Defined Words: deep muscles, sprinting muscles, proprioceptors, upper cross, psoas, lower cross
Your body is nothing more than a machine of many organ systems working together to keep you alive. I want you to change your perspective and see yourself not as a person or a machine, but as a city of trillions of cells. Each cell does its own specific job so the whole body can work. Most of your bodily processes are contained within specific organs that are covered in membranes. However, the majority of your mass comes from your bones, muscle, fat, and skin.
Your bones, filled with dense calcium, are the deepest part of your body followed by the muscle, then the fat and finally the skin acts as the “city wall.” Your skin wall has the ability to stretch when muscles contract or fat is deposited in the area. Fat is a great source of energy and is therefore stored for later use in a place that isn’t going to impede the movements of the Organism. Since your skin stretches when muscles are contracted, the fat is allocated to be stored on top of the muscles that aren’t contracted very often.
Your muscles are a series of fibrous cells linked together to form long strings. Each string is then bundled and bundled again to work as a team to move the dense bones in a pulling motion. Every movement you make is caused by a pull of a huge number of muscle cells. In order to maximize movement, your muscles are layered. The inner muscles, also called your deep muscles, are responsible for the basic movements of the skeleton. The outer muscles, sometimes called your sprinting muscles, are responsible for quickly lifting parts of the skeleton for twitch-like movement.
You also have specific neurons that innervate your muscles called proprioceptors. These neurons are responsible for body awareness and they are the reason you know where your body is without looking at it. As your neurons learn the usual movements of the Organism, some of the muscle fibers that are contracted often are signaled to remain contracted to be better prepared. This is the reason your muscles get bigger when you work them out and use them in a specific pattern. The muscles that aren’t used much are often forgotten, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be rediscovered.
If you currently live in the first world, you may suffer from the same condition as me: poor posture. Our culture is one that involves long periods of time in a lounging, sitting or standing position without much in between. Children are encouraged to sit at desks and scolded for running around the classroom. A lack of exercise as a child means the deep core muscles are not developed properly.
A weak core doesn’t stop us from continuing to go about our lives. Instead, we learn to use the sprinting muscles of our limbs to walk and carry things. Remember, the muscles that we tend to use most are the ones that remain contracted while the unused muscles become weak and harder to use.
Technologies with screens lead us to constantly look forward, locking our heads in a forward position. We lock the small muscles at the back of our skull while relaxing the muscles of our jaw to allow our tongue to more comfortably sit in our mouths, ready to speak. There’s a reason double chins are so common: fat is deposited over weak jaw muscles. Writing and typing leads us to develop very dexterous fingers but we often lock our shoulders to our neck in order to better manipulate our fingers. This condition is known by chiropractors as upper cross and it is becoming a more prevalent issue.
Upper cross leads us to lean our chests back in order to continue to look forward, since our head is basically pointing downward. To keep our chests in this position, we often use our diaphragm, the main breathing muscle, to support our torso. With the diaphragm holding us up, we relax our deep core muscles.
The psoas, our most essential muscle for leg movement, is part of these forgotten core muscles. The psoas attaches to your lower spine, goes through your hips, and then attaches to the inside of your femur. To put it another way, there is a reason we commonly have fat in our lower back, lower belly and inner thighs: the psoas isn’t being used.
To maintain balance from a weak core, the hips tilt downward and the deep muscles of our upper thighs become locked like our neck and shoulders. This is called lower cross which makes sense because those of us with both conditions feel as though we have two centers of mass. We have the upper portion of our body and then our legs instead of one center in our core with four limbs.
By now, you might be thinking about your posture a lot, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The reason your body looks the way it does is solely because of the muscles that you are over- and under-using. The tight muscles even pull the skeleton out of proper alignment which causes those tight muscles to hold on even more since the skeleton is no longer supporting itself.
Now is the time for some self-diagnosis. You have access to the Internet and more diagrams than you could possibly want.
Explore your body, determine which muscles are tight and which ones are under-used; those are the ones that are likely covered with fat. You have proprioceptors to help you find every muscle in your body, but you likely don’t have access to all of them right now. Sedentary society usually only needs short bursts of movement between seated activities so your sprinting muscles totally take over while your deep muscles relax.
In order to engage your weaker muscles, it’s necessary to relax your locked muscles. Massages, foam rolling and most other types of muscle therapy are nothing more than putting pressure on contracted muscles until they relax. Sometimes this can come with a great amount of pain if many muscle cells are dying. The death of a few muscle cells is trivial compared to the benefits of using all your muscles. When those cells die, new ones will form and contract according to the positions you put yourself in.
You are a human and therefore are the same as every other human, with a different set of experiences. With the exception of a few, we all have identical skeletons and muscles in slightly different sizes. The only difference between you and LeBron James is that he has spent his life solidifying and then automating his proprioceptors to use every one of his muscles. Everyone has a “LeBron James body” in them somewhere, though most likely in a smaller size.
Find the muscles you aren’t using and become familiar with them so you can use all of your body. An organism that uses all its muscles does not have room to store fat between the muscle and skin. Focus on using all your muscles and all your excess fat will melt away. You also just might get taller!