stability

WHY YOU'RE EXPERIENCING SHOULDER PAIN & HOW TO IMPROVE IT

In order for your shoulder to function optimally, you need good thoracic (upper back) mobility. Too many people have poor upper thoracic mobility — tightness in the area between your shoulder blades — due to spending many hours at the computer, poor posture, not being active enough, etc. This can lead to problems in shoulder joints, rotator cuff issues and bursitis

We all need good extension through our upper backs in order to complete overhead movements without compromising shoulder joints. In order to improve your upper back mobility, here are a few exercises that can be done at home on a daily basis.

Foam Roller Extension

This will help improve your thoracic mobility into extension. If you're fortunate enough to have a foam roller at home or access to one in the gym, try this...

Sit comfortably with knees bent and bottom on the floor. Place foam roller below shoulder blades, hands behind head.

Keeping your bottom in contact with the floor, slowly breathe out and let your back gently extend over the foam roller. Hold for a count of 3-5 seconds and slowly rise back up to start position.

Repeat this twice and then gently roll the foam roller an inch further up the spine, repeating the extension movement twice. Keep inching the roller up the spine until you've reached the top of your shoulder blades.

Side Lying Thoracic Opener

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This will help improve your thoracic mobility into rotation...

Lie on your side with your head supported and bend your knee to 90 degrees before resting it on a foam roller or firm pillow (this protects your lower back). Keep arms outstretched and hands stacked on top of each other.

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Start to raise the top hand up and slowly bring it over to the other side of your body, letting your eyes follow that hand all the way, until you can't go further. Make sure your knee stays in contact with the foam roller/pillow and your resting shoulder in contact with the mat, otherwise you've gone too far.

Ensure you can still breathe comfortably and hold for 3-4 breaths, return hand to start position and repeat. Do this 10 times on each side. You'll find that by the last few reps, you'll be able to reach further than the start.

Thoracic Rotation

Only attempt this if you have relatively good shoulder and core strength. This is a good follow on exercise for pain free shoulders that require strength building.

In a standard plank position, make sure your hands are inline with shoulders. Spine (including neck) should be neutral and bum tucked under to engage the glutes, feet just wider than shoulder width apart.

Gently push one hand into the floor, keeping the body aligned and raise the other hand off to rotate around and reach up to the ceiling. Shoulders should be stacked (wrist, shoulder, opposite shoulder and opposite wrist all in one line) and no sagging at the hips.

Your eyes should follow the moving hand at all times. Return to start position and rotate with the opposite arm. Repeat 5-10 times on each side.

Give these a try and let me know how you go!...

CORE EXERCISE #4: CRAWLING

4th and final core exercise in our top 4...

CRAWLING:
If you are a client of mine you probably just felt a shudder down your spine...the beloved crawling pattern. You either love it or you hate it!


I personally love it as it is an awesome drill for:

  • cross-patterning
  • co-ordination
  • core stability
  • core function
  • connecting left & right brain
  • getting back to basics
  • having fun
  • mental stimulation

It also follows on nicely from the previous mentioned BIRD DOG drill, the crawling precursor.

The video demonstrates the basic crawling pattern, there are many other versions of crawling. It is a challenge to fight gravity and this is required of us on a daily basis, so why not try this cheeky little drill yourself and see what you think...feel free to comment below and share your thoughts or experiences.

THE POSTERIOR OBLIQUE SLING...CONTROLLING ROTATIONAL FORCES

THE POSTERIOR OBLIQUE SLING...CONTROLLING ROTATIONAL FORCES

The Posterior Oblique Sling...why it is a vital functional fascial line for daily life, not to mention most sports.

THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU BELT UP!

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More often than not I see loads of guys and girls donning the weight belt during lifting sessions, regardless of whether it is a heavy strength session or a metcon that is being carried out.  

When did the weight belt trend begin and what knowledge have we gained since then?  

Do you even know WHY you are wearing a belt if you are someone who puts one on habitually before each session?  

I have tried to breakdown an article by Paul Chek on the subject to highlight the most important points made.  I strongly advise anyone with an interest in prolonging their low back health or anyone currently using weight belts regularly to read the full article here.

Weight belts have been known to be used as far back as the early 1900's, with no clear reasoning behind the reason for their use.  It may have been in line with medical trends back then to use corsets as a treatment for scoliosis and back pain?

These days there has been much research into the area of lower back stabilisation and low back pain resulting in a much more in depth understanding of the stabilising system of the spine.

Cue The Inner Unit & The Outer Unit…

The Inner Unit consists of A)  Transversus Abdominis  (TVA) & posterior fibres of Obliquus Internus, B) Diaphragm, C) Deep Multifidus, D)  Pelvic Floor Musculature.

The Inner Unit consists of A)  Transversus Abdominis  (TVA) & posterior fibres of Obliquus Internus, B) Diaphragm, C) Deep Multifidus, D)  Pelvic Floor Musculature.

These muscles play a vital role in lower back stabilisation!  A study carried out in 1999 concluded that in people without back pain, the TVA fired 30 milliseconds (ms) prior to shoulder movements and 110 ms prior to leg movements.  During each variation of movements performed within the study there was still synergistic (muscles working together to perform a movement) recruitment of all inner unit muscles.  It was noted that regardless of movement plane or pattern of the subjects, the TVA muscle appeared relatively consistent in its activation pattern.  Researchers propose that the nondirectional, specific activation of the TVA relates to the dominant role played in providing spinal stiffness.

 "The TVA, in concert with other inner unit muscles (Figure 1), activates to increase stiffness of spinal joints and the sacroiliac joints (6,7,15). Activation of the inner unit provides the necessary stiffness to give the arms and legs a working foundation from which to operate. Failure of the TVA to activate 30-110 ms prior to arm or leg movements respectively has been correlated with back pain and dysfunction (6, 16). The inner unit is part of a system of stabiliser mechanisms, all of which are dependent on the integrated function of all inner unit muscles." - Paul Chek

Couldn't have said it better myself!  

The Outer Unit consists of many muscles such as the External Obliques, Internal Obliques, Erector Spinae, Latissimus Dorsi, Gluteus Maximus, Adductors and Hamstrings working together with the inner unit to achieve co-ordinated movement.

Here is a simplified version of the inner/outer unit systems.  Using a pirate ship’s mast as a human spinal column. While the inner unit muscles are responsible for developing and maintaining segmental stiffness, the bigger muscles, shown here as guy wires, are responsible for creating movement.

The Inner and Outer Units Simplified

The outer unit muscles of the trunk demonstrated here are (A) rectus abdominis, (B) internal and external oblique, (C) erector spinae; the outer unit actually contains other muscles, which have been excluded for simplification. The inner unit, which contains all the muscles demonstrated in Figure 2. is demonstrated here as (D); the multifidus acting as segmental stabilizers for the purpose of controlling joint stiffness. To tighten the guy wires (A-C), which provide gross stabilization of the ship’s mast without synergistic tightening of the segmental stabilizers (D) would obviously result in increased potential to buckle the mast. The mast represents your spine!

The outer unit muscles of the trunk demonstrated here are (A) rectus abdominis, (B) internal and external oblique, (C) erector spinae; the outer unit actually contains other muscles, which have been excluded for simplification. The inner unit, which contains all the muscles demonstrated in Figure 2. is demonstrated here as (D); the multifidus acting as segmental stabilizers for the purpose of controlling joint stiffness. To tighten the guy wires (A-C), which provide gross stabilization of the ship’s mast without synergistic tightening of the segmental stabilizers (D) would obviously result in increased potential to buckle the mast. The mast represents your spine!

"Recruitment of trunk stabilizers via EMG with and without a weight belt has been studied. These studies concluded there was increased recruitment of the erector spinae and rectus abdominis when wearing a belt. Now that you understand the workings of the inner unit, it should be evident that by recruiting the larger, gross stabilizers without proportionate recruitment of the inner unit musculature responsible for regulating joint stiffness, the result could certainly lead to spinal joint dysfunction or exacerbate an existing condition. It is also likely that prolonged use of weight belts will result in coordination problems within the inner unit muscles and among the inner and outer unit systems." - Paul Chek.

Now, all this said, if you are someone who regularly relies on a weight belt and this article opens up your eyes into entering the world of being Back Strong & Beltless.  Please refer to Part 3 of the article where Paul will talk you through the safe and necessary steps to take in order to wean yourself off the belt.  Your current movement patterns will be reliant on your weight belt and getting rid of the belt all of a sudden will no doubt result in injury.  Wean yourself off slowly and carefully and get your internal weight belt working for you instead!  Just as nature intended!  :-)

All references can be found on Paul Chek's full article.

NO. 4 AND FINAL OF OUR TOP 4 AB EXERCISES: FITBALL OR TRX JACKNIFE AND/OR PIKE

Jackknife and Pike on a fitball or TRX. A great ab and core exercise for hitting the abs hard!

Want to train your ABS in an efficient, functional way?

As mentioned in the previous Sit-up posts, you all know (unlike most personal trainers), I am no fan of traditional sit-ups. So here is the fourth and final of 4 alternatives that will hit your abs hard and give you that burn that you probably desire. As well as increase the function of your core area if done correctly.

No. 4 in our Top 4 ab exercises

4. TRX or Fitball Jackknife/Pike:
This is really two in one as the pike is a good progression from the Jackknife! 

Using either a fitball or a TRX for the Jackknife.
Hands on floor in a pushup position with shins and ankles on fitball (or feet into TRX straps). Push your hands away from the floor to activate your shoulders, gently push your ankles into the ball and drive your knees towards your elbows. Make sure you brace your core and don't let your pelvis sag down or raise up too much. Keep your shoulders stable so there is no movement through them.

The pike is very similar but instead of bending the knees, keep them straight, push your feet into the fitball or straps and reach your butt towards the ceiling, whilst still pushing your hands away from the ground. Keep your neck neutral, I could probably have tucked my chin in a little bit more in this video. 
Only lift your hips as high as is comfortable. Mine go pretty high but start by getting used to the movement first and making sure you’re moving through your hips and not your lower back.

These are both quite advanced moves so please only attempt if you have relatively good stability and strength.

Otherwise, give it a go! :-)


LEARN HOW TO TRAIN SMART!

JOIN US AND TRAIN ONLINE USING OUR VERSATILE APP!

YOU WILL LEARN THE FUNDAMENTALS OF MOVEMENT AND HOW TO EXERCISE SMART.

PROGRAMS THOUGHTFULLY PUT TOGETHER BY A PHYSIOTHERAPIST QUALIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER.

GETTING YOU ON THE ROAD TO FITNESS SAFELY AND EFFECTIVELY!

NO. 2 OF OUR TOP 4 AB EXERCISES: FITBALL ROLLOUT OR TRX ROLLOUT

Fitball and TRX rollout exercise. A great way to functionally train your abs and improve core stability!

Want to train your ABS in an efficient, functional way?

As mentioned in the previous Sit-up post, you all know (unlike most personal trainers), I am no fan of traditional sit-ups. So here is the second of 4 alternatives that will hit your abs hard and give you that burn that you probably desire. As well as increase the function of your core area if done correctly.

No. 2 in our top 4 ab exercises

2. ROLLOUTS:

A great way to train your abdominals and work on core stability.

Using either a fitball or a TRX, kneel down, if using a fitball then place your hands on the ball about a foot or two in front of you. If using a TRX then grip the TRX about hip level. Slowly reach out (either rolling the ball out or letting the TRX push forward) whilst locking out your hips (you should feel your gluts & abs engage) so your knees; hips; shoulders are in a straight line. 
Only go as far as you can without feeling any discomfort in your back, if you do, then back off a bit. Don't think you have to rollout all the way, start small and progress. You should be feeling it in your abdominal region. 
Roll out and then back again for 1 rep, see how you go with the reps to determine where to start...don't push it at first though, only do what is comfortable and build on that. I'd suggest holding a good breath on the way out and breathing out as you come back to the start position.

Give it a go! :-)


LEARN HOW TO TRAIN SMART!

JOIN US AND TRAIN ONLINE USING OUR VERSATILE APP!

YOU WILL LEARN THE FUNDAMENTALS OF MOVEMENT AND HOW TO EXERCISE SMART.

PROGRAMS THOUGHTFULLY PUT TOGETHER BY A PHYSIOTHERAPIST QUALIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER.

GETTING YOU ON THE ROAD TO FITNESS SAFELY AND EFFECTIVELY!

HALF PRICE YOGA IN ADELAIDE CITY

Don't miss out on a Zen-filled February

Come down to moov personal training in Adelaide CBD for our Hatha Yoga Classes run by the lovely Paula Narvaez. Every Monday morning & Tuesday lunchtime join us on the mats for some Hatha Yoga bliss in a beach setting. Just what you need to break up a week of sitting at a desk.

Don't forget to bring a friend to get a 1/2 price class during February!

See you there!

PREVENT PAIN OR INJURY BY KNOWING HOW TO MOVE WELL

Don't be this guy...Don't repeat poor movement habits in the gym. Get assessed and trained in good movement habits to avoid injury and stiffness occurring.

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.

The Turkish Get-Up

The Turkish Get-Up (TGU), one of my favourite movements as it requires & improves mobility; stability; strength; cross lateralisation (right brain communicating with left brain); proprioception; balance AND it feels great to do!

A client of mine who had previously been training in a group setting elsewhere had been told that she couldn’t partake in the TGU portion of the class as she was unable to do them properly. The TGU was one of her goals working with me so we started by breaking down the separate components of the TGU and teaching her brain to learn each phase of the movement using only her bodyweight.  At the start she struggled with the initial phase of the TGU (going from lying on your back to propped up on your elbow).  This phase requires good reflexive stability through both the Anterior Oblique Sling & Posterior Oblique Sling (Anterior - adductors; same side internal oblique; opposite external oblique & pec minor. Posterior - Lat; Thoracolumbar fascia; opposite side Glut Max).

The TGU predominantly utilises the transverse plane (rotation), taking my client back to basics by retraining rolling patterns significantly improved her initial phase of the Get-Up within the same session.  We spent  as long as we needed, dedicating about 5-10 minutes of each session, practising the Get-Up until I was happy she was moving smoothly enough to progress onto the next phase.  All the other movements chosen for our workout session were geared at feeding the Get-Up.

Now she is able to power through the whole TGU from ground to standing with more fluidity and ease of movement.  This is a great milestone for her progression! It also translates over to life, as she has been feeling a lot more flexible and stronger in her day to day life, which for us at moov pt, is more important than anything else! 

Being able to assess WHY someone is struggling through a certain phase of any movement and having the ABILITY to apply movement correctives to ENABLE that person to access that phase more efficiently is what we are about at moov pt.  Tapping into someone's motor control system to make positive change takes KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENCE along with an extensive library of corrective exercises.  

If you are trying to achieve a complex movement, make sure you break it down into it's individual parts and spend as much time needed on each component to give your brain a chance to learn what you are trying to achieve.