Do you swing your arms when you walk?
As you may or may not know, while anatomy books and high school science class often present us with images of the body’s muscles as separate and unique things, the reality of how muscles work in the body is rather different.
It’s all connected…
If I were to say to you ‘it’s all connected’, chances are you’d say or think ‘of course it is!’ …in part because “it’s all connected” is a cliche and in part because you likely have an intuitive understanding of this fact.
The reality is that “individual” muscles are really anything but “individual”: the muscles of your body are connected to each other through an inter-connected web of fascia. You may have heard of this thin (yet amazingly strong) layer of connective tissue that wraps around and supports every tissue in your body.
The lines and pathways of fascia create connected chains of muscles throughout the body. These connections are central to how our bodies function and perform out there in the wide world. Functional strength training uses exercises and movements that aim to reinforce and strengthen these pathways..
Walk this way
Getting back to the whole ‘arm-swing while walking’ thing…
There are two pairs of diagonal connections that play a big role in how you walk and thus, how your shoulders and hips move…or don’t move.
One pair is on the front of your body and one pair is on the back of your body.
One pathway connects your left shoulder to your right hip (and the other connects your right shoulder to your left hip).
From a high-level overview perspective, the basics of gait (ideally) involve the muscles in one of these diagonals lengthening while the muscles in the opposite diagonal engaging and shortening.
It is not uncommon for life (you know, desk work, stress, injuries, etc) to result in our bodies unconsciously developing a restriction in some part of one of these diagonals. Tight hips and stiff shoulders are popular examples.
So what to do?
For the purposes of this post, we’re going to focus on the diagonals on the front of your body. First, a tip: try swinging your arms when you walk. This can actually go a long way toward re-setting the basic ‘software’, so to speak.
Next, once you’ve got those diagonals moving, let’s add some spice:
Enter the Cross-Connect
My suggesting is to start here, with a Cross-Connect Hold:
- Include bonus neck relaxer move (cervical rotations)
Wanna try something a bit spicy? Try this:
Thanks for reading! If you’d like to try doing stuff like the above, wrapped in a delightfully subversive package of supportive reminders that you’re awesome and that you’re perfect as you are, plus a nerdy insistence on joint-friendly functional exercise…check out our current ‘trial’ adventure (which you can learn about here).