Feeling for Function (part 1- lifting)

Where should I feel this?

To put the emphasis on the learner, my typical response is, “What are you trying to do?

If you’re trying to work your abs, and you feel it in your upper thigh, you’re performing the task with your hip flexors.  If you’re trying to engage the glutes by doing a glute bridge, but you feel it in your hamstrings and/or low back, you’re defeating the purpose of the movement.

Though they should be the same, doing a movement and using the proper muscles to drive a movement are often two different things.  If it looks right but doesn’t feel right it’s probably not right.  The argument of correctness will always be won by internal feedback of your muscular contractions.  In other words, where you feel it is what’s doing the work. 
If you’re not sure you are feeling everything as it’s intended to be felt, here are some tips to realign and readjust:
1.  Note what your pelvis is doing.   Is it excessively rounded or arched?  Is it’s ending position different than when you started?
2.  Be aware of the neck.  Is your chin sticking out?  Can you turn your head without strain throughout?
3.  Look at the feet.  Are they actively gripping the floor?  Do they drive the knees out? Can the toes push down into the ground?  
4.  Check your posture.  Are your shoulders slumped forward and does your back round at the top?  Can you puff your chest out and retract shoulders back (without leaving that neck behind)?
photo credit: crossfittsac.com
5.  Bring the weight closer to the body.  Often the bar, kettlebell, or dumbbell will be placed too far from the midline to stay in alignment.   
If either your posture or breathing mechanics get compromised, adjust the load and/or the movement. Don’t rush progression.  Take the time to learn and recognize what ‘right’ feels like.  A heightened awareness makes everything easier in the long run.

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