I know I’ve mentioned several times that I hurt myself recently, and although I’m now pain free for the most part and working my squat numbers back up, I also have it always in the back of my mind that I don’t want to be hurt again… and that now I know I have some chronic issues that aren’t going to go away, and may make me more vulnerable to something worse if I’m careless (me and everyone else old enough to have some disc degeneration going on, I just happen to know it!)
On the one hand, that’s a big bummer. On the other, it has actually been helpful – every time I tweak myself and have to come back, I watch my form more and more closely which means I become more and more efficient as well as safer. Although I would prefer to not have learned the hard way, some little ambiguities about exactly how I want my hips moving, exactly where I need my knees set, are becoming more clear. The biggest thing I’ve learned, and one which I think I may not be alone in? In all the years I’ve watched like a hawk to make sure I didn’t let my lower back round, and didn’t let my chest cave in (an issue for me in the past) I went too far and forgot that that doesn’t mean it’s ok to exaggerate that positioning (especially at the bottom!) to the point where my back starts to arch. Ouch. Quite the reminder – neutral spine – NEUTRAL. That means not too far one way OR the other! So now I know – and maybe now you know without having to learn the hard way – that avoiding a rounded back alone isn’t enough, if I forget to make sure it stays properly set in the neutral position and start arching it either to keep my chest up, or because I’m exaggerating my hip hinge and getting carried away.