities that would otherwise diminish over the years.

Think about all of the things you do throughout the week - are your days pretty much the same? Do you perform largely the same movements each day? Do you favour one side more than the other? 

“A common example is the patient who appears to have done nothing out of the ordinary but wakes up one morning with a stiff neck. The normal, healthy body will not suddenly “go wrong” for no reason, there has to be an over-use factor involved” (Mel Cash - founder of the London School of Sports Massage and author of “Sport and Remedial Massage Therapy” - published August 1996)

Coach Ian.