Let’s Say You’re An Athlete or Musician:
A Golfer, Tennis Player, or a Concert Violinist,
just for Examples . . .
If you are any kind of an athlete, musician, or sportsperson, or anyone else who uses their body in very precise or physically demanding ways, you might have heard that One Secret (yes there are MANY secrets, but we’ll save those for later) to perfecting your skills and abilities is to Practice Perfectly. Every movement must be practiced very precisely, exactly as it needs to be done for perfect execution when actually in performance or competition.
(This is even true of typing on your keyboard!)
And this is why many martial arts masters have their students do, in the early stages of training, all of their movements in a very relaxed, slowed down state much of the time. That way, they can pay attention to the very slightest details of the movements, working on precision, trajectory, and accuracy, leading to better performance later when they turn on the full power and speed.
But in my work with many musicians, golfers, polo players and other sports people, some of them — or their instructors or coaches — were often frustrated that sometimes, the Student just could not do the moves the way they were supposed to. They were always just a little bit off, or not enough power, or too much power, or something. No matter how slowly or carefully they practiced, it was always not quite there.
And they could not understand … WHY?
Excess Muscle Tension Fights Precision
What they — the coaches and students both — didn’t know (until I started working with them) was that excess muscle tension or dis-coordinated muscle fibers within a muscle, even small amounts, can-NOT produce the required movements. No matter how hard you try, no matter how careful you are, muscles or muscle fibers that are too tense or out of synchronization with each other will NOT let you fully & precisely accomplish the desired movement.
Or, those dis-coordinated muscle fibers will interfere with other muscles, or parts of muscles, that are trying to accomplish or participate in the movement. It only takes a very small nodule of excess tension or dis-coordinated fibers within a muscle to start a life-long process which increasingly interferes with the normal and natural movement of that muscle.
And if you try too hard to synchronize or train or strengthen the muscle when too many fibers are too tense or dis-coordinated, your very own muscles will be fighting your very own muscles. … Not the best Pathway to Success.
The Follow Through, Regardless of What You Do:
Whether It’s Golf, Tennis, Polo . . . You Name It . . .
So, if you are a Golfer or Tennis player, for instance:
Maybe your follow through just never quite follows all the way through. … Or it never tracks quite right. … Or you find yourself forcing your game too much, instead of letting the club or racket do the work. And you just can’t seem to fix it, no matter how hard you try. … Why? What’s Happening?
Well if, for example, your oblique muscles (more-or-less on the front and sides of your abdomen, just to the sides of your Rectus Abdominus* muscles are too over-shortened and/or stressed, they will not lengthen out far enough or fast enough, nor precisely enough. They will not allow your rib cage to travel, to rotate far enough, to its full range-of-motion along the exact path you want them to travel.
(* The Rectus Abdominus muscles are also known as the washboard/six-pack.)
With too much residual tension in your muscles, that follow-through movement just can NOT and will NOT happen … No matter HOW much training you do, no matter how strong you are.
Trying to overpower your own muscles with more muscle power is seldom a winning strategy.
And coming at it from the other side of the equation, if the muscles are over-shortened, they will not be able to release and deliver as much power, strength, and speed as is actually available. The power may actually BE there, but it cannot be released if the muscles are too tight. Your power is trapped inside of your own muscles . . .
Until You Clean the Slate
Or, if there is dis-coordination between the neuromuscular units within a muscle, the muscles cannot respond to the nerve signals exactly as your mind is trying to orchestrate them. It just cannot happen … no matter how much training you do. So you start losing coordination, balance, agility, and control. You get frustrated. Sometimes pain develops. So while someone might be telling you must have damaged nerves, in many cases, it is only the . . .
Chronic, Excess Muscle & Nerve Tension . . .
or C.E.M.&.N.T. for Short . . .
that is the real source of your problems. And for a lot of people, it actually does feel like CEMENT in their body, because the muscles are so tight and heavy or dense feeling. Quite often, when I am working with someone with a really tight muscle, they think it’s actually a bone! Muscles really CAN get that tight!
Some therapists mistakenly call these “calcifications” or “scar tissue” or other such descriptions. Sometimes they’ll even think these things are “bone spurs.” But MOST of the time, they are really just tight muscles. Nothing trivial, of course, but if it is a tight muscle, that means YOU can DE-Contract or Relax it.
Until You Clean the Slate of Excess Muscle Tension
You clean the slate by learning how to relax those muscles, just like the monk on the table, but without such extreme measures. You can learn how to Feel, Relax, Lengthen, Balance & Control your muscles and their tension levels. Then of course, there is the very long list of long-term effects these over-shortened and dis-coordinated muscles can cause, many of which will just start clearing up as your tension levels go down. We’ll get to that in a minute. But let’s take the most obvious one for most people.
Thanks for Reading,
David Scott Lynn (DSL*)
* DSL: Your Hi-Touch Up-Link to the Inner-Net
Inner-Net: Your Psycho-Neuro-Musculo-Fascial System