Single Leg Stance Assessment and Lumbar Instability

May 17th, 2024

The couch potato takes 2-3000 steps per day. That’s a lot of repetition. Imagine the repetition for those who get their 10,000 steps per day?

Since the majority of our clients walk, the Single Stance is an insightful way to see how the body responds to the forces acting on it during midstance in the gait cycle.

In this video, we are going to dive deeper into what we can observe from the back view of this assessment, particularly as it relates to the coupled relationship of the pelvis and lumbar spine in the transverse plane.

I’ll show you a quick review of the key points, and then share some actual client assessments of what we found. It will make sense why this assessment can be so insightful.

Walking Pose for Upper Back Postural Relief

May 10th, 2024

Sometimes fighting the direction that our spine is challenged the most can often be ineffective, fatiguing and even painful. Using other motions that challenge the body indirectly can be extremely helpful. Such is the case with the classic rounding or “hunchback”, kyphotic posture.

The Walking Pose offers a lot of convenience and benefits without the need for equipment, getting on the floor or even needing to be in comfortable clothes.

It might surprise you that a rotational exercise has direct benefits to the rounding associated with upper back/neck issues. Anthony explains “why” and demonstrates the simple execution.

Watch how we can use this great exercise just about anywhere to give the upper back some love.

Stacking the Deck for Long Term Health Benefits

March 28th, 2024

A couple of weeks ago I worked with a close friend of mine who has been experiencing a bout of lower back pain. The lower back was not only painful, but it was starting to interfere with his work and his ability to earn a living.

This was not his first rodeo. He has seen me at various times in the past and he has been a close friend for about 25 years and is in his mid-fifties. Because of our friendship, I felt compelled to do something differently with him that smacked of “tough love”.

After getting an update on his situation, pain levels, provocative movements, interventions to date, etc., I handed him a blank piece of paper. On the piece of paper, I asked him to write all the proactive steps he is taking toward his overall health. Not his back, but his overall health.

He handed me back the piece of paper with what he wrote. I read his answers and placed his handwritten list back in his file. The list included:

• Walking 30-60 minutes, 3 to 4 times per week
• Intermittent fasting
• Jacuzzi 2-3 times per week

After we finished his session and he felt 95% better (thankfully), I pulled out his handwritten list and gave it back to him. He looked at me in bewilderment, wondering why I was returning his list. I looked him in the eyes and said, “you decide if this list is long enough”.

We both paused for a second. And I could see in his eyes, as he stood there without saying a word, that he got my point.

This is a guy who has been successful all his life in business and who has friends that would die for him. He has been happily married for 20 years and together they have raised a son that any parent would be proud of. But when it comes to his health, I would grade him a “C” student.

We all must decide if we are going to continue to put out fires or instead be proactive. And for anyone in their forties and above, much of what we are and will encounter is not an acute event. It is a product of cumulative degradation to our metabolic, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, neurological and cognitive health.

I am now fifty-seven years old, and my week involves the following in some combinations. I do not do all of it every day, but I do all of it every week:

• Function First corrective exercises (6-7x/week)
• Heavy weight training (2x week)
• Functional full body resistance training (3x/week)
• Zone 2 cardio (2-3x/week)
• Sustained cardio 20-30 minutes at approximately 80-85% of my max heart rate (1-2x/week)
• Whole body vibration with Power Plate (4-5x/week)
• Full body mobility work with Core-Tex (6-7x/week)
• Foam rolling and/or percussion gun (4-6x/week)
• Cold plunge (1-2x/week)
• Cold shower 2-3 minutes (7x/week)
• Infrared light panel (7x/week)
• Intermittent fasting (7x/week)
• My version of Bulletproof coffee (7x/week)
• Meditation/theta state using BrainTap headset (7x/week)
• Daily gratitude
Core-Tex Sit for hip and lumbar variability 2-3 hours per day (7x/week)
• Pescatarian, high fiber diet (7x/week)
• Heat and massage back wrap (Hyperice Venom) 2-3x/week
• Nutritional supplementation7x/week
• Early morning sunlight in my eyes within 30 minutes of waking (7x/week)
• Spend 40% of any television time prone and on my elbows to extend the spine (5-6x/week)

What do I strive for this year?

• Time in an infrared or traditional sauna (3-5x/week)
• Massage/body work (1-2x/month)
• Less mouth breathing, more nasal breathing (continuous)
• Improve body composition with reduced body fat by 3%

This is not a list to boast or make anyone feel overwhelmed. And you might also be asking, “where the hell does he find the time?”. In all honesty, much of it is built into my daily schedule and many of this list happens in blocked time, such as exercise, and others are done concurrently with other activities.

What I hope to communicate by sharing this is the opportunities that are available to all of us to seek out the most accessible levers we can pull that move our health-o-meter in the positive direction. When you come to see me with a chronic back, or neck or other issue, I know those who are proactive about their health will respond the fastest because you are stacking the deck in your favor.

At the end of the day, strategic exercise is still the most beneficial drug out there. Do it smart. Do it often. And appreciate how truly interdependent all the systems of our bodies are and what is going on under the hood is often not visible until we are in crisis mode.
AC hiking

Anthony Carey Interview on American Trends TV

February 20th, 2024

This is a clip from an interview I did with American Trends TV, where I was asked about Function First and my other company, Reactive Training (maker of Core-Tex and Core-Tex Sit). I’m sharing this short clip (3:13) because you will find a few nuggets in here if you have ever struggled with explaining what Function First does and why we do it.

Many of my clients over the years have commented on how they struggle describing what we do when they are sharing their Function First experience with family, friends or other providers. Feel free to share this with someone who is curious 😊

Improving Your Calf and Plantar Fascia Flexibility

December 18th, 2023

Sometimes one little change to our strategy can have huge returns. This little adjustment to your calf and plantar fascia mobility may be just that for you.

Anatomically, there is a direct connection from the tendons of the toes, to the plantar fascia, to the Achilles tendon, to the calves, to the hamstrings that continues all the way to the base of the skull via the spinal musculature and its surrounding connective tissue. It is referred to as the Posterior Longitudinal System and is one example of how integrated our musculoskeletal system is.

In the video below, I show how and why this little adjustment to how you are addressing the mobility of your calves and hamstrings may be what helps get you over some plateaus.

A Passive Hip Flexor Stretch for Lower Back Pain

September 26th, 2023

The Thomas Test is an orthopedic assessment for passive hip flexor length. But the test can become the exercise and can serve as a beneficial hip flexor lengthening exercise. For those with lower back, sacroiliac and even hip pain, this position can often provide safe, therapeutic benefits.

Because this is a passive stretch done while supported on a table or bench, you can completely relax into it without worrying about stabilizing your body. For many people, this exercise not only provides an effective lengthening of the hip flexors, but may also provide symptomatic relief.

In this video, we show you the nuances to getting the most out of this exercise with the set up and modifications.

Abductor Presses for Hip and S.I. Joint Help

July 27th, 2023

Many of you have used our Level A Abductor Presses as part of your personalized program or as one of the programs from The Pain-Free Program. In this video, I use a little different format to share with you the “why” and how it benefits your lower back and hip.

There is a distinct difference of what occurs at the hip joint and sacroiliac joint when you press against an immovable force or strap like we do with Abductor Presses versus a mini band OR your leg moving freely in space. This video explains the difference and benefits of one of our Function First exercises.

Improving Internal Hip Rotation with Spider Walks

May 24th, 2023

We talk a lot about the importance of hip rotation and the importance of hip mobility on the lower back above, and the knees below. People often focus on tight hip flexor and the front to back mobility of the hip. All of it is very important, but if one is going to be forgotten, it is probably rotation, and more specifically, internal hip rotation.

In a previous post, we provide another hip rotation corrective exercise called Femur Rotations. Spider Walks have a greater emphasis on internal hip rotation and has added benefits to the foot and ankle. The Femur Rotations are great for active internal and external rotation without load on the hips and help with elongating the hamstrings. Spider Walks are done with the knees bent which removes any limitations that the hamstrings might cause.

Femur Rotations for Hip and Lower Back Care

April 26th, 2023

Golf, pickleball, tennis are all rotational sports. But so is tying your shoe. OK, it’s not a sport, but it is a rotational activity…one of thousands we perform every day. And because the hip is the largest joint responsible for rotation in the body, it makes sense to keep that rotational function highly tuned.

Two primary reasons for this:

1. Like every joint, the hip is optimized for longevity and function when it can spread and dissipate stress throughout the entire joint surface. This only happens if the joint is free to move in all of its designed directions.

2. Adequate rotation of the hips keeps unnecessary and potentially stressful rotation out of the lower back. The lower back is not designed for much rotation, but often is expected to absorb it when the hips lack needed rotation.

This video will demonstrate and explain one of the exercises from The Pain-Free Program that is great for the hips while keeping the lower back stress free.

If you are interested in a copy of The Pain-Free Program: A Proven Method to Relieve Back, Neck, Shoulder and Joint Pain, email us directly and we can help get you a copy.

3 Pieces of Advice for Fitness Professionals and Chronic Pain Clients

March 30th, 2023

It’s always an honor to be invited to speak on a podcast, and even more so when that podcast is for IDEA Health and Fitness Association. The interviewer, Sandy Todd Webster (Editor in Chief at IDEA) and I have known each other for years and Sandy was a client of mine at one time. Sandy truly knows the fitness industry inside and out and had some great questions that led to a fun exchange.

This is a short clip of our conversation where she asks me for any word of advice I would offer to fitness pros working with or wanting to work with clients dealing with chronic pain.