Recently a dedicated student of mine sat down with me after class to ask what more he could do to improve his front rack position (when he holds a barbell at shoulder height under his chin). He expressed frustration that he has been very dedicated for the past 3 months with 30-60 minutes of daily mobility work including shoulder flossing, taking my classes, smashing his tissues with hard tools like lacrosse balls (dog toys?), barbells, and kettlebells, and recently exploring the awesome grip and grab of Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls.
This client confessed that his front rack limitations may be impeded by his previous dislocations and trauma to his shoulders from playing hockey for 20+ years. He also shared with me that he does CrossFit and Olympic Lifting many times a week.
When joints and tissues have been damaged from stress caused by poor movement patterns or trauma, the body responds with adaptations which can include laying down tissues to stabilize the area, or to confirm the movement pattern what's requested by what we do all day. My client is using his mobility techniques to try to break up those adaptations (I know, crazy over simplification. Geek out with more information here.)
Our body is always in shape;
our body is the shape of what we do with our body all day.
Our body is always in shape; our body is the shape of what we do with our body all day. When we sit all day, our body becomes designed to sit and not much else. Spending one hour in the gym five days a week will not change the shape we place our body in 8+ hours a day. "Study after study proves that working out doesn’t protect against chronic pain or disease caused by an 8-hour sitting day" -Katy Bowman, Don't Just Sit There.
A lifetime of poor movement patterns and trauma cannot be positively changed in an instant. My client played hockey for 20 years and currently spends more time strengthening and stabilizing his shoulder joints than he does mobilizing them. His body will stay in the shape he has spent and currently spends the most time in.
In addition to movement patterns, the way his bones are formed, his body may not be designed to front squat heavy weights in the manner he is asking it to (I wouldn't know without an Xray and a medical professional to diagnose - I'm not one). Different bodies have different strengths. Every body is not designed to do every movement. Let me say it again - my client may not be designed to front squat massive amounts of weight, no matter how much he wants to do it. He may be able to get better at front squatting with mobility work, corrective exercise and technique improvements, but he may never reach the heavier weights his mind is set on.
There's a reason different sports feature stereotypical* body types; yogis (of the yoga-porn-pose-type) are lean and mobile, gymnasts are shorter power houses while swimmers are longer limbed. Certain body types are stereo-typically better at certain movements. As a 5'11" female with a 36" inseam and arms longer than my body is tall, my long-levered body is not designed to deadlift massive amounts of weight. However, my body jumps with ease, lead me to a successful basketball career and I currently feel like it's pretty awesome at power cleans.
We can't hide our feelings from our body; our body is where we hide our feelings. If we feel unhappy with our body, our body is unhappy.
We can't hide our feelings from our body; our body is where we hide our feelings. If we feel unhappy with our body, our body is unhappy. Unhappy tissues don't move the way we want them to.
To be successful in our movement patterns, we must look at our behaviors throughout our day, week, month and lifetime as a whole. And as un-American as it is, we must have patience as we ask our body to adapt the way we presently want it to. We must explore the way our body is formed when asking it to perform. On top of all of that, we must love our bodies.
Have awesome goals, enjoy the journey, honor the path you've taken, and be kind to yourself, especially your own body.
*Stereotype - "to believe unfairly that all people or things with a particular characteristic are the same." - Merriam Webster Dictionary. I understand there are different body types doing all kinds of sports and I love it!