Can’t fire your muscles?

Ever felt that your muscles or joints are “stuck” and they cannot elongate as much as you want? Or, do you feel that certain muscles just will not fire no matter what muscle-specific exercises you have worked on?

Our posture, lifestyle, stress level, gait and choices of exercises play a part in the development of our muscles.

For example, prolonged hours of sitting can cause inability to fire gluteal muscles through a process of “reciprocal inhibition“. When you sit for too long, the hip flexors get tighter resulting in the lengthening of your opposite side of the joint, which is your gluteal muscles. This lengthening effect causes the gluteal muscles to “sleep” or desensitised, and will not activate when you try to engage them.

Sometimes, due to injuries, trauma, the rigours of sports training, or psychological stress, our brain loses the ability to fully control our muscles and movement, both in contraction and relaxation phase. And pain happens: impinged joints, arthritis, poor posture.

The good news is that we can re-train our brain, nervous system and senses to contract and relax the muscles voluntarily.

While going for massages can help to relax the tight muscles, the benefits are short-lived unless you are able to relax them voluntarily.

Below is a journey of a student who had problems firing her lower abs regardless of exercises or disciplines. We came to realise it was her sports trauma that was holding her back from using the muscles. Now that we have identify the issues, she is able to acknowledge the trauma, and regain the ability to train her lower abs and pelvic muscles.

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From Coach Jasmine: How often do you see exercise as a form of escape from reality? We often had students standing at the gym entrance with anger, sadness or pure exhaustion. And sometimes, they can’t help but bringing these emotions into training. A teacher has 2 choices: ignore the emotions and push the student, or acknowledge and understand the emotions and push the student. To achieve the latter, empathy is required – it is as though you are watching your kids' frustrations and focusing on how life feels in that little child's body without judgement and anger. But that is easy. As we grow into adulthood, emotions appear less on the face. They hide deep in our body, in our cells. Allow me to show an example: A student of mine had difficulty firing her lower abdominal in Yoga, and classes with me. Eventually and thankfully, we came to discover that the physical inability came from her emotional trauma in her pelvis where she suffered a blow during sports and had to undergo surgery. In this healing journey, sadness was exposed, tears were flowing, but she has now acknowledged her trauma and regain the ability to train her lower abdominal and pelvis. And again, such a journey would not exist if the teacher is unwilling to recognise that mental and emotional state of mind plays a crucial part in physical training. When empathy is correctly applied (overly-empathetic is not helpful), a teacher would be able to push a student through their tough spots, while providing a strong support system at the same time. This is also why Empathy is one of our core values. If you are doing the same, I look forward to learning from you one day.♥️

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