So as to not be misleading, I’m not talking about a bum shoulder or elbow. What I am talking about comes from Circular Strength Training® (CST) but can be applied to all forms of exercise. (For a more detail explanation of CST, please see the bottom of this post.)
CST is a 3-winged system that prioritizes health-first training. The 3 wings are:
- IntuFlow® (joint mobility)
- Prasara Yoga (muscle and fascial health)
- Clubbell® Athletics (strength training)
As many of you know, I was quite ill for a couple of years and unable to do much of anything not alone progress in training. That has changed and I’m back to working my way through a training cycle again. As a result, I’m rediscovering the magic that is CST.
I played sports in junior high and high school, but about a year into college, I herniated a disc that left me with chronic pain for years. I tried all sorts of things to get better and never stopped being as active as I could, but nothing ever fully did the trick. Nothing, that is, until CST entered my life. About 5 months into my daily practice of IntuFlow® the low back pain and leg numbness started to go away. After a few more months, it was gone and it has never returned. That by itself was enough to endear CST to me. But as I continued my exploration of the system, other things began to happen too. The shoulder I had dislocated in high school stopped feeling so loose. The ankles I used to sprain all the time stopped rolling. My old knee injuries stopped bothering me as often. The tension I carried around started melting. (Did I mention that I was a wreck from over-training?) And one day, I who had been in pain for years and had such limited motion, did a movement that a young and fit high school kid could not do.
It was that day when I realized the gift CST had given me. I was once again free to move, free from pain, and free from the fear that some goofy little accident was going to knock me out of commission for days or weeks. If you’ve ever been in chronic pain, you know what I’m talking about. “What if the dog bumps into me and my back goes into spasm? What if an exuberant friend comes up from behind and slaps me ‘hello’ on the back? What if I slip even just a bit on this slick patch of ground?” These seemingly harmless things are often in the thoughts of those with chronic pain. With simple daily practice all of that was gone for me. And let me tell you, I don’t miss it at all.
Looking back I realized that I didn’t have an injured back as much as I did a broken wing —two of them actually. I did plenty of strength training with traditional weight lifting but I never cared for my joints or did anything to compensate for the muscle tightness that resulted from my exercise and lifestyle. I thought that one wing could rule them all. (please, feel free to cringe at the pun) As a result, my joints were starving for nutrition and my muscles were restricting motion and further compressing my joints. Even if I had by some miracle managed not to injure myself, my joints were aging at an accelerated rate because the wings of joint mobility and muscle/fascial suppleness were being totally ignored. Integrating them into my training, even after years of neglect, set me free and allowed my body to move freely.
For over two years I spent 14 or more hours each day sleeping. I lost strength and endurance because during the 10 hours I wasn’t asleep, I didn’t have enough energy to do much of anything but those things that had to be done or required little of me. In April of this year that all changed and I’m back to only 8-9 hours sleep most nights with way more energy than I could have fathomed just a few months ago. I’m also back to exercising and the progress I have made in just 2 months is stunning. I credit CST for that part.
I train to increase my strength for a day or two and then I do Prasara Yoga to release the compensations that come from the training and my lifestyle. Every day I do IntuFlow to nourish my joints and gain information about the areas I need to concentrate on with the yoga. By continuously cycling through those three wings, I have gone from barely able to do a few pushups to able to swing a 20 pound Clubbell® through the air 130 times in a single exercise session that also includes 4 other Clubbell® exercises–and all of that progress has been made in 2 months.
There are rare moments when I wonder what sort of athlete I would have been in high school had I known that there was a way to train that didn’t include all of the injuries I kept racking up. But that quickly gives way to the excitement of the athlete that I am creating now. I will be 40 this year and it is very possible that despite the illness of the last few years and the challenges it has left me with, by the time my birthday rolls around I will be more than the kid I once was could even imagine. There are no more broken wings leading to a broken body for me. 3 wings, 1 life, and nearly unlimited potential.
Do you have a broken wing? If so, what are you doing to fix it?
Until next time, may your choices and actions today create a healthier ‘you’ tomorrow.
For those who want a basic overview of the 3 wings of CST, read on…
IntuFlow® combines basic movement, structural alignment, and breathing. This gentle activity assesses and addresses areas of weakness and immobility while providing much needed nutrition to the joints. Each session takes each joint through all of the possible ranges of motion. Regular practice can return graceful flow to your movements and increase sensory awareness to help reduce the likelihood of injury during your day to day activities.
Over time, the body creates compensations for the demands that your regular activities and positions of inactivity place on your muscles, ligaments, and joints. Via its flowing motions through the six degrees of freedom, (i.e., the six directions your body can move through) Prasara Yoga helps to counterbalance the compensations so that you remain strong and flexible in each possible motion.
Clubbell®s are RMAX® patented “weighted bats” which are swung to create strength in a 3-dimensional manner. By swinging weight, instead of lifting it, a balance between mobility and stability can be created.
Each wing can be performed individually, but optimal results occur when the 3 wings are combined together over the course of a training cycle.