Movement You Should Master
Modern medicine is keeping us alive longer, so now we need to put some effort into staying lively longer. Mastering specific movements will improve our quality of life and help us stay independent and injury-free. I have come up with several exercises you can use to make yourself stronger, more durable, and develop a healthier, more functional body. An exercise that requires no equipment and has bountiful benefits is the Push Up.
Push ups strengthen the pecs, deltoids, triceps. They also allow free movement of the shoulder blades (unlike the bench press) and build stability in the core if done properly. There is no need to get overly fancy with these. If you can’t do a true push up with your chest touching the ground and your core locked in, start by elevating your hands instead of resorting to “girl” push ups on your knees. Guys should try to work up to 3 sets of 20 reps at least a couple of times/week. Women should strive for at least 10 reps but by no means need to stop there. Watch the video and give it a try: https://youtu.be/7oQ-_J8FjEU
-Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, Pn1
Heat Or Ice For My Shoulder?
Try Standing Upright
In the gym, at the golf course, and during a visit to the hardware store, I am asked my advice on abolishing shoulder pain. What everyone wants is the magical exercise, miracle ointment, or newest thermal treatment. What they need–and what they do not want to hear–is that they have to fix their horrible posture.
Sustained poor posture can alter the function of your shoulder complex. The shoulder girdle has only one, very small, bone to body connection. The entire system is an interconnected series of muscles and ligaments. Sustained slouched over postures create a faulty length-tension relationship in these structures that places adverse stress and strain on the four joints of the shoulder and the nerves in the neck and upper back.
OMG I sit lmGm (like my GrandMa).
Shoulder posture pain problems are happening earlier. I do not know if it is more tech toys, less physical education in schools, or a change in youth activity levels, but in the physical therapy clinic we are seeing younger people with older people postural shoulder pain. They sit on the treatment table in extremely slouched over positions and are unable to pull themselves up into a correct position. Most are unconvinced that how they sit and stand could be the generator of their pain problem.
What exercises can I do?
Stronger muscles will help restore posture. The shoulder evolved to pull, lift, and carry. The muscles that keep the shoulder strong and happy are in the back of the shoulder. They hold the shoulder in a healthy position on the body. Most of us never perform any pulling or lifting activities other than hoisting our laptop or toting our smart phone. Making your shoulder girdle muscles stronger will help, but being mindful of your posture during the day is the most important factor. Physical Therapist and US Soccer Team Trainer Sue Falsone says “You can’t out rep poor posture.”
Start with how you work and live.
Eight hours a day for five days a week equals 2080 hours of computer / desk time a year for the average office worker. Add in a daily one hour car commute and another two hours of television a day and we push the Monday through Friday slump numbers to 2860 hours a year (120 days). We have spent millions on state of the art chairs, elevated monitors, slanting keyboards, wrist rests, and lumbar supports. Office modifications, while well intentioned and generally a good idea, cannot compete with 2860 hours (this number is probably low) of sitting in a year. In order to fight against the postural stress that creates pain, we need to get up and move.
Recent research on prolonged sitting has demonstrated that the amount of movement we need to stay healthy is greater than we once thought. To combat the adaptive changes of prolonged sitting, it is suggested you get up and move every twenty minutes. Set a timer, enlist the help of your coworkers, and work at this every workday for a month. I believe you will be surprised by the results.
Michael S. O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS
Movement You Should Master
Modern medicine is keeping us alive longer, so now we need to put some effort into staying lively longer. Mastering specific movements will improve our quality of life and help us stay independent and injury-free. I have come up with several exercises you can use to make yourself stronger, more durable, and develop a healthier, more functional body. An exercise that I have found to be very helpful in restoring the capacity to get up and down off the floor is the Step Up.
The ability to go up and down steps will almost always be needed. Losing this ability is a sure sign that one’s quality of life and independence are quickly fading. Step Ups can be done in a variety of different directions and loaded a number of ways making them easily progressed or regressed based on goals and fitness level. Step Ups improve balance and strength in the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Depending how you load, they can also challenge the core and shoulders. The average step in the United States is 7 inches tall. Strive to work up to a 14 inch box so that no flight of stairs will ever intimidate you.
Here Coach Katie demonstrates two different versions we like to use and the benefits of each along with some progressions. Watch the video and give it a try: https://youtu.be/iGXtKyGlKMg.
1) Anterior Step up (Progression: Anterior Step Up with Racked Kettlebell hold)
2) Lateral Step Up (Progression: Lateral Step Up with one side loaded)
-Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, Pn1
Movement You Should Master
Modern medicine is keeping us alive longer, so now we need to put some effort into staying lively longer. Mastering specific movements will improve our quality of life and help us stay independent and injury-free. I have come up with several exercises you can use to make yourself stronger, more durable, and develop a healthier, more functional body. An exercise that I have found to be efficient and effective is a Weighted Carry.
Very few things are more functional than a carry. You’d be hard pressed to get through daily life without having to carry something at least a few times per week. While basic, a carry is an efficient and effective full body exercise. Depending on the carry you choose, the load is virtually limitless. Performed for time or distance, carries will always improve gait and core stability. Depending on which version you use, they can also be an effective tool for improving shoulder mobility/stability, grip strength, balance, and overall awesomeness. Watch the video and give it try: https://youtu.be/PaP4-IlVAOA
Coach Chad demonstrates my top four carry picks:
1) Farmers Walk (gait, core stability, grip strength, upper back, legs)
2) Suitcase Carry (gait, core anti-lateral flexion, grip, upper back, balance)
3) Waiters Carry (gait, core stability, shoulder stability, balance)
4) Double Waiters Carry (gait, core stability, shoulder mobility, shoulder stability, balance)
-Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, Pn1
Keep your shoulders and spine happy and strong by following Mike O’Hara’s advice in “Pushing Up Performance”. Video explanation and performance of pushups and their variations included. Jeff Tirrell discusses the proper performance of pull ups in his article. “Movement You Should Master”. Is your mobility limited? Try massage sticks or foam rollers with the information provided in “Pain, Pressure, and Pliability”.
Kettlebell Swings and Push Ups
When designing programs for rehabilitation patients and fitness clients, I often pair up exercises. This practice is commonly called super-setting and it has multiple benefits:
Train efficiently—You get much more work done during your training time.
Abolish performance deficits—Most physical therapy and fitness clients need to work on glaring right vs. left movement asymmetries, postural restrictions, and stability limitations.
Lose weight—Fat loss is a primary goal of most fitness clients. Pairing exercises ramps up exercise intensity and creates the hormonal response that improves body composition.
Move better—Training neurologically related movement patterns improves motor control.
Swings and Push Ups
Strength coach Dan John got me started on kettlebell swings/push up sessions. This pairing challenges core stability as the swings create an anti-flexion core stabilization demand and the push ups an anti-extension demand. If your goal is fat loss, this exercise pairing produces a total body metabolic boost. A hidden benefit is getting up and down off the floor during the training session. It is a basic mobility skill we need to practice in order to maintain our independence.
A swing is not a squat and a squat is not a swing. A kettlebell swing is a hip dominant motion; the hips move a lot and the knees just a little. The handle of the kettlebell should stay above the knees. At the bottom of the swing, the forearms should contact the upper thighs. You swing the kettlebell forward with an explosive contraction of the gluteal and hamstring muscles. Do not lift the kettlebell with the arms. Project, or throw, the kettlebell to shoulder level and no higher. The swing is an exercise that is worthy of some coaching. Find an instructor that can help you with proper performance.
Keep the shoulder blades down the back and tight against the rib cage. Hold the head in a retracted position and relax the neck. The shoulders should not ride up into a shrugged position. Start at the bottom of the push up (flat on the floor). Place the hands under the shoulders and keep the elbows tucked in to the side of the body. Grip the floor with the hands and activate the muscles in the back of the shoulder blades. Brace the abdominal muscles, tighten the glutes, and maintain tension between the legs by drawing them together. Push up while maintaining spinal and shoulder position. Hold at the top for two counts and repeat the push up.
Swing/Push Up Sessions
The great thing about these sessions is that you need minimal equipment—just a single kettlebell and a willingness to work hard.
This is a good place to start. You will need a kettlebell and a stopwatch.
Swings x 20 seconds
Push ups x 6 repetitions
Rest 30 seconds
Repeat for fifteen minutes
As you get stronger, increase the push up repetitions.
This is one of my favorite swing/push up training sessions.
20 push ups
15 push ups
10 push ups
5 push ups
You will finish with 100 swings and 50 push ups.
Try a push up “countdown” session. Follow this pattern:
10 push ups
9 push ups
8 push ups
Work your way down to 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 push up. You will complete 100 swings and 55 push ups and transfer up and down off the floor 10 times. If that is too much, modify the program and start at five push ups. You will complete 50 swings and 15 push ups.
View video of Mike performing these exercises here: https://youtu.be/Vq3VYg847Xs
-Michael S. O’Hara, P.T., OCS, CSCS
In this month’s issue, Mike O’Hara presents tips for preventing shoulder pain and injury. Jeff Tirrell addresses the secret to maintaining a successful workout program, and the benefits of single leg hip thrusts are described.
One of the best training tools is a set of all purpose bands ($25.00 from performbetter.com). These bands are a sturdy, dipped latex product made by Lifeline. They have two handles on one end and a loop system that makes them easy to anchor in either a closed door or around something stable and upright. The bands come in progressive resistance levels and can be integrated into many beneficial exercises. One of my favorite resistance band exercises is the posterior lunge and row.
I like exercise activities that produce a lot of benefit for the time invested in training. These are the big benefits of the posterior lunge and row:
A True Baseball Insiders Safety Suggestions.
Mr. Eric Cressey is a strength coach who specializes in making baseball players better athletes. He rehabs and develops multiple millions of dollars worth of throwing arms. Eric has worked with baseball players at all competitive levels and is the ultimate insider. Mr. Cressey is an “in the trenches” coach that has witnessed how the present system is operating. I have heard him speak on four different occasions. He is articulate and always informative. If you are a baseball player, or the parent of a baseball player, Mr. Cressey has some suggestions on how to stay healthy.
Take the time to read his January 3, 2016 blog, Preventing Shoulder Injuries: Actions Speak Louder Than Words. I often send parents of injured baseball players to Mr. Cressey’s site for the valuable information they have not been hearing.
-Michael S. O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS
In the summer of 1968, the Detroit Tigers were on a tear. They were headed for an American League pennant and a heart-stopping three game deficit. World Series victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. On August 22 of that season, a young pitcher for the Chicago White Sox named Tommy John decided to brush back the lead off hitter for the Tigers, shortstop Dick McAuliffe. After some discussion as to the intent of his throws, Mr. McAuliffe rearranged Mr. John’s left shoulder ligaments in a basebrawl that sent Mr. John to the disabled list and Mr. McAuliffe to a five game suspension—and a two hundred and fifty dollar fine. As a ten year old Tiger fan, I can recall getting in trouble reenacting the McAuliffe vs. John fight with my younger brothers.