foam roll

The Best "Hip" Stretch you aren't doing

The Best “Hip” Stretch you Aren”t Doing

Of all the muscles we utilize during a normal running gait cycle we can narrow down some of the big players to include the Hamstrings, Glute Max, Quads and Adductor Magnus. 

Yes the Adductor Magnus. This muscle is effectively divided into two components. There is an adductor portion, which its main function is hip flexion(and adduction). There is also a hamstring portion, which its main function is hip extension.

This sounds a lot like running! 

Problems with the Adductor Magnus in terms of length or ability to produce strength can cause running form issues which can result in a number issues such as lower back or knee pain.

The video uptop is a simple and effective way to stretch primarily the hip flexion portion of your Adductor Magnus. Next week I will address how to stretch the hip extension or hamstring portion of the Adductor Magnus and why you are most likely stretching your hamstrings incorrectly. 

 

 

Biggest Bang for your Buck Mobility

Biggest bang for your buck mobility | Part 2 

“Dude, I've hung three straight days for a cumulative of 5 minutes at a time and I shit you not I already feel a difference in my upper back and shoulder.  Crazy shit.”

Continuing our series with biggest bang for your buck exercises. If you missed last week check it out here. Moving on we are talking about hanging. Yes I am asking you to do more than just lay there this week.

WHY HANGING?

In one movement we are addressing shoulders, elbow, wrist, hand and spinal health. Seems like a pretty good “bang for your buck” exercise. I am going to pick on the desk jockey once again. He is sitting in a hunched forward turtle position all day long. Gravity is doing its thing having his body adapt to this position. Now that you have pictured that person, think about your position when hanging, basically the complete opposite position of that. With once again gravity doing all the work to open everything up that has been closed off.

Where do we start with this? This is most likely going to be a very stressful and or uncomfortable position on the entire body at first. A few ways to minimize this is partial hangs (see picture below) This allows your body to slowly begin to adapt to the new stresses or increase demands.

There are a variety of grips an athlete can utilize with hanging. For simplicity sake let’s start with either a neutral grip(palms facing each other) or pronated(palms facing away) grip as these are the two most less stressful position to put the rest of the body in. I think Ido Portal summed up hanging with this quote

“Avoid pain, aim to strain, no strain no adaptation. Proceed with caution, it is better to underdo then overdo.”

The call to action for this week is ACCUMULATE 7 MINUTES A DAY over the next week and see how your shoulders feel. This should also not be 7 minutes all at once but accumulate throughout the course of the day. A typical day looks like this for me; 3 x 60 seconds in before noon while at the office(and yes my office is in a gym so I have multiple pull-up bars to hang from) I will perform 1 x 60 pre and post WOD. Lastly I will accumulate 2 x 60 seconds in the evening before going to bed(yes I have installed rings in the ceiling of my Boston apartment, don’t tell my landlord) Make it a habit so I can start getting more emails like the one above.

 

 

 

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Biggest Bang for Your Buck Mobility

Biggest bang for your buck mobility | Part 1 

I often get asked what is the best drill for this or the best exercise for that? These questions usually come up when I am coaching or teaching a seminar, which means I have 90 seconds max to provide the athlete with some useful information.

Over the next few weeks I am doing a series of the “Biggest bang for your buck” drills/exercise/stretches that I find myself recommending to athletes. There are an infinite number of things an athlete can be doing on a regular basis to be getting themselves better. Why these specific ones? Regardless of who you are you should be doing these drills and you will be making yourself better. Secondly they are for the most part self correcting exercises which means the athlete can’t screw them up on there own. Lastly they are simple to execute so in an effort to have an athlete start developing productive useful habits I want them starting simple(seeing results) then progressing to complex.

What are we going to cover in part one?

Laying face up on a  foam roller. YES that’s it, just lay there!

I find this especially useful with my non proactive patients that aren’t motivated to do anything on there own. This goes back to point number 3, starting them with something simple and getting them results. Depending on how you decide to lay, there are an infinite number of benefits to this. First of all when you lay lengthwise, this for the most part places the spine in a neutral position. From there depending on how you position your arms this is a great way to open up the shoulders, chest and arms. This is a great position to put the desk jockey in, that is sitting all day in a hunched forward turtle position. As this is the complete opposite position.I like to explain it as, we are almost bringing you back to neutral or balancing you out by doing this position. This is also a great position to practice belly breathing in as most of us are chest breathers and it is very difficult in this position to breath with your chest.

Where do I start, what is my call call to action?

Start with ten minutes a day just laying there. Everyone has 10 minutes a day.

This is the minimum effective dose. I will also say that you can’t over do this one, so accumulate more than 10 minutes a day if you can. Think about how much time you spend sitting either at your desk, commuting to/from work and at home on the couch. 10 minutes isn’t much to ask for, especially when you ask so much of your body. Most of you reading this are most likely on your back following a tough workout anyway, you might as well be productive while catching your breath at the same time. Move your arms up and down like a snow angel, focus on belly breathing or you can just lay there and listen to a podcast for ten minutes.