Mobility

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 34: Neck Stiffness

I believe that the perception we have of our spines is wrong.  We view our spine as this frail structure that is destined to be brittle and broken by the time we hit 50.  

I couldn't disagree with that viewpoint more.  Our spines, just like any other joint in our body, is much stronger then we give it credit for.  The issue, especially with the neck, is that it lacks movement variety.  We spend way too much time in front of a computer and staring straight ahead, causing our joints and muscles to become stiff.  

If it has for you, as it has many of us, try the drills in the video below.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, let me know below.  If you found this helpful, and want to be notified with similar content, sign up to my newsletter.

Tune-up Tuesday Episode 25 - Mobility Tips When Flying

This past weekend I was in New Orleans celebrating my girlfriend's birthday.  But before I was able to experience the smells and raunchiness of Bourbon Street, I had to sit on a plane for 3-4 hours. 

I don't know about you, but when I get off a plane my body feels terrible.  Especially given my history of low back pain, flights constantly make me feel stiff.  

We all know that sitting for long periods of time isn't great for your body.  Creep sets in, muscles get tight, and potentially we can have pain post flight.  It may take a little due diligence, but we can offset the long hours of sitting in a cramped area.  

Follow along with the video below when you get to your hotel.  These exercises will help activate the postural muscles that will help reverse the sitting posture.  

If you have any questions, comments or concerns let me know!

Move Well, Stay Strong.

Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 11 - Move Your Joints Daily, Upper Body CARs Routine

The human body was designed to move, but the human lifestyle is designed around sitting.  

Think about it. In the morning we sit to eat breakfast. Then we sit down as we commute to work. Once you get to work you sit at your desk for most of the day. When heading home, you sit down during your commute. Finally, you finish your day off by sitting down and relaxing after a long, hard day.  

We usually will throw in 1 hour of exercise 3 to 5 days per week, and say that is enough to combat all the repetitive postural demands we put our body through on a daily basis. 

We then question why we have aches and pains, and start blaming our genetics or age for the reason your back is sore when you wake up every morning.

I believe that every day you should be moving your joints through it's entire range of motion. The way I do this is by doing a daily CARs (Controlled Articular Rotations) routine.  

There are a myriad of health benefits for doing so such as;

  • Maintaining joint health and range of motion.
  • Learning increased control of each joint.
  • A self assessment tool to help you understand your bodies ability to move.  

They are also time efficient too.  It takes roughly 8-10 minutes to do a full body CARs routine.

And if that is too much time to set aside everyday for movement, you can break it up into an upper body and lower body routine.  Now you have two 4-5 minute blocks of movement each day, allowing for better time management.  

Use this video (and next weeks video) to start a daily habit of moving each joint in your body.  You will be amazed at how much better your body feels and moves after simply moving your joints everyday.

I challenge you to do a minimum of 30 days straight.  Obviously I urge you to do this forever, but start with 30 days. Take notes of how your body feels over this time - and I bet that you will want to continue the routine once you realize the benefits!

If you want to learn more about CARs or mobility training, find an FRCms near you at www.functionalanatomyseminars.com

Questions, Comments or Concerns?  Drop them in the comments down below.

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. 

Move Better Installment No. 2: Controlled Articular Rotations

Move Better Installment No. 2: Controlled Articular Rotations

This blog post is a follow up to last weeks post on CARs.  Learn how to correctly perform shoulder and hip CARs - as well as some key points needed to effectively perform Controlled Articular Rotations.

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.  

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!