strength

HOW YOU MOVE IN THE GYM = HOW YOU MOVE IN LIFE

HOW YOU MOVE IN THE GYM = HOW YOU MOVE IN LIFE

Online Fitness Training & Movement Rehab by a Qualified Physiotherapist & Personal Trainer.

MYTH BUSTING!

myth busting personal trainer rehab trainer.jpeg

There are two very common myths that people have been led to believe and I have them come up repeatedly in my work, I'd like to draw attention to them and ask that you please please please think before taking these myths on board.

Number 1 Myth:  "I need to do situps to strengthen my core"

What I would say to this:  No offence to anyone who has ever used this phrase but it is Balderdash!  

Number 2 Myth:  "I need to use a weightbelt to support my lower back"

What I would say to this:  Please see Balderdash comment above!

Now these are extremely common and easy mistakes to make as these days there is so much access to information out there that it is hard to sieve through the crap and find the honest truth. And I hate to say it but there are a lot of trainers out there who have very basic knowledge and either haven't been exposed to or sought out the truths as yet or don't have the understanding.

There are also issues of jumping onboard the "things that are cool" train and accessorising the crap out of yourself in order to look the part.  Last time I checked, all I needed to train was myself, just a body, maybe some clothes, leave the shoes at home though! 

Maybe a mate of yours trains in a belt and raves on about how "secure & strong" his back feels when he's lifting.  So you're like "cool dude, mind if I try?", then you're like "wow, I can lift more with this belt on and everything feels so tight".  Or maybe your trainer encourages you to wear one as they think it will protect your back.  If any of these scenarios ring true please please please stop and ask yourself WHY???!!!  

This important little 3 letter word has somehow become lost in society.  No one seems to turn around anymore and challenge what they are being told.  Everyone just accepts, particularly if it is coming from someone in authority or if it is someone you should be seen to trust.  Go out there and find the truth for yourself and then challenge it!

The thing with the situps is that your Rectus Abdominus (six pack muscle) is not your core! It does not protect your lower back and if anything can actually make things worse if you overuse your Abs and cause dysfunction in your system.  You can also do harm if you already have core dysfunction (which is highly likely if you have or have had lower back pain) and are doing multiple situps as your back will not be protected throughout the movement.

Your deep core muscles comprise of your Diaphragm (hence why I put so much emphasis on breathing when it comes to core function); Pelvic floor; Transversus Abdominus (TvA); Multifidus & to a degree your Internal Obliques as well.  Your Rectus Abdominus is a global muscle and is not designed to be a stabiliser.  The above mentioned muscles have to work in synergy (when you have a functional inner unit) to control Intra Abdominal Pressure (IAP) on lifting.  If any of them are out of sync and being lazy or even being overkeen and have become overactive then it blows out the whole system.

Weightbelts prevent you from being able to access your breath properly (creating dysfunction) and last time I checked you were born with a weightbelt, it's called your TvA ;-)...try using it!

If you'd like to know the secret to a stable lower back and a better functioning unit, let me tell you...FUNCTIONAL BREATHING! :-)  It's that simple, well initially anyway, that is where you start...no point in trying all these fancy core exercises or thinking 100 situps a day will save your back.  Start with breathing please!  Once again, please check my stability exercises library for the intro to breathing, My Youtube Channel has my video on it as well and you can refer to my facebook page for an awesome interview link on breathing and pelvic floor.

For further reading on why I hate the weight belt and how it is making your back WEAKER & DYSFUNCTIONAL, yes, I said WEAKER, please look back through my blogs for my blog post on the weight belt and all will be revealed in more detail!

Please feel free to leave a comment below if you can tell me the benefits of wearing a weightbelt. Same goes for the situps.  I'm very interested to know what people's views are or what they have been told.

MOVEMENT...WHAT IT REALLY MEANS!

American Turner Gymnasium 1860

American Turner Gymnasium 1860

An online lecture I saw recently given by Dr Ed Thomas, an expert in the foundation of Physical Education, drove me to analyse what fitness is today in comparison to what it was historically.  Historically, there are three fundamentals of movement and fitness, these are Progression, Variety & Precision.  

Now from what I can tell and have observed over the years is that the majority of fitness enthusiasts seem to do well to take care of the Variety aspect of fitness, it's not hard to keep workouts varied.  Progression seems to be mostly adhered to, it's quite simple, you learn a movement to a satisfactory level until it becomes quite comfortable and then you progress that movement, either by adding weight, increasing reps or challenging the movement to a higher level of difficulty (i.e. advancing from a squat to a single leg squat progression).  Now, I have to take a pause here, although progression seems to be quite evident in most fitness programmes, there is a little issue that is quite niggling…this would be the over-eagerness to progress.  This is a huge issue that is present within our field, you may have someone who is recently able to squat their own bodyweight comfortably but then wants to throw 40kgs onto their back and continue to squat, or a personal trainer who wants to make a client sweat more by handing them heavier weights resulting in a less precise movement pattern.  You can't expect the body to move as efficiently with extra load in a movement pattern that is newly learned with only bodyweight or that is challenging enough with the current weight used.  This brings me to the third and final (and I personally believe the most important) fundamental...Precision.

We need to find a way back to basics and get the population moving well and precisely again, we are so far away from our own mind-body connection that most people just go through the motions of exercise without ever making a conscious connection to how they are moving, why they are moving or how they are breathing.  There was no sloppiness in movement back in the 1800's & most of the 1900's, precision was the key focus and the fitness just followed.

functional movement personal trainer gold coast.jpg

In Gray Cook's book, "Movement", he talks about the origins of Martial Arts and sums up what fitness should and used to be.  Somehow recent generations have managed to distort this approach and turn it on it's back.  Current jobs and lifestyles have a huge role to play and make it hard for the body to hold onto fundamental physical fitness, but not impossible by far!  "Purposeful movement perfection was the focus, and physical conditioning happened as a natural side effect".

primal movement personal trainer.jpg

Modern day gyms are stacked full of equipment promoting dysfunctional movement.  The use of fixed machines encourage your body not to utilise it's core stabilising musculature and instead, rely on your large, global muscles for movement.  In our daily lives we need to be able to squat, lunge, push, pull, reach, run, bend and rotate, all done whilst fighting gravity (not sitting locked into a machine).  This is when our bodies are moving as intended.  These are the movements we need to perfect and do with precision in order to be healthy, fit individuals avoiding injury.

Look at gyms from ancient times and see if you can spot a hamstring curl, a pec deck or a leg extension machine anywhere?  They only use anti-gravity equipment in the form of ropes, rings, parallel bars, ladders etc and hand weights in the shape of dumbbells, kettle bells, medicine balls and clubs.

Train functional movement patterns and make sure you do it with Precision, Variety & Progression in order to achieve true fitness.  Don't rush into a new movement before you have perfected its predecessor and don't load up a movement pattern before being comfortable and strong enough in doing it body weighted first.

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. 3 OF OUR TOP 4 AB EXERCISES: STIR THE POT OR A FITBALL PLANK REGRESSION

A great exercise for functionally training your abs and core! Thanks to Stuart McGill for this one!

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 third 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. 3 in our top 4 ab exercises

3. STIR THE POT:
This is a killer exercise for your abs and core! 
Find a fitball, assume the plank position with a wide stance at the feet to begin with as this will be more manageable at first. Elbows on the ball but aim them to be just underneath the shoulders and about shoulder width apart.
SQUEEZE your gluts, PUSH your elbows into the ball to lift your body away from it. Make sure your butt isn't sticking in the air or lagging towards the ground (think good plank position).

If this is challenging enough then just start with a plank hold and work your way up to achieving 60seconds. Once this is manageable only then attempt the STIR THE POT.

Now you are ready to begin...whilst maintaining as close to zero movement through your torso as possible, gently make small circles with your elbows. Aim for around 6-8reps one way and then repeat the other way. You can then build on the reps as you get stronger or go for time instead. 

This is a great exercise for training your abdominal region to stabilise your pelvis and lower back. If you find your pelvis is rotating with this exercise and you are struggling to control it then maybe go back to the pallof press for a while as it may be a sign that your obliques are not in good working order.

Give it a go and let me know what you think.


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!

1 OF OUR TOP 4 AB EXERCISES: PALLOF PRESS

A great exercise for oblique function!

As promised from our previous post, here is the first of four of our top abdominal exercises that won't harm your lower back.

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 first 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.

1. PALLOF PRESS:

This is a killer exercise for the OBLIQUES! 

Kneel down side on to either a light powerband or a cable (I would start with 10kg and go from there, this is harder than it looks!). You only need a small amount of tension if using the Powerband. Keep your hips locked out and hold the cable/powerband level with the bottom of your sternum. As you breathe out, extend the arms and lockout the elbows. The band/cable will want to pull you across to the attachment, the aim is to not let it, make sure you don't hold your breath or flex the hips, if you do then back off the band a bit or lower the weight.

Once this is manageable then try hold the arms out for a count of 5 seconds whilst still breathing.


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!

WHAT'S IN A SIT-UP?

A very clever and informative video clip showing the muscles used in sit-ups.

PLEASE NOTE I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND DOING THE FULL SIT-UP VERSION!

So your personal trainer gets you to do sit-ups to "strengthen" your abs and get that six-pack. And you think it's gonna happen...

Think again!

The majority of the population are walking around with dysfunctional abdominal muscles which means that they either have a sequencing problem with the muscles that function to create flexion at the spine and hips or that they have an imbalance in strength/function of these muscles. Or both, which is often the case.

This only leads to one outcome - increased pressure on the lumbar discs

Yip, not a six-pack, not strong abs but more than likely a disc herniation somewhere down the track. It could take weeks/months/years to develop. 

I refuse to let any of my clients do sit-ups and refuse to do them myself for the above reasons. There are multiple exercises out there that are heaps more effective than the sit-up in improving abdominal function/strength and they are 100x safer!

The curl up is an acceptable exercise if only your shoulders leave the ground and you exhale as you crunch, think about drawing your lower ribs towards your pelvis. Don't pull on the back of your neck but just support it loosely with your hands.

Even more ideally, I have my favourite Top 4 abdominal exercises I like to use in order to safely and effectively develop a functional central stability system.

 

 

if you want to LEARN some great functional ab exercises and HOW TO TRAIN SMART!

JOIN US AND TRAIN ONLINE USING OUR VERSATILE APP!

YOU WILL LEARN THE FUNDAMENTALS OF MOVEMENT.

PROGRAMS THOUGHTFULLY PUT TOGETHER BY A PHYSIOTHERAPIST QUALIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER.

GETTING YOU ON THE ROAD TO FITNESS SAFELY AND EFFECTIVELY!