Wednesday, March 27, 2013


At the end of his long and arduous journey, Balboa tops the rise and comes upon a vast ocean stretching to the horizon. And he says, "I name you 'Vast Ocean Stretching to the Horizon at the End of My Long and Arduous Journey!"

And his lieutenant shakes his head and says, "Balboa, no, man, you can't be that general, you got to be more specific!"

So Balboa shrugs and says, "Hokay, I name you the Specific Ocean ..."

Which brings us to the local newspaper and a column therein done by a physical therapist. 

You know what this kind of thing is: A reader writes in, "My doctor wants me to strengthen the muscles of my core, but those machines down at the gym, they hurt me when I use 'em!"

Whereupon the columnist offers advice.

In this case, however, the advice is so general as to be pretty much useless for this guy's problems. Or anybody else's. And that's how he starts it out. Well, I don't know your case, so I can't offer specific advice ...

Or, welcome to the Vast Ocean Stretching to the Horizon at the End of My Long and Arduous Journey ...

I understand why the columnist does it this way, but pretty much, it's a waste of space to be there at all. Like you've just been bitten by a rattlesnake and the advice starts out, "Animal bites can be dangerous, you should avoid being bitten if possible ..."

Good advice, but a tad sketchy for what you need to know right fucking now.

This newspaper do-nothing column is a result of the litigious nature of our society. The columnist is worried–rightly so–that if he offers a specific solution, such as say, "Do x-many sets and reps of this, that, or the other." and the questioner does so and hurts himself, he'll sue. 

You can bet the farm on that one.

This is also why doctors are loath to make predictions. They can be positive that you have this or that horrible and fatal disease and you ought not buy any green bananas, but if you ask them how long you have? They will waffle. 

Here's why: What if they say you have six months and you kick off in three? Or you keep chugging along for another ten years? On the one hand, if you are dead you won't care, but your relatives who thought they had until Christmas but who lost you at Halloween might be pissy. Or a couple years down the line when you aren't dead, that's okay in one respect, but it might piss you off because you sold your house and car and spent all the money on a six-month party and now it turns out the doctor was wrong. 

Oh, did I say six months? I meant six decades. Sorry.

So the doctors will waffle, hedge, duck, dodge, and generally scrabble like a world-class wrestler to avoid being pinned down.

If they don't give you any answer, you can't blame them for a wrong answer.

Best exercise for torso and legs, hips, back? Squats. If you had to restrict your iron to one exercise? That would be the one, most weightlifters agree. Except: Sure as Lindsey Lohan is gonna get in even more trouble, somebody out there will have bad knees, a vertebral disk teetering on the edge of a blow-out,  maybe a weak cerebral artery, and doing squats might set them off. They grab the iron bar off the rack, drop into a squat, and can't come back up because something gives out a loud pop! and it hurts like being hit with an ugly stick, and suddenly this half of your body doesn't work. 

So they drag their injured asses to their doctor and he says, What? You were doing squats?  Are you insane? No! You have bad knees/back/blood pressure! What fool told you that?

Why, the one who is calling his lawyer even as we speak, that's which fool it is ...

By which I mean to say, of course, that I am not telling you to do squats, either. Just because it's generally the best exercise for a lot of folks doesn't mean it is for you

So, sure, somebody penning a column that says, don't lift using your back, or you should use good form, and check with your doctor before you start an exercise program is giving you good general advice, but c'mon, that's a Duh! and it's kind of like the warning on the hair dryer's cord that allows you shouldn't use it while taking a bath. Really? Why not? I hardly ever drop it ...

Bottom line: If you want advice specific to your situation, get evaluated by somebody up close and personal who has the wherewith to dispense such advice based on a working knowledge of who you are and what you can and cannot do ...

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