Q+A: Can You Get Injured From Gentle Exercise?

Intu-Flow

QUESTION:

Hey John, I’ve never contacted you before but your website has been instrumental in shifting my training focus from Dragon Door and Kettlebells towards Circular Strength Training with a long-term view to MovNat or Parkour-style movement skills.

Grandiose plans to be sure! A journey with a thousand steps and all that, I decided to concentrate on Intuflow and for the last 3 weeks have been doing the beginner level daily. My problem is that I’ve started picking up some injuries even from that! Lower back and shoulder. Some parts of me, like my wrists and knees, feel great from the practice. Is it normal for some folks to pick up niggles even from simple mobility drills?

It seems that no matter what I do lately it, aggravates some part of me. I shall be going through the video again but I’d appreciate your thoughts given that I know you went through a steep learning curve with mobility stuff yourself.

Thanks, Colin

ANSWER:

First off, I can definitely relate. I’ve been there, and I’ve been frustrated just like you. You’re only in three weeks (which is great!), and that’s enough time to learn quite a bit about your mobility. You’re facing resistance to the changes you’ve made in your training program, and you’re asking for help, which means that you’re committed to seeing this through to success. Keep it up, Colin!

Now, that is a GREAT question because you bring up a very important point concerning the nature of Intu-Flow joint mobility training (or any prehabilitative training, for that matter). Nobody starts a new training program with a blank slate. We all carry a lifetime of tensions, hidden or known pains, weaknesses, stored deficits, and general limitations throughout our bodies. These are issues that are present in the body before you even started your Intu-Flow training, and for most people, this is exactly why they start an Intu-Flow practice in the first place. Prehabilitative training is, in part, a process of cleaning the slate to remove these impediments. In doing so, you directly confront your restrictions on a daily basis, seeking to slowly unwind them through gradual tension release and the recovery of basic ranges of motion.

Using Intu-Flow properly will never create a new injury in your body. If you get injured from Intu-Flow, then you’re not using the program correctly and you should either review the instructions or hire a CST specialist to guide you. What can happen is an Intu-Flow practice may uncover a hidden impediment that you were unaware of until directly confronting it. Perhaps you’ve never moved your shoulders through all 6 degrees of freedom, and once you finally try it, you quickly learn that there’s some pain due to an underlying injury. For instance, some people have no problem moving their scapulae through a full circle (shoulder shrug circles). However, they may struggle to move their humeral shoulder into top/back position without pain. This is a common issue that only becomes known if you actually perform the movements to test your mobility.

What often happens, is someone starts a joint mobility program expecting to make rapid progress and start feeling wonderful now that they’re drinking from the fountain of youth. The reality is that most people immediately discover they are actually debilitated in many ranges of motion. This is some of the best news anyone can receive because you literally shine a spotlight on your weaknesses. It’s humbling and uncomfortable, but it’s also comforting because you now know exactly what you need to be doing. You know that you have some issues in your shoulders and lower back, and you wouldn’t have known that if you had not started directly confronting them through a holistic mobility practice like Intu-Flow. This is exactly why Intu-Flow works top to bottom, core to periphery, while hitting every single joint in every degree of movement freedom.

If you’re new to CST, or programs like Intu-Flow joint mobility and Prasara Yoga – even if you’re new to any form of pre-habilitative training (tai chi, qigong, yoga, etc.) – then it is highly likely that you will discover some underlying problems in your movement – usually immediately. These problems can be movement restrictions, tension, or pain from an injury. It’s not that Intu-Flow CAUSES injuries from practice, but rather that it UNEARTHS injuries that were already there, just not yet known to you.

The realization of your impediments is only the beginning of a successful mobility practice. That’s why the beginner level of Intu-Flow is used specifically for recovery of the basic ranges. Recovery must happen BEFORE any coordination or refinement takes place. This process is a necessary step to further advancement and unlocking your ability to experience flowstate. Welcome the challenge, and know that you’re doing the best thing you possibly can by confronting these issues head-on each and every day.

One last thing… you wrote:

“with a long-term view to MovNat or Parkour-style movement skills. Grandiose plans to be sure! A journey with a thousand steps and all that.”

Let me ask you, why wait to start learning MovNat or Parkour? If that’s what you want, then go get it. You don’t need to accomplish X, Y, and Z before you start a movement practice like MovNat, Parkour, or Kung Fu. You just need to start. Forget about trying to aspire to an unconscious (and nonexistent) standard. You don’t need to attain a certain conditioning level or health status to begin improving your basic movement skills. Set your own standards, and start today. You’re only limited by your level of commitment and diligence. Besides, you’ll never wake up and realize, “ok, now I’m ready for some “real” training.” You don’t need to pay a price to get admission to better movement. You just have to show up. The process of cleaning the slate is never ending, and you’ll never truly have a clean slate to work from. Life is anything but static and controlled. It’s dynamic, random, and chaotic. There is very little order. And so we address this in our training by not letting life get in the way. By striving for improvement even amidst the chaos. Don’t hesitate to pursue what you truly want. Before you know it, it’s too late.

My readers can learn the full beginner level of the Intu-Flow Joint Mobility Program, which is available for free here:

http://physicalliving.com/resources/circular-strength-training/mobility/

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CST, CST-KS, NSCA-CPT
Fitness Professional

P.S. I shouldn’t neglect to add that even gentle exercise programs like Intu-Flow can, in fact, directly cause injuries if used improperly. That’s why CST uses tools such as the Intuitive Training Protocol to help us utilize the program effectively without injuring ourselves.

P.P.S. If you notice a reduction in your symptoms, then I think it’s safe to say that you’re improving your health and recovering from any underlying injuries. However, if the pain does not diminish, or gets even worse, then you should definitely visit your doctor and start working with a good physical therapist to help you heal. Personally, I’ve found that most “niggling” injuries can be worked out through an intuitive practice using Intu-Flow, but chronic injuries almost always merit the attention of a medical expert. And of course, it’s never a bad idea to be overly-safe, and get all issues checked out with your doctor anyways.

7 Responses

  1. Hi John,

    This is a great post. I do have some chronic injuries in my shoulder and wrist. I don’t practice Intu-Flow everyday but I do focus on my shoulder and wrist on a very regular basis… when I drive, when I watch TV, etc.

    I found that it always hurts at first but then, it slowly goes away. I was wondering what is the typical timespan we can expect to see results. I know it’s dependent on the depth/seriousness of the injury, but from your experience, are we talking days, months, years?

    I will keep at it anyway and I am glad you answered this question here as I was wondering the same things myself.

    Thanks,

    Alan

    • Thanks Alan. It really does depend on the seriousness of the injury, and whether or not it can be rehabilitated with simple joint mobility exercises. Some injuries require medical intervention – others don’t.

      It took me four months of daily Intu-Flow practice before I was ready to advance to the intermediate level. Even at that point, I had not worked out all the issues in my structure. I had just exhausted the benefits to be received from the linear progressions in the beginner level, and my body needed some more complexity in the form of circles. Like I said, we never truly clean the slate completely. We will always have something to work on, but I think most people will experience amazing results with 3 months of daily, or near-daily practice. But of course, your experience may vary.

      • Thanks John. This is the answer I was hoping for. I think my injuries can be rehabilitated through exercise because my doctor didn’t mention the word surgery, just physiotherapy. Sadly, my doctor passed away recently, but I am looking for a new doctor. I will follow your advice, it’s best to always check with a doctor and see what they say, which doesn’t mean I have to stop Intu-Flow either.

        Thanks for your input.

  2. John. First off thank you for giving my question so much time and such a well thought out response. I am very pleased you choose to post it as a Q+A and that others have received benefit from it.

    In answer to your question about starting Parkour now – I don’t feel that I am fit for it. By that I mean in terms of injuries and strength. I guess everything is scaleable but in CST with Intuflow, Flowfit and Flowfit Ground Engagement I see a good progressive way to build myself up and bulletproof myself for the riggers of jumping off a wall and going into a roll etc. I know little about Parkour really but from my perspective I do see a lot in common with some of the CST products and philosophies.

    Thank you again

    All the best

    Colin

    • My pleasure, Colin. Forgive me for saying what a coach should… but you don’t need to be David Belle to start practicing parkour. You might not jump rivers or climb skyscrapers when you first begin, but you can work incrementally and do so without injury – just like in CST. And you’re absolutely right that one of the best things you can be doing is working on this injury-prevention stuff to “bulletproof” yourself. Keep up the good work!

    • Hi Colin,

      I also aspire to become a Traceur and like John said, you don’t start jumping off walls from day 1. I suggest that you go on youtube and check out some parkout videos. Don’t focus on the “amazing” demo videos. Go for those that say “training camps” or something along those lines. They also do a lot of progression.

      I recommend that you check out this video, I hope this inspires you to start: http://www.youtube.com/user/parkourgenerations?blend=5&ob=4#p/a/35FA123B94BC1063/0/aa4_ogQ9i0U

      Also, check out this article that describes the relationship between parkout and CST. Like any sport, you have to start with the basics, jumping off rooftops is after months even years of practicing:
      http://www.parkourgenerations.com/articles.php?id_cat=1&idart=18

      Here’s another video you might like:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MT8cYFmtkuo – as you can see, it’s nothing fancy but it’s not only cool, but looks like a lot of fun!

      Enjoy!

      Al

  3. Good links Alan. Parkour Generations are puting out some good stuff for beginners and advanced practitioners alike. Good to see a quality outfit so close to home for once :)

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