Recently, a client’s 15 year old son came in wanting to learn how to deadlift. His basketball coach wants him to begin building strength for varsity this upcoming year. I checked his range of motion, taught him the motion unweighted, and moved into kettlebell deadlifts before working with the bar. He is a quick learner and very coachable. While working with the kettlebell, he shifted his weight to the right. “Do you feel like you are shifting your weight back evenly?” I asked. “Yes.” “Try sitting your right hip back a little bit more. What does that feel like?” “Like I am uneven,” he responded, as I watched him perform a perfect repetition.
This idea we have of ourselves and how we move through space isn’t always the most accurate of pictures. Our bodies are clever, and will take the path of least resistance whenever possible. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but in the case of lifting something heavy, if we always do this favoring one side, it might be problematic down the line. I have been swimming in stress research lately, and one thing experts seem to agree on is the ability to experience a variety of emotional responses is an indicator of one’s ability to effectively handle stress. If you don’t have a spectrum of emotions to move through, and your baseline mood veers towards something less than neutral, this might make life a little more challenging. This isn’t to say one shouldn’t ever feel upset or sad, just like I am not suggesting my client’s son shouldn’t ever lift a little more weighted to the right; however, having an accurate sense of where our center is allows us to make a more informed decision when we move away from it.