The Danger of Repetitive Exercise

What it is
One-sided repetitive exercise is an isolated movement of the skeleton, using a very limited number of muscles (to the exclusion of all others), repeated dozens, hundreds, thousands, and ultimately, millions of times over and over again in the hopes of achieving health and fitness. "One-sided" refers to the one-dimensional linear aspect of the movements.


As mentioned above, examples include: running, cycling, and the myriad strength-training machines filling every gym across the country. Each of these activities work only a few muscles, of the many, crossing joints and hinges. Even golf falls into this category; the literal one-sided nature of this activity is obvious. Over time, as a result of always using the body turned and twisted to one side, there are subtle to gross shifts in the structure which make themselves known as neck, shoulder, arm, SI Joint, low, middle, or upper back, hip, etc…pain.

The Danger 
The danger of one-sided repetitive exercise is understood by first conceptualizing what happens to the muscles and the skeleton when you work out. 
All muscles (I'm using muscles generically here when it's really any soft tissue), all muscles cross joints, attaching bone to bone. When a muscle is used under load it becomes stronger. In the course of becoming stronger it contracts and bulks up, becoming shorter and dense. Hence, we can observe the rounded, well-defined muscles of a bodybuilder. Those shortened, bulked-up, dense muscles now pull the 2 (or more) bones they connect closer together. Because there is always more than one muscle crossing any given joint, the joint gets compressed, never symmetrically, always asymmetrically.

It's this asymmetrical compression of the joints and hinges of the skeleton that causes all the ensuing trouble and symptoms of structural aging (distortion). This includes, but isn't limited to: general stiffness and soreness, lack of mobility, diminished performance / it's harder to move, stress/ strains/ tears in the soft tissue, cartilage deterioration, damage to disks, and all other structural injuries.

One-sided repetitive exercise creates tight muscles, but they are only a symptom of the real problem. When the skeleton is pulled out of alignment, out of whack, the quality of movement changes and the options of movement diminishes in kind. The harder one trains, or works out, the faster this process is speeded along; a wonderful example of a vicious circle, or taking one step forward and two steps back.

This phenomenon can be observed in a runner's legs. Running is a one-sided repetitive exercise that over time will twist the legs out of alignment, asymmetrically compressing the feet, ankles, knees, hip joint, and low back for starters. Even with an untrained eye you can look at the legs of any die-hard runner and you will see this obvious distortion at work.

Try this with a runner or cyclist: Place the medial arches of the feet into a hip width (not too wide) and parallel (with each other) position. Bend slowly at the knees, and watch where the knees go. Each knee will point toward the opposite foot. This clearly demonstrates the degree of distortion which will get pronouncedly worse with each step taken, twisting the leg more out of shape and directly affecting and putting strain on the low back and sacroiliac joints. It doesn't stop there, cannot stop there, because you can't pull one part of the structure (or more accurately, the Fascial Web) out of place without disrupting the rest of it.

Try this: Wrap a piece of your shirt around your finger and observe what happens through the rest of the fabric; imagine you could watch the whole shirt under a microscope when you do this. This is happening throughout the entire body, in every direction imaginable, moment to moment, magnified and compounded by all exercise, and especially, repetitive exercises.

We like to believe, to relieve ourselves of any responsibility, that injury incurred, like disease, is something that just happens to us. That we're just fine, cruising along, doing nothing wrong, and then we just get injured, like winning an anti-lottery. We don't "get" an injury any more than we "get" a disease; we create them by concentrated neglect and abuse of our bodies. They are the culminating symptoms bearing witness to the natural laws we blatantly transgressed, either in our ignorance or our naiveté.

When I speak of injury here, I'm not referring to impact injuries, I'm referring to injury stemming from structural distortions causing chronic muscle strains and pulls, and degenerating joints and the tissue around them. These are the constant companions of the athlete who persists in strenuous (usually, but not limited to, repetitive) exercise and who has never realized functional flexibility in his (her) own body. Treating these symptoms with surgery, drugs, or more strengthening (shortening) exercises is a quick fix at best, with questionable results, and will ultimately only compound the original problem.

The missing link in all the activities rampant in our culture is Flexibility. Flexibility is not just the ability of the body to move in strange, rubbery ways. The main reason you want to achieve, and maintain flexibility is because it reverses the distortion to the skeleton caused by over-shortening muscles and decompresses the poor, thrashed joints.

Done properly true flexibility work aligns the distorted skeleton, decompresses asymmetrically compressed joints, and takes the stress and strain out of the soft tissue. It re-hydrates abused cartilage, flushing it out and fluffing it up. It opens blocked pathways of fluid and energy flows. It synchronizes all aspects of your being, allowing healing to take place on every level, effortlessly.

Does this sound like conventional stretching to you? Well, it's not. Some other way of working with the body is called for, something which will do all of the above, and more. That's where Flextasy! the Functional Flexibility System® comes in.