I started my workout routine after making my last post, and within a few weeks I started feeling some pain in my shoulder when paddling. It got to a point really quickly where I couldn’t really do anything without feeling a lot of pain deep down in my shoulder joint. My shoulder and back muscles were very tight and knotted up, and I realized that I was missing a lot of range of motion, not only in my shoulders, but in my hips and legs as well. I could not get into a deep squat position without arching my back.
I decided to stop my workout, and just focus on stretching and getting everything loosened up. I wanted to work on increasing mobility in my joints, then increasing flexibility. It seems logical that a good foundation of mobility and flexibility should be in place before you pound your body with tons of work.
I did some research, and ended up finding a book called “Becoming a Supple Leopard”.
What an unbelievable resource of information this was! I read it in two days, and quickly realized how much range of motion I was truly missing in my body. The book goes on to break down mobility issues in different parts of the body and how to fix them. It walks you through the correct form to use when doing everything from squats and bench press to any sort of pulling and pushing exercise. A lot of it is based around what the author calls “smash and floss” which is using a massage ball to help loosen congested muscles.
After figuring all this out, I decided to take a step back and get the mobility back in my joints and increase flexibility before I starting to do any sort of strength training. I started with the Smash and Floss with the massage ball, and I was amazed at how many huge knots and how much congestion I had in my shoulders and neck. I was so tense that I felt like I was in a constant shrugging position. I used the massage ball every day for about 6 months. I also regularly did some of the mobility exercises from the book, got a massage once a month, and made some adjustments to my computer work station.
I never realized how important maintaining good posture while working at my desk was until I actually set it up the right way. Below is a graphic showing correct posture while sitting at your computer.
I use a laptop for work, so I bought a stand that holds the laptop up off the desk, and brings it up closer to my line of sight while looking forward. I also bought a wireless keyboard, and trackpad so that I don’t have to hold my arm up on the laptop trackpad anymore. I am now basically setup exactly how it is pictured above.
Since I have made these changes and continuing with the exercises, I can’t even begin to tell you how much better I feel. The pain in my shoulder is gone, the knots in my shoulders are loosening up a lot. I have increased mobility both in my shoulders and my hips, and I can even get into a deep squat position now. All of this equates to being much more flexible. I feel like I’m surfing better too (Bonus!).
I know this doesn’t seem like it has a lot to do with curing a hernia naturally, but I believe that it is going to be a long process. Once I started feeling the pain in my shoulder I knew that I would have some work do to. You see, my hernia is super annoying, but there is no pain associated with it. It is manageable. The pain that I was feeling in my shoulder was having an affect on everything I did, especially surfing. So I decided that I would take care of the things that were causing acute pain, and get my mobility back, then refocus on the hernia once I was not in pain anymore. I am at the point now where I feel like I can start focusing on strength, but still feel like I need to continue focusing on mobility too. I found a program that I have been doing for the past few weeks. It’s called surf training success. It is exactly what I was looking for, blending mobility, flexibility, cardio, and strength. It is broken up into three modules, and builds upon itself as you get more fit through the program. So far it has been awesome.
There is a simple exercise that is part of the first module of the program where you stand with your back flat against the wall, place your elbows out at 90° and your knuckles above your head and against the wall. Then, raise your arms while dragging your hands and forearms on the wall. I couldn’t believe it, but the first time I tried it I could not do this! I would get my hands up a little bit and feel extreme tightness in my shoulders, and I couldn’t get my arms to slide up the wall without my back arching, or my elbows coming off the wall. Here’s a video of Chris Mills from Surf Training Success showing the wall slide in action. Skip to the 6:00 mark:
I’m getting much better at it now since everything is loosening up. I also find that I am much looser after surfing than I used to be.
My hernia still completely sucks, but I feel like I’m making a step in the right direction by taking care of my body. Once I have a solid foundation, I will start to hit the hernia hard. I’ll keep you posted. If you have any information that you think will be helpful please post a comment or start a thread in the forum.