As many of you may know already, Bushido Bad Boy, a long standing and highly respected member of T-Nation is a newly qualified Osteomyologist, and as a favour to a total training newbie (me), BBB offered to lend me an expert hand to help me identify and address any structural imbalances and weaknesses I may have before I embark on my long road of adding muscle.
So on Saturday (23rd May)I went to Wales to pay him a visit, and to find out how many problems I actually have!
My day started with me waking up at 4:15am feeling like death, but it wasn't anything that a Spike tab couldn't fix. After getting myself ready with a bag packed and a breakfast shake in me, I left my house at 5:25am making my way to Paddington Station to catch my 7am train.
On my way to Wales I was very observant, probably due to the Spike. It's amazing how many people you see eating absolute crap in the morning. No wonder everyone's Obese!
I ended up getting to Wales at 10:30, and met BBB in the station car park. I was sure to wear a bright red T-Nation shirt for easy identification; of course you can't miss Bushy, because he's a bloody big guy! We went straight off to the gym from there, nice enough place on an industrial estate, with a cute girl behind the counter (sorry guys, no picture).
BBB then proceeded to go through his assessments, starting at the toes and working upwards, testing everything for ROM, flexibility, and to see if the muscles are firing correctly and in order. Here's a few of the things he had a look at;
1/ ROM and flexibility of all limbs. Starting at the toes and working up to the nexk and everything in between.
2/ The internal and external rotation of all limbs. Starting at the legs, then spinal rotation, the neck and finally the shoulders.
3/ Tests were also done on individual muscles, the Psoas, Glutes, IT Bands, Spinal Erectors to make sure they were all firing correctly, as well as checking limb length.
During these tests, I found out a lot about myself and the human anatomy in general. I found out that all of my lower body has problems, big and small, everything from my toes, all the way up to my spinal erectors. And my upper body is pretty much A OK. The only problem I have is my Pec Minor being really tight on the right side which is pulling my right shoulder slightly more forward then the left one.
I also found out that I have really tight quads which are leading to poor knee flexing, and I have IT Bands which are, in BBBs words, "as tight and thick as steel cables". There was a big smile about to break across my face, until he told me it was a bad thing!
We also looked at my squats and lunges, focusing on form, depth and technique, to check if my if my technique was a direct cause to any of my problems. My squat form wasn't perfect, but it wasn't bad either. We also went over some of the more simple exercises that I could do to help correct some of my issues.
My lunge technique turned out to be pretty crap, but that was due to a combination of things. Firstly I have limited extension of my great toe on both sides, which is leading to poor toe extension on both sides, which means when I lunge, my back foot balance is on my toes instead of the ball of my foot. Because this is a bony issue, it's not something I can fix, though now that I am aware of it, I can train around it.
I also have one femur (right) longer then the other, but oddly, that leg actually feels the shorter out of the two, which is leading to over activity in my left glute med and min, and is a major contribution to the imbalance that I have. This issue is partly because I have a very flat arch on my right foot, which causes the foot to pronate, my right tibia to internally rotate and hence my my right leg to be 'functionally shorter' then my left.
Having one leg that does not support my pelvis as much as the other causes various biomechanical issues. The lateral stabilisers of the pelvis are imbalanced and overworked.
So in short, my upper body is totally fine, apart from one small issue. But my lower body is totally fucked up! Everything is either tight, has poor flexibility, poor rotation, isn't firing correctly (in order), or isn't firing at all (erectors). So now when people call me a tight ass, I can say, "I know, my Osteomyologist told me!".
What I Learnt!
This was a real eye opening experience for me. I learnt a hell of a lot on this trip. It doesn't matter how big you are, how strong you are, or how good you look in the mirror (just to clarify, I'm none of these at the moment), there is a high probability that you have one or more major problems, and possibly a few smaller ones as well.
And if you continue to train the way you do and fail to address your structural problems, chances are you'll just make them worse, and that isn't good!
So you may be big, you may be strong, and you may have Hawt Abz for the Summer, but will any of that shit matter in 15-20 years when you'll need a walking stick just to get to the end of the driveway?!
I thought not!
So T-Nation members, hopefully you'll take my word for it when I tell you that you should make an appointment to see a "Body Specialist" ASAP, and it'll probably be a lot better if you can find one who is either experienced in, or has an open mind towards body building / weight lifting, so they don't tell you to stop lifting.