I’m constantly amazed at how little, seemingly-innocent movements can cause strains, twinges, and aches in even the most fit people. Yesterday, I was trying unzip the inside pocket of my shoulder bag with the opposite hand and I felt a sharp pain in my thumb. It’s so ridiculous; the same hand that can hold a 50-lb dumbbell while dead lifting or support my body weight for pull-ups couldn’t pull open a zipper without complaining. Have things like this happened to you?
As someone who is active and tries to prepare for life’s demands, my training is focused on general fitness. I include components like strength, power, flexibility, and cardio into my workouts so that I can bike around Vancouver with ease or hike in Puerto Rico without hesitation. I relish the feelings of independence and freedom that being fit affords me. However, I find new things to work on after experiencing such incidents as unzipping malfunction. Other favorite learning situations include heavy-door hijinks and bottle-opening paralysis.
These different moronic moments are a testament to how truly specific movement can be. You would think that gripping weights would carry over to gripping zippers but the actual type, direction, and magnitude of force needed by the hand is different in each case. Those fancy terms just mean that the way we solve movement problems does vary despite how similar they may look. That’s why it is so important to regularly change the variables in your training program.
I’m not just talking about the types of movements you do. I’m referring to the different facets of how each movement is executed. Take a front lunge, for example. We typically think about adjusting how much weight we use. How about changing the number of reps, the speed of the lunge (both phases: going down and coming up), the foot position used, and the direction of the movement? Those are just a few of the vast possibilities for variations on a basic lunge. You are only limited by your creativity. As long as you are not endangering yourself by using poor form, then go for it! Spice things up because really, do you always use perfect “gym” form when lunging to the ground to pick up your keys? Heck no. But you should practice the movement possibilities so you can avoid being the trainer who tweaked her finger while unzipping a bag.
Keep on Movin’