whole body approach to building muscle

Hey Miranda, am I doing this hip-strengthening exercise correctly?

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Recently, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Miranda Esmonde-White, founder of the world renowned Classical Stretch Exercise Program.

It is always a delight to be in the company of someone who radiates so much warmth and energy — but I was also eager to ask her a question: I had been told by my physical therapist that the muscles in my right hip were weaker than my left, and I was using one of Miranda’s exercises to strengthen my right hip.  The movement involved a series of leg lifts, so I showed her what I was doing and asked her if I was performing them correctly.

Her reply was a gentle but firm rebuke: the most effective approach to building any single muscle group is a whole-body approach.

All our muscles are interwoven in a series of elegant chains, all interconnected. Thus, she explained, the strengthening of any particular muscle group should begin with lengthening and strengthening the total body muscular system. In fact, this is what Miranda teaches us to do in each of her 20-minute exercise DVD segments — strengthen and lengthen all the muscle groups.

Only after this whole-body work-out should I go on to focus on my right hip muscle group, if needed.

My response to her pointing out the error of my ways initially was embarrassment — because I immediately recognized my flawed thinking as something I’ve railed against when it comes to bone health!

I’ve always argued that the health of the skeletal system is dependent on the health of the entire body and vice versa.  You cannot successfully nourish and promote the health of one single bone, nor can you expect excellent results if you deal with just one factor that is causing bone loss and don’t address the others.

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