core

Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 29 - Common Ab Rollout Faults

The great thing about the internet is that information gets spread to a large amount of people. When I first started out in the fitness industry, it was not common knowledge that crunches and sit-ups are not the best exercises for your core... or your lower back.  When I would mention this to someone they would stare at me like I was crazy and ask me “What else can you do for the core?"

Today, most people understand that the best core exercises are the ones that challenge the core's position.  Meaning that the core's job it to keep your spine from bending, extending or rotating when external forces are exerted onto the body.

Exercises like planks, side planks, rollouts, body saws, pallof presses, and 1,000 other exercises focus on this. 

The Ab Rollout, in particular, is an advanced core exercise that is often done with poor technique. Many people have a hard time controlling their spines, especially when it comes to limiting extension of the lower back.  This is the number one issue I see with the Ab Rollout.  

Check out the video below to learn proper technique to the rollout and one of my favorite drills to teach you trunk positioning to make your rollouts more effective. 

If you have any question, comments, concerns - let me know. If you found this helpful, please share!

Move Well, Stay Strong.

The One Arm Push-Up

The One Arm Push-Up

In today's post, I discuss how to improve your one arm push-up, as well as some tips and drills that will help you master this body weight exercise. 

Tune-Up Tuesday - Episode 2: Building Tension in the Plank

Tune-Up Tuesday - Episode 2: Building Tension in the Plank

Today's Tune-up Tuesday goes over the proper way to execute the plank.  Proper execution is key for improved core strength and improving your technique on just about every exercise in the gym.  Read the full post for the full scoop. 

Touching Your Toes. Are Your Hamstrings Too Tight?

Can't touch your toes? It's probably because you have always had tight muscles, or you have gotten too old.  

When you were a child you were able to touch your toes, squat perfectly and move in all sorts of ways you no longer can.  This is not because you have gotten older that you lost your movement patterns, but rather we get stiff and tight because we sit down and stop moving. For many it can start with school. 

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There are multiple reasons why someone would lose the ability to touch their toes.  The two most common are mobility (the ability to move your joints freely throughout a full ROM) and motor control (timing, stabilization and coordination of movement) issues.  

That being said the ability to touch your toes is usually NOT a hamstring tightness problem.  

Muscles can often have the perception of tightness when poor movement patterns exist, or when there is a lack of stability to an area. In the case of the toe touch, if your body feels unstable while trying to bend forward and touch your toes, it will activate the hamstrings and lumbar extensors to protect and limit the movement.  This is when you "feel" that your hamstrings are tight.  

Touching our toes is an essential movement that we NEED to be able to do if one plans to be active.  Whether it is running, deadlifting, squatting, sports, hiking or anything else in the spectrum of movement.  If you can not touch your toes, dysfunction is present.  

Common Flaws:

1) Decreased active straight leg raise (ASLR):

  • Will prevent you from touching your toes.
  • Impede your ability to hip hinge either bilaterally or unilaterally. 
  • Affect your running stride

2) Decreased ability to posteriorly weight shift.

3) Decreased ability to flex the spine while bending forward. 

The video presents 3 simple ways to improve your toe touch.  If none of them improve it, or worse cause pain take it upon yourself to have it looked at by a trained professional (either a physical therapist or personal trainer).  If they do help, well enjoy touching your toes!  

Leave a comment down below on your experiences being able to, or not able to touch those feet. 

 

 

 

Hinge Your Way Free of Back Pain

What's your plan of attack when your back aches? Painkillers? Stretching? Ice and heat? While these might provide temporary relief, we're missing the bigger picture if we don't address the way we move through our hips.

Often times when your back hurts it is often due to lack of stability and/or mobility at joints.  This makes sense when we review Gray Cook and Mike Boyle's joint-by-joint approach to the body.

When we look at this model we see that the body alternates segments of stability and segments of mobility.  These areas align themselves so that we can stabilize in certain areas in order to move freely in others. An example of this (not on the chart above) is learning proper scapula stability so we can enjoy all the range of motion the shoulder provides.  If the scapulae aren't stable, compensation patterns inhibit optimal movement of the shoulder joint.  

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With repetitive stresses or lack of movement over time, bodily joints have the potential to lose their inherent mobility. Once this happens the body has to compensate for this lack of motion by creating motion at the segment directly above or below.  What this ultimately does is flip-flop the order of mobility and stability.  One of the most common examples I see of this is through the loss of hip mobility.  Most people, especially those who sit at work all day lose the ability to hinge at the hips.  This loss of hip mobility causes either the lumbar spine or the knees to move excessively while moving. Whether bending over, squatting, deadlifting, or picking up your child to name a few examples, the ability for your body to maintain the joint-by-joint approach is imperative in order to prevent muscle tightness, stiffness, weakness and pain.  

Based off this information, one of the first things I assess when having a patient with low back pain is their ability to hinge.  Most often than not, their hip hinge is not up to par... and that's putting it nicely.  Even if you don't have pain, the inability to hinge from the hips will rob you of strength, power, mobility, and overall quality of life.  

Check out the video below to see some hip hinge hacks.  They will make you a better person.  

If these helpful tips helped you out, or if you just plain hated them leave me a comment below and tell me all about it!