Serena Williams: A case study in deep core injuries

Serena Williams is an American professional tennis star who has won 23 women’s grand slams, and is considered the best women’s player ever in singles, and in doubles with her sister Venus. Venus Williams is older by 15 months, and won 7 grand slams in singles, along with 14 doubles titles with sister Serena.

Venus Williams is now 39, and is no longer a factor to win. Serena Williams has vowed to catch Margaret Court who won 24 grand slams from 1960-1973. The asterisk there is that tennis only let amateurs compete until 1968, when the “open era” was inaugurated, finally letting professionals compete too.

This is somewhat comparable to Jackie Robinson coming onto MLB in 1947. Since then in baseball, and 1968 in tennis, all the best players are competing together, which means the numbers are more legitimate. That’s why few really believe Margaret Court is better than Serena Williams, despite having one more major to her credit. Of course, it’s not Court’s fault, those were the conditions the game was played under back then. Margaret Court was a dominant player, for sure.

But as far as winning a 24th major goes, Serena Williams is much too heavy to win one anymore, and that is the point of this case study. Since the birth of her daughter in September of 2017, which apparently was life-threatening, Serena Williams has never fully recovered from her injuries caused by that delivery.

Any look at before & after pictures (& video) on the court prove this beyond a doubt. She’s 10-15 pounds heavier now. She’s lost muscle and replaced it with fat.

Below are two images of Serena Williams. The first is her in 2017 at the Australian Open, which she won while being pregnant. It’s incredible to realize that a woman can win a tennis major in that condition, but looking at this image anyone can see why. Serena Williams was ripped and in peak shape. There is no fat on that frame, and she had all the experience in the world.

The second image below is Serena Williams this past week in Melbourne. You can clearly see the chiseled definition is now gone– from her core to her extremities. It’s really apparent in the video of her defeat. This is a decaying athlete, in denial.

I’ve discussed the importance of dealing with deep core injuries as THE most important factor in slowing down the aging process, along with dealing with pain & disabilities. If you don’t recognize (diagnose) and treat (rehabilitate) these deep injuries, then your life will literally spiral downwards.

Not dealing with deep core injuries causes the lower back (lumbar vertebrae) to collapse upon itself, making you shorter & fatter. This collapse of the lower spine immobilizes your midsection– glutes, groin, hips & abs. If you have nothing here, due to years of atrophy & neglect, then you have nothing in competitive sports. That’s why it sucks to get old.

When I see the clips of recent Serena Williams performances, I notice she’s lost all her quickness, consistency & sustain. When I review the numbers– serve dominance, winners & unforced errors– my judgment is confirmed.

What’s worse from a maturity standpoint is that Serena Williams still doesn’t give her opponents enough credit for beating a 23-time grand slam champion. Fans understand how much she wants to win just one more, but since she’s going about it all wrong, many of us can’t take her seriously. Someday she needs to recognize this.

ESPN and the fake media keep hyping Serena Williams as a tournament favorite, when she’s clearly not up to her competition anymore. The only reason she’s made so many finals in majors during her “comeback” is due to rigged seeding, which ensured her the easiest possible path to any finals.

The real competition has been in the other halves of the draw, where the best players fight for the right to wipe out Serena Williams in a major finals, where she hasn’t even won a set in four matches during this comeback. This has happened twice at both Wimbledon & the US Open so far.

But now Serena Williams is age 38, and is being defeated by the wave of NextGen players, which means she’s done dominating the WTA. The only way Serena Williams can regain her form in tennis, is to regain her form in body. She would need to take time off and dedicate herself completely to healing deep core injuries, before returning to professional competition, which she has proven unwilling to do.

If she had taken the time after childbirth to dedicate herself to this necessary work, she would be in much better shape today, with a much sharper game. She would have had a much better chance of winning another major if she had done this. The bigger point is that my way is the correct way to recover & maintain in old age– athletically speaking.

These lessons apply to all of us, because we are all getting older. Professional sports provide a lot of entertainment value, but going even further, they provide us with life lessons. When I see yet another world-class athlete succumb to injuries that pile up with age, I wonder if there are more graceful ways to evolve.

All the glory an athlete earns in their career is for themselves. They sacrificed, trained, and dedicated their lives to it. The same goes for the money. What’s left for the fans are the memories, inspiration & lessons they leave for us. The truth is that we ALL consider ourselves athletes, in some sense. It’s a healthy instinct, and we can apply science & real-life examples to our experience in order to make ourselves more athletic.

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Releasing the Pain

As first discussed in “Undiagnosed Hip Injuries & Stubborn Fat,” there are two types of fat which are of concern. The first is visceral fat, which surrounds the internal organs. When you see someone with a huge gut (50+ lbs. overweight), that’s mostly visceral fat. [1]

The second type is subcutaneous fat, which is the ‘stubborn fat.’  This stays, even through dieting & regular exercise, and becomes more difficult to remove after the human athletic peak ~ age 27.

Almost every Americans today has a stubborn fat problem— due to hip & back injuries. Most chose to ignore their pain by limiting their mobility, as canes, walking sticks, back braces and electric wheelchairs are now all-too-common crutches among the crowd.  Youth with back injuries, are often reluctant to participate in strenuous physical activity. These people, young & old, all share a common suffering which they don’t understand, causing their lives to be filled with unnecessary pain.

Stubborn fat is a protective mechanism. When a severe deep muscle injury occurs, a layer of fat is deposited to protect that area from further injury. If the injury isn’t properly diagnosed, treated and rehabilitated; then the injured muscle will atrophy over time, leaving only skin & stubborn fat for protection. This is a biological reflex mechanism, to ensure the internal organs always have an adequate layer of protection. What it isn’t, is healthy healing.

The problem with stubborn fat is that it’s not healthy. It slows the individual down, as “dead weight.” It leads to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and a host of other unhealthy diseases & conditions. Plus it looks ugly, because it is.

So what is fat really? It’s stored energy from over-consumption of food & drink. In the injury-affected area, stubborn fat surrounds thin bands of atrophied muscle & their nerve fibers. The idea is to activate these “dead zones,” to stimulate muscle activity & growth. This will immediately use up the surrounding stubborn fat, and make the area stronger with muscle.

The pooch gut, love handles & back fat are all symptoms of an injury in the lumbar-sacral region. When these vertebrae are injured, the individual loses mobility in their waist, hips, & back. Their butt starts to sag, and incontinence/constipation issues can arise, as sacral nerves downstream are cut off due to the injury directly superior. Remember all voluntary impulses emanating from the spine, start from the brain. The only way to lose the flabby butt, is to heal the back completely, so energy (nerve stimulus) can flow from C-1 through S-5 (and the coccyx), with no glitches.

As much as 80% of the US adult population is likely suffering from an undiagnosed apophyseal avulsion fracture, or some similar type of injury. The apophysis is the projection on the spine that links the brain & central nervous system to every skeletal muscle. Every woman who gives birth, whatever method they decide, suffers deep tearing of her hip, groin & back muscles. If those muscles aren’t rehabilitated, that woman will never regain her youthful figure.

Those individuals that have suffered apophyseal avulsion fractures, should be able to recall a specific event that triggered the pain. It was a traumatic injury somewhere, often during sports activity. In adolescents & teenagers, these injuries occur frequently and are seemingly ‘minor tweaks,’ so they often remain undiagnosed. The young injury victim may recover (some), but they will never be the same. Their explosiveness & quickness erodes due to deep groin & back injuries, which limit certain directional movements. Over time (years/decades), these injuries become disabling for those who don’t deal with them directly.

As an untreated condition, the pain is most severe during activity, and improves with rest. Tenderness can be observed by palpation, and the athlete may actively guard against contraction of the musculature attached to the injured apophysis. Passive stretch of these muscles will reproduce the pain. Into adulthood, a limp often presents itself, and there is a noticeable atrophy in the muscle group attached to the avulsed apophysis, compared to the contralateral side.

The lower back, where the legs meet the torso is an evolutionary weak point, a relic of our common quadrupedal ancestry. In the injury-recovery process, it is helpful to imagine the anterior torso wrapping in-between & under the legs. The trunk & legs fuse in the butt. Sending flexion in that direction, under control, is the key to recovery.

This is accomplished through repetitive waves of focused & painful exertion. Many people can’t even visualize what’s being described here, because they are so dead (atrophied) from their belly button to their thighs– anteriorly, and their lower back to the butt– posteriorly. Atrophied abdominal regions in old age are full of fat, infection, tumors, and other nasty surprises. The nerves can barely sense what’s going on here, and not-coincidentally that’s where the cancer starts. That’s why fat is a killer, medically speaking.

Once the injury victim fixes all the torn muscles in their back & hips– the abdominals & buttocks will be tight. With a properly maintained diet, all the stubborn fat will melt away– and stay gone. This is the best weight-loss program, as it’s based on science. I have recommended marijuana for the pain, and will continue to do so, as the rehabilitating patient needs something to deal with this intense pain-releasing process. It’s the most organic choice, and easiest to cease when finished. Use only the good stuff, by whatever delivery method you prefer.

You must maintain a caloric deficit to lose weight. Eat a sensible whole food diet, high in fresh vegetables (juicing) and lean protein. Going vegan gets you there quicker. Most of the metabolic fat should come from visceral & stubborn fat burn-off. Carbohydrates should be mostly organic, and as needed for energy boost & craving relief. This is a healthy diet. Simply adjust the portions until all the extra fat is lost, and then find a new “normal” that is actually healthy.

Pain is stored energy, and the proper method is to release it while immediately putting it to good use. Tai Chi & yoga principles are helpful in rehabilitation of hip & back injuries. This means creating energy with small inward & outward spiraling movements, then flowing it through the body to release pent-up pain. This will create ‘popping’ sensations all along the nerve/muscle chains, activating atrophied muscle all down the line.

Energy will ‘pop’ at the downstream insertion and often flow to the next insertion point for more popping. This quickly activates long-line muscle tissue, which will stabilize & strengthen the body. The hips & back are the most critical area, as they are devastated by atrophy.  It is wise to apply engineering principles to muscular-skeletal development, by creating triangles of muscle bands. Triangles are strong, and allow a framework to  be ‘filled in,’ similar to a road worker grading in a pothole with asphalt. Once a band of muscle has been lashed together triangularly, that area can be flexed. Muscle groups can be quickly rebuilt in this manner, with maximum efficiency & minimum pain. This especially helps with superficial sheathe muscles that have been herniated.

A couch, mattress & beanbag can be useful tools, as an injured back needs stabilization & flexible support. This bracing is needed to go after deeper injuries. Nothing really heals until the deepest injury is resolved. Use your imagination to flex your hips & back into every uncomfortable position imaginable. This needs to be done over & over, for weeks, months, even years in some cases– to fully recover and release all the pain. The best method is to slowly build the muscles using isometrics, then work standing up– using a kettlebell. “Handcuff yourself,” with the kettlebell held by both hands behind your back, letting it hang. This helps hip stabilizers, legs, butt, abdominals & grip strength, while not exhausting you with too much cardio. Keep going back & forth, using all the ideas (and whatever else you can imagine), until the injury is resolved.

Do this rehabilitation at climate. That means no A/C or heat. Make your body one with nature, and it will be better. If you have 15 pounds (typical) of stubborn fat to lose, you will add ~ 3 pounds of muscle, for a net weight-loss of ~12 pounds. Muscle is heavier than fat, but takes up much less volume.

Since all movements start with the hip & back, the flash-release of the stored pain energy will reveal other injuries downstream. The injury victim will soon realize that most of these tweaks were caused by the original hip/back issue. A breakdown of the central hub (hips & back), causes later breakdowns all along the kinetic chain.

Further benefits of fixing your spine will be: improved hearing, clearer eyesight, deeper sleep, healthier skin/hair, better coordination, more energy, and sharper mental awareness. How could it be otherwise?  These back injuries also affect the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the function of all the internal organs.

Also note, this is probably the definitive cure for hiccups, which I postulate is caused by the disruption of nerve impulses through the spine in the region of the diaphragm. This creates that irregular & uncontrolled waves of spasms known as the hiccups. As an individual case study, I have suffered them much less frequently as my rehabilitation has progressed, and haven’t had an episode in a LONG time.

All book images taken from Gray’s Anatomy– 22nd edition, edited by Warren H. Lewis

In conclusion, I rank this thesis on hip & back injuries affecting stubborn fat loss, to be among my greatest professional & artistic achievements. It is a human triumph to synthesize the process of pain release & rehabilitation for the world, using valid science to form a concrete & rational program that people can apply for themselves.

Pain is a very real & complicated phenomenon. There is a physical component to pain, which is the body telling the brain there is an injury that needs attention. There is also an emotional component of pain, which runs both ways. This allows some people to ignore pain & press on, while others are hypersensitive to pain. In dealing with deep spinal & hip injuries, there are significant levels of both mechanisms going on simultaneously. It is by learning the anatomy & science underneath, that allows the individual to endure & master the emotional elements of pain. I have chosen neurology as the scientific basis in this discussion, because all muscles are connected by nerves.

Deep groin injuries, limit sexual prowess– a primal instinct. These untreated injuries are a source of sexual frustration, jealously & anger for too many. Luckily one of the best ways to rehabilitate the hips is to have straight sex. It turns out that a man’s & woman’s body were meant for each other. There are many delusional fanatics in morality & identity politics that would argue otherwise [!], but that doesn’t change the fact that sex is healthy– provided it is consensual & safe. My take-home message is for more people to boink, simply for the enjoyment & healthy results!

There’s obviously ego & emotions with all this. The best way to motivate people is by building a program which corresponds to their material interests and emotional needs. Fact: every adult wants better sex, and more of it. Everyone also wants to be without pain, as much as possible. The relevance of these discoveries discussed above is that anyone can apply this knowledge, and begin to achieve immediate (and lasting) pain-relieving results. While there has been never been a shortage of people willing to do the work to achieve their personal fitness & pain-relief goals, there has never been a worked-out method with corresponding scientific validity that anyone can safely apply– until now.

Previous writings in this series:

The Ambidextrous Athlete

Hip & Back Rehabilitation Protocol

Hard Lessons from the Other Side

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