Saturday, December 10, 2005

Epiphany #1 - Making the connection

You know those times when you're lying in bed on your way to being asleep and your mind is either wandering or working on a problem and suddenly there's this light bulb that goes off in your head? I had one of those moments last night.

I was mentally reviewing some new vocabulary I’d learned this week in my training session. I’ve told my trainer that he must explain the “how” and “why” of everything we do, including what muscle groups we’re working on.

I felt I needed to understand what we’re doing in order to “get it”. So, this week, we learned about the back, the chest, the shoulders and the back of the arms. I was mentally reviewing… “The latissimus dorsi… starts in the lower back and sweeps upwards… The pectoralis major goes across the front and attaches in the upper arm… The deltoids (anterior, posterior and middle) fit like a shoulder pad…”

Then Epiphany #1 happened.

“OH MY GOD! The deltoids! That’s where you make the V!”

When I was learning ballroom and Latin dance a few years back, they talk a lot about two things: “frame” and “connection”.

“Frame” is basically how you hold your upper body. You need to hold it in such a way that it makes it easy for your partner to lead or follow what you’re doing. Both men and women struggle to learn proper frame. “Connection” is based on push/pull principles and it is what you build in order to lead, follow and ultimately share the dance.

When you’re first learning to “have frame” as it is called, women are taught (among other things) to place their left hand on their partner’s upper arm and “find the V” with their thumb and forefinger. From there, you connect the rest of your hand to your partner’s arm and, providing your partner also “has frame”, then that is all you should need to be able to lead and follow.

Not sure what I mean? Try it with your own left hand on your right arm. You should be able to find a “V”. Naturally, some people have a more defined “V” than others, and typically, it’s relatively easy to find on most men, but not always so on women. (Many of us have weaker shoulders!) But nevertheless, I bet you can find your own “V”.

This “V”, as I discovered yesterday, is the deltoid muscle. The “V”-shape is created by the muscle tapering off at the bottom.

Why was this an epiphany? Because it was the first time I’d “made a connection” between what shoulders do in dance and what they do in a gym.

Sounds simple, I know… but some of us are slow!

The major point of wonder here is that I was able to transfer one concept or skill from one physical activity, and apply it to another! Without the "intellectual" connection of learning the muscle groups, I'm not sure I would have been able to figure it out. But they're all connected... these muscles... and physical activities. Imagine that!

By the way, here’s a cool website that is helping me to learn the names of the muscle groups:
http://www.gwc.maricopa.edu/class/bio201/muscle/musc13.htm

2 comments:

Turtle Guy said...

Isn't it neat when the light goes on?! I don't know what was more interesting - the fact that you MADE the connection, or WHAT it was!

Kim said...

Sarah I can tell I'm going to LOVE reading your blog! It is so amazing how completely awesome the male and female physique can look when well toned.

Now you should ask your trainer what the Christmas tree is :o)

You can really only see it on a few very tones men and women that have low bodyfat levels, meaning for men 5% or less and for women 10% or less, of course those are competition ready forms too, not living everyday life forms. But basically its many muscles of the back coming together when they are flexed in a rear lat spread and it truly does look like a Christmas tree.

I can get some very well defined shoulders, arms and back when I cut for a competition, its my legs that will always be my worst area..

Sounds like you have a very good trainer!