Hip 90/90 to Hip 90/90 Transfers

The Kinstretch system utilizes isometrics movements near, and at your end ranges of motion to build a more capable body.  These movement paths help us move from one base position to the next while teaching better control of our bodies.

The hip 90/90 isometric movement path through the bear base position is one of my favorites.  It offers us the opportunity to learn how to disassociate our hips from each other while building mobility of flexion, abduction, internal rotation of one hip while the other does flexion, adduction, and internal rotation.  All very important motions for a healthy hip!

Check the video below for the proper technique on how to do this exercise.

Move Well, Stay Strong.

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Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 48: Learn To Load Your Hips

I hope everybody's Holidays were fantastic!  As we all prep for 2018 to arrive, let's delve into one final Tune-Up Tuesday post!

A few weeks ago I had taken the Performance Therapy Mentorship course at the Exos facility in Arizona.  It was a great course that offered a lot of takeaways, along side valuable insight into better bridging the gap between performance and rehab. 

By the completion of the course, I felt I had a better grasp of a system that can help me make better decisions as a clinician and a personal trainer.  

One valuable exercise I learned at the course is called the Star Pattern.  In my short time applying it, this exercise has had a big impact on many of my clients. 

The Star Pattern

The star pattern is a great exercise that teaches one to "feed into" their hips.  This is a Gary Grey term that tries to describe how the hip loads and unloads in different planes of motion.

Here is how he describes it:

  •  Functionally the hip gets loaded and unloaded in the sagittal plane with flexion as well as extension.
  • The hip also gets loaded predominantly in the frontal plane through adduction and unloading into abduction. 
  • Transverse plane loading of the hip in internal rotation with unloading into external rotation.

How does the Star Pattern fit into this?

As you drive your hip back and towards the floor, we are creating hip flexion, adduction, and internal rotation (loading or feeding into the hip).  As we come back up, we are extending, abducting, and externally rotation our hips (unloading or feeding out of the hip).

For those clients who shift their hips to one side while squatting, or hips shift out during a lunge, this is a regressed position that starts to teach patients how to load their hips. It has also been extremely powerful for those suffering from hip and low back pain.

Give it a try, and let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Move Well, Stay Strong.

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Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 47: Assessing Your CARs Part 3

In the first two parts of this series, I discussed how to use CARs to help figure out if your pain is joint related or soft tissue related, and what you should be looking for during your controlled articulations.

Today’s post will begin to teach you how to create a routine, as well as other CARs options that you can use to help build better joint health and control of your mobility.

If you are not sure how to do CARs, click here and here for the upper and lower body routines respectively. 

Once you are familiar with the basic routine and have a handle on the movements, let’s talk execution.

CARs are unique because they can help you achieve 3 different goals depending on your intent.

1)   Morning CARs Routine

a.     Utilizes 10-30% isometric contractions (making your joint circle feel like it is undergoing resistance to movement).

b.     Used in the morning to initiate movement, assess your body, and help aid in the maintenance of joint health and range of motion.

2)   Warm-Up CARs

a.     Utilizes 30-60% isometric contractions (intensity).

b.     Used to activate mechanoreceptors within the joint and help warm-up your body before physical activity.

3)   Strength Training CARs

a.     Utilizes 75-100% isometric contractions.

b.     Goal is to strengthen your joints end ranges in order to build better joint resiliency.

So based on your individual goals for the mobility session, you can use this guideline to target any one of the three goals above.

Controlled Articular Rotations can also be done in many ways.  The videos linked are the most basic forms of this type of movement, but your imagination can encourage you to explore movement in a variety of ways.

Other Types Of CARs

1.     Global Rotations

These are loaded CARs.  By holding a weight or adding an external resistance, we can continue to explore and strengthen our joints.

In this case, the weight should not be heavy.  The goal is to explore movement; not try to resist the heaviest weight possible.  We are still trying to work near our end range and avoid compensation.

2.     New CARs (Axial Rotations)

These are simply joint rotations in which the actual limb does not move.  You can do these in any position you are trying to build better control in, and can help improve positions you need to improve performance.

An example would be do shoulder axial rotations in the overhead position if you were an overhead athlete.  This would allow you to express your mobility, strengthen, or warm-up the joints in pivotal positions needed for success.

 

All types of Controlled Articular Rotations help us improve joint health, decrease injury risk, and help us assess our bodies.  If I could give you a tool that allowed scanning your body and helping you identify areas that may one day become painful, would you want it?

If you answered yes, you should start doing CARs on a daily basis.

Questions, comments, concerns, let me know below!  If you liked what you read, sign up for my newsletter below.

Move Well, Stay Strong.

Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 46: Assessing Your CARs Part 2

Last week we discussed the difference between opening and closing angle pain, and what implications they can have on your joint health.  If you haven't checked that post out you can do so here.

Today's lesson is learning what you should be paying attention to during your controlled articular rotations.  Once we determine that our circles are not painful, we can assess what we feel throughout.

We can focus our attention on one of two things as we perform CARs.  The first is how much range of motion do you have, and the second is can you control that range of motion?

NOTE: When performing CARs, the most important thing is the quality of the circle, not the size.  So make sure you are not compensating throughout the motion

1. Range of Motion - As you go through any controlled articular rotation, you want to be aware of how much motion you get in all directions.  How much flexion, extension and rotation can you achieve?

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You also want to compare this side to side.  If you do a CAR on the left shoulder, you want to compare it to the right shoulder.  Often times they may feel different, and can give you information about how to target your mobility training, 

2. How's Your Control?

Here we are looking at the quality of the joint circles.  You are looking for things such as; compensation, cadence, cramping, missing range of motion etc...  

  • Compensation - This is an important one.  The goal of CARs is to work at our end range of motion.  Trying to make the circles bigger through compensation robs you of the benefit of CARs.  If you notice you compensate, on the next circle, build more tension, slow down and if you have to shorten the range.
  • Cadence - If you are going through your joint circles and you start off nice and slow to find that at a certain part of the motion you speed up and rush through the spot, that tells me that you lack control there.  Your goal will be to SLOW DOWN and try and learn how to control that range of motion. 
  • Cramping - Cramping at your end ranges of motion is what we call neurological confusion.  When your body can't control the area, it starts to cramp due to active insufficiency.  The only way to improve this is to keep pushing through it.  Exposure to the range will strengthen the tissue and allow for cramp free movement.  Avoidance of the cramps will not improve your joint health or end range control. 
 Yes, this may happen to you!  Fear not, it gets better with practice!!!

Yes, this may happen to you!  Fear not, it gets better with practice!!!

Keep these things in mind when assessing yourself during CARs.  And don't just compare right versus left, but also compare each joint against each other.  The joints that feel the worst and are the hardest to do should be your focus during mobility sessions. 

Did you learn something today?  Do you have questions, comments, or concerns?  Let me know below and sign up for my newsletter.

Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 45: How To Use CARs As An Assessment - Part 1

Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs) is one of the fundamental tools within the Functional Range Conditioning system.  Outside of maintaining articular health and range of motion, CARs can be an assessment tool for your body. 

It can help you identify areas that need improved mobility, rule out joint dysfunction, and help you create a specific mobility plan based off your needs keeping you from wasting hours on stretching areas of your body that won't offer you the most bang for your buck.  

In part one of this series, we will discuss the difference between opening angle pain, closing angle pain, and what is okay to feel throughout the process.  Each one of these things tells us something different about our bodies, and should be the first thing we pay attention to when going through our CARs routine. 

Part 1: How to do Hip and Shoulder CARs and determining if opening angle pain, closing angle pain.

Part 2: Rotational deficits active vs passive, and if needed how to attack the joint capsules.

Part 3: Based on active mobility with no closing angle discomfort, start working the directions that feel most limited.  Address Cramping.

Let me know if you have any questions, comments, and concerns let me know!

Move Well, Stay Strong.

Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 44: Serratus Slides for Shoulder Health

The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body.  Due to this, our shoulders have a strong need to be stable.  Unfortunately, today's lifestyle puts us into repetitive postures that are not conducive to these needs. 

Sitting down at a desk all days causes stiffness/tightness of the upper traps and pecs, and weakness of the deep neck flexors and serratus anterior (SA). 

One simple, yet effective exercise that helps build healthy shoulders is serratus slides.  This drill is used primarily to strengthen the SA which is responsible for stabilizing your shoulders on the rib cage, and helps us reach our arm overhead. 

Check out the video below to learn how to perform serratus slides. 

Found this helpful? Left you intrigued? Leave your questions in the comments below!

Move Well, Stay Strong.

Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 43: Isometrics for Increasing Hip Stability

If you have been working on improving your mobility and continue to notice pain or stiffness - your issue may not be mobility, but actually stability

When an area is painful, a couple things happen. 

  1. The tissues tolerance to load is decreased.  Meaning that when our body perceives a position or movement to be threatening, it will cause a pain response.  Injury and pain manifest when the forces acting on the body exceed the capabilities of the tissue. When an area becomes painful, the threshold drops, and the response is - postures and positions that used to not cause pain now do. 
  2. Our bodies cortical mapping of the area gets distorted.  The homunculus, according to Wikipedia is a distorted representation of the human body, based on a neurological "map" of the areas and proportions of the brain dedicated to processing motor functions, or sensory functions, for different parts of the body. 
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When pain is present, the representation of that area gets distorted.  This leads to lack of stability, and the perception of tightness in the area.  When this happens, we have already unconsciously learned to compensate our movement patterns.  

Why Isometrics Work

  1. Isometrics are muscle contractions that do not require actual joint movement.  This allows us to activate and use muscles without increasing inflammation.  This not only allows us to start to exercise without increasing someones pain, but isometrics are also a great way to help reduce pain. 
  2. Isometric contractions can act in restoring cortical mapping.  The decrease in pain levels and the afferent information going back to the brain can be enough to make temporary changes.  This then opens a window of opportunity for us to continue making long term changes. 

Watch the video below to watch one of my favorite glute isometric circuits that I learned from Adam Wolf in order to help restore stability of the hip and decrease low back pain.

Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 42: How Should You Be Doing Mobility Work

Welcome back to #TuneUpTuesday!  I can't believe this has been going strong for 42 weeks. The goal of this series is to help tune-up your mobility, workouts, and fitness habits over the course of 2017 and beyond. 

With the start of the Par Four Performance Virtual Kinstretch classes, I have been getting a lot of questions about what type of mobility training one should do, and when is the best time to do it. 

Let me start by saying that mobility training is an individual practice, what works best for me may not be the best for you.  I highly recommend playing around with the frequency you perform mobility training, as well as when you use different types of mobility training.  

Today's post focuses on leaving you with a few rules of thumb to help guide you along your journey. 

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WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MOBILITY TRAINING

1. Passive Stretching - This type of stretching is assisted.  Either by gravity, or by a partner - some external force is helping you stretch a muscle.  Examples: Yoga, having a friend stretch your hamstrings, stretching your chest in a doorway. 

When to use it:  Passive mobility serves a purpose in two ways.  

A) Short duration stretches of up to 30 seconds can improve ROM by improving your tolerance to stretching. 

B) Long duration stretches of > 2 mins, every day for 5-8 weeks can help create actual tissue change, ie) make tissue longer (increase in sarcomere length).

Beneficial for when you feel really tight.

Improving passive mobility does not mean you can actively access it.  This opens up a new window of range, but doesn't serve us any benefit when our body needs to use it.

2. Movement Prep/Dynamic Mobility - These are dynamic movements that mimic what you would be doing in the gym or sport in order to prepare your body.  Examples: Toe Touch, Squat to Stand, Greatest Stretch etc...

When to use it: Right before your workout/athletic event

This is beneficial to raise the temperature of your tissues, and actively work patterns that will be needed for activity.  This can help prevent injury and improve performance. 

The issue is, if you don't have good mobility in areas you may compensate from other areas to access the movement pattern.

3. Active Stretching - or kinetic stretching, as we term it in the Functional Range Conditioning world.  This uses muscular contractions to help improve your ACTIVE MOBILITY.  Examples: Controlled Articular Rotations, Isometrics, Eccentrics, Kinstretch.

Benefits: Active mobility helps you actively control your flexibility to help decrease risk of injury and improve performance.

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Rules of Mobility

1. No high intensity isometrics before working out or athletic events.

Before events, you can do submaximal active mobility drills (around 30-50% intensity), or do movement prep/dynamic warm-ups before hand. 

2. Do something everyday.

My suggestion is do controlled articular rotations everyday.  They serve a multitude of function from keeping your joints healthy to allowing you to assess your joints.

Also, I suggest focusing on your weakest links.  If you notice you have decreased mobility of hip IR and spinal extension... do that everyday until it gets better.  Then focus on your next weakest links. 

3. Do Kinstretch classes on off days or use them as recovery days.

You can do Kinstretch on other days too, but I would suggest saving these workouts for your off days, or several hours after your workout.  Kinstretch can be neurologically demanding at times, and doing it before a workout/athletic event can drain the nervous system.  Kinstretch is meant to compliment your training program, not hinder it.  Using this rule of thumb will help keep your body feeling fresh week long.

Follow these rules to mobility training, and start putting an effort into improving how your body feels and performs.

Move Well, Stay Strong.

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Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 41: Prone Shoulder CARs

Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs) have been one of the best things since slice bread.  The crazy part is there is nothing magical about them.  CARs simply are movements that we do that force us to challenge our end ranges of motion allowing us to improve our joint health, improve our bodily control, and help us assess our bodies. 

Also, CARs can be done in numerous ways.  If you can move your joint from said position, you can challenge your range of motion in a number of ways. 

One of my favorite ways to challenge shoulder range of motion is by doing my shoulder CARs from the prone (lying on your stomach) position.  

Check out the video below to learn how.

Move Well, Stay Strong.

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Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 40: Frog Position PAILs/RAILs

The "Frog" position PAILs/RAILs is a great exercise for improving hip mobility.  It is personally one of my favorites that I give to those with low back pain all the time.  Check out the video for more information. 

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Move Well, Stay Strong.