Hip Mobility / Flexibility / Stability Drills 6 – Dynamic Hip FADDER

This is my favourite. I can turn up, do some bear crawls and these and I will be good to squat in 5mins or less.

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Hip Mobility / Flexibility / Stability Drills 5 – Child’s Pose Complex – Level 1

This Child’s Pose Complex – Level 1 is a nice way to integrate a lot of different movements.

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Hip Mobility / Flexibility / Stability Drills 3 – Sciatic Nerve Mobilizations

OK…this is one of my “go-to” exercises.

If you have back pain or an easily flared up nervous system, just check with your health professional first please. Having said that, I use this exercise with people in pain all the time but I am very careful not to aggravate or stimulate pain.

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Hip Mobility / Flexibility / Stability Drills 2 – Scoops v2

This drill is is another variation of the Scoops exercise – again, it is a sciatic nerve mobilisation.

Keep the movement primarily in the hips and then reach for the feet. This will ensure your sciatic nerve will get a good mobilisation. Don’t hold the position – there shouldn’t be any pins and needles, numbeness or pain when you do these. Just move through and keep working on improving your range slowly.

Again, follow the 30secs rule – do 30secs and retest whatever movement you are using. If you get improvement, do 30secs more, if not, just stop and move on.

Thanks to Rom Riad from Live Active Personal Training for modelling.

Have a read of the theory post here or below the video.

***Remember the competition*** post a video on youtube, instagram or facebook and tag me on it – Do all 10 in a one shot sequence and if you produce the best video, I will give you a free 1hr Skype consultation worth $180.

I wish my overhead lunges look that good...

I wish my overhead lunges look that good…

So the upcoming 10 exercises will publish over the next 2 weeks are to help improve how your hips move. These are some of the most commonly prescribed exercises I prescribe. This post is about explaining why I give these exercises and the principles behind the process. You can take these principles and apply them to the many different exercises you do. This list of 10 are not exhaustive nor even the BEST because for some of you, these exercises won’t do much…but many of you, it will make a difference.

My post yesterday explained a bit about them…this has a lot more information…

***COMPETITION INFORMATION BELOW***

 

 

 

 

The Principles:

Here are the principles behind the order I am giving them to you and the guidelines for their use.

open-uri20130831-29662-14c6afg1. Neural system first.

The neural system is what powers your muscles, controls your joints and basically oversees the whole operation we call “our body”. Quite often (most of the time) a restriction in our mobility (our ability to move freely with the normal range of motion we have), flexibility (how far we can move at best without damage), and stability (how well we can control our posture, position and movement) is the reason why the brain causes our muscles to “lock up” our joints. Most people who come to me reporting their hip flexors are “tight” are actually too tight posteriorly in the hip and it causes a shunting of the femoral head in the hip socket. The hip flexors are just trying to protect you from dislocating your hip out the front or at the every least trying to stop you banging hard on that labrum that might be getting sore.

So work with the body and listen to it. The first step in improving your mobility/flexibility/stability is to calm the nervous system down – that is what a lot of these exercises are doing, NOT stretching muscles. They are gradually exposing your body to different neural stimuli to help develop trust and motion in the body – you will notice that the first few are quite simple before we head into the more complicated “complexes”.

The nerves in these exercises will be those in the diagram…the brachial plexus, spinal nerves, intercostal nerves, femoral nerves, sciatic nerves in particular. Treat nerves nicely and tenderly or they will really flare up any pain you have…you have been warned! NO PAIN.

 

support2. Supported movements

Exercises 1-8 are somewhat supported and exercises 9 and 10 are are a lot more active. None of them are truly passive because flexibility without control is dangerous. It is far better that you take a scaled option and move comfortably through these exercises…it doesn’t matter if you can’t go as deep or feel it as strongly…what matters is that you move through that range of motion without pain, feeling safe and stable. This is the key to allowing your brain to go from “protection” mode into “adaption” mode.

If you feel pain, discomfort, a strong stretch, unsteady, unstable, off-balance, whatever…if you feel any of that, your brain will try to protect you and WILL NOT let go of the very muscles that you are trying to target.

You problem is that those muscles are overactive and acting as stabilizers when it IS NOT THEIR JOB to be a stabilizer.

Retraining the brain is what we are trying to do here. If you want the brain to cooperate, make it feel safe and supported.

active3. Active movements

I have lots of variations of these exercises which include more twists and turns – feel free to improvise – there is no WRONG way to do things, just that there are some ways better than others.

A common saying I have is “which way do I want you to do this exercise (like a squat)? ALL of the ways”. I want your brain to have access to a positive experience of mobility/flexibility/stability/strength in end of ranges positions and throughout the WHOLE range of motion. This is the key – V A R I A B I L I T Y is the king. If you can competently squat with a narrow stance, wide stance, hips back, knees forwards, deep, shallow, mega-upright, low bar, high bar, front, OHS, safety bar, belt, air, dumbbells, barbells, plates, split squats, etc etc etc, then you are most likely to be as insured against problems as you can be. If you can only squat a few different ways, you have less variability in your game and will be prone to problems.

Overcooked4. #tensiontotask

This concept is simply applying JUST THE RIGHT amount of tension to complete the task with good posture, positions and movement. Don’t “overcook” it. Don’t be loosey-goosey. It is virtuosity i am after, not how hard you can squeeze your muscles!

5. #spreadtheload

This concept is about breathing and holding your breath (Valsalva if you will) – I don’t care how you breathe or hold your breath. It is harder to breathe throughout these movements but if you have to hold your breath, consider it a scaled version of the exercise and progress towards breathing. if you do hold your breath, make sure the tension from holding your breath is spread around the whole of your chest, abdomen and back like a cylinder. More on this concept will be coming soon.

 

30-seconds6. The 30-seconds Rule

This means that you choose a movement you want to improve – bending over or squatting or lunging are good ones for the hips. Then you do 1 rep on 1 side of these exercises or maybe you can do 2 reps on one side. Then you retest. Then you do the other side for 30secs and then retest. If you progress in your movement quality, you have permission to go again for 30secs on each side. You repeat until there are no more gains. This rule applies to foam rolling, using a lacrosse ball or any other stretch or exercise you like to do as a warm-up.

 

 

 

 

rx_symbol_black_italic_plain7. Prescription for these drills

  • Do them in order for the best effect but each can be done on their own – remember the principles above!
  • I recommend following the 30secs rule – sometimes twice through is enough. As many as 5 reps or more might be needed (if so, it’s time to speak to someone about the stress in your life!)
  • NO PAIN – I mean it. That goes for anything you are trying to learn or retrain the brain in. Sometimes my techniques might hurt but I really do carefully weigh up why I am doing it and I try to minimise the pain as much as possible. There shouldn’t be pins and needles, numbness, soreness, discomfort etc etc. It should be a comfortable effort/stretch. if it makes you pull a face, it is too much…scale back!! You will get much better results this way in the long run.
  • If you have any hip or back or shoulder pathology or pain, please check with your health professional about these exercises…they are meant to be as a guide for healthy people but with guidance for those with pain or pathlogies, they can be extremely effective in helping you get out of pain. These exercises are for informational purposes only and DO NOT take the place of seeing your health professional
  • NO PAIN – read that bit again!

 

keep-calm-its-almost-competition-time-5Competition Information:

I want to see your attempts at these exercises – tag me on instagram or twitter with @physiodetective or post it on my FB page at http://www.facebook.com/physiodetective. Just one rep should be enough on one side (15secs won’t be long enough for some of these exercises!). Thanks again to Vicki Smart from Peacock Dreams – Yoga With Vicki Smart and Rom Riad from Live Active Personal Training for being great models.

I will give free feedback (as humanly possible) for anyone posting their exercises.

I would like to use the best ones as examples of how to do them and any variations you have on them please – I will cite/reference your name, business (any business) and website for those that I choose.

I am offering a 1hr Skype/in person appointment consultation (Value $180) for the person that can produce the BEST video that has 1 rep on each side of each of the 10 exercises IN ONE TAKE (no editing). That video (it will have to be on YouTube or Vimeo) will be featured in a blog post with your details on it.

 

Last Words

OK gang – I hope you are ready for the release of these exercises with video! I’m glad to be sharing with you some of what works for me and my clients.

Remember…what I do is not rocket science…it is simply specific for you and for your body. If you don’t find these exercises are good or helpful for you, that’s ok…book an appointment in with someone (or me) and get something specific for you.

Have a good weekend and check your email or this blog at 7am Monday morning Australian Eastern Time.

Hip Mobility / Flexibility / Stability Drills 1 – See-Saw Walks / Scoops v1

This is a great exercise for getting the Sciatic nerve warmed up as well as learning how to dissociate your hips from your back.

Be sure to bend from the hips to load up the legs before allowing your back to bend. It is ok to let your back and neck round when reaching because it will mobilise the spinal cord. If you are doing this for stability, remember the 3 points of contact with a stick behind you – back of head, mid back and tailbone should all be in the one line.

This exercise requires mobility, flexibility and stability so it is a great warm up drill. Really flexible people will find this exercise easy – try to stay square through the hips and keep the flexion at the hips only.

Remember: this is about the neural system first of all. Keep it pain free and do 30secs at a time.

Thanks to Vicki Smart from Peacock Dreams – Yoga with Vicki Smart for modelling.

Remember the key points as per the theory post here or below the video

***Remember the competition*** post a video on youtube, instagram or facebook and tag me on it – Do all 10 in a one shot sequence and if you produce the best video, I will give you a free 1hr Skype consultation worth $180.

Here is the text from the Theory Post

I wish my overhead lunges look that good...

I wish my overhead lunges look that good…

So the upcoming 10 exercises will publish over the next 2 weeks are to help improve how your hips move. These are some of the most commonly prescribed exercises I prescribe. This post is about explaining why I give these exercises and the principles behind the process. You can take these principles and apply them to the many different exercises you do. This list of 10 are not exhaustive nor even the BEST because for some of you, these exercises won’t do much…but many of you, it will make a difference.

My post yesterday explained a bit about them…this has a lot more information…

***COMPETITION INFORMATION BELOW***

 

 

 

The Principles:

Here are the principles behind the order I am giving them to you and the guidelines for their use.

open-uri20130831-29662-14c6afg1. Neural system first.

The neural system is what powers your muscles, controls your joints and basically oversees the whole operation we call “our body”. Quite often (most of the time) a restriction in our mobility (our ability to move freely with the normal range of motion we have), flexibility (how far we can move at best without damage), and stability (how well we can control our posture, position and movement) is the reason why the brain causes our muscles to “lock up” our joints. Most people who come to me reporting their hip flexors are “tight” are actually too tight posteriorly in the hip and it causes a shunting of the femoral head in the hip socket. The hip flexors are just trying to protect you from dislocating your hip out the front or at the every least trying to stop you banging hard on that labrum that might be getting sore.

So work with the body and listen to it. The first step in improving your mobility/flexibility/stability is to calm the nervous system down – that is what a lot of these exercises are doing, NOT stretching muscles. They are gradually exposing your body to different neural stimuli to help develop trust and motion in the body – you will notice that the first few are quite simple before we head into the more complicated “complexes”.

The nerves in these exercises will be those in the diagram…the brachial plexus, spinal nerves, intercostal nerves, femoral nerves, sciatic nerves in particular. Treat nerves nicely and tenderly or they will really flare up any pain you have…you have been warned! NO PAIN.

 

support2. Supported movements

Exercises 1-8 are somewhat supported and exercises 9 and 10 are are a lot more active. None of them are truly passive because flexibility without control is dangerous. It is far better that you take a scaled option and move comfortably through these exercises…it doesn’t matter if you can’t go as deep or feel it as strongly…what matters is that you move through that range of motion without pain, feeling safe and stable. This is the key to allowing your brain to go from “protection” mode into “adaption” mode.

If you feel pain, discomfort, a strong stretch, unsteady, unstable, off-balance, whatever…if you feel any of that, your brain will try to protect you and WILL NOT let go of the very muscles that you are trying to target.

You problem is that those muscles are overactive and acting as stabilizers when it IS NOT THEIR JOB to be a stabilizer.

Retraining the brain is what we are trying to do here. If you want the brain to cooperate, make it feel safe and supported.

active3. Active movements

I have lots of variations of these exercises which include more twists and turns – feel free to improvise – there is no WRONG way to do things, just that there are some ways better than others.

A common saying I have is “which way do I want you to do this exercise (like a squat)? ALL of the ways”. I want your brain to have access to a positive experience of mobility/flexibility/stability/strength in end of ranges positions and throughout the WHOLE range of motion. This is the key – V A R I A B I L I T Y is the king. If you can competently squat with a narrow stance, wide stance, hips back, knees forwards, deep, shallow, mega-upright, low bar, high bar, front, OHS, safety bar, belt, air, dumbbells, barbells, plates, split squats, etc etc etc, then you are most likely to be as insured against problems as you can be. If you can only squat a few different ways, you have less variability in your game and will be prone to problems.

Overcooked4. #tensiontotask

This concept is simply applying JUST THE RIGHT amount of tension to complete the task with good posture, positions and movement. Don’t “overcook” it. Don’t be loosey-goosey. It is virtuosity i am after, not how hard you can squeeze your muscles!

5. #spreadtheload

This concept is about breathing and holding your breath (Valsalva if you will) – I don’t care how you breathe or hold your breath. It is harder to breathe throughout these movements but if you have to hold your breath, consider it a scaled version of the exercise and progress towards breathing. if you do hold your breath, make sure the tension from holding your breath is spread around the whole of your chest, abdomen and back like a cylinder. More on this concept will be coming soon.

 

30-seconds6. The 30-seconds Rule

This means that you choose a movement you want to improve – bending over or squatting or lunging are good ones for the hips. Then you do 1 rep on 1 side of these exercises or maybe you can do 2 reps on one side. Then you retest. Then you do the other side for 30secs and then retest. If you progress in your movement quality, you have permission to go again for 30secs on each side. You repeat until there are no more gains. This rule applies to foam rolling, using a lacrosse ball or any other stretch or exercise you like to do as a warm-up.

 

 

 

 

rx_symbol_black_italic_plain7. Prescription for these drills

  • Do them in order for the best effect but each can be done on their own – remember the principles above!
  • I recommend following the 30secs rule – sometimes twice through is enough. As many as 5 reps or more might be needed (if so, it’s time to speak to someone about the stress in your life!)
  • NO PAIN – I mean it. That goes for anything you are trying to learn or retrain the brain in. Sometimes my techniques might hurt but I really do carefully weigh up why I am doing it and I try to minimise the pain as much as possible. There shouldn’t be pins and needles, numbness, soreness, discomfort etc etc. It should be a comfortable effort/stretch. if it makes you pull a face, it is too much…scale back!! You will get much better results this way in the long run.
  • If you have any hip or back or shoulder pathology or pain, please check with your health professional about these exercises…they are meant to be as a guide for healthy people but with guidance for those with pain or pathlogies, they can be extremely effective in helping you get out of pain. These exercises are for informational purposes only and DO NOT take the place of seeing your health professional
  • NO PAIN – read that bit again!

 

keep-calm-its-almost-competition-time-5Competition Information:

I want to see your attempts at these exercises – tag me on instagram or twitter with @physiodetective or post it on my FB page at http://www.facebook.com/physiodetective. Just one rep should be enough on one side (15secs won’t be long enough for some of these exercises!). Thanks again to Vicki Smart from Peacock Dreams – Yoga With Vicki Smart and Rom Riad from Live Active Personal Training for being great models.

I will give free feedback (as humanly possible) for anyone posting their exercises.

I would like to use the best ones as examples of how to do them and any variations you have on them please – I will cite/reference your name, business (any business) and website for those that I choose.

I am offering a 1hr Skype/in person appointment consultation (Value $180) for the person that can produce the BEST video that has 1 rep on each side of each of the 10 exercises IN ONE TAKE (no editing). That video (it will have to be on YouTube or Vimeo) will be featured in a blog post with your details on it.

 

Last Words

OK gang – I hope you are ready for the release of these exercises with video! I’m glad to be sharing with you some of what works for me and my clients.

Remember…what I do is not rocket science…it is simply specific for you and for your body. If you don’t find these exercises are good or helpful for you, that’s ok…book an appointment in with someone (or me) and get something specific for you.

Have a good weekend and check your email or this blog at 7am Monday morning Australian Eastern Time.

Hip Mobility / Flexibility / Stability Drills – The Theory

I wish my overhead lunges look that good...

I wish my overhead lunges look that good…

So the upcoming 10 exercises will publish over the next 2 weeks are to help improve how your hips move. These are some of the most commonly prescribed exercises I prescribe. This post is about explaining why I give these exercises and the principles behind the process. You can take these principles and apply them to the many different exercises you do. This list of 10 are not exhaustive nor even the BEST because for some of you, these exercises won’t do much…but many of you, it will make a difference.

My post yesterday explained a bit about them…this has a lot more information…

***COMPETITION INFORMATION BELOW***

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more of this post

Hip Mobility / Flexibility / Stability Drills – A Free Series

Just a quick post to let you know that from next week (Aug 17), I will be posting on Monday to Friday for 2 weeks with my favourite hip drills.

The general philosophy has always been to help the brain and the body work together…therefore, we will be doing some nerve-loving, some “stretches”, but mainly lots of loaded movement.

Each exercise will come with a video explaining how to do the exercise.

Thanks must go to Vicki Smart from Peacock Dreams Yoga and Rom Riad from Live Active Personal Training for being great models.

So please sign up to the blog to ensure you get each post!

 

For the theory behind these exercises, please go here…

 

Does CrossFit Have a Hole In It’s Typical Movements?

I have been doing CrossFit for just over 2 years now…and I am loving it. But I have some questions that I am genuinely interested in getting answers for…they relate to movement in 3 dimensions.

Typically, a CrossFit Workout of the day (WOD) require us to many different things – in fact, it could be argued that any movement is fair game to be included in CrossFit. I am OK with that. However, we certainly do a LOT of sagittal plane motion, not much rotation (transverse plane motion) or side bending (coronal plane motion).

Let’s back up a second here and define what those movements are:

  1. Sagittal plane motion is basically if  bent forwards and backwards…or running forwards in a straight line, toes to bar, sit ups, clean, etc etc. This is by far the most common plane of motion that CrossFit works in.
  2. Transverse plane motion is basically like discus throwing. You rotate around an axis that is like a spear through your spine. A roundhouse kick or punch, Swinging a sledgehammer sideways, Russian twists, etc are examples of transverse plane motion.
  3. Coronal plane motion is basically leaning side to side as if you were trapped between 2 planes of glass. Cartwheels, Side bending, and side planks are examples of movements and exercises that are in the coronal plane.

My question to everyone is this…what exercises can you do in CrossFit that are easily judged and can be practiced by everyone that include rotation and side-bending/lateral motion?

If we are to stay healthy, we need movement in all 3 planes. Lateral bar-over-burpees are a good exercise. Russian twists with a plate or ball have the complication of people with low back pain risking a flare up. You can do torture twists on the GHD or use a “Torsonator” but otherwise what else is there to do? The Double Banger event at the 2012 CrossFit Games was pure inspiration because I do wonder how many people program for rotational motion…and you can see on the videos that a lot of athletes just aren’t comfortable with twisting.

For coronal plane motion, there aren’t many things I can think of that fit sideways movements. You are string 2 ropes like in obstacle course racing and have them move across sideways. There are always the lateral jumps over broomsticks at 20″ or 24″ (let us pause a moment for all the broomsticks that have passed from this earth as a result of people landing on them…). Lateral bar-over burpees is another that can probably considered as combining coronal plane motion with sagittal plane motion. But what else is there left? Would a Kettlebell “windmill” pass the test? I guess “The Worm” could be classed as using some coronal plane motion – again, genius programming that showed up some athletes’ weaknesses…

All of these motions can be completed with a resistance band or Theraband. You can use a cable-cross machine at the globo gym to assist. You can pass medballs around to a partner but will we see anything like this in the CrossFit Games?

So, in my ignorance, please let me know what your favourite rotational and side-bending exercises are and whether these can be programmed into a CrossFit WOD or will they forever remain in the realms of “Accessory Work”?

Weightlifting Shoes vs Nanos?

Hi Antony, I have something I would be interested in you addressing… After working extensively on my lower body mobility I have decided to make the shift from weightlifting shoes to nanos.

Is there any actually physiological reason why it would be better to go either may? Also would lifting in nanos transfer better to other movement patterns such as sprinting and jumping?

or is this totaly irrelevent and Im over thinking it? haha

Thanks. I really enjoy following you, all the way from the Great White North.

Hi Lucas [Calm down, it’s not Lucas Parker!]. Thanks for the kind words and the questions 🙂

Firstly, do you CrossFit or just weightlifting? Because if you just do weightlifting, it is a specialised sport and the shoes go with that. They give you an advantage in that you don’t need as much ankle dorsiflexion to reach essentially the same positions. They also provide a very stable platform on which you can catch weights more easily.

If you muck around in weightlifting and train for other things as well or if you do CrossFit, the I personally think 80-90% of your training should be in Nanos of something similar.

Reasons why:

1. Nanos mean you have to have more ankle flexibility. I have never thought “you have too much ankle flexibility”, just “you need stronger ankles.” Most of the time I think “you need more ankle flexibility” which is what oly shoes address.

2. If you CrossFit, you don’t want heavy shoes when trying to finish 100 pull-ups or toes to bar. That’s not a problem if you only throw a barbell around

3. Would you normally walk around in Nanos or WL shoes when not training? Exactly

4. It is harder to clean and snatch with Nanos on…kinda like putting a weight-vest on for pull-ups. So when you do actually use your special shoes, you will feel like superman. Make sure that you train for at least a week in WL shoes before an important meet for WL.

5. As you mention, Nanos will transfer into other sports much easier… although I am not sure what shoes you use to get around the snow and ice in Canadia land 😉

Keep an eye out for Brent Fikowski. He is a chance for Canada West and would love to see him get to the Games 😉

Cheers

if you have any questions that you want answered, just ask them by posting on my Facebook page “The Physio Detective” or any other social media.

Please leave your opinions and questions below

Bear Crawls – My Favourite Shoulder and Hips Warm-Up

Bear-CrawlNot for the faint-hearted, these are by far one of the most effective ways I know to warm up your hips and shoulders.

The beauty of these exercises are that you can make it as hard or as easy as you like.

My favourite version – forwards 10-20m, sideways to the right 5-10m, backwards 10-20ms, sideways to the left 5-10m. I like it with the hips low like in the picture and the opposite arm and leg moving at the same time. You can go slow or fast, on your toes or on your knees (that can hurt so on a padded floor or grass is better)

Other variations include legs straight, same arm-leg moving together, and hips high. You can also vary the movement path of your feet and hands – to the outside and wide or inside and narrow. Another awful variation (as in really hard for someone my size) is to get down close to the ground like a Spiderman crawl…but then it wouldn’t be a bear crawl would it?

I am not sure if there are any other exercises that do so much in a warm-up – it loads and moves your joints, it warms the body up and primes the neuromuscular system, it can be used to increase mobility and flexibility, etc etc. A reckon a Thruster would be my next favourite and I don’t think it is in the same league as bear-crawls.

What is your favourite ONE exercise that targets as many joints as possible – let’s talk!

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