Flat Butt / Glutes? Start To Work It With Ideal Posture

IMG_8401Do you want a bit of “junk in the trunk”? A bit more booty? Are you quad dominant and struggle to “activate” your glutes and hamstrings? Have you tried “bridges”, “clams”, lunges, squats, step-ups and all other “butt building” exercises…all to no avail?

This video I made with Lisa Petersen from Key To Life Health and Fitness will show you how to get some shape into your glutes without tilting your pelvis or sticking your bottom out.
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17 Core Stability and Posture Myths That Annoy Me Greatly!

ab-workout1

Rant Warning!

The subject of “Core” and “Abs” and “Stability” comes up a lot in my day-to-day life. You hear it at training, my patients tell me about it all the time, and the internet is awash with all sorts of dodgy (but often well-meaning) information (or disinformation!).

Right now, I am fed up. All sorts of people think they know all about the “core”. I can tell you that unless they are well-trained physios, I haven’t met many that understand the “core” well – and that includes a lot of physios!

So, I am going to hopefully blow a lot of myths out of the water one at a time with a post dedicated to each one (hopefully with video) but I want to put the list out there right now…open your mind because these will rock some rusted-on beliefs! I have ‘busted’ each of these myths over the years and can do so at any time you wish…just ask me to show you 🙂

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Overcooking Your Stability Cues = Weakness

Stability. So many people think it is about locking everything down as hard as you can. Unfortunately, that is NOT efficient or powerful. In fact, it is often a weak way to do things.

I am firmly of the belief that your brain often knows how to do something well and if you get in the way of that by “turning on” muscles, you often choose a less efficient strategy.

Stability cues (tighten your core, ribs down, turn your glutes on, shoulders down and back, etc) are meant to be helpful, not make you worse.

So how do you know if you are “overcooking” the cues? Test/Retest of course! This LONG held method of testing has been around for decades. How else do you know if something is helping or not?

If you stability cue/s are about thinking about a muscle or contracting this or that, I suspect it is going to be inefficient. Your brain doesn’t consciously think about what muscles to contract and so that shouldn’t really enter your consciousness.

Rather, your brain works really well with tasks – touch your nose, catch the ball, get dressed, punch, kick, block etc. You think of the goal and the brain puts the pieces together to make it work.

So next time you hear your coach talk about engaging your core, just think “keep my back still”…have you noticed that the best cues tend to be actions rather than contractions? Butt out, look here, armpits up, press up, stand up straight etc etc.

Here is a little posture video I did a little while ago to illustrate some common posture cues that are overcooked…

How I broke through my front squat plateau…and got a 12% increase in 2 months

Antony Lo's Front Squat - much improved form over the last 2 months

Antony Lo’s Front Squat – much improved form over the last 2 months – there is a prowler next to me in the picture!

Those of you who know me or have read this blog long enough will know that I am a stickler for technique. I love getting the “mechanics, consistency, intensity” right. I love improving people’s mobility, flexibility, stability, strength, power/speed, etc etc. Being the human that I am, sometimes I find it hard to take my own medicine. Please remember that in the Crossfit world, I am just your average (or below average) CrossFitter who will never make it to Regionals or the Games nor ever grace the podium at a local comp. If I ever compete, it will be fun or charity only. But I do have a desire to get better. I do want to improve…and I HATE plateaus in my strength.

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A Common Complaint I See – Neck, Shoulder and Chest Pains – Related or 3 Different Problems?

I receive messages basically every day from people by locally and from afar asking for advice. I do my best to help everyone I come across but I thought I would answer this one in a blog post…well, because James suggested I could! Thank you James 🙂

Read on after the break to see what he wrote to me and what my suggestions were…

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Preventing Neck Pain When Exercising / Working Out – Posture!!!

This blog is for Sarah Davidson from http://helpmyneckhurts.com/. She asked me to write a blog post about how to prevent neck pain when working out – I thought it was a great topic so here I am!

I am going to be talking about the following things:

  1. What causes neck pain
  2. The principles I use when prescribing exercise for those with neck pain
  3. Ideal postures during exercise for neck pain patients

If you have any questions, just ask away below 🙂

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How To Start Doing Pull-Ups For Beginners – Part 2 (with Video Demonstration)

Beginners wanting to do Pull-Ups in Crossfit are at the greatest risk of injury, particularly if they are not strong. This blog post picks up on the same ideas and progresses it further. If you have started Part 1, you may be able to do Part 2 already…they are very similar exercises. Ask your coach or health profressional if you can do Part 2 because good technique is the key. Be patient and the results will come with minimal injury risks!

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Good Posture? – How squeezing your butt, ribs down, shoulders down & back and head retracted = WEAKER

 

Posture – there are lots of qualified and unqualified people out there who will give you advice but most of them don’t test the results of their advice.

Here is a video showing the most common cues and I demonstrate how your actually have LESS force as a result of this – don’t take my word for it…try it yourself!

The cues and the problems I have with them are:

1. Squeeze your butt and posteriorly tilt your pelvis – doing this usually results in muscles that are on all the time – good for photos, bad for your posture. Doing this will almost always result in making your hips glide forwards and so your hip flexors will activate to protect the hip joint – ever feel like you are NOT making headway with your hip flexor tightness? It is probably trying to protect you!

2. Ribs down – a good cue and one that I do use…however, there are “ribs down” and there are “RIBS DOWN!”. I don’t want you to have an excessively extended spine but I don’t want you to feel like you are stiff and walking around in a strait-jacket! Get the position and then RELAX!

3. Shoulders Down and Back – The most commonly given and WORST advice for most people because most people overcook it and go too far back and too far down. Doing this will make you WEAKER in the shoulders because the ball joint should sit on TOP of the socket. Pulling your shoulders down and back will make the socket point down towards the ground so there isn’t much support for your shoulders…so the muscles have to work harder and so have less force to put towards moving and lifting heavy stuff

4. Chin Down and Head Back – A lot of desk workers do poke their chin out…but making a double chin is overcooking the correction. It is better to focus on standing taller with your head in a good position and then RELAX.

So the test I used here was a resisted isometric manual muscle test for forward flexion. You can do the test in any position you want, it doesn’t matter.

So the secret to good posture is simple – get your landmarks right – sternum over pubic bone, keep those ribs down and then relax your position without losing your posture. There will be a little tension in the system but not so much you feel stiff.

Always test and retest – ANY cue or correction should IMPROVE things, NOT MAKE YOU WEAKER!!

Post your comments, questions or videos for feedback below – happy to have a chat!

For Good Posture, DO NOT PULL SHOULDERS BACK!!!

Has he just been kicked in the behind?

This is NOT ideal – how long do you think he could sustain this for?

How many times have you been told you need to “Fix your posture – pull your shoulders back!”?  I hear it said many times from parents and children, friends and relatives, even therapists tell people this…but nearly 99% of the time, this is the WRONG ADVICE!!!

So what exactly do you do?

The aims of this article is to:

1. Explain what good posture is

2. Explain why pulling your shoulders back is NOT the right thing to do

3. Give you some ideas of what to do to have better posture

For a video on a postural myth, click here

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High Heels – A Blessing from God or a Curse?

High heels, good looking legs, great posture and pain-free - can you have it all?

A great set of high heels which makes your outfit “complete” does wonders for a woman’s confidence. Right or wrong, shoes can change the way a woman (and a man) feels about themselves. They lengthen the appearance of your legs, accentuate the calves, make you taller, and make you gently sway your hips when you walk.

But what are the physical ramifications?

There are plenty of health professionals who would be quick to say high heels are “bad” for you. And it would be the safe thing to do – High heels have been linked with and increase in the number of ankle injuries, falls and pain in the feet, legs, back and neck.

So is it a dilemma? Do you have to choose between your favourite set of heels or a pain free life? Well, that is the point of this article – to find out what the real story is.

The Good:

Here are 10 reasons I found on Google at a site called High Heels For You – I have reproduced their words here…I thought it accurately portrays what many women tell me 🙂

10 reasons why you must wear high heels

1. High heels make you tall
This is the weakest reason, though. Heels add height, and it helps in case a lady is short in built.2. High heels make you look slim
This too is a slightly weak argument, but it is true. When you wear high heels, the added height gives you a slightly better height:girth ratio. The upright posture helps you look slimmer in two more ways: by giving you the right curves when you stand or walk and by increasing your height.3. High heels complement most outfits
High heels usually add to the overall get up. Many garments, especially the tight fitting legwear, look gorgeous in high heels. By slightly pushing the chest forward, they also make the skirt / blouse look more eye-catching.4. High heels accentuate your legs’ beauty
When legs are of the right shape, their beauty increases manifold on high heels. Uncovered or tightly dressed legs look very sexy with high heels.

5. High heels are an object of desire
High heels are traditionally worn during parties and not at home and in offices. They are also worn by beauty queens, models and film stars and not by house maids. As a small girl, you had seen high heeled ladies around you or on TV / films / etc, you developed a craving for high heels and it satisfies you when you have a new pair of heels and you can flaunt them. So, wearing quality high heel gives a high just because you have such an object of desire.

6. High heels are works of art
Will you feel great if you put just a piece of concrete under your heel and stand on it? No. High heels of good brands and design are truly works of art. Irrespective of what else you wear, beautifully crafted high heels in themselves are worth putting on.

7. High heels draw attention
What fun is fashion if it is not noticed and complimented? What fun is it if men’s eyes are not fixed on them? Beautiful high heels cannot remain without being noticed. In addition, the sound high heels make when you walk in them also seems to subconsciously arouse feminine attraction in men.

8. High heels make you feel powerful
Getting noticed and complimented not only makes you feel beautiful, it makes you feel important and powerful.

9. Wear high heels because most others are wearing them
Except in situations that don’t welcome flashy high heels for health / comfort or social reasons [outing in hills and sea beaches, when pregnant, at funerals, etc], wear high heels because most other ladies would be wearing them.

10. High heels make you look and feel sexy
This is the most important, and an all-inclusive, reason: a pair of sexy high heels makes you look and feel sexy. Part of it is because you are conscious that your heels are being notices, part because you are being appreciated for the heels, part because you get a sexy posture by wearing them.

Hmm, probably shouldn't be wearing heels

The Bad:

Back pain, foot pain, heel pain, shortened calves, increased risk of falls/fractures/sprains, bunions, nerve damage to toes, etc

Need I go on?

The point is that there are lots of different aches, pains and injuries that high heels can cause.

So now what? Do I or Don’t I?

Good question!

You see, it is too easy for me to condemn them in a wholesale kind of way. I think it is a lazy way to give advice. If we all did what was “best” for us, we wouldn’t lead very fun lives.

By the same token, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a health professional properly if I didn’t point out all the risks and problems associated with wearing high heels.

Still, I believe you can wear high heels and still be relatively safe…but you have to be careful.

The Physiodetective Way:

The way I prefer to look at this issue is to ask the following questions (among others of course!)

1. Are you strong enough to walk around on your toes all day?

2. Do you spend enough time out of your heels so you don’t get shortened calves?

3. Can you maintain good posture in your heels?

4. Can you maintain good posture out of your heels?

5. Does your body move properly in heels?

You see, it all depends on Y O U.

If you have good posture, the strength to maintain it, good calf length and your body is able to efficiently bear all the load you give it, then I would argue you can wear high heels safely.

There are definitely increased risks of ankle injuries, falls and pain but these usually occur because your body can’t cope in the heels.

You need a thorough assessment for a proper answer:

Get yourself a proper assessment. This should be from the toes all the way to the head and neck. It should look at every joint in the “kinetic chain” to see if there is a failure in your body of accepting the loads in high heels.

Perfect Posture in Heels

Are there people strong enough?

Yes there are!

Far too many people should not wear high heels – I would prefer to educate them and get them stronger through our specialized and individual exercise classes we conduct at the clinic.

But there are plenty of people who can. I see them at the clinic all the time.

The most famous recent example is Pippa Middleton – she was wearing that gorgeous white dress in heels and had perfect posture. From a physiotherapy point of view, it was beautiful.

Do you want to know if you can wear high heels?

I am happy to see anyone who wants their posture checked in their high heels. If you want to know if you can wear your heels safely, then book an appointment by calling me on +61 410 440 506

If you don’t live in Sydney, that’s ok. Comment on this blog about where you live and I can send you a message with the details of someone near you. Alternatively, you can see someone in your local area…just make sure they are of the open minded variety and can assess you from top to toe.

Until then, be careful in your heels!

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