Fitness

Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 37: Fixing Your Kettlebell Swing Part 2

In part one of this series, I covered how to properly set-up and perform the kettlebell swing.  You can click here for that post.

Today's post will cover how to correct two swing faults: extending the lower back at the top of the swing, and being over active with the arms.

Check it out!

If you find this post helpful, sign up for my newsletter below for more great content!

Move Well, Stay Strong.

Tune-Up Tuesday - Episode 7: Falling Forward In The Squat

Tune-Up Tuesday - Episode 7: Falling Forward In The Squat

This episode of TuneUp Tuesday covers way to assess yourself to find out why you may have excessive trunk lean in the squat.  As well as ways to improve your technique. 

Why Aren't You Reaching Your Fitness Goals: Part 2

Why Aren't You Reaching Your Fitness Goals: Part 2

In the second edition of Why Aren't You Reaching Your Fitness Goals, I cover some ways to help keep you consistent with your workouts and nutrition. 

Controlled Articular Rotations

Controlled Articular Rotations

Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs) have been all the rage lately.  This is because they offer many benefits to your body.  Want to move better?  Have decreased pain levels?  Prevent loss of mobility as you age?  Want to decrease your risk of injury? Then CARs are for you!

Clutter: Is It Bogging Down Your Exercise Program

Clutter: Is It Bogging Down Your Exercise Program

After reading the book "On Writing Well" by William Zinsser, I realized that writing and program design have a lot of similarities.  An example of this is clutter.  Clutter is an easy way to decrease the effectiveness of one's writing and one's program.  

How To Instantly Become More Productable

I always feel as if I am never productive enough. At the end of the day there is always something left on my to-do list, and before I know it, I have achieved almost nothing done.  My days always feel very busy, but my to-do list always seems to stay un-checked.  I have tried many times to overcome this, but all have failed - until now. 

I just recently read an amazing book called the Perfect Day Formula by Craig Ballentyne.  In a nut shell, the book is about helping you maximize your productivity so you can get your work done and still have time for the things you love. 

One message the book conveys to it's readers is how to take control of your mornings in order to increase your productivity. By doing so you can tackle tasks first thing in the morning while energy levels are at their highest and before your day distracts you. Craig states, to do this, simply wake up 15 minutes earlier and undertake any responsibilities that will lead you to your big goal.  

When I first read this, I thought Craig was deranged.  I am not a morning person by any means. For the first 30 minutes of the day I can barely function.  My typical morning begins with the the snooze button and continues on my couch where I drowsily scroll through social media. Before I realize it, I am behind in my morning routine and have to rush out the door. 

Nevertheless, I decided to give this a try.  

My first day trying this I woke up at 5:00 am instead of 5:15, while at the same time swearing off social media for the first hour of the day.  

This combination added 30 minutes of free time to my morning and improved my productivity.

Now I write blogs, read or get any other work done that needs to get done for the day.  I'm completing the tasks that I used to constantly run out of time to do on a regular basis.  I am closer to hitting my goal of investing in the stock market which takes research and time to initiate. 

If you want to instantly become more productive so you can complete tasks you constantly struggle to find time doing (HEP, writing a book etc...) you should wake up 15 minutes earlier than you do today.  Combo this with not touching your phone for an hour and you will be able to accomplish more each day then you thought was possible. 

Move Well, Stay Strong.

Is Squatting Right For You?

 

 

Do you struggle with your squat technique?  

Is it difficult to get to the bottom of the squat?

Do your feet turn out at a certain depth?

Do you experience early butt wink?

Do squats cause you pain or stiffness?

 Have you plateaued? 

In my experience, many people begin exercising or attempt a new fitness goal (such as running a marathon or doing a handstand) without the proper prerequisite movement required to do said task.  

The squat may seem like a basic movement (I mean we learn how to do it as a baby), but many people train the squat and can't do a good one with their body weight. 

If this is you, there are 2 areas you should focus your mobility training on to ensure you can get "ass to grass":

1) Hip Flexion - In order to get parallel or lower in your squat, you need adequate hip flexion range of motion.  If you cannot actively flex your hip a minimum of 90 degrees, and preferably a hell of a lot more, then you will struggle squatting. 

Why does it need to be active?  

Lack of active control means you are unable to control that part of a range of motion.  If you go lower then what you can actively control you will be supported by passive structures (ie. ligaments and tendons and not your muscles.)  This will cause you to have to compensate to finish the movement.  

Try this drill to improve your hip flexion. 

  • Pull your knee actively towards your chest.
  • Put your hands on your knees.
  • Push your knee into your hands as hard as you can (resist with your hands and don't let your leg move).
  • Hold the contraction for 10 seconds.
  • After 10 seconds, pull your knee into your chest (without the help of your hands) for 10 more seconds.
  • Repeat this process 2-3 times.

2) Ankle Dorsiflexion - When descending into a squat our ankles go into dorsiflexion (lifting your foot up towards your shin bone).  If there is a limitation here, you will have to compensate in order to get deep into your squat.  

Here are some signs of lack of dorsiflexion: early butt wink, turning out your feet, trunk falling forward and/or your knees pointing inward.  

How much dorsiflexion do you need? About 5 inches.  Check out my blog post here about how to test and improve your ankle mobility. 

If these areas are severely limited, you shouldn't load your squat.  There are plenty of other exercises out there that can help you attain a training effect.

By improving these two aspects of your mobility, you will see improved movement capabilities and better ability to squat.  This will allow you to safely and efficiently squat so you can continue to build upon your fitness goals.

Move Well, Stay Strong!

Four Hacks to the Turkish Get Up

The Turkish Get Up (TGU) is a highly technical exercise that requires attention to detail for proper execution.  Last week I wrote about how to properly perform the TGU, you can read that here.  This week I will take this a step further and discuss 4 common technique flaws and how you can fix them. 

 

1) Set Up -

During the set up, we want to have enough space to work with.  I often see people set up with their legs too close together.  This decreases your base of support, making you less stable and increases the difficulty of the first step (see number 2 below). 

2) Leg Kicks Up -

This happens when we do not produce enough tension during the initial step or if you are using too much weight.

3) Misplacing the Moving Leg -

During each stage of the get up, there are optimal places to put your extremities so all your joints are properly aligned.  Often times people put their legs in places that decrease their base of support which makes this exercise harder.

4) Not Hinging From the Hips -

When people are reversing their get up, people often have difficulty with the transition from 1/2 kneeling position to placing the hand on the floor.  People like to bend from their spine and flop to the floor.  You must maintain your core stiffness and push your hips out to the side.  This keeps the spine in a strong position and trains hip mobility in the frontal plane.

Try some of these quick fixes and let me know in the comments section below if they were helpful.   

 

Why Squatting Hurts Your Knees

Your form sucks.

You're trying to lift more weight then you can handle.

               You've injured your knee doing something that was not squatting.

You're a combination of the three scenarios above.

It is unfortunate that the same myth continues to slap me in the face on a daily basis. I feel like I'm surrounded by it day in and day out at the clinic, with a potential client and/or a novice trainee under my guidance.  "My knees hurt when I squat".  My teeth cringe and my blood pressure rises every time I hear this said to me.  

If your knees hurt when you squat, it is time we stop blaming the squats for the pain and start looking into why our knees are bothering us.  We have been squatting since we were babies, why is it that all of a sudden squatting is the culprit behind our pain?

If "squats hurt you", here are a couple of things you might want to look into to figure out why you may be having pain.  

  • You lack full ankle dorsiflexion. 
    • That is the ability to point your foot towards your head.  If you lack dorsiflexion, you will have to compensate at other joints to make up the lack or range.  This often comes from the knees, or the low back (and possibly both).  
  • You lack core stability. 
    • Whether the abdominal wall, the lats or the hip musculature is weak, (all of these make up the core) abnormal forces will be transmitted through joints rather then through contracting muscles and tendons.  This will cause excessive shearing at the knees and even the low back, which overtime can cause pain and dysfunction.
  • Transverse/Frontal plane deviations. 
    • As athletes, gym-goers and sedentary individuals, we train and live mostly in the sagittal-plane (think front and back movement like walking).  Squatting is a sagittal-plane movement. Often time when some one squats, we see them sit more towards one leg than the other or rotate their bodies.  This is common especially when someone is trying to lift a weight that is too heavy for them.  This becomes a sure fire way to cause an angry knee or low back.  

Watch the video below to see how I teach the squat and how it may help you squat pain free. 

Leave some feedback in the comments section and let me know if this helps!

Until Next Time.