Posts Tagged ‘neck’

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Shed Building

October 17, 2021

A good mate of mine and I make a good team when it comes to shed building. I’m the architect, the project manager, the chief engineer and the skilled craftsman and he’s the dog’s body manhandling the timber, hammering the nails in and doing all I can’t reach, under close supervision. It was his log shed so he’s also been the bank balance and the one who buys the drinks in the pub afterwards. Considering how much I love a good project it’s been a fair deal, although a big job and a lot of work!

The biggest log shed I’ve ever seen!

He wasn’t confident to do a straight saw cut so all the sawing fell to me. As a paraplegic most people think I must have good upper body strength, after all I spend a great deal of time pushing a wheelchair. This, however, is far from the truth. Good upper body strength requires good foundation, all that is badly damaged in the paraplegic. Without good foundation, well balanced function of the arms is impossible despite use of the muscles and the ability to build up muscular bulk. Wheelchair racers are a good example here. They build up enormous muscular bulk and on the surface look extremely strong. Look deeper, though, and another picture emerges. In order to effectively use their muscular power they have to crush themselves into a wheelchair to provide sufficient stability for the use the arms, as there is no true foundation for their function. Ask them to sit upright and saw a piece of wood and they would struggle. Good all round strength in the arms requires good inner capacity; volume to the chest, a broad shoulder girdle and just as importantly, strong foundation in the head and neck.

In a true paraplegic the inner capacity has collapsed leaving no foundation for the legs and only weak foundation for the arms. Interestingly, some wheelchair sportsmen these days are not true paraplegics and have managed to retain intrinsic capacity despite the spinal injury. This begs the question as to why they haven’t managed to walk again and the answer probably lies in the fact that doctors and physiotherapists don’t tend to recognise the inner capacity and from personal observation tend to steer everyone in a spinal unit towards wheelchair use despite the fact, that in one or two, the potential exists to walk out of hospital. If that potential isn’t developed then they will remain wheelchair users.

With all the sawing I have done building this woodshed I have been so impressed with how significantly I have developed the foundation in my body, particularly in the neck. Volume to the chest and broadness to the shoulder girdle are important, but a strong neck is the real foundation for the shoulder girdle and so for the use of the arms. My neck has really developed lately with an increased solidness to it and my head sat high above my chest. There is still work to do to fully draw the shoulder blades out of the body, and rebuild volume to the back, and so the foundation in the neck was really tested by all the sawing. I had to be careful and am certainly not strong enough yet to do a full weeks work; two days in a row and I needed a days rest. Impressive it is nonetheless and after twenty years, and many thousands of hours of work, the trunk is really coming to fruition and the upper body side of things, at least, is close to finalisation. That’s exciting!