When I was younger I can remember when someone asked me if I was going to warm up before a run. My comment usually was “sure, I’m just going to run slower in the beginning.”
High Mileage Athlete
As I get older and the high mileage starts to show my body recovers slower. Nothing should be earth shattering about this fact, pretty much a no brainer. What I have noticed more recently is how its affecting my performance. This week has been brutal on the body, doing “2 a day” workouts. It doesn’t help that my lifting sessions have been centered around Olympic lifts. These explosive lifts are great for my training plan, the fit in quite nicely. The down side is the days after I have reduced range of motion. Yes, there is a little soreness, but what does the soreness mean. For me, it means my muscles are tight. When they are tight they have reduced their overall range of motion. Normal everyday movements are minimally impacted.
Economy of Motion
What I notice is how my drawstroke is affected. My dry fire and live fire is a mixture of the various carry conditions. Both open and concealed conditions as well as strong side, appendix and ankle carry positions. What I specifically noticed was how I had to accommodate with either extra or altered movements. One thing I try to emphasize in classes is not to add anything unnecessary and to do the minimum work necessary. If you are interested in being fast the natural response is to move faster. Simple enough. The first thing to do is clean up your technique so it has the minimum movement required for the action performed with a high level of precision. Having limited range of motion effected my movements. I liked discovering this, since my lifestyle has extensive periods where my range of motion may be suboptimal it reminds me of the importance of my mobility work.
I have a mobility program I consistently follow. A prime directive in my strength programming is injury prevention. It includes both pre and post workout. It has significantly improved not just my recovery, but my workouts and my quality of life. What I see as a common dilemma in our classes is students who as a result of injury, lifestyle or not knowing any better have terrible mobility. I see this easily demonstrated in posture. I joke about this in class, but if you grew up in Texas and had a mother like mine who constantly scolded you for not sitting up straight it left a mark. Among many things in my childhood she was right. Probably the two biggest posture issues I see involve shortened hip flexors and rounded shoulders.
Adapting to the New Norm
The shortened hip flexors will pull on the front part of your hips. I had this pretty bad when I was younger. Once the muscles and tendons shorten, it is difficult to get them to return to their normal position. Trust me on that one. My lower back continues to send me flowers ever since. To be honest the rounded shoulders were the least difficult of the two to correct. They both had a negative impact on my shooting. They affected my shooting mainly in recoil management, but other areas as well. When I corrected them I saw the positive impact in my shooting. At first in small dosages, but with time big changes. The human body can adapt and accommodate to many different conditions, but that doesn’t mean it is a good thing. When on the firing line I’m looking at the student’s posture to help identify potential problems.
If the shoulders are rounded and the hands rest in front of the hips realize this is not natural. It may have become the new norm, but it is not natural.