Getting Back To Basics

Wed. Dec 30, 2015

Well we are just about to close out 2015.  This was not a great year for me… I, for one am glad 2015 is in the books and ready to move on.  Hopefully, 2016 will bring some joy.

Let’s talk about health/fitness goals since that’s what I do.

My focus will continue to be “bodywork”.  Posture, movement mechanics, Foundation Training, corrective exercise, and floor work.  I’m really liking the floor work!  This involves crawling, rolling and animal movements.  It looks easy…but is quite challenging!  

This type of work is all about going back to basics.  Getting our posture corrected is the first step.  Our bodies are not going to function mechanically as well as they should if our posture is poor.  Poor posture is epidemic and just about the leading cause of neck, shoulder and back pain.

The New Year is here.  The best time to always start fresh…start over!  Start with learning what some of your posture issues  are and correcting them.  I can promise you there is much more to it that just standing up straight.  Some of the things I teach are quite challenging.  

For those of us in our middle age years this type of work is going to “young you up”!  I have been doing Foundation Training over 2 years now.  My posture is great and my back is so much stronger and does not lock up anymore.  My hips are much more mobile.  I know how to perform movements safely.   Something as simple as loading a dishwasher matters!  There is nothing more important…at least for me than being able to move well and have my health as I age.  I watch people all the time…the way they move, the way they stand, how their head sits on their head…a lot of these people will be much younger than me.  They probably have no idea why they are walking slumped over or with their feet pointing outward?Posture can be improved and movement patterns can be corrected… You just have to know what the faults are in order to apply the corrections.  

Start your new year by getting back to basics.  Posture work, core work, movement pattern work, Foundation Training, some floor work and more!  This is the best way to work out.  It works for me….it can work for you!

Contact me with any questions you may have.  

Have a great day!

WHY WE SHOULD “SQUAT”

Dec 26, 2015

Well now, it’s the day after Christmas…how many of you feeling tired, full and the thought of moving around today is dreadful?   Just lay there for now with that cup of coffee and read the article.

If the thought of performing a “squat” seems impossible or you’re thinking, why in the world would I need to being doing squats?  I’m talking about bodyweight squats…not weighted squats.  The reason you should be performing bodyweight squats regularly is they are about the most beneficial movement for the body.  Squats are absolutely awesome for the spine, the ankles, hips and the muscle groups that work during the squat.  

Just 3 short years ago I could not do a full squat either.  Actually, had no desire too and saw no point in it.  Plus, half way down I thought my back would pop out of place.  Then I was introduced to FOUNDATION TRAINING!  Everything changed after that.  Foundation Training addressed a lot of my hip flexor tightness, my low back & hamstring tightness, and some weakness in my low back and glutei.  Even though, I have been stretching for years…FT was different!  FT gets the whole chain of muscles to work together…you become stronger and more mobile that ever.  

BENEFITS OF DEEP SQUATTING

ANKLE MOBILITY

Limited ankle dorsiflexion range of motion is a common problem linked to a number of other issues in the body, including overpronation, bad posture, and runner’s knee. A loss of ankle mobility is caused by both inflexibility in the calf muscles and Achilles tendon, and stiffness in the joint. A proper squat, with the heels flat on the floor, requires good flexibility at the ankle.  Exercise for the feet and ankles is one of the most important things you can do to improve your body.  No one thinks about the feet…if the feet don’t work well…other parts of the body will suffer.

HIP STRENGTHENING

If you notice when you sit down that your knees move inward…you have weakness in you hips.  Learning to squat properly will make the hip move outward and strengthen the muscles of the hip and leg.  I see a lot of women with this pattern.

REDUCE BACK PAIN

Yes, even I thought at one time I would make my back worse by squatting…I was wrong!  Once I loosened up the hip flexors (thru FT) I could squat like I was a kid.  Freeing up the hip flexors allowing my pelvis some room to move into a squat.  So many muscles of the leg (front and back) are attached to and around the pelvis.  

GLUTE STRENGTH

If you sit on your butt all day at your job…then you most likely have weak glutei.  They can not be working if you are sitting. Squatting is excellent for the glute muscles.  Actually, you will have to pretty much go down more than hip level to really get into the glute.  The glute muscles are large muscles and help us perform many movements of the hip and legs.  We need strong glutei!

POSTURE

My favorite reason of all…make squatting a habit.  Squats help so many joints and muscles get stronger and more mobile that your posture will improve.  Good posture is everything!  Good posture is better balance, better movement, better health, strength and confidence.  Challenge yourself.

I hope someone became inspired or challenged today.  

I can help you move better and feel better.  Contact me for an assessment or to talk about what you may need.  Start the New Year off by getting to know your body and learning what it is capable of doing.

Have a great day!

MERRY CHRISTMAS

12/25/15

Merry Christmas to all!

Here in Mississippi we are having a balmy wet day.  No matter though…  It is still Christmas.  Enjoy the gifts, the food, the family and friends.  Thank the good Lord for another day and the life that you have.

Get ready for 2016… I plan to focus my writings and teaching on MOVEMENT!   I will still be teaching plenty of FOUNDATION TRAINING… FT is at the core of everything I do.  

Have a great day everyone!

TIGHT HAMSTRINGS

Tue 12/22/15

Who has tight hamstrings?  Well, almost everyone has tight hamstrings.  This is one of the most common muscle groups with muscle tightness.  The hamstrings help us extend our hip when walking, helps us bend our knee and helps to tuck our pelvis under (which I hate seeing anyone do).  This is why sitting for long periods at a time is so bad.  When sitting your hip is closed down (shortened), your knee is bent (flexed) and most people sit with their body slumped (pelvis tucked under).  This positions cause the hamstrings to be short, tight and even weak.  Day after day…year after year…at the job…adds up to back problems, knee problems, adult scoliosis, neck problems and more.

First of all, are your hamstrings really the problem?

This may seem silly or obvious, but just because you can’t touch your toes doesn’t necessarily mean your hamstrings are to blame for your limited range of motion. There can be quite a few structures in your “posterior chain” that are limiting your movement (especially if you have a job that requires you to sit or drive for long periods of time).
For example, your calves (gastrocnemius muscles) cross the knee joint, so restrictions there can make keeping your knees straight harder than it should be.
Also, the connections from your deep hip muscles (glutes, piriformis, gemelli, etc.) can affect the ease in which your pelvis tilts, thus affecting how you bend forward at the hip.

Another factor could be the tightness of the fascial interconnections between your muscle groups (picture this as your muscles being “stuck together,” and thus they don’t slide freely beside each other).

Then there’s joint restrictions at your lower back and pelvis, which can cause increased tension throughout your hips and legs. With these, people often feel much more freedom in their motion after doing exercises that limber up the spine (without stretching their legs much at all).

Or it could be a combination of all of the above, which is definitely common with flexibility issues.

So, yes your hamstrings may be tight, but that might just be a small part of the problem (an outward symptom) and you’d want to address all of these issues first.
What to do about this?

First…get assessed.  That’s what I do.  How well do you Doris flex?  Can you hinge your hip?  Do you over pronate?  Is your pelvis tucked?  What is your head position?  Can you turn your head side to side or do you have to turn your body?  You need to know some of your habits in order to start corrections.

Second…Learn how to breathe properly.  Oxygen is so beneficial for the body…yet so many people breathe so shallow.  Oxygen heals tissue and helps regenerate cells…and it just makes you feel better!

Third…pick one or two areas in the body to work on…get them working better.  We can’t improve everything at once!  It takes time.  Some things improve quickly while others take more focus.

Most importantly…learn FOUNDATION TRAINING!  I can not tell you how good FT is for the body…the whole body.  FOUNDATION TRAINING will turn on so many muscles that have become weak and tight because of lack of use or improper use.  It’s 2016…make a change.  Stop popping a pill every time you hurt.  Don’t go to the ER because you have terrible back pain…they can not fix it!  

Anyone and everyone can benefit from FOUNDATION TRAINING!  It’s good stuff!

MOVEMENT IS WHAT WE NEED

Sunday 12/20/15

“What is more useful and rewarding for you and your clients?”

1. Learning to move in complex patterns that build strength, mobility, coordination, are in tune with our form, improve the brain by engaging in the process of learning and make you look awesome at house parties?
Or 
2. Generic dumbbell rows and chest presses?
I have been in the fitness industry many years.  Yes, I used to get in that gym a lift weights…heavy weights…all the time.  Used to have my clients doing it also.  Nothing wrong with lifting weights… I still lift a little.  Much lighter and not so often.  Like the saying goes: I wish I knew then what I know now!

The fitness world I live in today is all about MOVEMENT!  It is much easier to train to get stronger or more powerful.  Keep increasing the load, reps and force…strength and power will come!  Sometimes it comes at a cost if this is all you do.

Training for better movement is much more difficult….especially a little later in life after all the injury, tightness, weakness, and imbalances have been present for so long.  The brain has been adapting to compensate for the imbalances and so forth.  

For those of you reading this who do not know what I mean..

If you flop down into your chair or onto the toilet seat, if you would rather leave something on the floor because it hurts to pick it up, if you won’t pick something up (medium weight) because you fear your back will go, if you have not been down on the floor since you were a child…

You definitely have movement issues.  The more you avoid movements that trouble you…the greater the weakness and instability will become.  This is a fact: USE IT OR LOOSE IT!  

I see it to many times…50 year old women who can’t use their hips properly…they compensate and use their low back.  Men who can not straighten their arms over head because their shoulders are so tight from all those bench presses thru the years.  Young people 20 &30 years old with their necks sticking so far out because they have had technology since they were born.  Not a big deal to them right now, but it will be one day when the pain sets in because of all the compensation patterns that have developed over the years.

Those of you wanting to work on your fitness in 2016… Work on your MOVEMENT!  Most trainers do not even teach movement.  Like I said earlier in this article…I am a fan of working out, but work on your movement first.

If a person can move properly thru large range of motions your strength will already be increased…because you do not have to compensate so much.  

Learn how to crawl and practice that.  Learn how to roll properly and practice on a regular basis.  Watch tv in a squat or in a figure 4 sit…a few minutes at a time.  This will do way more for you that any bench press or leg press…EVER!

Christmas is around the corner… If you see yourself or loved one in this article…give the gift of “MOVEMENT”!