Monday, April 30, 2012

T-Tapp Tips: Arms

From time to time I get emails requesting help with a certain aspect of T-Tapp form. I tend to spend a fair amount of time responding to the email, hit send and then forget about it. I decided that I would begin posting some of the more technical explanations here in the hopes that other T-Tappers may find them and benefit. So here is the first in what may become a series. If it makes no sense but sounds interesting no worries. I'll be posting more about the method and ways that I use it soon.

The email was a request for help connecting with T-Tapp arms when you are a person who enjoys weight training. The form tips I listed will also be beneficial to those who have never lifted a weight.
Because you love upper body strength training it doesn’t surprise me that you struggle with the T-Tapp arm series. The two are very different as you have no doubt realized.

When you lift weights or use bands the work of the movement is generated from overcoming something that is outside your body – the weights or band resistance.

When you perform T-Tapp arms the work of the movement comes from your linear alignment, the isometric contraction of the movement, your resistance of the movement and IMHO, most importantly from your constant extension of either a segment of, or your entire arm away from the midline of your body.

I came to T-Tapp from many years of serious weight training and I can still remember how hard it was to consistently “get” the linear alignment. To get a feel for it you can sit in linear alignment, making certain that your shoulders are right over your hips. Now perform a chest press movement. Lift your shoulders out to the sides with elbows bent at right angles. Then close them together in the front being certain that they stay shoulder height – they will want to drop below shoulder height because that’s common in weight training. Next, keeping those elbows high and bent at a right angles open your bent arms as far side as possible keeping your shoulders right over your hips. Glance side to side and if your elbows are behind your shoulders move them forward until they are directly in line with your shoulders.

If they are not able to open far enough to be in line with your shoulders, welcome to the weight lifter lovers club. My flexibility was impaired when I first started T-Tapping. I’ve since pretty much reclaimed what I had lost. You have to limit your range of motion to prevent injury when you lift heavy – or even moderate weights for that matter. This means limited ROM for most of us over time.

Once you have your bent arms in line or as close to in line with your shoulders as possible (elbows and shoulders in a straight line) pull the ends of your elbows away from your midline as if you were trying to pull your shoulders right off your body. This is an example of an extension away from the midline. It turns on more muscles.

To work to feel it in a different way try this. First simply put your arms out to the sides at shoulder height. You feel muscles working. Now keep them there but reach away from the midline as hard as you can. You should feel a lot more muscles turn on.

Now for your answer about the moves where you look down. Your lats won’t feel the same as they do in the upright movements but that doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. Try this to feel the difference; first stand in TT stance and roll forward in prep for the arms. Now purposely relax your back muscles and feel how much less supported the movement is. Now set up again and this time really hold the tuck. I don’t mean squeeze your glutes as much as I mean to pull your tailbone down and under, nail it there. Next think of widening your middle to upper back to allow you to pull your elbows out and forward away from your midline. Next remember to full extend away every time you straighten your arms to the sides of your body to turn on as much muscle as possible. Slow down the movement if you need to. Finally when you extend your arms downward don’t just extend them downward. Pull down but as you pull down resist allowing that tug to alter your torso form.

If none of those tips helps you connect with T-Tapp arms I’d consider it a work in progress and not worry about it for now. If you like the other aspects of T-Tapp I certainly wouldn’t give it up simply because you haven’t clicked with the arm series yet. We all have our T-Tapp buggaboos that we struggle with. Mine is lunges. I never have liked them but I consider it a small part of the workout and grin and bear it. LOL


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pure Bliss! Experience it at home or with your next massage

Life has been really busy lately. I can deal with busy days, weeks and months as long as I get my sleep.

Swiss Just to the rescue! The following home spa treatment is great when I have a touch of a cold or my spring allergies are acting up but recently I discovered it's great to help me drift off into the most restful deep sleep.
Thyme Bath Essence
When I’m feeling especially tired I first take a hot aromatherapy shower using Swiss Just Thyme Bath Essence and Eucasol Spray. I close the drain to the tub, and get the shower going. I drop a few drops of the bath essence into the water on the floor of the shower and then right before I step into the shower I spray a spray or two of Eucasol spray high into the air in the shower. I step in and breath deeply. The Thyme essence will scent the air even while you are soaking your feet with the benefits of thyme. 

Eucasol Spray

After I towel off (keeping the room warm with a space heater if it's chilly) I apply a small amount of thyme cream to the sole of each foot and cover my feet with warm socks and don my favorite night gown.

Then I apply a small amount of Thyme cream and a drop of 31 Oil to my chest area. Top it off with a spray of Eucasol and climb into bed.

One of those microwaveable neck bags filled with rice makes it all that much better. I drift off to sleep as the wonderful scents waft around me.

Swiss Just makes a "Good Breathing" travel set that contains generous travel sizes of all the products I mentioned except the bath essence. My husband and I have been using it all winter and have barely put a dent in it or the bath essence I purchased separately.

31 Oil
I've been thinking about why this treatment feels so good when I'm exhausted and overworked. I've come to this conclusion. It's really common for us to restrain or even hold our breath when we're feeling stressed. The Swiss Just Good Breathing products relax tensions that build up in the chest. The wonderful aromas encourage deep breathing. Seriously, you just want to suck up that wonderful smell. When you deepen your breathing your parasympathetic nervous (rest and relax) system kicks in. That stops stress in its tracks and you are able to get the rest you so seriously need.

I would love to have you experience the profound sense of relaxation that thyme cream, 31 oil and Eucasol Spray produce as part of your next massage. I also stock a variety of Swiss Just products for your use as part of your home wellness self care plan.