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…





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.


Seminars – Mobility, Stability and Flexibility

Perhaps you didn’t know that I run seminars. I have run 1 and 2-day seminars for the Sacroiliac Joint (for educating health professionals), as well as short talks through to half day seminars for the general public, coaches, athletes, as well as health professionals.

My Passions:

My passion has always been to help people. I do that by being a physiotherapist (Physical Therapist) every day.

But I also understand that the world AND the internet is full of misleading and inaccurate information…

…so I thought that I could help more people by educating. That is why this blog exists. That is why I run seminars. That is why I plan to have e-books and e-courses.

Some topics that I get passionate about:

  1. “Core Stability” – what it is and what it isn’t
  2. Correct Technique – people are often told lots of different things…but what is “correct”?
  3. People doing what they are told instead of testing what someone tells them
  4. The pelvis and the thorax – 2 of the most poorly understood and taught areas in Physiotherapy
  5. Strengthening from a very low level all the way up to extremely heavy weights
  6. Time efficiency – it would be nice to have all day to work on your flexibility, mobility and stability – you don’t though…so I love to teach people how to maximise the time that they have

My Education Website

www.mypteducation.com is my education website. I would be more than happy to consider visiting your location to deliver a seminar topic/s of your choice.

I am currently hoping to organise some seminars in Hong Kong, Singapore, Queensland, NSW and Victoria. I already have a couple of seminars running in Sydney and Canberra.

In the future, I hope to have free and paid slideshows, e-books and courses available on the website.


Follow My PT Education on Facebook

www.facebook.com/mypteducation is where notifications pop up – like the link and follow what is going on.


Contact Me or Comment Below For More Information

Core Stability Myth 1 – Having lots of muscles means you have good stability

At GCS, we want you to get strong AND Stable...and have fun!

At GCS, we want you to get strong AND Stable…and have fun!

This is a common myth…just get stronger and you will have good stability!

But it is the old poodle and the dog scenario…a poodle is always a dog but a dog is not always a poodle. In other words, if you have good stability, you can become strong. Just because you are strong, it doesn’t mean you have good stability.

This post hopes to explain the reasons why this is.


Please read this blog post for what stability actually is.

Read more of this post

What is “Stability” and “Core Stability”? Busting the myths!

"Core Stability" - why do so many people get it WRONG!?

“Core Stability” – why do so many people get it WRONG!?

One of my pet peeves is how health and fitness professionals and the general public throw around terms like “stability”, “core stability” and “unstable joints”. This blog post hopes to address some of these issues and shed light on why there are so many well-meaning but simply incorrect education out there about how to develop good “core stability”.

Read more of this post

“Core” FAIL! How NYT article and in particular video gets the information WRONG!

Hi all,

While cruising the internet, I found this article on the web with a video…


I invite you all to have a look at the article and watch the video but make sure you have a read of what I say about afterwards!

The scary thing is that this is how your personal trainer and Sports Scientists are taught…

Some issues with the article/blog post…

1. The truth is that you can’t rely on just the little muscles in your spine to prevent injury, you really do need the larger muscles (just like Professor Stuart McGill says) – AGREED – no problem with this

2. Also recognised by most people I meet who are Personal Trainers, Pilates Instructors and Sports Scientists is that those little muscles are important but the bigger muscles are more important – DIASGREE – I will explain a little later

3. Even though most people think they know how the “core” works, most people don’t actually know how to exercise it or check if it is working properly!

4. Lastly, the author didn’t bother to check with those Australian authors of the study to see what they think…most people think Australian physios love to do the small muscles only but if you read all of their work including the book they wrote, you will see that they advocate doing the small things, integrating it into functional positions and activities (like sitting, standing, walking) and then into high level activities (sports activities, gym weights etc).

On to the video…

These exercises are prescribed by Professor Stuart McGill as great exercises which will protect your back. He even says that the motion should be coming from the hips and not to back.

But did anyone see that “Emma” was doing the exercises WRONG? She was moving in her back during the “modified sit up”, “Stir the Pot” and “Birdog”.

In the modified sit up, she pushes her back down into her hands – it is hard to tell properly but I am fairly confident it is happening. When she relaxes, she “hinges” or extends through her thoracolumbar junction which causes her ribs to “pop up”. Keep this in mind…

In the “Stir the Pot”, she arches her back too much. If he bothered to ask her how she felt, she would have told him that she can feel pressure in her spine – this is from the bones compressing from bending back too much. Also, when she “stirs the pot”, her back moves all over the place – how is this stable?

In the “Birdog”, he specifically mentions that the motion should be from the hip but Emma can’t do it. She bends forwards and backwards in her lower back. She also moves excessively when she tries to “draw squares”. Again, how is this stable and safe for your back?

The Real Myth of Core Stability

The real myth of core stability is that you can bypass the preparation stage – the little muscles that organise everything to take load properly. You really need those little muscles which go from bone to bone to control the pressure of your tummy and prepare the spine for loading by moving the bones into the right positions.

The big muscles that are advocated in Professor McGill’s exercises are great and we actually teach all those exercises…BUT we make sure that our clients can do the little things right first.

You need to be able to know how to control your spine so you can “dissociate” your hips and arms from you trunk and pelvis. “Emma” in the video couldn’t do it. Those exercises were too strong for her. She may have been able to persevere and learn how but in my experience, you just get bigger muscles, not better control.

What Should You Do?

In short, you need to find someone who can teach you how to do this properly. I know have spent hundreds of hours on my staff teaching them…and we are all still learning!

With the advent of iPhones and video on smart phones, get someone to take a video of you doing your exercises. If you can’t do them without moving your back, it is likely that the exercise is too strong for you…this applies to weights as well!

What is your story?

I would love to hear about your story or your thoughts on the above – please feel free to email me at antonylo@myphysios.com.au or comment on this blog.


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