I’ve been pole dancing for years now and like to think that I have built up my strength quite a bit. I can hold my own body weight for a long time in many different ways, so I’m quite proud of myself!
I have always wondered why I have all this strength yet when it comes to holding actual weights or doing press-ups I fail miserably every time.
Just the other day after all these years of working out, I have finally found my answer. I have been using my shoulders to help me lift everything and when I say everything I mean…
I was sitting drinking a cup of tea when I was told that every time I lifted my tea cup I also lifted my shoulders too. Apparently this isn’t normal! As the day went on I found myself lifting up my shoulders every time I picked anything up, regardless of how large or small. I didn’t even realise I was doing it, but it turns out that some how I’ve managed to get in to the habit of using my shoulders to help me lift everything.
Looking back, there has been so many heavy things that I’ve had to lift daily and must have used my shoulders to help lift without realising. Having had years of working in bars lifting glasses, bins, boxes of stock and even pouring pints daily must have really taken its toll of my shoulders.
The Real Problem
I don’t really mind how I lift things as long as the lifting gets done. I figure that I’m strong enough to do the pole moves that I want to do so that can’t really be a bad thing… can it?
I’ve been having slight back problems for a few years now. Nothing particularly bad – just the odd back ache here and there but usually a massage sorts me out. I can feel that I’ve got a lot of knots in my back but again massage is the key. I really like a good massage – you can feel the exact spot that gives you pain and it’s such a relief to work it out. I also get headaches quite a lot. I thought all of these things were just ‘one of those things’. I didn’t really realise that I was bringing any of this on myself. I thought it was all just how my body was.
Over the last few months I’ve gone from a part time office job mixed in with dance teaching to working in a bar with dance teaching. I’m now on my feet a lot more than before which is great for the mobility of my back. The downside is that I’ve been coming home most nights with a really bad headache, which I now understand is from lifting things in the wrong way.
It sounds so silly but just being aware of the problem is a massive help. I do have to go out of my way to make sure that I’m lifting things in the right way now. I’m really trying to use my arms rather than using my shoulders to lift things – whether they are small or big. When I have time to think about this it’s fine, but as with most things, when I’m busy this idea just goes out the window.
The main thing for me is to think about having a long neck. This really helps to keep my shoulders down and focus on the arms. I’ve also being doing resistance exercises to build up strength in my arms but I always take my time to do this and make sure that I look in the mirror and keep my shoulders down as I do it. I’m also adding press-ups into my work outs. I figure this will really help build up strength so that I don’t need to rely on my shoulders any more.
I can’t really afford the amount of sports massage that I need but very luckily my boyfriend happens to be qualified in Sports Massage and comes fully equipped with a massage bed and everything! I’ve not asked for his help until I realised how bad my shoulders were. The picture above, as bad as it looks can’t really show that build up of tension and knots. My shoulders have morphed into a triangle shape made of knots and muscle. I’ve been having almost daily massages in my upper back and shoulder. Unbelievably painful. If you ever wanted to know where I keep my piggy back, give me a massage and I’ll cave and tell you everything I know!
I can feel that the massage is really helping. During them I can feel the exact places that cause blinding headaches and uncomfortable back ache. So I feel that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and with a lot of exercise and massage I might be able to get my shoulders back to normal.
Is This Normal?
I wonder how many of us do this? Is it just me that uses my shoulders to help lift things or is it a way of our bodies trying to cope with lifting things? It’d be great to know… 🙂