If something is stable, it can accept more than itself. Adding load then, signifies a sureness of support — a confidence in the structure of self. Though often treated as static, the load, structure, and interactive adaption to stress is dynamic. Numeric markers of weight disregard the nuanced interplay of parts, and prescriptions are indifferent to the real-time condition of the system. Load helps us feel what is desirable and what is not, and how to move between the two spaces.
Irritation and discomfort come from being out of alignment, both in position and force dispersion. The instinct to alleviate is to lighten the load, but lightening is lifting, not resting. Lessening the feelings of distress and unease also lessen the referential input to make corrections. Load assists in sensational awareness which guides the organism toward calibrating the optimal place of the piece within the system.
Safety suggests that you are out of harms way. Your current state is fine. Though we can fake or pretend our way toward periodic downshifts in alarm (not using results in less pain), the comfort of pieces never fool the system. It is always monitoring, taking note, making adjustments.
Security affirms that you are protected from future danger. The system has an effective maintenance method. It scans and addresses both the internal and perimeter. Little things are not allowed to become big things; they are looked for and looked after, a finely tuned sensitivity to notice and act accordingly. Safety is no longer a state but a buffered way of being.
Security is based on trust of the system, and that trust is built up over time. Mitigated successes are tallied and compiled to larger truths that become principles. These principles are used to govern your body, spanning territories and jurisdictions, toward the commonwealth of the whole. The more variation you introduce into the system, the more data it has to recognize vulnerabilities and shore up weaknesses accordingly.
It does exactly what is needed, no more, no less. And because we are precise with what we do and how we do it, energy isn’t wasted; it remains available for curiosity and exploration. Constantly monitoring and recognizing, we trust our navigation systems that have consistently pointed us in the right direction. Focused attention is protective, and stable protection is efficient.
The ground is the perfect agent for testing and tinkering because it is a constant. You fully control every variable you place upon it, and the degree in which you wish to examine it. Without threat or surprise in the external, the internal becomes accessible. The consistency of gravity and bodyweight (both in and outside the bubble of exercise) also help you attune to specific lines of tension, torque, and leverage. The ability to notice and act upon details before they become problematic is the maintenance of security. The work of today is preventative, affixing order towards being ‘better off’ tomorrow.
1. Irritated Knee
Irritation suggests something is awry. I give it more attention, not less. I begin to lean into it, gently, and I recognize that a stuck knee cap wants to shift. I let it, cautiously and with care, not threatened by the uptick in weirdness because I know it will pass. Heightened awareness doesn’t mean alarm. The down blip occurs and the new position feels stronger, so I start to remove the assistance. I want to see what it can do here and how the system as a whole reacts:
After getting up, my walk felt like butter. Positive partial then systemic feels confirms I was on the right track.
2. Hip-Knee Complex
A rotational problem has developed. After a decade of circumventing an ACL tear and repair, my CNS wired things to lock down instead of utilize the more natural physics of rotational organization. As such, I lack IR in in my lower leg and ER in my hip. Just practicing rotation on the parts, though, does not integrate the behaviors into the system. It neglects the security component (“what is the point of getting there if I can’t support myself with it?”) that gives it purpose. Adding load by pushing down, to both sections and the whole, utilize rotations to make the entire structure more supportive, from various positions.
Getting up through this left side is typically precarious. After weighing into things for several moments, the brakes let go and the complex can adjust and complete the task with ease.
3. Tight Trap/ Shoulder
A product of adding work to a system that suggested it was ready for it, a tightness developed in my left upper quarter. It couldn’t relax, which meant it was overstressed and not certain it could leave the position it was placed in (find safety) nor be allowed to exist without the hypervigilance of protection (be buffered by security). It was, after all, the specific part called upon to lead the charge (and pick up the slack) in the abnormal increase of pushes and pulls. Tense and anxious pieces are not rational. They base their rigidness on a factual past, not a hopeful or optimistic future.
Maintenance mode kicks in. Again, more care and attention are given. Starting with the easier straight arm load, we cajole and convince that pleasure is ahead. From here we shift to bent arm, adding in more variables. Finally, we place load into the spot itself, assuring the shortest chains they can withstand this greater weight all on their own.
Standing up and readying to leave – positioning myself in my ‘most used’ vertical posture – the relief remained. If it didn’t, I would have more loving investigating to do, in other angles and orientations to gravity. More coordinated inputs direct a desired output.
Force is used to create fear far more than it is to create safety, and yet it’s the routine that creates security. We want stability without stagnation. What is the system for your system (the latter referring to your body, environment, and current functioning capacity) that so welcomes novelty and change it remains ready for it? If your training intention was to simply begin where you last left off, without instructions, would you know where to go and what to do? How safe, secure, and sure would that make you feel?