Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Note, be sure to keep the back arched by sticking your butt out as you lean forward. Try stretching once how you'd usually do it, then try this tip. You'll really feel the difference.
As always, if you or someone you know could benefit from our services, new patients who mention the website or blog qualify for our referral credit of $50 towards the initial exam.
Enjoy and until next time, stay active!
Kirk Iodice, DC, ART
Monday, November 1, 2010
This week we've posted a very effective stretch for a muscle on the side of the hip typically called the piriformis. However, this is a bit of a misnomer as there are a group of muscles with the same action collectively known as the hip external rotators. Of these muscles, the piriformis is the most infamous because it can be involved with a few clinical entities, such as "piriformis syndrome." These conditions often involve pain in the side of the hip with activity and possibly radiating pain/numbness down the leg.
A word of caution: if you feel tight in this area with activity (ie, not with stretching or by pushing on it), then you may in fact be overly stretched here. We often perceive being tight in muscles that are actually over stretched. People can actually do themselves harm by stretching an already over stretched structure. Movement correction and gait training drills can often correct these conditions, but must be assigned by a knowledgeable musculoskeletal professional. Otherwise, this activity is great as part of a regular stretching routine.
Enjoy and until next time, stay active!
Kirk Iodice, DC, ART
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The iliotibial band (IT band) is a long connective tissue structure that coarses from the hip to the knee. It functions as an accessory hip flexor. It also assists the glutes in preventing the knee from crossing mid-line during heel strike and mid stance of gait. Excessive tightness in this structure is commonly expressed as pain or tightness at the outer knee or outer-mid thigh ("IT Band Syndrome). However, the IT band is simply a connective tissue structure. The muscle that attaches to it is known as the tensor fascia latae (TFL) and is often overlooked in treatment of these conditions. Also, if you or someone you know is experiencing IT Band symptoms, it's important to be evaluated by someone who knows how to evaluate function as symptoms here are usually secondary to imbalances elsewhere. This video is a review of how to effectively stretch the IT band/TFL complex. I hope this is helpful!
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Pull ups, chins, etc are a fantastic back and shoulder exercise, in addition to strengthening the arms are core. Be sure to pay attention to the portion where I talk about using an elastic band to "spot" yourself or to get a few more reps. Also, always keep the bar in front of you rather than ducking the head forward putting the bar behind the neck (very bad for the neck and shoulders!).
Monday, May 24, 2010
This video covers a series of exercises strung together into what's called a "matrix." If you're familiar with workout terminology, you may have heard this concept referred to as a "super set." The difference here is that a matrix typically incorporates multiple planes of motion. This makes the exercise more like what our bodies must actually do in certain sports or activities. Our exercises in the gym rarely mirror what our bodies must endure during activity. Through incorporating multiple planes of motion and coordinating body regions, we are able to make our activities more functional (and fun!). The intent of these exercises is to serve as an alternate to "flyes." Typically, one must perform flyes in front, to the side and reverse flyes to exercise all 3 heads of the deltoid (anterior, middle, posterior). If performed correctly, this exercise will work the entire upper shoulder girdle (including the deltoid), as well as work the core and legs to a lesser degree.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
This week we've posted a fun core exercise that's great for working your obliques (side abdominals) and rectus abdominus (front abdominals). Be sure to let your hips twist with your trunk by rotating the the sternum and belt line at the same time. In other words, don't keep your hips still and only move the upper body.
Enjoy and until next time, be active!
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Today we're reviewing a core exercise called the Chop & Lift. If you've ever chopped wood, you'll understand why this is an effective exercise. If this bothers your shoulder or back, stop and get evaluated by a health professional (someone like me who can eval soft tissue and joint function). The most common errors in this exercise are arching the back during the "lift" and shrugging the shoulders during the same movement. You should feel this working the front ab muscles (rectus abdominus) and the back/shoulder muscles. You may also perform this exercise with a partner, with each person grabbing one side of a band. As one person does the "chop" motion, the other does the "lift" and visa versa. Have fun!
Comment with any questions or to request exercises for any specific body part.
Monday, March 8, 2010
The Quadriceps muscle is often overlooked, but is actually the most common tight muscle of the lower extremity. This muscle is often involved in hamstring pulls, as excessive tension (meaning shortness) of this structure will overly lengthen the hamstrings causing a strain. This week I'm demonstrating a stretch for the dual functions of the quad (knee extensor and hip flexor). Common errors are arching of the back and stretching too aggressively (which will ironically make you tighter).
Monday, February 8, 2010
The side bridge is a challenging exercise that builds strength and tones while being very safe for the low back if performed correctly. Listen for how to avoid the common error of lifting the pelvis vertically during the exercise. You can do this exercise with repetitions (ie 3 sets of 10 with a 5 to 10 sec hold), or it can be performed for time. I usually recommend starting at 30 sec and working up to 60-90 sec per side. Once you can complete a hold for this time, straighten the knees and perform the same motion, except with the feet contacting the ground (top leg in front of the bottom leg). Enjoy and have fun! Don't forget to post comments/questions.
This exercise is part of a progression we might assign for back pain patients. If you or someone you know has back pain, please consider our clinic.
Monday, February 1, 2010
The Bird Dog (I don't get the name, either) is a great exercise for building core stability. Almost 100% of the people who perform this exercise in a gym or a class are doing it incorrectly. Listen close for the common errors I point out in the video. The goal of this exercise is to teach you to coordinate core muscle function with extremity movement, while building strength and endurance in one of your muscular "slings." This muscle sling forms an "X" between the lats and opposite glutes and help to stabilize your low back. This exercise is on my "must do" list for pregnant women.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
A functional exercise is one that incorporates natural body motions and involves multiple challenges simultaneously (ie balance and strength, coordination and speed, etc). The unilateral shoulder press is an example of a functional exercise due to the fact that a natural sway motion is employed with the hips. This motion is beneficial for a variety of reasons. It teaches your body to work in a coordinated fashion and encourages proper muscle firing sequences. Also, it greatly decreases strain on the shoulder. In fact, I will often show this exercise to my patients who have previously suffered a shoulder injury and want an alternative to the standard push press. The goal of this exercise is to serve primarily as a Deltiod strengthening exercise.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Poor squat form is one of the most common causes of back and knee injuries I'll see over the next month or two. In an effort to prevent some of these injuries, I've posted a video on proper squat form this week. You may use this in combination with the other 2 glute exercises shown to create a progression. For example, you may begin with the clam for 1-2 weeks, the progress to squats, then running man. Enjoy and happy exercising!