How Somatic Exercise Can Improve Your Weightlifting

I just received an email that continues the thread of my last blog post about the efficacy of combining Somatic Exercise classes with private clinical sessions for more long lasting pain relief: Barry Kinsella is a weightlifter from Dublin, Ireland, owner of the blog Weightlifting Epiphanies.

Barry took his time watching my Pain Relief Through Movement DVD, experiencing the movements, and learning more about how he reacted to them, before writing a review. He decided to further research the field of Somatics himself, as he did his daily Somatic Exercise routine to continue to experience the changes he was slowly creating in his body.

Read Barry's comprehensive review of my Pain Relief Through Movement DVD.

Barry took the time to further investigate Somatics, letting me know that

...a good few weightlifters will be interested in your DVD and also in Somatics itself. The more people that know about it the better.

Having suffered injuries as an competitive athlete, he realizes that he could use a few sessions with a Certified Somatic Educator in Ireland. This would help him continue learning how to release his patterns of compensation and adaptation even more rapidly. Barry looked intellectually at Hanna Somatics, but knew that changing one's habitual patterns of muscle tension and movement is something that had to be experienced in his daily Somatic Exercise routine. That's a critically important distinction to make.

Regain full muscle function through pandiculation.

One of the methods Barry learned from my DVD is to pandiculate instead of stretch. He learned to contract into the tension, and then slowly release out of it. This action of contracting first, then slowly releasing is what hits the reset button in your nervous system and muscular system. Because it is a voluntary action (not passive, like most static stretching), your brain voluntarily regains both sensation and function of the muscle and its synergists. The muscles release past the point that they were involuntarily (and painfully) tight before so the brain now has the full muscle length.

You don't have to be a weightlifter to feel tight and sore, either. Many of us experience habituated muscle tension simply from years of "life" and stress. We adapt to our life circumstances no matter who we are - athletes, office workers, dancers, teachers, children, teenagers. We hunch our shoulders, tighten our backs, limp if we suffer an injury on one side, clench our jaws when we're upset. We can all benefit from learning to release these adaptations and adjustments so that we can move the way we used to before the stress kicked in.

You also don’t have to do everything Barry did in order to learn more about Somatics.  "Waking up" your awareness and staying awake and attentive to your movement habits, reflexive responses to stress or compensation patterns can be simple:

Whatever you choose to do, if you have muscle pain and have "tried everything," Hanna Somatics will provide you the common sense knowledge, techniques, and exercises to help you live life pain-free. You will wonder why you hadn't heard about it years ago!