Exercising Your Two Bodies

I always tell my clients and athletes that you are essentially two humans a right side and a left side and we have to make them get along. The human body is not symmetrical not even close actually, we are designed in a way in which the right side of our body will always win. We weren’t designed to be perfect but rather imperfect. If you take a deep look into our visual, circulatory, respiratory, neurological and muscular systems they are all different when compared with one side to the other. When we take a look at the brain the left side has more responsibilities for speech/language, how we communicate, grow and develop. But the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body so neurologically we are wired to be more dominant on that side. If we take a look at our internal organs we have a big liver on the right side and on the left we have our heart and spleen. Our diaphragm on the right side is always in a better position for breathing because of the liver’s support. The left diaphragm is smaller/weaker and is compromised by the dominance of our right side which leads to asymmetrical breathing into our chest walls. This causes our left abs to become really weak when compared to the right side. Considering we breathe about 24,000 times a day you can see how we get more of a gravitational pull to one side. We start to rely on this right-sided (not handed) preference to live life. We need to live life more on the left side. When we over-rely on the right side, we lose options to move. We lose mobility. The fact that you’re asymmetrical means you’re normal, but many of us take this asymmetry and or poor posture to an extreme. We have to get the alignment back closer to "normal" before we start to lift heavy weights or any number of other athletic endeavors. 

Over time if these normal imbalances are not kept in check we end up living life in a state of asymmetry where we have a greater risk for weakness and instability which can lead to achy joints and poor training results. For example, a vast majority of the population are unable to move the left side of their pelvis anywhere as efficient as their right side when they walk. Now for most people this will not be a problem but if we are lifting or doing heavy cardio three days a week it’s just a matter of time before we run into a problem. Specifically this creates problems at our knees, low back and hips because you are unable to control your hip in certain planes of motion putting you in an incorrect position while exercising. It takes time to develop integrity in the muscle to work in certain contractions but this will set up a great foundation which to build on. Instead we skip this very important step and go right into some wild made up exercises or what I like to call “entertrainment” that really don’t accomplish anything except getting people injured. We are so focused on improving strength but most strength deficits are stability deficits meaning the ability to control/hold a position without relying on say your back and hips to do it for you. I can’t emphasize this enough especially when you’re sitting at a desk/driving 8-12 hours a day. The core for example is one of the most over marketed fitness gimmick out there. Six pack abs mean absolutely nothing in the real world. I have worked with numerous people that have the so called “six pack” that can’t even do something simple as blowing up a balloon. When someone wants advice on how to develop their core and what muscles to focus on, I am going to lecture them on the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a domed sheet of muscle that crosses five segments of the lower back, which is the prime mover of your spine, it represents thirty percent of the total surface of the rib cage and rarely is it used correctly. Properly developing stability at your diaphragm and harnessing its power will take your fitness and quality of life to a new level. After millions of dollars in research and hundreds of thousands of hours of application, our knowledge and understanding of performance and injury prevention goes well beyond "doing a lot of hard stuff until you're tired".

Jordan Nichols