‘How can you write in that position?’
I first remember someone questioning my writing position when I was seven. To me it was the most natural thing in the world yet to everyone else it was downright odd.
Pencil in hand, paper skewed almost upside-down and taking up a large portion of my classmate’s desk space, apparently I was ‘doing it wrong’. I have an unnatural writing position.
‘So what’s the right way to write then?’ I asked.
My classmate flipped my page down where it lay directly in front of me. The angle (or lack of angle) was odd, it didn’t fit my hand positioning and it was downright uncomfortable. But it was the norm. I tried it. I didn’t like it. I despised it.
Over time I forgot about it and slowly went back to my normal hand position. It was more ‘me’. And it worked.
Fast forward to adulthood and pencil problems reoccurred when I experienced a similar predicament in the gym. Bicep curls, Holding an Olympic bar, tricep dips and preparing my hands for a handstand all brought on elbow pain, wrist pain and a horrible pinching nerve sensation that had my inner voice screaming at me: ‘THIS IS WRONG!’
One evening after forcing myself into a round of painful tricep dips I had reached my limit: I’d had enough. I left the gym, made my way home and started brainstorming.
What was causing this pain?
An evening of anatomy books strewn across the desk, scribblings of movements (written at awkwardly positioned angle of course) and intensely scrutinising countless fitness videos on Youtube and I’d found my stumbling block:
It was me.
I was the proud owner of a large carrying angle (or cubitus valgus to give it its proper anatomical name). While women tend to display a larger carrying angle than men, mines is of a next-level angle, well and truly OUT THERE.
Varying degrees of carrying angles
So what does this mean for my training?
The angle that I was forcing myself into for most exercises to achieve proper form didn’t allow my body to perform effectively. It caused a strain, it didn’t feel right and on many occasions, it forced me into a vulnerable injury-prone position.
In order to move forward I had to accept my quirks and personalise my activities to work for MY body.
A simple turn of the hands to 45 degrees has changed my life. And I truly mean that! By adapting my training to allow my body to function naturally, I can do things that so often I’d blamed on ‘weakness’. With my hands turned out, my shoulders move to their optimal position of function. Nothing is forced. And not only has this improved my training, but having dropped the fear of injury with every session I’m now inspired and looking forward to my exercise sessions. And that’s a huge deal!
Be Unashamedly YOU
My experiences have taught me to appreciate individuality.
With the advances in social media and the growing popularity of the fitness industry, many activities are aiming to help individuals as part of a larger group-based environment, veering away from one-on-one tuition.
Group-based activity is good for business.
But as part of a group we lose our individuality.
Whether it be through exercise, a physical rehabilitation programme or through massage, you’re not a textbook diagram. Your body has its own personal blueprint and your life tells a story with side notes pencilled in on every page: details of your footballing days as a child, the time you tripped and fell on the ice, the whiplash injury you sustained at the traffic lights seven years ago and that Christmas in which you conquered all as the tennis champion on the Wii (I know who you are!).
You might be a kick-ass guitarist, a weekend cyclist or a super successful entrepreneur. It might not seem important but it’s all relevant.
Your story is important as it’s what makes you the person you are today.
And that’s one of the things I truly love about massage therapy: your massage session is tailor-made and designed especially for YOU.
It what makes a good massage a great massage!
As I write this post I’m gearing up for a day of massages followed by an evening of handstand practice at the gym. Every hour brings about a celebration of individuality and I’m genuinely intrigued to hear what my clients bring to the table (quite literally).
Is there a specific movement or type of exercise that’s holding you back? I’d love to hear your ideas on this one.
Embrace your individuality people: you’re kind of a big deal.