Weekly musings, 11/12: Floor strength
A 72 year old client came in recently. She began working with me when she was in her late fifties. We basically grew together, with her getting stronger as the years went on and me gaining the necessary knowledge to help her meet her goals and move well into her later years.
We were chatting about push-ups, a staple of her home program, when she said, “I really like doing the push-ups, but it’s getting harder and harder to get up and down from the floor.”
Getting up and down from the floor is an action we take for granted when we were are younger. The strength and flexibility needed to interact with the ground is readily available to most of us throughout our thirties and into our forties. However, like with all things, if it isn’t practiced regularly, it becomes more challenging. Frequently what happens is people begin to lose the strength required go from the ground to upright because they don’t use those ranges of motion very often; if you add in constraints, such as not using the hands, a task that was challenging but doable becomes nearly impossible.
The problem for this particular client wasn’t lack of strength or flexibility; she just didn’t know how to do it in an easy way. After cueing her to reach forward as she was standing up from a half kneeling position and watching her fly up, I quickly realized we don’t work on floor transitions and she simply hadn’t given them much thought in the last decade.
We played with a couple of seated rolling variations, discussed hand position, and voila! She was getting up without using her hand on her knee or experiencing any sense of effort. When it isn’t a strength issue, it’s usually an “I don’t fully understand my options” issue. Strength is necessary; so is being able to move easily, without effort. We need both to perform everyday activities well.