Tuesday, September 16, 2014

bio-mechanics at the ...gym?

I work at a higher ed institution, and typically hit up their gym after work a few nights a week to shake off the stress and ennui of sitting for 8 hours straight. 

In doing so, I mostly just try to ignore the ~18 year old gazelles loping easily along on the treadmills next to me. You know. I just gotta do my own thing. 

But the other night I noticed something about all the rest of them: all their ponytails were swinging side to side in easy rhythm with their footfalls. A quick check of my own reflection showed that my ponytail bounced more up-and-down, and kinda stilted. 


My bio-mechanics trainer (whom I sadly haven't seen in months!!!) says that when a horse is truly working from his hind end through his back, it feels like a wave of energy with every step - moving from hind hoof all the way through to his nose. 

Hawley Bennett-Awad and Gin & Juice @ WEG from Eventing Nation

But if the horse is tense or locked somewhere, that wave is interrupted. 

So I wondered - could the same thing be happening to me? Am I tense or locked somewhere in such a way that the energy and 'swing' from my steps can't make it all the way to my skull?

I tried to feel inside my chest, shoulders, lower back, neck etc looking for areas of stiffness (also a great distraction from the evils of actually being on a treadmill, fyi) - and tried to see what changes made my ponytail 'swing.'

Turns out - I isolated my chin (the base of my skull really, but it was easier to think chin). I tend to tuck my chin down - and constantly get dinged for it in my rides.

"Emma, lengthen your neck!" 

"Emma, look UP!! Gee I'd hate to drive with you!"

Etc etc

But it turns out, when I actually lifted my chin (and consequently softened the base of my skull) - BOOM: ponytail swings softly with my footfalls. 

I knew that looking up was an important element of steering, but I guess I always thought it had to do with weight distribution? So now I'm thinking if I can remove the stiffness and 'locks' in my own body, it'll be easier to help Isabel do the same??

In any case, from now on - Emma, chin UP!!

{fyi this post was accidentally published a little while back - so it might have already shown up in RSS feeds - sorry if this is a repeat for you!}


  1. I actually overcompensate and stick my chin WAY too far out sometimes. So I get yelled at to the opposite and tuck it in a bit. Where's the middle ground eh?

    1. i dont think the middle ground exists lol - at least not for me. i *always* just waiver between extremes...

  2. Fascinating, shall have to see of i can have a similarly enlightening eureka moment to help improve

    1. i kinda love 'eureka' moments... but getting the moments to last is the hard part lol. i *still* look down wayyyyy too much (and probably always will, to a certain degree)


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