Posts Tagged ‘mobility’

Posture Snack and Upper Back Health

Wednesday, March 15th, 2023

A little interruption of static posture goes a long way. There is not necessarily a “bad” posture unless that posture is sustained and exceeds what our body likes and can tolerate. Interruptions of prolonged postures are just another way of saying “variability”. And variability is one of the core values of Function First and our sister company, Reactive Training and our Core-Tex products.

Variability is why it is important to change up your exercises every two weeks while in our program. Variability is the environments Core-Tex and Core-Tex create inherent to their design and motion.

Using a modification of an exercise many of you are familiar with, I’ll show an effective way to help out your upper back and potentially neck and shoulders. You can take advantage of a position that is gravity assisted, which often allows you get the needed changes in upper back position and movement without forcing it….and it can feel so good!

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.

Mobility Matters: Flexibility vs. Mobility

Sunday, September 29th, 2019

via Gfycat
The terms flexibility and mobility are often used interchangeably. Although from the same “family” they are two different things. The fundamental difference is that flexibility relates to the ability of a muscle to lengthen. Mobility refers to the ability of the muscles to lengthen with control.

For example, if you can lay on your back on table and someone can push your straight leg back toward you with your knee straight so that your hip is flexed past 90 degrees, that would be your hamstring flexibility.

Then if you stood up from the table and tried to kick your leg to the same range, it is doubtful you get more than 60-80% of the range you had on the table.

That’s the difference between mobility and flexibility in its most simplified way.

Is one better than the other?

Both are important and we use both with our clientele at various times in their journey and for different objectives. But ultimately, mobility is more transferable to activities of life, work and sport. This is because mobility is a much more integrated “hardware” and “software” process. Hardware referring to the soft tissue and software referring to the nervous system.

Conversely, someone pushing on your leg (or you pulling with a strap or belt) is more of a hardware process and less of a software process then the more movement-based mobility approach.

At the end of the day, flexibility is a means to an end and not the end itself. The results of stretching can feel good and help with the compliance of our tissue.

Improvements in our range of motion (ROM) from flexibility practices can be acute (immediate but short term) and chronic (sustained improvements).

Some of the most up to date research on flexibility has shown that the most effective strategy for acute changes in ROM is self-myofascial release followed by either static or dynamic stretching. This would include foam rolling, lacrosse or tennis balls, massage sticks and other implements.

The following guide can help compare and contrast the techniques you use to feel like you have more range of motion and feel “looser”.

Self-Myofascial Release

What it is: The use of foam rollers, lacrosse or tennis balls, massage sticks and other implements in soft tissue areas of the body to produce a form of self-massage.

What it does:
Effects both the mechanical properties of the soft tissue (skin, fascia, muscles, tendons, nerves, blood vessels) and the nervous system. It reduces the resting tone of the effected muscles, leading to healthier, more compliant soft tissue.

What it doesn’t do:
Lengthen muscles or fascia

Senior woman using a foam roller for self myofascial release

Static Stretching

What it does:
Increases range of motion at a joint by lengthening the elastic component of the muscle, causing some changes in the visco-elastic properties of the muscles. Some improvements in stretching are actually attributed to the individual’s increased tolerance to the discomfort of stretching.

What it doesn’t do:
1. No clear evidence that is reduces the risk of injury prior to activity
2. May decrease force production when done prior to explosive and/or maximal effort (such as jumping, maximal lifting, etc.).

Dynamic/Active Stretching

What it does:
Increases heat and fluid exchange to the tissue. This helps with elasticity to the soft tissue. Stimulates the nervous system and thereby prepares the body for activity.

What it doesn’t do:
Provide huge gains in range of motion

Some of the most up to date research on flexibility has shown that the most effective strategy for acute changes in ROM is self-myofascial release followed by either static or dynamic stretching. The research include using foam rollers, lacrosse or tennis balls, massage sticks and other implements.

Myofascial Mobility with Rhythm, Timing and Amplitude

Friday, May 10th, 2019

This video is one of the most effective underlying principles that we use to help people improve their mobility, especially when over-protective or hyper vigilant due to pain.

Using strategic movement focused on rhythm and timing with a controlled amplitude can have a profound influence on myofascial mobility.

This is not a substitute for or superior to other forms of addressing ROM and/or mobility. It is an approach to call upon, early in your intervention that may open some other opportunities for you.

This is a classic example of our “ask don’t tell” approach within the PFMS.

If nothing else, enjoy the struggle I have multiple times in this video with getting the word “expiration” to come out of my mouth 🙂

Core-Tex Full Body Mobility Part 2

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Core-Tex Full Body Mobility Part 1

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

We all know stretching and creating mobility does not sell as “sexy”. But there is no denying the role it plays in moving better, more comfortably and preparing for activity. The unique motion of the Core-Tex™ provides a completely different experience to improving mobility.

The motion of the Core-Tex™ encourages and guides the body into positions that address the tissue 3 dimensionally with ease. The mobility exercises with the Core-Tex™ are its “secret weapon” and one of the favorite applications of Core-Tex™ users.

Core-Tex Thoracic Spine Motion

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

This movement for the thoracic spine with the Core-Tex is sure to create improved mobility through the upper back and shoulder girdle. Varying the hand position gives you multiple options on how to influence the body.

What’s up with those Finger Shoes? Part 1

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011


Vibram’s Fivefingers

By Derrick Price MS, CPT, PES, CES

They’re ugly, funky and a bit pricey. And yet they’re ever increasing in popularity, especially in the health and fitness community. Personal trainers, doctors, massage therapists, chiropractors, and now, even your kids may be sporting them. So the obvious question for all of us: Should I trade in my traditional sneaks for a pair of these hideous contraptions?

To answer this question, we must first pose another: What is the purpose of wearing a shoe? We all have different reasons – style, support, protection, and comfort. Those are just a few reasons that come to mind. I’m no expert in fashion, so let’s explore support, protection, and comfort.


FiveFingers fall under a new category of shoe type called the Minimalist shoe – with the idea that they are as close to walking around barefoot without actually being barefoot. In other words, they provide as minimal support for your foot compared to your traditional athletic shoe. This can be good and/or bad.

The Good

Consider this – the foot has 33 joints, a plethora of muscles and connective tissue, and not to mention enough sensitive receptors that it rivals the tongue in its ability to feel the most minute details. What this means is our feet are designed to move dynamically over ever-changing surfaces. This unique structure is designed to create, slow down, and transfer the high-impact forces of walking, running, jumping, climbing, stepping, and squatting in all different directions. Now imagine what happens to our feet when we wear shoes and socks that squish our toes together and minimize foot movement? Not only do we lose the ability to create, slow down and transfer multi-directional forces through all 33 joints in the foot, we also lose the ability to feel the earth underneath us. This can have a huge impact on, both, our static posture and locomotion; which may lead to acute and chronic pain in other areas of the body such as ankle sprains, knee pain, low back stiffness and even shoulder/neck discomfort. Wearing a minimalist shoe like the Fivefingers may allow your body to re-capture the mobility that the feet are designed to have – resulting in improved posture and movement.

The Bad

No support for a foot that has lost the ability to move dynamically or never had the ability to begin with (e.g., structural abnormality) may have its fair share of negative consequences. It’s like asking a person who has driven an automatic their entire life to switch to manual. It may feel like you’re learning how to walk all over again .That’s where the “itis” may come out from hiding, e.g., plantarfascitis, tendonitis, bursitis. It’s a lot to ask the body to move without the support it has been accustomed to for decades; which is why, if you decide to give the Fivefingers a test run, understand it’s slow learning curve for, both, the mind and body.

In Part 2, we’ll explore how the Fivefingers differ in both protection and comfort. In Part 3, I’ll give you my recommendations on trying out a minimalist shoe. Until then, feel free to continue mocking those weirdos who think these finger shoes are cool.

Derrick Price MS, CPT, PES, CES has been active on many levels in the fitness industry for over 8 years. He holds a MS in Exercise Science and Health Promotion with an emphasis on injury prevention and performance enhancement from the California University of Pennsylvania where he has also spent time as an Adjunct Faculty member teaching courses in Exercise Program Design. Aside from personal training 20 hours a week, Derrick also is a Master Trainer for ViPR and PowerPlate. He began his educational career as a Master Instructor for the National Academy of Sports Medicine and has since moved on to become a Faculty Member for the Personal Training Academy Global.