Proper Alignment

Right now my squat is in rehab. I’m working to break a tendency to shift my torso alignment when the bar is heavy. In order to do a low bar back squat, the bar must sit just below the spine of the scapulae, and the torso must be oriented in such a way that the chest points down to the ground.  This allows the bar to move in the straightest line possible, making the lift more efficient.  You might hear the cue “chest down” to remind the trainee of proper alignment.  My torso angle is totally fine when the bar is light, but when I’m under a heavy bar, my form has started to get wonky (yes, again).  I start out chest down, and then at the bottom of the squat, often my head pops up and brings my torso along with it, instead of driving up with my hips.  We’ve been working it through, trying to identify and address the factors that cause me to break form.  Bottom line though, is that I needed to deload and fix form, reorient myself properly, and retrain the position and movement pattern so that I can be more effective and efficient with heavy weights.

This is not dissimilar to what happens from time to time in our spiritual life.  Likely we know that we should be oriented in such a way that we keep our eyes on God, but sometimes we get distracted by the demands of life, focused on the wrong things, maybe thinking that we can rely on our own strength to get us through.  Recently at a church youth retreat, one of the speakers, Tiffany Lee Thompson, presented a similar idea to the kids in the metaphor of a cup.  She explained to them that often we spend time and energy looking outward to other people to make us feel good about ourselves, to make us feel worthwhile and complete, to fill us up. This is as foolish as a cup turned sideways, she said; it is an approach that will always leave us empty.  Instead she told the kids to right their cup, to turn it upward and to be open to God, because only God can fill our cup.  Not only will God fill our cup, she said, but He will fill it abundantly; He will cause our cup to overflow so that those around us will also be refreshed by the love of God flowing through us.

So those times when life feels askew, when we feel disoriented or lost, those are times when we need to recheck our alignment.  If we keep ourselves properly positioned, we will find that we are able to move efficiently and effectively, with power and conviction, lifting the heavy weight and doing the work set out before us.

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