Tag Archives: exercise

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Mastering the Air Squat: Mastering Strong, Pain Free, Functional Movement

For demonstration and additional explanation, click the link:

Movement Monday: Air Squat

Stand with feet approx. shoulder width apart.

Stand up straight with ears lined up above shoulder, lined up above hips, lined up above knees and ankles.

Brace the core by inhaling through the nose, breathing diaphragmatically (with your belly, not your chest), and upon exhalation create approx. 20% tension in the area between your ribs and pelvis (360 degrees, your core).  You are now braced. This does not mean to hold your breath, but a little bit of tightness and tone in the abdominal region.  For some bracing and being able to breathe while bracing may be the starting point.  This should be the staring point for all subsequent movement; the air squat and beyond.

Begin the movement by hinging at the hips, with the hip being the fulcrum and lever arms being your femur (thighs) and torso (abdomen and chest). Both of the lever arms should remain as straight as possible throughout the movement.  The hip hinge is executed by sticking out your backside and pushing it posterior.  You can counter balance by increasing your hinge and keeping your arms out in front of you (as seen in the demo above).

Ideally we want to work on maintaining the braced core, maintaining a straight torso (if not slight extension) and lowering your backside down to the point where the hamstrings are parallel to the floor and the shins are perpendicular to the floor.  Once you reach your personal depth, you should be able to pause, and then in a controlled fashion, rise back up while maintaining balance, and the straight spine.

That would be ideal.  However, we all have our personal baselines and starting points.  Find yours and work at improving it.  It may just be getting comfortable with bracing the core and beginning the hinge.  That is fine, that is the start of proper movement which, with practice will protect you and provide power as we move through life each day.

If you notice that the knees translate forward as you descend, to the point where they are becoming even with or moving anterior to the toes below, you have an anterior dominant squat which can wreak havoc on the knees and neglects relying on the optimal intended core and glute strength.  Do not proceed to drop deeper into the squat until you can do so without knees staying behind the toes.  Once you have improved balance, core stability, and activation of the glutes, you will be able to continue your decent correctly.

The “Chair of Death” exercise shown above can be implemented as a means to keep you in check as you practice mastering this essential, functional movement.

Get moving.

 

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TRUE Core Strengthening: Creating Functional Stability

The following is a blend of two oft performed exercise techniques.

Step 1 is being able to simply execute a side plank to awaken, activate and engage the other non-AB 360 degrees of your true core.  This will create a more stable state to perform our movement throughout the day.

More stability.  More balance.  More strength.  Less chance of injury.

Step 2 is to add this variation of the old school “clam,” WHILE keeping the core engaged.  Marrying the two will translate to enhanced movement patterns throughout your daily routine; whether that be during training or just general movement as you navigate the day to day activities.

If you expect that body to continue to perform without a hitch (ESPECIALLY as we age), pay it some well deserved attention and watch it pay dividends on a performance and enjoyment basis.

Get after it.  You know how it goes…use it or lose it.  DON’t LOSE IT!

Movement Mondy: Side Planked Core Clams

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Create Core Strength WITHOUT Crunches

Head over to onebody.live (by clicking the link below) to enhance your core stability, balance and access to intelligent, pain free movement for a full demo…and dare I say…a challenge.

Activate and engage 360 degrees of the true core.  Move it or lose it!

Movement Monday: Crunchless Core Concentration

Training Tips: Preserve Muscle & Enhance Recovery

The four major pillars of health and longevity are diet, exercise, sleep, and stress.  In order to truly elevate the quality and lengthen the quantity of your life all must be addressed and pieced together to solve the puzzle of true wellness.

This holds true for all, but especially athletes.  Often times due to the substantial time put in at the gym, pounding the pavement or on the bike, individuals take a more liberal approach with the fuel they put in their bodies.  This often leads to the paradoxical presentation of the overweight marathoner or even triathlete.  Simply put, as much as some may try or conveniently convince themselves otherwise, you simply CANNOT out exercise a bad diet.

In one way or another, the saying “garbage in, garbage out,” holds true.  You may even be able to get by aesthetically or performance wise for awhile, but trust that the internal systemic destruction caused by “garbage in,” will eventually catch up with you on one, two, or all fronts.

When speaking of athletes, it seems logical that you would do all that is possible to optimize performance.  The topic of sports nutrition is a loaded one with many different chapters, but today we will again present a physiologically sound explanation for another intelligent dietary modification.

We’ve spoken before on the importance of the pH (acid v base or alkalinity) maintained internally:

(https://clarkechiropracticwellness.com/2015/06/30/running-essentials-vol-2/)

For numerous reasons well beyond the realm of fitness, we would be wise to strive to maintain a slightly higher or basic (base = alkaline)  pH.  This has been cited as a method to controlling inflammation (the underlying factor behind virtually every disease), to preventing cancer.

When you engage in strenuous physical activity, a metabolic consequence of that activity is a drop in pH or a shift towards acidity.  Although a small window of wiggle room exists, the body will do all it can to maintain an optimal, slightly basic pH.  As the acid level within our body rises (dropping the pH) due to physical activity, the body will combat this increase in acidity by breaking down muscle.  This is the same muscle you are working so hard to attain, build and utilize for peak performance.

A way to offset this is by divorcing the outdated and antiquated way of carbohydrate bombardment by way of grains, starches, cheeses, and salt laden processed foods, as these foods yield acidity within the body.  Instead, the bulk of your diet and carbs should come from the alkaline producing fruits and vegetables.

According to Loren Cordain, PHD and creator of the Paleo Diet: “All foods, upon digestion, report to the kidney as either acid or alkali (base).  The typical American diet is net acid producing because of its high reliance upon acid yielding grains, cheeses, and salty processed foods at the expense of the base producing fruits and veggies.  The athlete’s body is even more prone to blood acidosis due to the by-products of exercise. One way the body neutralizes a net acid producing diet is by breaking down muscle tissue.  Because the Paleo Diet for Athletes is rich in fruits and veggies, it reverses the metabolic acidosis produced from the typical grain and starch laden diet that many athletes consume, thereby preventing muscle loss.”

So there you have it; another physiologically sound explanation on why you should step up your produce game in place of breads, pastas and foods in a box or wrapper.  Obviously this is not a standalone solution, but serves as an intelligent addition to your “eating to live” and “striving to thrive” repertoire.

Eat SMART.  Live better.  ENJOY LIFE.

Happy Holidays.

Obamacare: How to Soften the Blow

Are you one of the millions of Americans who are feeling negatively affected by the ever evolving heathcare reform? Elevated premiums, ridiculous deductibles, limited network provider selection has patients and providers sick to their stomachs (pun intended).

As promised, change did indeed come, and was definitely needed. And while an abrupt upheaval and reconfigurment of an intact system can be quite unsettling on numerous fronts, only time will tell how the future chapters of this book will be ascribed; for better or for worse.

The question we are left with is: now what? How is one to advantageously navigate this new system in order to reap optimal available benefits, while mitigating the economic blow as much as possible?

Like it or not, it is what it is for the time being. And alas, we are left choices. There is always the option to whine, complain, bitch, moan; even get angry and stressed, which will make healthcare all the more necessary for you.

Unless you plan on getting involved in politics and joining the ranks of policy proposers and lewd lobbyists, then the aforementioned option doesn’t do anyone any good.

Let’s talk about an intelligent strategy here to hopefully save some dollars, sanity and ultimately, your health.

First off you will either need to continue to carry a now inflated health insurance or pay a fine for rolling the dice without. This is still an option and the appropriate alternative varies dependent upon your specific situation. This part appears to be an unavoidable reality at the moment so unless you plan on joining the circus in D.C., you may as well come to terms with your decision and move on.

Let’s now talk about how you can really take control of the situation. Are you infuriated by your seemingly unattainable deductible? Are you disgruntled because you feel you have been forced to change physicians or pay them thousands to join their preferred, VIP patient club?

Well, a simple solution exists to eliminating both of these issues. Stop sitting back complaining while you consume the same diet that perpetuates the need for frequent doctor visits in the first place. Stop sitting altogether. Stop talking about exercise or becoming more active, and get up and do it.

The information, research and evidence implicating lifestyle (diet, exercise, stress, sleep, toxins, etc.) as the main driver of genetic expression (epigenetics) and thus chronic disease (diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, auto-immunity, Alzheimer’s, cancer, etc.) now exists, and is thankfully becoming more mainstream. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. The information, and thus the knowledge and power exists to play a more active role in your health, well being and life than ever once imagined.

You see if you don’t like the current sickcare, excuse me, healthcare system, then take a stand on a personal level and remove yourself from it as much as possible. Stop playing the loud, opinionated, helpless victim who does nothing to help themselves.

No matter where you sit on the spectrum of health, there are basic foundational changes that can be implemented and built upon from there. The stronger that intelligently constructed foundation, the less of a need for all those prescriptions and visits to the specialist.

Thus you have improved two aspects of your relationship with healthcare in that you can now pick a plan that makes emergencies more economical, rather than routine visits to attenuate this new symptom and modify dosage of that med. You have also now enabled yourself to take some space from the this new provider who you didn’t much care for to begin with.

Now I realize everyone’s situation is different, especially when it comes to health. Some people may need plans for frequent specialist visits and access to medications, and that’s all good.  That’s what they’re there for.

However, the majority of the population can do themselves a service and make the effort to take the proactive step towards optimal health, and thus more independence from the system they declaratively loathe.

The seemingly healthy individual can arm themselves with knowledge and begin to cultivate a lifestyle relatively free of issues down the line; true responsible, wellness care.  The boomers and elder set can break some of the lifelong habits and be sure to attentuate the inevitable degeneration as much as possible, leading to a higher quality of life in those golden years.  Even the individual with seemingly hopeless, devestating disease diagnosis can explore all options, and do all they can to stack the remainig deck in their favor.

With the abundance of information out there, getting started can be a daunting, seemingly insurmountable task, but it doesn’t have to be. There exists forward thinking healthcare providers like myself, who are passionate about collaborating with individuals in order to unlock the potential to thrive.

Find one you can develop a relationship with, along with some level of trust. Find one who will take the time to not only listen, but explain the anatomy, physiology, and logic and reason behind each aspect of a plan; ultimately creating a more knowledgable, independent advocate of their own health.

This is what we pride ourselves in doing professionally and personally, and are here to guide all those looking to take their lives into their own hands.