Hi guys,  Kris from Custom Fitness here, your personal trainer in Amarillo.  Did you know that over 65% of females are born with hypermobile joints?  Their joints, such as elbows, wrists, knees, fingers, spine, and more, bend too far in the wrong direction AKA “double jointed”.  You’d probably see people who lock their knees out; where their knees will stop behind them rather than at their center point directly under their hips. There are men who also have hypermobile joints, but this condition is predominant in the female population.  Today we are looking at how to get out of your joints and start using your muscles. If you have questions about today’s blog or would like to know of other ways to get the results you’ve been hoping for, give us a call: 806-322-3188.

I chose this topic because often times people are working so hard to achieve their goals and they either end up getting hurt or they are not getting the muscle definition they are hoping for. Those results come from working out in the joint and not allowing the muscles to do the work.  

For example, let’s use the knee lock I just mentioned. If you were doing squats and every time you came up you locked your knees out, you are voiding all tension in the muscles and losing the ability to keep the body balanced.  You are disengaging the muscles and engaging the joints. Ouch! That may not seem too bad, but every time you are locking the joint you are actually destroying the cushion and connective tissue surrounding it at the cellular level. Keep it up and eventually the joint will become unuseable. You have to be aware of where your joint should stop versus where it can stop.

So how do you move that motion into your muscles? If you are doing a full range squat, when you stand back up tighten your glutes, hamstrings and quads to maintain your position and not press your knees back too far.

For another example, I have seen so many people lock out their elbows when doing a shoulder press during my time as a personal trainer in Amarillo. If you are holding your barbells up by your neck then push them upward into a “Y” position, people will push their joint too far and lock their elbows out, almost throwing the weights, and then returning back down.  When you do that, the arm isn’t supporting itself via muscles as is intended, but now the bones are having to take over the support.  Keeping the muscles disengaged while putting so much pressure on the joint can cause it to pop out of place. When you pop a joint out of place, you then have to pop it back into place which is where that destruction happens and the joint then breaks down little by little.

Squats and shoulder presses are pretty easy to spot when you are using your joints instead of your muscles, but I have some others I’d like to show you tonight that the majority of people are doing wrong. The main reason for this malformed technique is exhaustion! By the time they show up to workout their body is tired.  They don’t really understand how to use their body in the right way to have the proper stability.  Thus, they allow their joints to take over the responsibility of holding them upright. This breaks down the joints and minimizes the results you could be seeing.

Let’s talk about the less obvious one, the plank.  That term elicits thoughts of trembling abs and ripped 6 packs. Sure, planks work your core, but they also work your stability, your pelvic floor, the chest, shoulders, triceps, forearms, etc. It has a lot of different benefits.   I’m going to get into the plank position and lock through my elbows. Notice that the inner portion of my elbow that is usually the crease is now facing the front wall. Also, the rest of my body is now sagging down through my core and shoulders. Your weight is then balanced in your shoulder joints.

Instead, resist the floor by pushing your body up and away from the ground. Keep the inside of the elbows facing each other without letting the joint bend inward too far. This will keep your core stabilised and the muscles engaged while your body stays in alignment all without increasing your risk of injury.  

Last exercise for today is the side plank. This one people typically put all their weight into their shoulder. The shoulder joint is a complex one at best. It contains the ball of the humerus bone, the socket made by several other bones, and a whole bunch of tiny muscles, tendons, and ligaments that create the movements. If too much pressure is applied to this joint, the shoulder can actually collapse and even tear. Your goal is to protect your shoulders at all costs.

When I go into the side plank, it doesn’t matter if I’m balancing on my forearm or my extended arm, I need to be careful of my shoulder position. When I elevate my body from the ground I want to keep my ear and shoulder as far away from one another as possible. If I drop into my shoulder, you’ll notice my shoulder collapses downward, the gap between my ear and shoulder has vanished, and my hips cave inward too.  When that happens, it feels almost like I have to lock out my elbow because my shoulder is unstable and I need to find support somewhere. Now the body is in a more dangerous position.  You do not want to have shoulder surgery.

Try and keep yourself safe as often as possible by exercising your muscles and not your joints. Are your joints hypermobile? If so, your focus should be on strengthening the muscles that surround the joints you typically lock out. We have worked with many clients on strengthening their hypermobile joints and taught them how it feels when you use the muscles the right way. This is an issue that few people realize is obstructing their success and that even fewer personal trainers realize it should be worked on.

One more thing, our final Down Size session of 2017 has opened registration and there are only a few spots remaining. The program begins October 30th and will last 6 weeks. If during that time you lose 15 inches or more, you get a 100% refund. We will teach you the ins and outs of nutrition by giving you a meal plan that your whole family will like (because they won’t even realize it’s “healthy”), we provide a tailored-to-you exercise program, and give you tips about improving your lifestyle.  Our team of professionals will be your accountability partner and have our back every step of the way.  If you’d like to join us for Down Size, e-mail us for an application.

If you’d like more information about Down Size, how we can help you with your hypermobility or see if we can improve your exercise technique for maximum results, we’d love to talk. You can reach our team at 806-322-3188 or info@customfitness.biz. At Custom Fitness, we are YOUR personal trainers in Amarillo, Texas. Have a great day everybody!