Tag Archives: strength

Core Strength 101: The Active Bridge; Firing Up Those Glutes

This technique is a beautiful blend of core activation & stabilization while spotlighting & engaging those injury preventing & power perpetuating lateral stabilizers in your hip abductors…

If you’ve got that down (step 1: holding the bridge), then step your game up & maintain the above while simultaneously firing, working out & toning those “butt” muscles: your Gluteus Maximus & Medius. Repetition is key here to fortify (or create) that synergystic firing pattern from the brain to the glutes & the rest of the core; essential to walk, run, jump, lift, balance, MOVE.

The capacity to do so is especially pertinent after prolonged periods of inactivation due to uninterrupted sitting; which is the perfect recipe for weak & untoned, pancaked glutes, or “glute amnesia” as we refer to it in the video demo.

Get up! Wake’em up! Get moving!

Creating A Strong Foot; An Essential Component for Pain Free & Efficient Movement & Stability

In working with the body for over a decade now, massive respect and acknowledgement has amassed for the foot & the critical role it plays in virtually all weight bearing movement.  I have seen this foot exercise explained & demonstrated numerous times (best by podiatrist Emily Splichal) & have been implementing both personally & clinically for a few years now with great results.

This demo video going well beyond the short foot activation procedure & into how it is the catalyst to spark needed strength, stability, balance & power from the foot, to the ankle, to the knee, to the hip & pelvis; stabilizing the spine from the base at the sacrum upward through the lumbar, thoracic and even cervical regions.  Due to fascial connections in the body, turning the foot on in this manner is arguably the first step to truly engaging and activating the core via concurrent triggering of the pelvic floor and diaphragm.

Proper short foot activation and subsequent biomechanics are an essential component when truly looking to address virtually all injuries from the lower extremity up.

Learn.  Perform. Repeat.  Improve.

Creating Lateral Stability to Heal & Strengthen the Hip, Knee, Ankle & Foot

This has “exercise” has become one of the most oft utilized both personally and clinically as it serves as a comprehensive means to address essential hip strength.  As noted in the demonstration below, weakness, instability or an overall inability to communicate with these stabilizing muscles can result in not only local hip issues, but knee pain and damage, IT-Band syndrome, knock knee while running, OVER-pronation and problematic stress to the plantar fascia, an imbalance and weakness while walking, running, jumping, squatting, dead lifting; the list goes on.

Even if you do not have any of the above issues (yet?), this is no doubt a solid add to your proactive, intelligent, full body regimen.

Have at it:

Link

Re-balancing the Body: Addressing the Hip (Flexors), Groin (Adductors) and Knee

Intentionally moving more throughout the day or implementing a stand-up work station is one of the most proactively potent things you can do to potentiate better overall health; but especially to the neuro-musculo-skeletal system.

We see patients do this all the time and then rave about the difference it has made; only regretting not doing it sooner.

If for whatever reason, movement modifications like the stand up desk is an obstacle, mobilization techniques like the one demonstrated below (a personal favorite & go-to) can work wonders towards opening up those hip flexors & lengthening those shortened adductors.

Movement Monday: AP Lunge

Link

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.