Do you have shin splints with running? What about knee or hip pain? Lower back pain? Maybe all of them! Find out if your lack of ankle flexibility is causing it.
Poor hip mobility is without a doubt a cause for not being able to achieve a biomechanically sound squat. Where do we start then? I always start by addressing athletes hip INTERNAL rotation.
External rotation and flexion of the hip are easy and hip internal rotation is a better predictor of overall hip health.
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.
Isometrics for Better Handstand Positioning | Movement Fix Monday
This time we are talking about handstands and focusing specifically on the over-arching of the low back that is extremely common during handstands and overhead lifting.
"Most commonly in a handstand with excessive arching, the thoracolumbar junction get's used and abused. Thoracolumbar is just a fancy way of saying 'where your thoracic spine and lumbar spine meet'."
Developing a quality handstand will have great turn over to other exercises. The ability to achieve full wrist and thoracic spine extension, coupled with shoulder flexion while simultaneously supporting your body, has tremendous transferability to handstand push-ups, handstand walks and Olympic weightlifting. The handstand is what is known as an isometric exercise. Isometric exercises are a great way to build strength while decreasing your chance of injury. Performing an isometric exercise requires activating all of your motor units and at the same time producing a balanced contraction on both sides of the joint so no joint shearing, or increase in inflammation, occurs. Essentially handstands increase strength while reducing the chance of shoulder injury!
Isometrics for Better Squatting | Movement Fix Monday
In the second video of our series Dr. Debell and myself go through a horse straddle stance. Most athletes don’t need additional lower body mobility then what is required to perform a proper straddle stance hold. When you develop a strong straddle position you get the biggest bang for your buck in terms of transferable mobility to all other lower body movements. It addresses almost all of your most underdeveloped lower body limitation, adductor mobility. It also simultaneously works on opening hips, ankles and spinal position once you can achieve it with the PVC pipe in the hips.
- Start with your feet together. Windshield wipe your feet out (see video to visually see what that means) 4-5 steps as a starting point
- Get as deep as you can while controlling the position and keeping your spine in neutral
- Try to balance a dowel on your thighs without letting it slip off
- Hold until it gets hard
- Take a break
- Repeat 3-5 times (this is feel based)
Be sure to check out Ryan's full blog post here.
Negative Muscle Ups for Better Transitions | Movement Fix Monday
When Dr. Debell was in Boston a couple months ago I had the pleasure to film a 4 part series with him on the topic of isometric exercises.
Ryan titled it the "Un-Sexy Video Series on Improving Positions Using Isometrics and Eccentrics." The idea for the series was developed after Ryan got in a few training sessions with me and was interested in the gymnastic strength work I was doing. It started with a discussion on how if people were less concerned with quantity and more about quality. These exercise while not as exciting as swinging from a pull-up bar can be beneficial to any athlete. Dr. Debell accurately put it....
"Getting weak people to kip up into a muscle up without ever having developed the strength (both of muscle and connective tissue) will lead to short term excitement but long term problems."
Check out the first video, as well as the full write up here on Ryan's website.
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.
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.