I was trying to do a move called “YTW” during a workout on the Nike+ Training App.
Simple enough stuff. Raise your arms upwards to a “Y” shape which looks more like a tuning fork, then into a crucifix position and finally into a slightly camp, surprised/raised jazz hands stance. Repeat for the required amount of reps.
Except that I couldn’t even do the first move properly due to a dodgy left shoulder. Instead of looking like the buff dude on the screen in front of me, I looked like a novice sailor practising semaphore with imaginary flags.
Time heals all wounds…except it doesn’t, it just covers them up and creates complications in later life
It was a Thursday night and I was in a slovenly mood due to tiredness and the cold outside, about to reach for a Cornetto when the healthy voice in my head (who appears to have been on a sabbatical) managed to shout down my worse instincts and got me to do a strength training routine. Normally I avoid these like I skip any form of grown-up responsibility but I was on my own at home so there was little chance of my T-Rex arms showing me up or any number of the general anxieties that make me steer clear of gyms.
Aside from the devastating end of a potential career in a Village People tribute act, everything was going fine until I got to the lateral (side to side) lunges and my right leg refused to pull off one of the principal moves of the 2004 hit, Cha Cha Slide. My dancing aspirations lay in tatters.
Years of playing football in the dizzying lows of Southampton Sunday league or on numerous astroturf pitches with dubious refereeing standards had resulted in a number of injuries to the right ankle and foot which had slowly got more and more stiff until now I have very little mobility at all.
I have what looks like a permanent bruise on the inside of my calf which is noticeably larger and more scar-tissuey than its opposite leg from an…over-enthusiastic tackle while the top of my right foot bears more than a passing resemblance to a raspberry ripple following my kick to the studded-bottom of an opponent’s boot.
All in all, it’s a bit of a mess. It’s a similar story everywhere else on my body. Starting from the top:
- Multiple concussions (I count four in the last five years and probably six overall but it is a bit fuzzy. I was hospitalised for two of them!)
- A broken nose (you should see the state of the other guy’s elbow)
- A hyphema (my eyeball filled up with blood following a ball to the face)
- Chipped teeth following an East London incident
- My left shoulder and shoulder-blade sound like a landslide when they move
- Both knees have been astro-burned so many times they look like the scorched surface of a volcanic planet. (One of my proudest/stupidest moments was doing a knee-slide goal celebration on 3G astroturf…)
- I have strangely bruisable thumbs and a history of turf toe (IT IS A REAL INJURY)
And there are others but you get the picture.
I’m probably not dissimilar to a lot of other people who have done active stuff over the years so combined with working in an office for most of my adult life, I imagine my biomechanics are pretty screwed.
The question is, can I be saved?
To fix my last knee problem (caused by chronic lack of stretching and rolling), it took roughly five physio sessions plus work at home. Some of my long-term issues can’t actually be solved so I’ll take them out of the equation but to “fix” my ankle, shoulders and back, I would imagine that it would take a minimum of 10 sessions on each with an average cost of £50 per session (which also makes the maths a lot easier). So at a minimum, it would cost £1500 to sort out my known issues.
Then as Dick Cheney famously said, “as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
All of which means that my body is probably in even worse shape than I imagine/hope. All the lower body exercise means stiff hamstrings, immovable quads, inflexible hip flexors and zero ankle mobility. It would take an army of chiropractors and massage therapists to reset the “damage” I’ve done. I’ve tried to follow the teachings of Kelly Starrett and his Mobility WOD but find it hard to translate his books and videos to my daily life despite seeing all the bad things I do on a day to day basis (he says sat at a desk typing with hunched shoulders).
What I really need is to walk into a clinic, do a load of tests and for a (preferably professional) person to say, “this is what’s wrong, let me fix it”.
Then presumably a philanthropic billionaire to fund the overhaul. Bruce Wayne, are you listening???