Flexibility

PLANTAR FASCIA TENSION RELEASE - BRINGING RELIEF TO THE SUPERFICIAL BACK LINE

PLANTAR FASCIA TENSION RELEASE - BRINGING RELIEF TO THE SUPERFICIAL BACK LINE

Plantarfascia release exercise for bottom of feet. Also helpful to release tension in calves & hamstrings.

ROLLING PATTERNS FOR ROTATION

Rolling is a fundamental movement we all learned how to do during neurodevelopment, it is the second milestone in neurodevelopment after head control.  Rolling combines the use of the upper extremities, core, and lower extremities in a coordinated manner to move from one posture to another. This is done from prone (face down) to supine (face up) and supine to prone. 

Rolling is commonly utilised in neurological rehabilitation but is just as important and effective in any rehabilitation programme, particularly for those who have dysfunction in rotational movements or who play rotational dominant sports.  It can be used as an assessment and it is also the corrective. There are several cues to help improve someone's rolling pattern and also regressions available.

It is a great method to assess for and correct inefficient movements that involve rotation of the trunk and body; weight shifting in the lower body; and coordinated movements of the head, neck, and upper body.

Upper limb rolling begins with the eyes and head moving in the transverse/rotational plane with the body being taken along for the ride - "where the eyes go the body will follow".  Rolling can be done either leading with the upper limb or lower limb, depending on your assessment findings and needs.

JUST MONKEYING AROUND

Hanging is a great way to achieve healthy shoulders, I've noticed a massive improvement in my own shoulder/neck region where I have a history of injury.  Over the past few months I have incorporated a mixture of passive; active and dynamic hanging into my training along with spending a lot more time on the rings working pullups; front & back lever regressions and lat activations.  Not only has my once often rigid neck/shoulder region softened up but my grip strength has become symmetrical and increased in strength.  My grip strength used to be about 36kg on my Right and 32kg on my Left (side of old injury and non-dominant side) and now is an equal 40kg each side.

You don't always have to do endless amounts of traditional external and internal rotator resisted exercises to achieve strong shoulders...in fact, if this is all you are doing you may need to find yourself another practitioner.  Your shoulders need to be ready for life and in life we move in many ways and put our shoulders under all sorts of stresses and loads.  You need to ensure you have optimum mobility and back this up with a good foundation of reactive stability in order to keep your shoulders healthy in the long term.

My training has also included plenty handstand practice (working my line against the wall); Turkish Get Ups - these too have improved massively, 6 months ago 8kg was the max I felt comfortable with on my Left and now I am an equal 14kg for at least 1-2reps comfortably and the Left feels just as strong as the RIght.  Various other cable & kettlebell stabilisation and strength exercises have also formed part of my training.

For a more in depth read about hanging click on this link to Ido Portal's blog on hanging.

Of course, if you have a shoulder injury or have limitations in your shoulders please get assessed first before jumping into anything new.

FROM HIGH HEELS TO FLATS

Don't sacrifice your body for fashion

It is no secret that excessive use of high heels will lead to not only foot and lower leg conditions but it will have a negative impact throughout the whole body. Walking in high heels shifts the natural posture of your spine and creates an increased lumbar lordosis (natural curve in the lower back). It also shifts excess weight into the knees and does not allow your calf muscles to elongate fully back to their natural length, therefore creating a shortened position of the calf muscles over time. Not to mention the changes in the feet from being scrunched and jammed into tiny shoes that are usually quite narrow towards the forefoot.

 Some of the common conditions that develop as a result of wearing high heels too often.

Some of the common conditions that develop as a result of wearing high heels too often.

 Even Victoria Beckham has hung up her high heels in exchange for more natural footwear.

Even Victoria Beckham has hung up her high heels in exchange for more natural footwear.

More and more celebrities and ladies alike are moving towards flat shoes to save their overall health. Read more about it here. Just disregard the part in the article where Doctors suggest a one or two inch heel. This is rubbish and makes no sense!

I personally cannot remember the last time I found it necessary to put a pair of heels on.

Barefoot is how I spend most of my time these days. I am lucky enough to work in my own studio space where myself and all my clients remove their shoes as they walk in. The best footwear you can have is none at all.

If you are looking to wean yourself off the heels and try to return yourself to a more natural state of being then here are a few suggestions to get the ball rolling:

1. Spend more time barefoot

2. Invest in some comfortable flat footwear that will compliment your usual attire

3. Spend time every day rolling out your feet...instructions can be found here 

4. Find confidence in who you are without feeling you need heels to achieve this

5. Date a shorter guy ;-p

If you need help with your posture or suffer from foot or leg pain, whether or not you are a high heel victim, then we can assess you and design a specific programme that you can carry out at home to move you out of pain.

Ditch the heels today!

THE IMPORTANCE OF GOING BAREFOOT

How often do you take your shoes off just to feel the grass between your toes, walk around the house barefoot because you can? My guess is probably not often enough ...

Your feet are incredibly important and were designed to be mobile, otherwise you wouldn't have 26 bones in such a small body part. But feet that sit in shoes all day long (particularly high heels, steel-capped boots or any heavy, high-ankle or thick-soled shoe) are not happy feet. They need to breathe and have the freedom of movement.

Because of the amount of nerve endings found in the feet (more per square centimetre than any other part of the body) , they're your gateway to proprioception (awareness of where your body is in relation to space). So imagine if your feet were stuck in thick-soled, flat shoes all day, not knowing if there was a need to alter your movement due to uneven ground, inclines, declines or changes in temperature. These are all important messages that should be received through your feet, but when they're constricted within shoes, the brain doesn't receive the feedback.

Stiffness in your feet can eventually affect muscles and joints higher up in the kinetic chain, like ankles, knees, hips and spine. Paying attention to and exercising your feet can change pain experiences in other areas of your body...never underestimate the importance of happy, healthy feet! Here are three things you can do to reclaim your feet.

1. Mobilise your feet.

Using a tennis ball, golf ball or a posture pro (as seen in picture), gently apply pressure to the bottom of the foot and roll back and forth along the whole arch, targeting any areas of tenderness. This can be done in sitting or standing. Spend at least one minute working on each foot, if not longer.

2. Get your feet moving.

Though they seem simple, these foot mobility exercises can make a huge difference. Try any of the following:

  • Spread your toes apart, then squeeze them together.
  • Point your toes, then flex.
  • Point your foot up from the ankle, lift it up a few inches and move it side to side, making small circles with your foot one way, and then the other.

If your feet and toes are really stiff and you struggle to connect with them, use your fingers between your toes to help get your feet moving!

3. Take your shoes off.

Spend as much time as you can barefoot. Walking your dog in the park, doing chores around the house, train barefoot in the gym...anything that re-connects your foot with the ground.

Try it! Your feet will thank you. You'll gain more mobility, stability and, if you're someone who suffers from repeated ankle sprains, you'll definitely benefit from a barefoot lifestyle as your ankles are clearly trying to tell you something!

DYNAMIC DEEP SQUAT

Following on from our previous post. Here is an example of how you can improve your deep squat by making it more dynamic (adding movement). Try these movements out for up to 30 seconds per movement. 

~ Rocking forwards and backwards.

~ Rocking side to side.

~Rotating one way and then the other.

Slowly you will feel your joints and muscles loosen up and feel more comfortable in the bottom of the squat.

HOW TO WORK TOWARDS THE DEEP SQUAT

We all could squat at some stage of our lives. Over time, unfortunately, some of us have lost the ability to get down into a relaxing deep squat. Whether this is due to injury; poor movement habits or sedentary lifestyles.

All is not lost though. It is still possible to train your body to be able to squat again. 

There are many benefits to enabling your deep squat!

Improved hip & ankle mobility / Improved lower back flexibility / Improved abdominal stability.

There are also some common reasons why a deep squat may currently be out of reach:

Tight calves / stiff or immobile ankle joints / stiff hip joints / tight hip musculature / stiff, immobile spinal joints / weak, dysfunctional abs.

There are ways to work around these issues to help you gain your squat back!

When you're able to squat effectively, it crosses over into your daily life and helps you to avoid moving in awkward ways which can avoid a number of potential injuries that otherwise may have occurred. 

Practising the deep squat:

 Starting Point Option One With Heel Raise

Starting Point Option One With Heel Raise

 Starting Point Option One Without Heel Raise

Starting Point Option One Without Heel Raise

 Starting Point Option Two

Starting Point Option Two

Option One:

Using a door handle for support and heel raises (door stoppers from Bunnings) if ankle mobility is an issue.

Holding onto the door, slowly lower into a squat to a depth that feels manageable. Hold for up to one minute. Start slow, if a 10 second hold is all you can manage, that's ok.

 

 

As above, but if it is comfortable enough to do without needing a heel raise assist then use this version.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Option Two:

Using a doorway for support and heel raises (door stoppers from Bunnings) if ankle mobility is an issue.

Holding onto the doorway, slowly lower into a squat to a depth that feels manageable. Hold for up to one minute. Start slow, if a 10 second hold is all you can manage, that's ok.

Half deep squat on doorway regression.jpg

Alternative Depth:

If lowering deep into the squat isn't comfortable at first, then start at a depth that is. 

Take your time with this, slowly build up the amount of time you spend in the squat and then work on the depth. If you're using heel raises then aim to try and slowly wean off them (by having your feet further forward on the raise until you no longer need it) as it gets more comfortable. 

Once you have spent time (and it may take a lot of time, even a year or so) on your deep squat and feel comfortable enough to try without any assistance, start working on an unassisted deep squat.

 Last Progression To Full Unassisted Deep Squat

Last Progression To Full Unassisted Deep Squat

This is the final destination of the deep squat journey! This is where you want to try and aim for eventually and then work up time spent in this position.

Once comfortable to do this you can gently rock side to side and forwards and backwards as well as gently twisting either side to try and create more movement through the ankles and hips in this position. Click here for a video demo.

Start your deep squat journey now! I would love to know how you go so feel free to post a pic of where you're at with the squat on our facebook page!

DON'T STOP MOOVING...

Our bodies were designed for movement. The more we don't move, the more we suffer and become sick.

Find ways in your day to encourage movement, whether it be on a small scale or a larger scale.

If you work from home, try and find different positions to work in, don't just sit all day and don't just stand all day.

- Spend a few minutes down on the floor in different positions with a laptop or book raised on a stool.

- Find a way to raise your work up on something that can encourage you to stand for a while whilst you work.

- Spend some of the day sitting on a fitball and moving your pelvis gently forwards and back/side to side/around in circles.

- Spend some time down on one knee in a hip flexor stretch; switch legs after 10minutes then spend some time down on both knees with hips open.

hip flexor stretch work in half kneeling
 

- If you have to make some phone calls during the day why not go for a walk whilst you are making them.

Challenge your body and your brain throughout the day to encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Go for long walks in nature when you have time after work or on the weekends. Breathe in fresh air and appreciate the beauty of the planet we live on. Leave your mobile phone at home and be in the present moment. 

Let's encourage healthy habits for ourselves and our children. Seek movement on a daily basis...

DeskMoovs - Complete Series
2.99

An easy to follow video routine of movements you can do right at your work desk, put together by a Physiotherapist. This 57 minute video will be all you need to help you gain more flexibility throughout your work day. Helping you avoid those aches and pains from sitting all day.

This video covers:

  • Lower Back & Hips
  • Upper Back & Shoulders
  • Neck & Headaches
  • Forearm / Wrist / Hands
  • De-Stress

It is packed with easy to follow instructions and education as well. A sure way to improve your productivity and get you feeling better!

This is a combination of all the DeskMoov videos we have on offer.

 

SPINAL MOBILITY EXERCISE

SPINAL MOBILITY EXERCISE

A great movement to help with hip & spine mobility. At moov personal training we use this movement in our classes and find it extremely popular.