flexibility

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!

What is Kinstretch?

Kinstretch is defined as a movement enhancement system that develops maximum body control, flexibility and USABLE ranges of motion.

So what does this mean?

Unlike other common methods of flexibility training such as yoga and passively stretching muscles, Kinstretch focuses on gaining control of your passive flexibility by using our muscles (rather then gravity) to attain improved mobility.  This serves two purposes, improve usable ranges of motion and strengthen in these new ranges. 

Top picture is the before and the bottom picture is the after, they were taken a week apart. 

Top picture is the before and the bottom picture is the after, they were taken a week apart. 

Simply stated, Kinstretch focuses on training your end range of motion with the goal of improving your movement capabilities and decreasing your risk of injury. 

Why end range of motion?

The human body is a highly efficient organism.  Due to the copious amount of biological processes that go on in our bodies, it has learned to become extremely efficient.  

The body's efficiency allows it to take short cuts when possible to allow it to work at full speed.  This is a reason why we develop habits, which are automatic behaviors that we don't have to think about.  It is also why our bodies tend to the path of least resistance when doing things such as skiping a workout, hitting the snooze button or utilizing movement compensations.

These processes allow our bodies to remove pathways from the body that are no longer used. For example, having a skill when you were a kid that you suck at today (whether you want to believe it or not).  This is because the synaptic pathways that created that skill degrade when rarely used.  This gives way for new pathways to connect to allow you to learn new tasks.

The same goes for movement.  If you haven't moved through a particular range of motion, the joint mechanoreceptors don't get stimulated often. Eventually the lack of stimulus will cause atrophy of these mechanoreceptors and cause decreases in range of motion.

There are other factors involved in this, but this plays a role in our lack of movement variability today.  

Our lives today revolve primarily around sitting ( I am sitting now as I write this post).  We tend to be hunched over with arms in front of us and hips flexed.  This typical posture results in the loss of thoracic extension, shoulder flexion (arm over head) and hip extension.  Therefore, the adage of we lose range of motion as we get older is incorrect.  It really should be, because we don't use it that we lose it. 

Returning back to training end ranges of motion.

In Kinstretch we train end ranges of motion to attempt to restore decreased mobility and improve movement capabilities.  Kinstretch is geared towards creating more active range of motion so you can be better at all the things you love to do most. Whether that is deadlifts, swings, running, sporting events, gardening or playing with your kids.  The better you move, the better you can enjoy life regardless of your goals and what you enjoy in life. 

Move Well, Stay Strong. 

 

Ankle Mobility

Early on in my career, I have had a handful of patients that regardless of what I did, their squat technique was always off.  I would work for months and months and I could only make so much change.  Banging my head against the wall, it took me way too long to start to look at the ankles during my assessment process.  

The ankle joint is one of the most overlooked joints in the body when movement dysfunction or pain exists. Poor ankle mobility can cause poor movement patterns, knee pain, inability to squat to full depth and a slew of other problems.   

HOW TO ASSESS ANKLE MOBILITY

Before you start randomly throwing ankle mobility exercises into your programs, first start with this simple assessment from the FMS/SFMA.

By assessing the ankles you now have an objective measure that will A) tell you if you have a deficit and B) is an objective way to retest your mobility to see if you are actually making improvements.

ANKLE MOBILITY FIXES

There are a ton of very good ankle mobility correctives out there.  The following are just a few of my favorites placed into one location for your convenience. 

Since the calves are always in use with walking, standing, jumping, running etc... they have the potential to develop trigger points and tightness.  In order to address this there are 3 things we need to focus on. 

1) Self Myofascial Release: To Your Calf and Plantar Fascia. 

Using a foam roller or a lacrosse ball (any ball will do really) roll the entire length of the muscle for 30 seconds to 1 minute. If you find any tender points along the way, stop and keep pressure on this area for 5 deep breaths.  

Note: The plantar fascia is part of the superficial back line.  It had a direct fascial connection with the gastroc, therefore rolling both out can offer greater benefit than one alone.  

2) Stretching - There is a lot of chatter going on in the field of health and fitness that stretching is overrated, and we do too much of it.  As there is much merit to this, focused stretching to areas that NEED to be addressed is beneficial.  Bottom line here: Don't stretch a muscle just because it feels tight.  Use objective measures that assure you that what you are stretching (like our DF assessment) is actually improving your mobility and movement. 

There are many ways to stretch this area of your body.  Just make sure that when you stretch, you hold the stretch for 2 minutes without coming out of it.  Research done from Dr. Andrea Spina and the FRC courses suggests that tissues need at least 2 minutes of constant communication to effectively make positive improvements. 

3) Ankle Mobility - These are best served as movement prep for your workouts, and to help improve ankle joint mobility.  Here a couple of my favorites below:

Ankle Mobs to Wall

Mulligan Mobs with Movement

Calf Rock Backs

Whether or not you feel your technique is good or not, take 2 minutes to assess your ankle mobility.  It can potentially help you find limitations that can help improve your technique and performance. 

Hope this was helpful, please leave your comments and feed back below. 

 

Feel Better In 5 Minutes A Day

If I told you that in 5 minutes a day you could decrease pain, increase energy levels, and decrease stiffness in muscles and joints, would you do it?

Is this some sort of magic pill that will make you feel like you just drank from the fountain of youth? No, not quite. The "pill" I speak of is what I like to call movement variability.

Movement variability is defined as, "repetitive movement that is not repetitive" (insert confused emoticon here).  To simplify this definition, you should simply move in ways that are different than what you are currently accustomed to. 

For most people, sitting at a desk is a reoccurring stimulus on an everyday basis. For marathon runners, this repetitive movement is constant running in one direction without ever moving within any other planes of motion.  Over time as we continue to load the same patterns over and over, pain can develop due to multiple factors.  If we spent time moving with variety throughout the day it is possible that both our perception of tightness and pain can be diminished.

Here's the crazy part. 

In order to start moving and feeling better, all you need to start with is five minutes of movement.  For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you know that I love Max Shank's 5 Minute Flow.  I've done this since June and honestly feel better now than I did in my college days.  Since initiating in a daily five minute flow, I've dramatically decreased pain in my lower back. I feel much more limber and mobile throughout the day, which has boosted my confidence when lifting weights. I also feel more energized to start my day, after just five minutes of free and random movement!

Max Shank states that you should, "move for five minutes in a way that gently pushes your flexibility but keep moving.  Don't worry if you get stuck somewhere, retrace your steps while you think of the next movement.  If you're into martial arts or yoga throw your own blend of that together."

Everyone can find five minutes in their day, whether it be in the morning, during a lunch break or sometime in the evening.  If you claim to not have time to flow, you need to take a better look as to why you really are not doing this. Not having time is an underlying translation for, "I don't want to do it." Give it a chance, I promise you, in just a few days, you'll feel like you're reliving your youth.

HOW TO:

  1. Set a Timer for 5 minutes. If you have a favorite song that's exactly five minutes, use it.
  2. Find an open space where you don't have to worry about banging into tables, or having anything fall on you.
  3. Just move continuously. Do any stretches, mobility drills or yoga poses for 5 minutes straight. The only rule is to constantly move. 
  4. Commit to 30 days.  Try it for 30 days, see how you feel, and keep doing it afterwards if it makes a positive change. 

Below is a 5 minute example.  The video is time lapsed, if you would like to see a full version you can click here

Get your Joe Flow on and let me know how you feel in the comments section below.