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. 

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 39: Hip Extension End Range Lift Offs

When it comes to training, I always talk about how we need to have adequate mobility for the tasks we place on our body. Just about every lower body exercise requires hip extension to complete, and lacking mobility or control at the end range can cause breakdown in technique.

Lack of hip extension is more common than you may think; improving it can improve function and performance.  Check out the video below to learn how.

End Range Lift Offs serve as a great exercise to either prepare your body for your workout or as a mobility drill completed on a day to day basis to focus on your mobility limitations.  Remember the goal here is to challenge your hip extension! So, if you can easily lift your leg off the floor, you are taking it too easy on yourself and are not working your end range mobility.

Move Well, Stay Strong.

Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 38: Should You Stretch Your Tight Hamstrings

When it comes to tight hamstrings, there is no one solution to solving the issue.  But there is one thing I can safely say, more times than not, stretching is not the answer.

Your tight hamstrings are not tight at all.  What you are feeling is a perception of tightness.  Your nervous system is making you feel tight to prevent you from moving into positions it doesn't deem safe.  

If you don't know where to turn after stretching, watch the video below for one of my favorite drills to decrease hamstring "tightness."

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Move Well, Stay Strong.