Everyone asks me, “What exercise is good for me?”
I know what they want to hear: squatting is good, or pilates is good, or “core” work is good. Everyone wants to know what is “good” or “right”.
My most important message to everyone, which all DAG exercises are based upon, focuses on one simple idea – FORWARD. This is the main characteristic whether I think an exercise is good or not – does it make the muscles that pull you forward stronger?
Back squat? Too forward. Downward dog? Too forward. If an exercise pushes the torso forwards off the hips, it’s training our muscles to become forward. The problem with that? Everything else we do in life is also going to make us go forward.
Life happens out in front of us. We see everything out in front of us, nothing behind us. You can’t make a more black and white statement than the last one. Those with literal eyes in the back of their head should disregard this whole blog. 😂😂
Where we see is where we will grab objects, pick those objects up, put food in our mouths, text our friends, reach out to shake hands with someone, or pick up a crying child – all making the muscles of forward stronger and stronger.
We go to the gym to make us even more strong so we can stay young and capable, BUT we leave more forward.
So what is the big deal with forward? It’s a literal back breaker!
Let’s look at another story of forward: The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. A building should be built in a perpendicular line with gravity or it will collapse. Not “If”, but “When”.
The tower of Pisa will fall. It started tilting while being built in 1173 due to the ground shifting. The builders were either too lazy to start over or really liked a challenge. Not sure what the logic was behind the builder’s thinking, but they kept building their slanted structure by placing the blocks in a way that offset other blocks to face more vertically.
They built a tower trying to account for its slant which made the building more banana shaped rather than vertical! The angle that will cause the tower to collapse is 5.44 degrees of perpendicular with the ground. In 1990, the building should have toppled as another shift in the earth caused the angle of the tower to reach 5.50 degrees of perpendicular.
It took some science and engineering to figure out how to counterweight the tower, dig out some ground, let the tower fall the opposite way a little bit and save the building from toppling. It took a lot of effort, but hard work allowed the tower to settle at its current angle of 3.99 degrees and keep it from collapsing.
Guess what? Even at a 3.99 degree angle the building will still fall in 200 more years. If a structure is not perpendicular with gravity? Then, it is being stressed by gravity. The message?
Straight lines matters.
Why should the human body be any different when it comes to straight lines and being perpendicular with gravity? Why are we so opposed to straight? Why do we think our spines need curvature? I believe it is because that is all we are used to observing rather than imagining what the human body is capable of becoming.
With hard work, I know we have the ability to design ourselves to deal with life’s 5.50 angles! But, every angle in our human body is created by how we train our muscles. We are the architects and builders of our bodies. Do you know enough about your body, or do you follow experts telling you how to take care of yours?
Read this blog about why professionals can complicate things to the point that we are all left more confused about taking care of our bodies. I want to empower people to find “straight”. I want people to stop being in pain needlessly, return to the activities they enjoy, and attain the physique they always wanted. In order for that to happen, we have to rethink what muscles we are working out, and learn how to use muscles I bet you have never felt.
Look at this picture of me using the muscles it takes to create DAG Posture. Can you see the straight line form from my ear to my ankle bone? Look at the picture of the person with “good, balanced” posture. This picture came out of a medical book! A book used by professionals to learn what to look for when assessing you and I. Is the guy on the right straight? Or do we believe he is fine? What angle away from perpendicular with the ground is too much angle for a human being? When will your body topple just like the tower of Pisa? It isn’t a question of “If”, but “When”.
We are trying to build our bodies much like the builder’s of Pisa tried to build their tower. They kept improvising! They weren’t thinking straight enough. When the body improvises, I call it compensation. We are all masters of improvisation and compensation. But we have mastered nothing about building our bodies.
We don’t know what straight feels like. We all know posture is important and good for us. But, what is posture, then? Is it what you see in the picture above? Or do you need to reimagine your body in time and space?