Strength training can leave you feeling sore, tight, heavy-legged or lighter, springier and livelier depending on your approach. Here’s my thinking on the subject.
Strength does not always work in our favour
I recall being at a conference some years ago. Sat in front of me was a young man who looked as if he spent a lot of time working out. He certainly had muscular arms and shoulders, but what intrigued me was that he seemed unable to support his own body weight – he leant on his elbows most of the time and frequently changed position. Coffee time came along, and I couldn’t resist seeking him out for a chat! Of course, I asked him how he was finding the conference but also discovered that he did a lot of weight lifting, that his back hurt most of the time and that he was unable to sit comfortably for even a short time.
The point here (for me at least) is that there seems little point in building strength if it leaves us feeling uncomfortable. Surely, the purpose of strength training is to make everyday life easier, not more difficult.
Improving strength with the Alexander Technique
What’s this got to do with the Alexander Technique, you may be wondering. The technique is usually associated with releasing tension and relieving pain. To be free of tension and pain, we need to be using the right muscle for the right job, or to put it another way, we need muscles to work as they are designed to work. And that’s the link between Alexander Technique and strength work. The work we do strengthens muscles so they can do the job they are designed to do. The result is strength that is balanced throughout the body, which improves stability, coordination and flexibility. That’s what gives us the lighter, springier and livelier feeling that I mentioned earlier. Not only do we move with a greater sense of ease, we also have greater confidence in our abilities.
Building strength has tended to be a by-product of my work so far, but I have recently started to bring it more centre stage. My recent training with an Alexander Technique teacher in Ireland called Penelope Easten, who looked at how the technique was originally taught, is what has convinced me to change my focus. What hasn’t changed are:
- A focus on improving the whole self rather than fixing individual problems
- The essential elements of gentleness and mindfulness
- One to one lessons that ensure we work at your pace and take all that is important to you into account.
I wouldn’t want to work any other way.
You could benefit from using the Alexander Technique to improve your strength if you:
- Make particular demands on your body, e.g. athletes, musicians
- Want to regain your strength after recovering from an illness, operation or a fall
- Want to stay strong and active as you get older
- Have tried other types of strength training and not got the results you want
- Would just like to try something different
I shall be writing more on this topic in future blogs. Feel free to give me a call or email me in the meantime if you would like to know more. You can take individual lessons online now and in-person lessons as soon as they are allowed.
If this post has sparked your curiosity and you are interested in finding out how the Alexander Technique can help you please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07957 981240 get in touch using the contact icons
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