One of the most common things our clients comment on is their surprise at how the pain they came into the clinic with often disappears after they have experienced a well-executed lift. If they come in feeling stiff and sore they assume lifting weights might exacerbate their symptoms, yet just the opposite is true.
After you lift heavy weights your tissue goes through a stretch phase where it expands and lengthens. This stretch phase includes the deep, intrinsic muscles and connective tissue that hide away in the nooks and crannies of our spine, hip flexors or rotator cuff. Muscles and connective tissue that are very often the cause of chronic pain but are sometimes too deep or hidden away to release with a thumb.
Heavy Weights in the Right Posture
Of course this response hinges on being in a very safe, strong and well aligned posture. Your practitioner will be watching you like a hawk throughout this process to ensure this outcome. Once these particular postures and movements are practised several times they become second nature to the client, like touch-typing. Soon enough clients start noticing that they’re standing in perfect posture without even realising. This is the start of truly exciting change.
All “high threshold” means is lifting weights at close to what your limit is. This can range from 20kg – 150kgs, it’s different for every person. People are often frightened by this concept but we always work at your pace. When lifting weights at high threshold is done under supervision, with the right biomechanics and in the right posture it’s very measured and safe. It even gets quite addictive. The strength gains that you get from say one repetition of 50kgs far outweigh 5 repetitions of 40kgs. This is why you can do this process for just 30 minutes once a week and yet make huge strength gains.
Strengthening Neural Pathways
Heavy one repetition lifting doesn’t just strengthen your muscle, it also strengthens your neural pathways – this is the real game changer. They become thick with myelin, which is like a lubricant aligning the nerve to help it travel faster. You can see evidence of this with daily tasks that are so habitual that you don’t even notice you’ve been practising all this time, such as touch-typing. Muscles and neural pathways have been used the same way for so long and the myelin is so thick that these movements seem to happen automatically without you even thinking.
This is the way the muscles and nerves in your body should activate while you’re moving. As a baby you didn’t have to “learn” how to activate your core while you stood up for the first time. It happened naturally.
Speeding Up Sluggish Nerves
A lot of the time it’s not just that the muscle is weak; it’s that the nerve impulse that feeds that muscle is sluggish. Having sluggish nerve impulses will mean that there’s a slight time delay in activating the right muscles, which means your joints are left unstable even if it’s just for a millisecond. Whether joints are unstable for a millisecond or a second they’re still unstable and pain will eventually follow.
Clients need to have a bit of trust and faith in the process and their practitioner. We will push you but only because the limitations that you put on yourself are much less than what you’re capable of and your fear will stop you from seeing that. This is why you always get much better results when you work with a personal trainer compared with if you just hit the gym by yourself. But we can guarantee that the rewards far outweigh the fear.