Posts Tagged ‘corrective exercise’

Walking Pose for Upper Back Postural Relief

Friday, 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

Thursday, 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

A Passive Hip Flexor Stretch for Lower Back Pain

Tuesday, 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.

3 Pieces of Advice for Fitness Professionals and Chronic Pain Clients

Thursday, 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.

Building Your Function First Habits

Monday, January 23rd, 2023

It’s about that time. That time that our initial burst of enthusiasm to starts to wane. What was once a priority starts to compete again with other urgent (or not so urgent) distractions. Perhaps at the place where the world of instant gratification collides with the unavoidable consistency and progressive nature of improving our health and wellbeing.

I was recently listening to a Tim Ferris podcast with James Clear, the author of the best-selling book, Atomic Habits.

I was struck by how his four principles of developing habits mapped so well with what the strategies we encourage our clients to utilize when approaching their daily does of Function First exercises. Clear’s strategies work well for any habit, including developing a consistent fitness routine.

According to Clear, these four characteristics are key to establishing new habits:

1. Make it obvious
2. Make it attractive
3. Make it easy
4. Make it satisfying.

Clear also suggests, to get even better clarity, make each one of the above points a question. If your goal was to do your Function First program every day, but doing so means adding something to your schedule and changing your routine, you could ask the question, “what is an obvious way to make sure I get my Function First exercises in every day?”.

A possible answer might be to keep your exercise sheet and any props you use somewhere you spend a majority of your time at home or where it will be in your line of site multiple times a day. Put those key elements to your exercises somewhere that they feel like they are almost haunting you every day 🙂

Another strategy espoused by comedian Jerry Seinfeld is his “Don’t Break the Chain” approach. Using just a simple calendar, you check off every day that you follow through on the habit or behavior you are looking to create or strengthen. Every consecutive day that your chain grows longer it grows stronger with increased likelihood that it becomes permanent.

What are your strategies to create the behavior change you desire? Share below!

Reverse Floor Block-Anti Keyboard Corrective Exercise

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022

A client favorite, this exercise has multiple benefits to the upper extremities, thoracic spine and neck region. Utilizing the arm positioning and the cueing of the radial-ulnar and gleno-humeral joints, the motor system can access the peri scapular muscles in a very efficient way.

Lengthening through the chronically shortened muscles of the wrist and forearm and isometrically contracting the middle trapezius and rhomboids produces a noticeable change in the tissue tension and posture of the upper body.

Corrective Exercise-Half Kneeling Hula for Hip Flexors

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022

Following the PFMS A-D Levels of Designation, the Half Kneeling “Hula” is a Level “C” exercise. Besides the points of contact and relationship to gravity, this corrective exercise requires some kinesthetic awareness and movement coordination and is an excellent progression to the standard, static kneeling hip flexor.

Adding variability not only provides superior outcomes, but it also often exposes restrictions we didn’t know were more prevalent.

Corrective Exercise Creates a Positive Cascade for Change with Chronic Pain

Thursday, October 28th, 2021

The pain itself is almost always the primary focus. But their are multiple inputs that can lead to a downward cascade in the quality of life of those challenged with chronic pain. And equally, the sum of many inputs can also lead to a positive cascade and opportunity for improvement.

This clip taken from a live webinar I did with the American Council on Exercise, sheds some light on how the right exercises, for the right person, at the right time can be a catalyst for positive change.

If we can appreciate and impact through exercise, more of the dynamic systems involved in the pain experience , we provide our clients with a path to positive change.

Corrective Exercise Full Body Functional Considerations

Monday, September 13th, 2021

Looking beyond the primary movement in a corrective exercise offers tremendous opportunities and insight into ways that we can influence our clients’ global movement needs. Here, I use an example of a familiar corrective exercise for the shoulder girdle and apply our Levels A-D strategy to demonstrate the different considerations when selecting a working posture/position.

It is common to focus on a joint or body segment only, when choosing corrective exercises for your client. Disregarding the implications (positive and negative) of the posture or position from where the exercise is initiated, means that we are not recognizing the integrated, functional biomechanics involved.

Corrective Exercise Sitting Leg Extensions for Lumbar Stability

Wednesday, April 14th, 2021

Don’t be fooled. This exercise has nothing to do with strengthening the quads or the provocative slump test for neural tension. Both of those exercise look similar at first glance, but the nuances of this exercise give it a completely different objective.

Sitting Leg Extensions is an incredibly effective exercise to introduce a lumbar stability strategy that does not involved bracing or conventional core work.

The goal is not terminal knee extension. The goal is to generate enough internal tension from above and below the lower back, that the tensegrity forces help to de-rotate and stabilize the lumbo-sacral-region.

This is a self limiting exercise, meaning that the breakdown of the form and execution will be a result of the individual’s own internal force generation.

Give this one a try and let us know what you think.