Archive for the ‘Flexibility Training’ Category

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

– Dr. Seuss

Some experts claim that stretching is a bad idea and they aren’t wrong! If you stretch too much or attempt to stretch without the right goals or proper instruction, it could lead to disastrous outcomes. Most people are unaware of the components of good stretching. Determining goals and learning what type of stretching that works best for you are most important to avoid pain and injury.

Stretching can not only prevent injury but help to promote health and wellness.

Stretching can not only prevent injury but help to promote health and wellness.

The 2 main goals to consider when stretching are whether you want to just prep the muscles for strenuous activity or whether you would like to lengthen the muscles to increase range of motion and improve movement? If you are getting ready for a work out or about to do strenuous activity the type of stretching that would be better suited for you would be Ballistic, which involves bouncing , or a short duration static stretches, which involves holding a stretch for a short period of time. You also want to make sure that you are stretching target muscles that you will be utilizing. If you are looking to improve your range of motion and optimize movement while recorrecting your posture, then you would be more suited to visit a specialist that can help teach you Static, Active Isolated, and/or PNF stretching that would include the proper movements, adequate amounts of pressure and durations, and tips to avoid overstretching.
The idea behind stretching, either for activity prep or for increasing range of motion, is to avoid injury. Stretching increases blood flow to the area which increases localized temperature making the muscle fibers more pliable and easier to reduce muscular tension. The increase in blood flow also brings nutrients to the area that assists in the recovery of muscle tissue from activity and injury. With benefits like that, it should be an easy choice that stretching is a good move, but remember to stretch smart and stretch well. Always remember to seek professional advice on stretching from professionals such as chiropractors, massage therapist, personal trainers, and rehab specialists!

Advertisements

 

“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.”

Helen Keller

Do you suffer from chronic neck and upper shoulder pain on a regular basis and can’t figure out why? Perhaps you are one of the 66-90% of the population that suffers from a very common condition know as Forward Head Posture (FHP).42lbhead_free

FHP can be recognized when, from a profile or side view, a person’s ear is positioned in front of the shoulder rather than directly over it – in proper posture. This condition caused by poor posture causes the head to lean forward and for every inch that the head falls forward the head gains 10lbs worth of weight on the muscles of the neck and shoulders. The addition strain causes these muscles to work much harder to hold the head from flopping forward. When this type of stress is put on muscles for a long period of time, the body reacts by laying down scar tissue in the muscle fibers for stability. The strain on the muscles and the addition of scar tissue limits flexibility and causes additional pressure on the nerves in the neck which increases pain and fatigue. If left untreated and FHP becomes severe enough, it will not only cause long duration tension headaches, but can also increase blood pressure, cause disc herniations, arthritis, pinched nerves, and even distortions in the eyes and ears that could lead to mental disorders.

Over a period of time, forward head posture can lead to a “hunchback” like Igor!

Over a period of time, forward head posture can lead to a “hunchback” like Igor!

There is hope in correcting FHP: starting by identifying the incorrect posture through postural analysis, the following step would be to stretch out the muscles the have become tightened then strengthen the weak muscles so that you are able to hold your head up in proper posture. It’s always good to seek the advice of a professional, such as a chiropractor, to ensure there aren’t any major skeletal problems as well as a massage therapist to help ease the tension in the muscles. The same professionals can show you the proper stretches and exercises to prevent the havoc of FHP!

 

“Diligence is the mother of good luck ”

-Benjamin Franklin

 

It’s no surprise to anyone that athlete’s will do just about anything to optimize their performance. Athlete’s will do extended training, extreme workouts, and learn new techniques to take them to the top. Another  element that many may not consider is the use of therapeutic massage to achieve better results. The utilization of massage for athletes is not a new idea, massage has been used by athletes for many years to produce better outcome in their respective sports. In fact, “in the first Olympic games of 776 BC, athletes received massage before an event. Afterwards, the competitors would take a dip in a hot bath, receive massage and then dip in a cold bath to prepare their muscles for the next event.” There are many benefits of massage therapy that can promote an athlete’s recovery and
optimize their performance.

Whether you are enjoying a recreational adventure race...

Whether you are enjoying a recreational adventure race…

Massage is a form of passive stretching so the application will help to keep the athlete’s muscles flexible and prepared for intense work. The amount of stress and damage done to an athlete’s muscles during their activities produces waste and pain in the body. Providing massage will help increase circulation which brings fresh blood that is full of nutrients to the areas needed, which reduces recovery time. Increased circulation also helps with the removal of the harmful wastes in the body as well as decreases pain that may limit performance. Relaxation is one of the simplest and best benefits of massage this will help the athlete to calm the nervous system which reduces anxiety, improves focus, and makes it easier to sleep which helps in the recovery process. Recently, researchers at McMaster University reported that deep massage after an intense workout actually causes muscles to enlarge and grow new mitochondria! Mitochondira, the powerhouses of our cells, are responsible for converting nutrients into useful energy. This research makes it easy to see why the addition of
massage to an athlete’s routine would help them on their road to gold!

...or you are training at an elite level, massage can  help you get the gold!

…or you are training at an elite level, massage can help you get the gold!

“Consciousness is only possible through change; change is only possible through movement.”
― Aldous HuxleyThe Art of Seeing

 

As you have read before in past BLOGS,  low back pain is among one of the most frequent injuries suffered by most in the world. One of the main reasons for low back pain is because of Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Dysfunction. The SI Joint can be anatomically defined as the articulation where the Ilium of the Hip bones meet the Sacrum. The joint itself is protected and surrounded by many ligaments and muscles. Now why is this information so important to you?SIJOINT

The SI Joint is responsible in acting like a shock absorber to disperse energy from the upper body to the lower body and vice-versa. Each SI Joint is supposed to move independently as you bend, twist, squat, and take steps. It’s easy to understand that if the SI Joints aren’t moving properly
it would cause pain and difficulty in movement in our body just the same as if the shock absorbers on a car were to malfunction, it would be a pretty rough ride.

Sudden trauma such as falls, sports injuries, and car accidents can top the list of reasons for SI Joint dysfunctions, but poor posture can also contribute as well. Whether it is an accident or just poor posture, the body will respond by tightening the muscles that surround the joints as well
as laying down scar tissue in the ligaments and tendons. This is the body’s response to protect it from additional injury, but if proper recovery and treatment isn’t followed, the scar tissue and tight muscles remain, causing limited motion in the joints which eventually leads to more problems.

The best way to keep fluid motion in the joints and avoid future
problems is to stay loose and retain great posture. Seek help and advice from professionals such as chiropractors, massage therapists, and physical therapists. They will be able to provide you additional information, assessments, treatments, and advice to optimize your SI Joint health and keeping you moving!

“Practice, and all is coming”

– Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

I have so many clients, especially male clients,  that come to in search of the best way to stay pain free and the simple response is to stretch more. The usual response that I get is “I don’t like to stretch, it’s boring” or “I don’t know how to do it right.” There is an easy solution to this, Yoga. I don’t practice nearly as much as I should, however; I am a huge advocate of utilizing the technique to optimize flexibility and health. To help explain the many benefits of Yoga and how it can positively effect an man’s health, I will put the following entry in the hands of Ken Immer. Ken is one of my clients and friends who hosts weekly yoga sessions catered to men specifically.

Men &Yoga

By: Ken Immerken1

 

I have been teaching yoga for over 10 years, and to this day, it surprises me that more men are not practicing yoga. When new men show up for their first class with me, I always ask them how they feel after my class, and the answer 99% of the time is “It’s not what I thought it was… at all.” This response can sometimes be a surprise because I may have actually talked to the guy before hand and convinced him to come check it out. Clearly, the invitation was understood and taken, but the message about what a yoga class IS often was not. The guys always say that “It was a lot harder than I expected” or “That was an amazing workout.” or “I can’t believe how relaxed I feel.” These are the messages that I want to convey: yes, it is a tough workout, you will sweat, and yes, you will feel relaxed and rejuvenated after practicing. All yoga classes, however, are not created equal when it comes to the first two, and that’s where some of the confusion comes in, but every class will always give you the last one. Which is one of the biggest reason to do it. We all could use a little less stress. The difference with the first two is your own current fitness level and attitude, and there is a yoga for everyone out there.

 yogaken
Most men believe that yoga is something soft and feminine, and it can be. But a key attribute of yoga practice is balance, so along with a feminine side, there is a stronger, harder, masculine side. Yoga was originally designed BY men FOR men’s bodies. We have a natural tendency to be stronger, and many yoga practices develop and rely on this strength, but are often omitted from yoga classes that are mostly attended by women. So, yeah, what you may have heard is sometimes true, but not always, and it depends on the style of yoga and the individual teacher. Sounds confusing, right? Well how do you get to the right class? The answer is just going to your first class and giving it a try.  However, at first it’s important to understand a little about a yoga practice. It’s a lot like any other exercise or sport. When you first start lifting weights, you don’t just go right for the 400 lb. bench press. A good trainer will first use lighter weights to help you learn good form first, and then start to add more weight gradually once you have the fundamentals. Yoga is the same. Your first beginner’s class, for most, will not be the hardest workout of your life, although if you are starting very out of shape, it will likely take some wind out of you and make you sweat, but a seasoned athlete will likely not consider it incredibly challenging. This is completely normal. Your first class is simply learning form and function. Getting used to being barefoot (did they tell you we don’t wear shoes in class?), understanding the format of the class (which often begins with a meditative ‘centering’ and some basic breathing practices, and ends with a complete, on-your-back-with-eyes-closed resting period called “corpse pose” or “savasana” (that’s the technical term, but we won’t get into that here.). Your second class, you might actually start to hear some of the more subtle cues that a good instructor will give instead of just trying to figure out how to get your foot up to the top of the mat, or sit still for as long as the teacher might ask you to. The fact is, it’s an alien world for your first several classes, but believe me when I tell you that it’s worth the investment, and if you give it the chance, you actually start to get the benefits from day 1. So what are these benefits, you ask? Greater flexibility, greater lung capacity, better balance, a truly stronger core that you can feel all the way out to your arms, and of course, there is the benefits of increased sex drive and performance, just to name a few. Once you learn some basic fundamentals, a whole new world of body awareness seems to blossom in front of your eyes. Muscles that you never knew you had start to get stronger, and at the same time, your flexibility will INCREASE, which is quite the opposite that happens with dedicated weight training. Your body becomes more efficient because the breathing exercises help to draw more oxygen into your bloodstream and your breathing becomes deeper. All of these benefits add up to a more relaxed and vital you! This is why the practice is so amazing: it will improve your overall performance in all physical areas of your life. You will sleep better, you will feel better, you will have better balance, and you will feel stronger at the core of your being. And best of all, you can advance at your own rate, attending more and more challenging classes as you feel ready.
 yogaman1
Some men do well using nothing but yoga as an exercise, others will find that regular yoga practice (even only once per week) will benefit all other exercise routines and sports. So if you’re interested in achieving top performance and seeing breakthrough results in your life, yoga is the key. So the elusive, “right class for you” becomes the $64k question. How do I find a studio/teacher that is right for me? You have to ask around! Call the local studios and ask them about how their style of yoga might be for you. One of the fundamental teachings of yoga is that everyone is an individual, and there is no “one right way” to practice. This is why there are so many styles and types of yoga. Living in Charleston, we have an amazing array of styles, teachers, and methods to choose from so it may take some looking and experimenting, but remember, each class is delivering on that long list of benefits, even when you don’t feel like the particular class was “for you”. So it’s never a waste of time. There is an incredible online resource www.yogaformen.comand it’s brother facebook page that I would recommend you check out if you are ready to start exploring the yoga path. It can help you sort through the variety, and actually connect you with other men who are seeking and who have found their yoga practice. There are currently two specific “Men’s only” yoga classes in North Charleston that are offered weekly on Mondays and Thursdays, which can be great for guys who might be apprehensive to a room full of super-flexible women. Every studio in town also has a “beginner’s series” that they will offer at least monthly, and there are always at least a FEW guys in each beginner series, so you won’t be the only one.
The biggest piece of advice I can ever give a man who is giving yoga a try is to do it for at LEAST 6 weeks (1 or 2 times per week) before your make any decisions about its results. It can take this long just to get acclimated because it is so different from anything you have ever done. The reason you are considering it is because you are still looking to increase performance, right? Or maybe it’s because you simply need a form of exercise that is less dangerous and impactful than your current choice. Whatever the reason, yoga IS different, and it can be for you. All you have to do is be open minded to the possibility that it is for you.
Yoga4Menyogaman2
Thursdays, 6:30pm – 7:45pm
Armory Park
5000 Lackawana Blvd.
North Charleston, SC 29405
$5-10 (donation class)
Men’s Yoga
Mondays, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Barefoot Yoga Studio
1050 E. Montague Ave.
North Charleston, SC 29405
$15 drop in, ($12 with membership)

“Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones the spirit just as exercise conditions the body. ”
Arnold Schwarzenegger

How many times have you caught yourself avoiding working out because you are too sore or are not getting the results that you are looking for with weight training due to the lack of that extra push? What if there was a way to get around those obstacles? Thereis a way – Therapeutic Massage!
Lactic acids build up in the muscles due to exercise leads to DOMS or delayed
onset muscle soreness, poor muscle fiber and joint movement, and difficulty in the healing of the muscles. Studies have shown that massage flushes the muscles of built up toxins, including lactic acid. Massage also loosens the muscle fibers increasing the joints’ range of motions; therefore, allowing the muscles to repair and increase in size and strength at an accelerated rate. Receiving regular therapeutic massage in conjunction with your normal workout routines will not only help the muscles heal faster, but also
significantly reduces pain and soreness. By having the ability for your muscles to recover and build strength faster, you are able to get back to training sooner and gain more of your desired results.
Studies have also shown that massage is also a great way to decrease blood
pressure and increase energy giving you a euphoric effect that will make working out more fun and more desirable. The best part of it all is that therapeutic massage is not targeted at one specific group. The benefits of therapeutic massage can be appreciated by everyone from the competing body builder to the semi-pro athlete to the everyday person trying to get back in shape and stay fit.

“Correction does much, but encouragement does more.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Exercise is one of the most beneficial activities that we can do for our health and wellness, but yet we see so many people avoid this task that seems dreadful to them. There are many reasons that top the list of  why people don’t want to exercise including not enough time, boredom, pain, but most importantly people don’t really know how to do exercises properly.

Corrective exercises are exercises that are designed to not only regain proper movement but maintain proper posture as well. These exercises will create a strong foundation to build stability upon.  It is after a client has mastered the corrective exercises that they can move on to functional exercises that will help the client to move, feel, and be better.

If you would like to learn more about corrective exercising, listen in to the Healthy U radio show on www.kinetichifi.com this Saturday the 6th from 2-4pm EST. I will be chatting with Justin Price of  Aspire Fitness & Wellness who is a personal trainer specializing in corrective exercising. We will be discussing how to become more educated in corrective exercising and how it can  dramatically benefit your life.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.