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Personal training

The best guide to rehabbing injuries.

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The best guide to rehabbing injuries.

At some point you are going to deal some sort of an injury. Maybe you are already have. Maybe you are dealing with something right now.

I am going to walk you through some different ideas as you approach different scenarios or pain and rehabbing injuries.

There are going to be 6 parts to this post, with each part having its own video.

  1. General guidelines for rehabbing injuries.

  2. Post surgery.

  3. Your post-surgery home exercise program.

  4. Chronic pain.

  5. The idea of layers. Fixing one problem often reveals another one.

  6. Modify your approach to sets and reps.

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All exercise programs should start with an assessment.

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All exercise programs should start with an assessment.

You are thinking about starting an exercise program. You are ready. You are motivated and you are going to dominate and accomplish all of your goals. How do you know what exercises to start with?

Is it some random drawing by throwing exercises in a hat and pulling them out? Do you hit up the internet and find the latest and greatest to follow? Do you turn to Instagram and the girl with the painted-on yoga pants or the guy-that-never-seems-to-wear-a-shirt-in-any-video?

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Your poor balance is probably not a balance issue.

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Your poor balance is probably not a balance issue.

Many of us know someone who seems to be a little more clumsy. Maybe they trip a lot, stumble often and sometimes even fall. Maybe I am describing you.

Occasionally losing your balance or stumbling here or there is not a balance problem.

Vertigo is a true balance disorder. Issues that involve the vestibular system (which is a fascinating system) are true balance disorders. These can be triggered by head, neck and eye movements and are often associated with nausea, dizziness and true loss of balance (LOB) which often results in a fall.

Balance is a difficult thing to quantify since it involves many systems and many variables. Your balance is maintained by a dynamic interplay between three systems in the body. In the ideal world, all three systems would work harmoniously together.

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Steady-state cardio is dead.

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Steady-state cardio is dead.

Summary:

  • Prolonged cardio takes too much time and ultimately slows your metabolism making it harder to lose weight.

  • Steady cardio is a muscle-wasting activity.

  • The repetitive nature of cardio invites injuries and impaired motor control.

  • You cannot out train (or out cardio for that matter) your eating habits. Change them, or else.

  • To avoid a plateau, your cardio needs to be more varied.

  • Continuous aerobic work plateaus after about 8 weeks.

  • The calories you burn during the workout don't matter than much and calorie burning stops shortly after the exercise is done.

  • There are some studies cited at the end of the article that highlight the ineffectiveness of traditional cardio. It is not just my opinion.

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Lat stretch tutorial. [video]

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Lat stretch tutorial. [video]

Low back tightness is common. Feeling some tightness in the low back is not uncommon. The reasons why the back can be tight are numerous. Most do not even involve the low back itself.

Other problems in the body (weakness, tightness and poor mechanics when moving) tend to manifest as low back pain. Sneaky sneaky.

Because of this, stretching the low back directly is often not the solution.

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Thoracic mobility tutorial. [video]

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Thoracic mobility tutorial. [video]

Shoulder pain.

Neck pain.

Headaches.

Decreased shoulder range of motion.

Decreased neck range of motion.

Numbness and/or tingling in the arm or hand.

Any of these issues can have an origin within your thoracic spine. In case you are not familiar, the thoracic spine is that fancy piece of real estate between the neck and the low back.

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Core stabilization tutorial. [video]

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Core stabilization tutorial. [video]

LBP is complex. No one thing is going to resolve your back pain so stop looking for it. If you truly want to resolve your pain, you will have to tackle this on multiple levels. This means you will have to:

  • strengthen some areas

  • stretch others

  • change how you sit

  • change how you move

  • change how you lift

  • change how you bend

  • spend time focusing on movements that you have been doing for a long time and routinely do not think about

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How to dominate the holidays. Part 2. [9 videos]

Let’s keep the holiday train rolling along. In Part 1, we discussed just getting moving more using dynamic warm-ups.

In Part 2, we are going to look at a bunch of different stretches that you can utilize to avoid ending up a complete ball of stress and knots come January.

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How to dominate the holidays. Part 1.

Back on Thanksgiving morning, I started sharing different ways to help get people through the holiday season without having to give up exercise.

I even suggested that it is NOT a crazy thought to begin doing some extra activity or exercise during this time of year.

Understanding that many people would view that as crazy advice, I gave examples of things you can do.

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Pulling exercises. You're doing it wrong (video).

Rows, pulldowns, pull-ups, and other movements that initiate movement through the scapula should make up a good amount of your upper body exercises in your program.

Rows and other horizontal pulling movements should outnumber both pressing movements and vertical pulling movements. 

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Single-leg hamstring drops w/ ball (video).

Single leg hamstring drops w/ ball.

For now, this one if the grand daddy of the hamstring drop family. 

Set up with your feet under something that will not move. A dumbbell rack works great but not all are low enough to the ground. 

I have used a standing hamstring curl machine to perform hamstring drops when the DB rack was not an option. See below.

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Did I just make hamstring drops harder (video)?

Set up with your feet anchored under a dumbbell rack or other solid structure that will not move. Focus on bracing the abs, staying tall throughout the motion and not bending at the hips. Perform the hamstring drop with only one leg on the way down and both legs coming back up. Try to keep the emphasis on the hamstring, not the arms and shoulders. The upper body is definitely assisting the movement, but the hamstrings should be the focus. Enjoy.

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Brutal hamstring exercise (video).

This will punch your hamstrings right in the mouth. Set up with both knees bent, feet flat on the ground with a slider under one of your feet. Lift the foot that is not on the slider off the floor. Perform a single-leg bridge with the other leg. Once at the top of the motion, straighten the knee by sliding the foot away from the body. When the knee is extended, keep the hips on the floor, bend the knee and start again with the single-leg bridge.

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Pullthroughs - a better way? (video)

This is a great alternative if using some attachment for the hands increases back pain or you find yourself pulling too much with the arms. Start by setting the pulley so it is around hip-height. Set the strap so it goes around the front of your hips. Set and brace your neutral spine position. Focus on keeping pressure through the heels and sitting back through the hips. To return to the start position, squeeze the glutes and push the hips forward. Avoid overextending the hips and straightening the body as this will cause you to lose your balance and fall back.

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Standing thoracic mobility (video)

Stand in front of a bar (or another surface that is stable and will not move - kitchen counters also work great for this).

Walk the feet back, perform a hip hinge and pivot forward until you feel so resistance to the movement in the thoracic spine. Hold this position for 5-6 seconds. Repeat as needed.

NOTE: this may cause the back to crack. Not getting a crack in the back does not mean the movement was ineffective.

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How does posture get so messed up?

When I first started as a Physical Therapist, I used to get nervous any time one of my patients came in with any neck diagnosis.

I mean, its the neck. I could snap their spinal cord and the person would never be the same after that. 

Now, that is not true at all, but that is what I thought. What a weirdo.

Once I worked with some of these patients, I started to realize there were commonalities to most of my patients. Once we fixed a few underlying issues, they got better.

Almost 100% of them.

After awhile, I started to look forward to treating any neck issue because the outcomes I was getting were so good.

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How to train around PAIN.

The fact of the matter is, pain can bring each one of these situations to a grinding halt. Even worse, if the pain is left unchecked it usually gets worse and can even cause pain in different parts of the body.

It is not uncommon for a right ankle or knee issue to cause pain in the low back or the opposite hip and knee. I will explain how at a later date. The short answer as to how this happens is that everything is connected. 

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I will start Monday. And a cool recipe.

One of the first steps in not bringing the temptation into the house. Unfortunately, the bad stuff is usually the easiest stuff to grab in a hurry and also things that you can eat a lot of before the brain triggers you to stop.

But, what do we do when we need a little something and we do not want to go face first into some ice cream, chips or cookies?

Check out this recipe.

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