A few weeks back when I was at the Training For Warriors Coaching Certification, Martin Rooney made sure to drill into our heads that the two main reasons for doing a solid warm up are 1) to prevent injuries and 2) to correct and asymmetries.
The first point is pretty straight forward. I don’t care how much you lift or how fast you run, if you workout and end up pulling/breaking/tearing something because you didn’t warm up…you won’t working out anytime soon and therefore won’t progressing.
The second point though, is one I admittedly never paid attention to. We all have asymmetries, but most likely we aren’t aware of them. Noticing that someone else has a limp, or can only raise their arm so far, or anything else is fairly easy. But turning the mirror on yourself and taking a look at your asymmetries is a tad bit harder.
So, like any decent coach, I tested my assessing abilities on myself. The assessment I chose to do was one found in Assess and Correct by Bill Hartman, Eric Cressey, and Mike Robertson. I chose it because it is able to be done by simply taking a few pictures of yourself, which I did, and then looking for any asymmetries.
Now, without buying the full Assess and Correct product, you won’t be able to know every detail about every little thing you see in the pictures. You will, however, be able to pick out the major imbalances and problem areas. If you happen to be a coach, I highly suggest buying this resource. The corrective exercise database is worth the price alone.
Ok, get ready for gratuitous shirtless pictures of myself…
The way I’m setting this up is to post a few compilation pictures and then any notes I feel that are worthy of being pointed out below. If I see this problem a lot in others, I’ll suggest a few corrective exercises. But, so this doesn’t end up turning into me re-typing their product, this part will be kept to a minimum. If you’re able to spot an asymmetry or imbalance on yourself and I don’t offer any commentary on it, just do a google search or email me and we’ll get you pointed in the right direction.
Left – Maybe it’s because my shorts are off-center or I am off-center, but it looks like I’m putting most of my weight on my right leg. I tend to do this when standing for a long period because I usually stand with most of my weight on my left leg. Once I realize this, I tend to over compensate and switch to the right. This is something that can be fixed by just being mindful of how I distribute my weight.
Center – Again, leaning a bit too much on my right leg.
Right – My left arm is able to get more vertical than my right. This can mean there is tightness in my right lat or pec. Either way, already know BOTH my left and right lats are tight from testing my overhead squat. Improving my flexibility around my shoulders and thoracic spine have become a priority in the last few weeks.
Left – This is the first time I’ve noticed this…when just standing there I tend to put most of my weight on the mid/front foot. This is probably why my quads are the most tired after a day of standing. Putting even pressure throughout the foot will let the bones of my lower body support me and hopefully reduce any one group of muscles from having to bear the load.
My head is sitting a little far forward. This can mean a weak upper back, tight pecs, or most likely a combination of them both.
My arms are bent went relaxed. This means either tight biceps (most likely) or weak triceps.
Center – My upper arm is still a bit forward of mid-line. This is making it look more and more like my upper back is weak and chest is tight.
Right – More evidence of a weak upper back and tight chest. While I’m able to get my arms almost straight overhead, the bottom of my rib cage starts to protrude to the front. If there was enough flexibility/strength in my upper torso I’d be able to reach straight over head without my rib cage shifting.
This is telling me the same things as the previous picture. Not going to waste our time re-hashing what I just said.
Left/Right – These show maybe a tad bit of sway in my lower back caused by the balancing, but overall it’s not too bad.
Center – This one shows that my right shoulder is slightly lower than my left. Since this wasn’t showing up in the picture above with my arms relaxed, I’d bet this means my left shoulder/trap is tight. The other reason I’d bet this is because it feels tight when I do overhead movements. With all the driving I’ve done in the past few months, and the fact the I usually drive with my left hand on the wheel and right arm resting on the arm rest, I can’t say that I’m surprised to see this.
There you have it. A simple and effective way to do a static assessment on yourself with nothing more than a self-timed camera or a friend who wants to take pictures of you shirtless!
If you want to learn more about the assessments or learn more on how to correct anything you find, be sure to check out Assess and Correct. If you’re a trainer or a coach, you should have this resource anyways.