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.


Analysis of Rich Froning’s 30 snatch at 225lbs for time

Watch Rich Froning do Isabel here


1. Consistency
His first rep looks like his last rep. He sets the same way, his technique looks the same. He never gets loose or shaky or even look like getting close to failing a rep. This is important because too often we choose to do a weight that we can do right 10 times but not 30. We fatigue, we go out too hard at the start, we basically loose form. If you want 30x225lbs (102.25kg) snatches for time, then you have to train for it. Start getting 30 Snatches perfectly at 135lbs and go from there. Be hard on yourself – Film it and don’t move on until you have 30 that look the same.

2. Strategy
a. Rests

Rich took as long as he needed before getting back on the bar. He knows his body really well and so he knows the right time to take.

Note that it isn’t like some of us who take too long because we are mentally beat up. When the coaches tell you to get back on that bar, it is because they know you can keep moving.

Take what you need to keep making good reps. Once you know your body, you can set up the next thing he does right…

b. Pacing
Good pacing depends on a good knowledge of your own abilities – a realistic view, not optimistic or pessimistic!

Rich does the first 10 reps in 1:50. He does the next 10 in 2:13. He did the last 10 in 2:06. I reckon he was going for 2:00 per 10 reps and 6mins as the time to hit.

He started off by taking a rest after the first one. He can do touch and go for 3 but he chose not to. You have to ask why? Simply because he knew what was ahead and chose to do singles every time. He probably didn’t want to burn out by going harder and faster at the start.

When you make your pacing strategy, consider form and technique as well as the weight and rep scheme.

A practical example:
Yesterday I did a WOD out-of-town. The workout was 4x500m row for total time. The coach took us through the correct rowing technique (which was spot on) and I found out later that they had a commonwealth games rower come to teach them rowing. All but a few of us actually tried to do what he said. All of us broke down in correct technique because we were chasing times and fatigued (I reckon more than 50-75% of my strokes were trying to be close to right, especially at the start!) I chose to go as fast as possible in my first row because I haven’t done a 500m time trial in a while – I got a PB of 1:31.4. Otherwise I tried to keep to 1:33 pace at 27st/min. The slowest time I got was 1:36.8. Not too bad. After each row, I kept moving around and had only a small sip of water and sat for a short time to rest my legs (I had a rest and recovery strategy too!).

Having said I am realistic…aim for the ideal and understand the risks of not being consistent. I chose to allow my form to break down. But to get better at rowing, I really should consider the workout as 4x500m row for total time…with good technique. That is the real benchmark and the best way to measure your progress. It will also let you get better faster!

Rich Froning is the best in the world because he is a machine. His reps look the same. He has consistent pacing. He had a strategy. He trains that way and he competes that way. He is a champion. That’s why I try to train that way too…do you?

Single Leg Squat / Pistols – Why bother? Because they are AWESOME for you!!

Jason Haywood shows us how a Single leg squat / Pistol is done

Jason Haywood from Crossfit BodyM doing a Pistol at CFX

The humble single leg squat. Feared and revered. Done by so many people around the world as a test of strength and a strength exercise. I have been teaching my patients variations of this for years – it is such a good exercise…but it isn’t for everyone.

The aims of this blog post are to:

1. Highlight the benefits of doing a single leg squat (but referred to as pistols from here on in)

2. Common pitfalls in doing this exercise

3. Safe progressions you can use so you can pistol with the best of them!

Read more of this post

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