I recently overheard an instruction given by a rehab professional to one of his clients who was recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament tear, ‘you’re limping, stop it!’
This got me thinking, how much of the way we move is under our conscious control?
If we are moving in a way that is perceived to be bad for us, should we try to change it?
Is it even possible for our conscious mind to override our unconscious for any period of time ?
The client in the above example was limping to attempt to off load his injured leg. His central nervous system (CNS) had made the calculation that full weight bearing was unwise at this time due to the injured ligament.
If he was to do as he was instructed he would be overriding the wisdom of his CNS.
This is of course possible but he could only maintain that as long as he was concentrating on it, when his focus was taken elsewhere he would be limping again.
And for good reason most likely.
Have you ever been corrected whilst doing an exercise and felt worse for it as a result?
I remember taking a Pilates class many years ago and the instructor continually cuing me to lengthen my spine, a position I couldn’t hold without conscious control.
The next day I couldn’t move.
I see this type of thing every day in commercial gym environments, where the client is being told to fit how the exercise should look, instead of the exercise being adapted to suit the client.
My point is this; your CNS facilitates movement in the best way possible for your current strengths and weaknesses.
If you can’t do an exercise as you are being instructed to, or you feel worse while trying to do so then something is wrong. Stop and think, how can you adapt the exercise to suit you?