Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Alwyn Cosgrove is mean

and so is my wife. So is Gray Cook. Mean, all of them.

On Facebook, last week, Alwyn posted a quote by Gray Cook – "You can't put fitness on top of dysfunction."

Rehab sucks

No one really likes to hear this crap, but it's very good advice. It's advice that I've heard a million times, but never listened to for longer than a week or so. I would start getting things in order, but stop. Why?
  • rehab sucks
  • it's not fun stuff
  • it stands in the way of the fun stuff you want to do
  • it's hard
  • it takes time
  • it's boring
  • it makes you weak
  • it can be exhausting
Most people will immediately agree with most of the above bullets, but the last two may surprise people. When you begin a serious rehab/prehab program, your central nervous system (cns) can be fried after a few seemingly simple and easy exercises. What we don't think about is the effort it takes to get a muscle to work in a way that it's not comfortable working. It's hard work in the brain, and all that cns work is draining on your strength and energy. The first few actual training sessions – post rehab exercises masquerading as a warmup – can be very frustrating. (I got pissed and quit once...)

Look at those bullets and tell me that you won't want to quit. That you won't want to ignore what you know is good advice.

The biggest problem with ignoring such advice is not that you delay getting better, but you can actually make things worse. This has happened to me. It's not irreparable, but it's time lost.

The past two years, I started doing less in the gym and more at home. Kettlebell sport replaced my intervals and cardio; a good thing. A good thing, yes, but the sport whose aspects I love for fitness has taken my dysfunction(s) to the next level.

I've never been the anterior pelvic tilt type. I'd been straight and even. One of my few areas of "normal." I had been. Had.

So, Galya comes back after months away to find me worse than ever. I had followed her advice to give up the dangerous squatting that my lack of good hips presented me. No squats. Although I followed her advice about what not to do, I also ignored her advice about what to do. That would be all the prescribed stretching, mobility, and exercises to strengthen the [not very interesting] weak muscles. I didn't really do that stuff.

Enter the kettlebell [sport]

I'm actually a believer that most people would benefit from what Kettlebell Sport has to offer. 10 minute sets of cardio, escalating in intensity, pace, and weight over time. A hip dominant, glute and hamstring sport that also provides a relatively safe overhead lift in the kettlebell jerks and snatch. Shoulders, hips, glutes, hamstrings, rotator cuff, and core work, all rolled into an activity that pushes your heart rate up and burns a ton of calories. I like it; the exercise and the challenge.

Dysfunction on top of dysfunction

Unfortunately... I have crappy hips, tight lats, and poor thoracic mobility. It seems that in order to get in a "good" rack position I have to go so far into posterior pelvic tilt that the Keep On Truckin' guys would be envious.

As if that wasn't enough, I have poor overhead mobility, and I (apparently) compensate in the lumbar spine, with a dramatic arch that's just not good. I've piled dysfunction on top of dysfunction, leading to poor posture and a vicious circle of problem causing problem causing problem.

It's been about two months with Galya's hands on training, rehab, and therapy, and I'm getting better fast. In fact, that she is here to point out where things are better is keeping me going. Although I have to get over the fact that I've wasted two years of getting better, and actually made things worse, it's good to know that things are coming together. Her story of one day being better than ever really does help.

I see and feel the benefit (to me) of having a good trainer for the first time.

Alwyn Cosgrove is nice

and so is my wife. So is Gray Cook. Nice, all of them.

Alwyn Cosgrove is not mean. He's nice. It's not the kind of nice you want to hear, because it's a hard nice to live. But, take the advice now, not later. It won't make it easy for you, but it will be easier now than it will be two years from now.


  1. Hey I'm nice too. Remember all the mobility and flexibility stuff I showed you? And how I made fun of you?

  2. Chris IS nice :)Aren't you lucky surrounded by all of us nice people.


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