Mobility: The Struggle to be like Water

A quick post before I fly off to Norway – part 2 of the Struggle series. Bruce Lee once said we should strive to be like water. As water is formless, it can bend and take the shape of its surroundings. Water can drip and water can crash, but most of all, water is not stiff. Now, I can try playing ping pong with nun chucks but really there’s no upside in it for me. But, the next closest thing to being like water is to be MAF, mobile as f**k.

bruce lee ping pong

Recently, the hardest part of working out isn’t lifting heavy weights ( O.O I know!), nor is it running fast (*GASP*). The hardest part has been trying to find your end range of motion. For example, when doing complex exercises like lifting your leg as high as you can. Laugh now, but I bet you can’t do it. There are challenges to being a pro at tennis or any sport of your choosing. But, underpinning the skills required is the dexterity to pull it off, aka attaining the MAF status.

Try this, lie flat on the ground, feet straight back, arms spread at your sides so that your body is in the shape of a ‘T’. Now, pick your favorite leg and move it out until your legs are about 45 degrees apart. Without moving your upper body, and keeping both legs straight and completely still, lift the angled leg off the ground and hold it there as your trainer laughs. If this was easy, good for you, if you are asking what is this painful form of torture, you’re me a month ago!

djokovic ankle

Djokovic has supreme MAF status with his ankles. No that’s not a sprain, he does that in every match.

I didn’t think mobility would be as huge of a factor in improving reps or endurance but it is. And, to cap it off, it plays a major role in injury prevention. Phil Jackson said he saw Bynum would be prone to knee injuries because of his gait, well, Phil, why didn’t LAL do anything about it? And why don’t the rest of us do anything about this? For lack of two things, was my issue: knowledge and discipline.

And herein lies Struggle theorems 3 and 4: (Note: Just because one of them sounds like one of Newton’s Laws of Motion, doesn’t mean it is)

Struggle Theorem 3: You don’t know what you can’t move until you literally cannot move.

Too little too late, haha. Hindsight is always 20/20 and not just with investing. With sports, there’s always the sentiment of “if only we had stretched more” or “I should’ve warmed up better”, then maybe we wouldn’t have sprained our knee because our ankle can’t bend it like Beckham. Oops. To those Nadal fans, think of the years where he spent months on injury leave, and think of the fact that he could’ve prevented Djokovic from winning the career grand slam this year. Ouch, that’s gotta hurt.

nadal injury

Some Nadal fans might say that a certain GOAT is out as well, but my man is coming back in Wimby while Rafa is not.

Corollary 3.1: You’ll pop something and that’ll be a clear sign. #achilles #patella

A different kind of pop and lock. Kobe, Nadal, they both play hard. They give everything they have. But I wish they worked more on warming up and cooling down (well just Kobe maybe, #Federer) so that they do not get injured. For competitors, sitting on the sideline hurts more mentally than any single physical injury does. For the average Joey, a hernia is no bueno if you don’t have insurance. Both very good reasons to not get injured.

joey hernia

“Damn you fifteens!”

Corollary 3.2: Strugglebus is strong when you’re lying on the ground and you can’t bend or turn the right way.

Sometimes you can’t move even though you’re trying to but your body says “Say what?” This is actually good, because I slowly became aware of what my body felt like when it was nearing the end of its range of motion. Knowing what that feeling was like helped me stop when something felt a little wonky when doing exercises. This went a long way in preventing injury. It also serves as great comic relief for my trainer. Win-win I guess?

Struggle Theorem 4: A body that is in motion stays in motion…so practice.

I can’t sit still. So imagine a 6 year old trying to stay in one place for 15-30 min just focusing on breathing and rotating very specific parts of their body. Yea, good luck to me. It takes time and reinforcement…and for you to not be high on espresso. But when you take the time to practice, you can get your body to move quickly and efficiently and hit balls between your legs without damaging anything valuable:

federer tweener

GOAT

Corollary 4.1: 15 min a day goes a long way, so suck it up and do it.

The mamba mentality. I would just suck it up and do what’s necessary for injury prevention and better mobility during workouts or when playing sports. A little bit each day really does go a long way. Smoother motion creates more efficient movements when working out and less wasted energy. What helps with mobility?

  • Foam Rolling (that lovely orange tube in the cover shot)
  • Super Nova (that prickly blue ball)
  • Lacross ball to the shoulders and back
  • Moving your joints deeper into your end range of motion (hips, shoulders, wrists, ankles)
20160526_110056468_iOS

The blue ball? A Supernova. The orange ball? Lacrosse ball. The water bottle? Helps me stay hydrated. The blue headphones? Gets me through my mobility sessions.

What helps pass the time?

  • Spotify
  • Jalen & Jacoby
  • Brian, Nick, AJ, Howie, and Kevin 🙂
  • If you can master it, Strike Back on Amazon Prime

Corollary 4.2: When you can be like water, you can be lazy.

Now you can pick up that remote with your foot because it’s too far for you to grab with your hands. Plus you don’t want to give up your sleeping position on the sofa next to Mr. Snuggles, the giant assed, 3.5 ft long teddy bear that your roommate bought because it’s cute and furry. Win.

20160601_025151041_iOS

My cuddle buddy during NBA games ❤

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