I've always known I relied too much on torque in my movements. It was one of the very first realizations that lead me here, back when I first tried to stop being a toe-walker.
Yet, I had no idea. The idea that I was all Yin, no Yang was always present. I definitely could conceptualize it. I thought I had felt it, too. In fact, I am sure I did feel it. I just never came close to feeling the extent of it.
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How I came by this realization is a worthwhile post in an of itself, and perhaps I'll lay it out in detail some other time. Yet, I must put a bit of it here.
I lost a friend this past week. I won't pretend we were very close, but from our first few discussions over 3 years ago, he was one of a handful of people that could empathize with me. He had it harder than myself, no doubt, but was always positive, very unlike myself.
Anyways, the day after his passing, very depressed, I went out for my bike + swim with the intention of channelling Scorchiebeanie (my friend's internet avatar) and really soaking in every bit of good that I could, the warmth of the sun, the feel of the water, etc.
In this meditative state while swimming, I had some big adjustments, which is nothing new. Only this time, I felt them differently. I felt how I could possibly maintain the position. The best I can describe is that the connected arm could still swim, though not nearly as powerfully, yet much more relaxed. There was a substantial lack of the reliance upon torque.
And while the daydream going on in my head during this meditation was very much centered upon my friend, with a very interesting, even possible, after life possibility included, I am content to say that even if his presence was not with me, helping me get towards the proper position of balance, his friendship was the source of the thoughts which coincided with it.
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To document a bit more, the change made it much clearer in my mind what I have been doing, and I will use examples from the pool to explain.
Take normal flutter kicks using a kick board. Instead of just using my legs, and perhaps a bit of hips, I was maximizing torque with each kick, relying on muscles all the way up my back, and thereby not even really using my legs much.
An aside - this may too explain my near inability to pick up something heavy without using my back, because my back is pretty much all I used. I do wonder if being SO out of balance made it difficult to experience normal issues of hernia concerns, which, presuming I begin to get things back towards balance, I will have to be very aware of in the future.
Another aspect would be my arms in front crawl. I have often preferred using a pull buoy to just swimming, and as I noted in the past, I was very fast this way, too.
Now, I know why. I used too much torque. I leveraged a gigantic S-curve with each arm stroke.
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Ultimately, this explains why I have always hurt so much during swims, runs, and exercise in general, with every move I've ever made, in truth. Not only was my body out of balance, but I put pressure on the extremes of my mobility to leverage myself with each move.
This could also explain why I was able to dunk in high school while standing 5'9". My toe-leaping was a product of excessive torque leverage.
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A big question remaining is the extent to which my hypermobility lead to my relying on torque compared to the possibility that the repetitive nature of a body relying on torque lead to my hypermobility.
I'll inquire with my doctor this week regarding a genetic test for Ehlers-Danlos, but I imagine it will go on deaf ears (as well as my second request for a Disabled parking placard!). The possibility, no matter how slim, remains that my symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos are correlational rather than causational. It could be the childhood injury and subsequent reliance on torque created an out of balance body, and that being "out of balance" to such an extreme causes the symptoms I share with Ehler-Danlos. Their symptoms, too, being the result of being "out of balance," but in their case the root cause is the genetic auto-immune disorder.
Regardless, genetic defect or not, I have little doubt that a new focus on eliminating the reliance upon torque will be a very good thing.
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For starters, just a few days into the approach, I just (well, just when I sat down to start writing this)got home after doing over 3,000m in the pool.
I am usually aching quite a bit after a mere 1,600. Instead, my muscles feel much more pumped from usage and my joints not nearly as sore from twice the work.
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One last note - while in general, I was going slower than usual in the water, there were several moments where my form must have been much improved, such that I was still quite fast in the water, subjectively feeling like I exerted less force.
For my cool down, I even did a pair of very fast flutter kick 25m stints, not a full sprint, but with more force than I ever could before without really hurting my hips. My kicking really has changed completely, making my feet feel much more like fins.
Time will tell, and then, I will, too.