Tag Archives: training

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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

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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

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.

Running Essentials (Vol.3)

In continuation with our Running Essentials series, this week’s post will keep it relatively simple.  The emphasis here is the need for continuous, maintenance work to clear potential hurdles and road blocks to your goals.
It goes without saying that it is essential to have at your service a competent practitioner you can trust for when the wheels begin to fall off. Unfortunately it happens to all of us at one time or another, especially if you are active.
That’s not what we’re referring to here.  We are talking about regular comprehensive sessions when all is well and running smoothly, in order to keep it that way.  It is far easier for patient and practitioner to rectify neuromusculoskeletal imbalances calmly in their infancy, rather than frantically and while in pain.
Finding a practitioner who speaks the same language and understands your goals and priorities is integral in this approach.  A knowledgable, holistic alley to collaborate with in ensuring you can continue to do what you love to do.
To simply utilize this individual for a more stressful damage control, injury cleanup normally ends up taking more time, money and emotion than if the proper respect and attention was paid to the body from the jump.
We are not simply speaking of rest and passive recovery either (although this is also key).  We are talking about active recovery between workouts.  If you look at a professional athlete, you have individuals receiving some sort of treatment numerous times per week, if not daily.  And while we are not referring to professional athletes here per say, but more of the full time desk jockeys who love to get after it during “play time,” the need for attention remains, one could argue even more so.
You take an individual who spends the majority of their hours in various positions and postures that are quite the opposite of a professional athlete.  This prolonged sitting, hunched postures, driving, etc., lends itself to countless imbalances in every single aspect of the neuromusculoskeletal chain.  The spotlight then shines on these imbalances when any type of physical activity is attempted, especially as we increase frequency, intensity and duration.
When speaking specifically  of running, we are talking about a repetitive pounding; a force transmitted and absorbed by the body that is exponentially larger than when walking.  Now throw into that equation a misaligned segment of the spine, pelvis or extremity, a chronically shortened or weakened muscle, a misfiring nervous system.  What we have is a recipe for disaster.
The point being is to make the changes in daily lifestyle that can be done, and to routinely work the other  potential issues out with that knowledgable practitioner.  It may seem like more of a commitment to have a weekly or bi-monthly session, but this pales in comparison to the time, money and stress that goes into the active injury identification, care and rehab.
We take our cars in for routine oil changes. We update our phones, no questions asked. In turn we expect reliable and optimal function.  How can we possibly expect anything close to that from our bodies, the most complex machine we will ever possess, when we don’t treat it with the same respect?
Come see us and we’ll do all we can to keep you moving.