Greg Mikolap is personal trainer and movement specialist based in the UK. In this episode, Josh and Greg discuss imbalances and tightness in the body, how they are caused, as well as how you can prevent, treat, and stop yourself from becoming immobile and imbalanced.
Greg is an online coach via GoodLookingbody.co.uk and runs PT Folder, software for trainers and active individuals. He also teaches biomechanics and energy systems for Faster Health and Fitness, which focuses on reaching your goals through specific changes to your training.
There is loads of misinformation when it comes to imbalances. Some people will perform better when they are evenly balanced on the left and right side, and some won’t. If you are asymmetrical, there may be a current underlying issue, or it could be that this imbalance will cause future injuries. Greg says that if you start off imbalanced and continue to get more balanced as you go along, then you are more than likely recovering from an injury. However, if you stay imbalanced but are getting stronger and your performance is better, your imbalance doesn’t need to change. But if you become more imbalanced, then the training is going wrong somewhere.
How you move isn’t a universal movement for everyone, so the best option is to find an individual style of movement and make the best of it. Whatever you do, don’t try to move like Usain Bolt! Greg says that there is rarely ‘wrong’ or ‘great’ movement, it’s just how you move in the best for your ability and what you want to achieve. If you are pushing through better one side than the other, it could be one of three things:
3) Pending injury
Josh points out the importance of warm up sets, as well as your feet and hand positioning. Be very specific on what you are looking to improve, and make sure you do tests on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. If the performance improves, you are heading in the right direction. If not, then you are more than likely heading toward injury.
A lot of mobility issues are caused by our brains telling us that if we continue to put our body in a specific position, we are putting ourselves in a threat. This means that if your body thinks something is going to happen, then it won’t allow you to do it. Greg suggests using a coach to help you put your body passively into a motion.
Pre-exercise mobility involves taking the muscles you want to work through the full range of movement to the shortest range of movement. Mobility work and warm ups should be very specific to tasks you expect your body to perform. Greg suggests doing dynamic movements rather than static stretches. Josh agrees that this is a grey area in training, and most people are instructed to do static stretches before training. However, if you enjoy static stretches before your workout, it is best to perform them first, followed by dynamic stretching, and task specific warm ups.
A lot of guys stretch opposite muscles in between sets, but Greg thinks that they should dynamically move the muscles they are working out. For example, if you were doing a dumbbell pullover, a dynamic stretch for lats between sets would be a light dumbbell. You could do arm swings in half circles and twist thumbs out on the way forward.
Put your body into different positions, allow your brain to feel those different positions, and find the best and most optimal solution for movement. Essentially, you want to dupe your body into thinking of something else so it allows you to free up. It can be quite tough to get yourself into these positions, so as far as tools go, try bands for shoulders.
Other movements that work well in the distraction method are single leg dead lifts. When it comes to the human body, sometimes the less we focus on something the better we do. Josh adds that this concept can be transferred into nutrition, saying that the easiest days on your diet and getting lean are the days you don’t even think about food. If you can’t get to a coach, Josh suggests using tools such as the Uber Coach app (where you can film your movement, upload, and coaches will provide critique).
The biggest issue Greg sees is people trying to push too much weight without knowing how to move properly, so it is important to observe your own body and motions. Josh notices people wanting to beat their previous workouts, yet not taking into account external factors such as stress or nutrition. Its important to note that you won’t always have sessions of similar capacity and that strength and weight loss is not linear.
People tend to only consider biomechanics, but you also need to think mentally too. The longer the session is, the more motivational cues you will need to have, such as music. A short burst of energy is easy, but longer training often requires regular pick-ups. You should also think of plateaus as a good thing. It means you have hit your maximum and can then change things up. When you get to a certain level, you will start to fight for a 2-3 lb increment over a matter of months, so having a very strong ‘why’ is important as is being honest and realistic. Sometimes signing up to do a competition helps with your motivation and to break through plateaus.
1.) Creatine – 5g a day (750 studies confirming it is good and safe to use)
2.) Protein Powder
3.) Vitamin D3 (If you experience insufficient sun exposure and guys with low testosterone)
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