The Weighted Head Bag
This week’s vlog is a little later than usual as I have been in Austin, Texas for Paleo f(x) 2019, and a very busy trip it was!
In today’s video, I’ll show you how to use a weighted bag to promote better posture and movement awareness. It’s a simple technique I developed many years ago when I still had a full head of hair!
You probably don’t know much about the “good old” days when models balanced books on top of their heads to develop a better sense of poise and posture.
When I studied old rehab books from the 30s and 40s, I discovered this technique but refined it for my clients, using a soft divers weight containing five pounds of lead shot. Five pounds is the optimal amount, and no more or less. Believe me, I’ve experimented with this!
This load increases the propioceptive awareness of where your head is at in space. A five-pound weight sitting on your head is just enough to compress the cervical spine, activate the mechanoreceptors and trigger more awareness within your brain even with the slightest movement about where you position your head.
I use this technique with many athletes and people to help them increase their postural awareness while they’re exercising so their brain learns to incorporate optimal structural alignment into movement. (I use this technique with clients working on cervical instability problems too.)
That’s important because the body’s designed to move from a position of optimal orthopedic alignment. If you’re anatomically neutral and in proper alignment, you have the optimum mobility to move in any direction.
However, if you have forward head posture, your body is already committed. For example, try serving a tennis ball with forward head posture. When your head is pointed downward, the movement in your thoracic spine is limited and your shoulder can get locked up because the spine can’t extend properly.
You can be as creative as you want with this weight on your head. I’ve rehabbed injured athletes, and would have them balance this weight doing simple things like climbing stairs, riding skateboards and squatting. And if you lose the bag, that means your head is in a bad position. Believe me, I’d rather have you practicing this technique now than have to come to San Diego and pay me the big bucks to learn it the hard way!
In my vlog, I show you how to balance the weight in more complex ways by lunging on a rocker board or wobble board, swinging clubs and picking up and doing curls with dumbbells.
Make sure that the diving weight is in a neoprene or wet suit bag or something that protects the lead shot from touching your skin, especially when you’re hot and sweaty.
Sometimes, when you’re at a divers shop, you can see the lead shot contained in a net bag. Don’t use this type as you never want to let lead shot touch your skin for fear of lead poisoning.
Next week I aim to be back on the usual Monday schedule for my blog, so I’ll see you then!
Love and chi,