Last year I made a startling discovery for myself. I mean, I was a bit embarrassed as a fitness professional for over 20 years I hadn’t really “gotten it” until now. I fell in line with so many others in the industry and focusing on the mass obesity epidemic we have. You can’t argue that overweight and obesity is a problem, but is it the cause of our problems?
The REAL issue came to me as I was first headed to China to teach after my low back surgery. Only about a month out of surgery I was concerned with the length of the trip and saw my pain doctor to see about options. He wanted to give me some narcotics just in case I needed and I reluctantly agreed because even I didn’t know how long of a trip after severe surge would make me feel.
Well, when they gave me the bottle both Jessica and my mouths’ dropped open. This bottle was HUGE!! Heck, I thought he went to the Costco side of drug prescriptions!
As we left I couldn’t help but think about how many people probably would just take these drugs because they were prescribed to them and I really couldn’t blame them. When you hurt, when you feel like you can’t do the basic things in life, it puts you into one serious depression.
I wondered how big of a problem this was and started doing a little research. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, “...an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States suffering from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2012.” If that doesn’t give you a good reference point, check out their graph detailing the amount prescription opioids have risen over the years.
Part of the reason that pain management is such a big business is that it does seem much easier to take a pill than to start a good exercise program. I am not suggesting exercise can solve everything, but it can help a great deal! It is not too unlike the challenge Jessica faces in physical therapy with people understanding she can’t fix them. She can HELP them, but fixing themselves is really an active, not a passive process.
I will say as much as I love DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training, the BIGGEST reason that I recovered so fast from surgery was my willingness to do work outside of my therapy. I really related to a lot of clients and people during that time. It was tough, I KNEW what to do and things were still experimental. I got frustrated at times and wanted things to happen faster or just be a LITTLE easier. Going through this process thought did teach me how much pain leads to inactivity and eventually obesity issues.
What Can We Do?
One of the best things we can to combat this is make functional training more accessible to people by having better systems in place. For example, when I was first starting my therapy I couldn’t even really do a Bird Dog, the physical therapy tech didn’t really have a solution. The conversation was, “I just wasn’t ready yet.” However, I went home and experimented with techniques that would let me build upon doing the Bird Dog. The difference between having a system and just a bunch of exercises for people.
Let’s look at one of the best ways to help a lot of people in reducing low back pain and problems. People love to say that exercises like deadlifts, cleans, and swings help cure low back problems. That is a tough one because they can help, but the BIG assumption is that you already move well!
I can’t tell you in over 13 years of teaching kettlebells and DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training I have had to help fitness professionals coming to programs with low back pain. They are SO frustrated because they are doing the “right” exercises, the problem was those weren’t the right exercises for THEM! When we found the right level of the movement for them, all of a sudden they didn’t feel their back, they didn’t hurt, they felt strong!
So, how do we do this with DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training? First we start with some great hip bridge progressions. Starting with the hip bridge helps us remove the complexity of movement and gravity, so we get to see at such a fundamental level do you know how to use the feet, hips, and core together. This is the beauty of DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training, not even the cool exercises but the system!
Once we established good movement on the ground, we want to get standing. The most foundational of standing drills is the deadlift. I know I have given the deadlift a hard time, but it is the overemphasis on the deadlift in its foundational form that I have a problem with. See how NOT complicated deadlifting has to be and what using Ultimate Sandbag Training can teach us about proper movement.
Once you learn the foundations of both you can start finding the RIGHT exercise for your fitness needs. One of our Chicago DVRT certified coaches does an awesome job of showing how we can progress the hip hinge and get more out of it over time. That way we can address YOUR specific needs and make you better no matter WHERE you are staring from!
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