Category Archives for "abdominal"

Roll it Out! Full Body Ball Workout

Change up your gym routine by using various gym equipment such as dumbbells and bands. Use a Swiss ball for a full body work-out. Performing different types of exercises on the Swiss ball can help improve your range of motion, balance, and coordination. Engaging the core muscles while exercising on a large, unstable object such as an exercise ball is essential to performing the movement correctly and preventing injury. Try out the exercises below:

Push-Ups:

  1. Place both hands on a Swiss ball with your feet together to form a straight line from the top of your head to your toes.
  2. Engage the core and maintain a neutral spine. Keep your elbows close to your body and slowly lower your torso to the ball.
  3. Push up from the ball back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

Ab Roll-Outs:

  1. Place both of your forearms on a Swiss ball to form a 90 degree angle at the elbow.
  2. Keep feet and knees together on the floor.
  3. Engage the core muscles and maintain a neutral spine.
  4. Slowly roll forward by extending your arms and pushing the ball away from you. Make sure the knees and feet remain in contact with the floor.
  5. Slowly bring your body back to starting position by engaging the core muscles and pushing from the elbows up.
  6. Repeat for 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

Wall Squat:

  1. Wrap a closed loop resistance band around the thighs just above the knees. 
  2. Position yourself so that your low back is fully leaning up against a big exercise ball on the wall. Keep your posture nice and tall but don’t arch your low back when leaning upright against the Swiss ball. 
  3. Engage you inner core stabilizers by contracting your pelvic floor muscles and pulling your transverse abdominal muscles below your belly button inwards, hugging your spine. Remember to keep breathing. 
  4. Leaning your weight on the ball slide downwards doing a wall squat while you maintain static isometric pressure against the resistance bands. Keep your knees over your ankles and in alignment with your second toes. 
  5. Hold the wall squat for 10 seconds. Repeat this for ten repetitions doing three sets daily.

Hamstring Curl:

  1. Lie on the ground with the stability ball under your heels with your legs straight and your toes pointing up. Engage your inner core muscles below the belly button. 
  2. Extend your hips by squeezing your butt and lifting it off the ground. 
  3. Bring one knee towards your chest and hold it there.
  4. Bring the ball in towards you by flexing your other knee and then straightening it back to the start position. 
  5. Keep your inner core engaged the entire time. Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions, 3 times per week.

Reach Outs:

  1. Keep your posture tall and your inner core engaged by pulling the muscles below the belly button inwards toward the spine. 
  2. Wrap a resistance band around your upper back. With your belly on the ball stay on your hands and feet. 
  3. Secure the band on the floor with your opposite hand. Reach your index finger forward, with the thumb up towards the wall on a slight angle out, and then come back down.
  4. Repeat this 10 times for 3 sets on each side.  
  5. To progress the functional core strength, reach your index finger forward while extending your opposite leg and heel back at the same time. Keep the hips and pelvis level. Repeat this 10 times for 3 sets on each side.

Plank Walk-Outs:

  1. Start by pulling in your inner core by making your waistline skinnier below the belly button.
  2. Then roll out into a plank position on the ball in full control with a flat spine. 
  3. Lift one leg off of the ball with full control while keeping your hips level with each other. Try to keep your toes pointed to the floor as much as possible and lead with your heal. 
  4. Do 3 sets of 5 repetitions holding for 5 seconds on each side to start. 
  5. Then progress to 3 sets of 5-10 repetitions holding for 10 seconds when stronger.

5 Strengthening Exercises for Dancers

Overuse injuries are commonly found in dancers due to their intense training regimes. Nearly 60 to 90% of dancers experience an injury or multiple injuries during their careers (Steinberg, Siev-Ner, Peleg, et al., 2013). These injuries include chrondromalacia patella (“runner’s knee”), Achilles tendinopathy, and metatarsal (foot) fractures. Some major causes of injury may be due to anatomic structure, genetics, training regime, improper technique, floor surfaces, age, body mass index, muscle imbalance, nutrition, and menstrual function (Steinberg et al., 2013).

Dance typically includes being on the toes and forefoot in a extreme plantar flexion position, known as “en pointe.” Individuals with poor balance and landing techniques will experience higher ground reaction forces which may subsequently strain the back, knees, and ankles. Incorrect form in many non-professional dancers entail a valgus knee position (knees caved inwards) and hip adduction. Conversely, mature, experienced dancers are able to rely on stronger hip and knee joint muscles to stabilize themselves during landing from jumps. Young dancers also experience lower back pain. Causative factors include high preseason training intensity, history of low back pain, low body weight, scoliosis, and stress fracture in the pars articularis of the spine (Steinberg et al., 2013).

Studies have recommended minimal exposure for young dancers to overload exercises, especially those involving the spine and caution with extensive stretching exercises (Steinberg et al., 2013).

Prevention

Here are a few essential tips to reduce the risk of injury:

  • Wear proper footwear and clothing
  • Drink fluids regularly
  • Do not dance through pain as it will exacerbate the damage
  • Practice correct dance technique 
  • Take adequate breaks during and between dance sessions
  • Ensure proper warm-up and cool-down (approximately 5-10 minutes)
  • Use preventative taping and/or braces if necessary

Strengthening

1) Woodchops – hold a light dumbbell or single cable in the highest pulley position with both hands and bring the weight downwards diagonally to the side of the leg opposite to the starting position. Remember to keep a flat back and tight core through out the motion. Repeat 8 to 12 reps on each side.
2) Lateral Step Downs – stand beside a step or a box, then place one foot on the step. Lift the other leg upwards by bending the knee to 90 degrees. Then bring the foot back down to the ground. Repeat 8 to 12 reps before switching sides. 
3) Core Stability – place your stomach onto a ball and keep the spine in a neutral position. Keep the inner core muscles engaged and reach one arm up in front with the opposite leg extended back. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds before switching sides. Repeat 10 times on each side.
4) Superman Deadlifts – hold a light dumbbell to the same side as the leg that will be extended back on. With a nice tall posture, engage the core and bend forward at the hips while you extend the leg back and reach forward with the opposite arm. Repeat 10 times on each side.
5) Squat Jumps – start with a tall posture, engage the core muscles by drawing the lower ab muscles inward toward the spine. Avoid arching the low back, with arms in a ready position, do a one-legged squat with the body weight equally distributed over the foot. Lower the body downwards by bending at the knees, then jump straight back upwards by engaging your glute and thigh muscles. Repeat 10 to 15 times for 3 sets.

Steinberg, N., Siev-Ner, I., Peleg, S., Dar, G., Masharawi, Y., Zeev, A., & Hershkovitz, I. (2013). Injuries in Female Dancers Aged 8 to 16 Years. Journal of Athletic Training48(1), 118–123. http://doi.org/10.4085/1062-6050-48.1.06
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

Building a Stronger Core to Prevent Low Back Pain

Up to 80% of individuals will experience some lower back pain at least once in their lifetime. Lower back pain (LBP) results in high costs and places a burden on society. These costs include diagnostic, treatment, and indirect costs associated with work disability. A number of conditions can lead to low back pain such as infections, tumours, fractures or dislocations of the spine. However, lifting heavy loads is generally thought to be a key predictor of LBP. An important element in prevention of LBP is to correctly stabilize the trunk during lifting by pre-activating the abdominal wall muscles. By doing so, the spine will increase in stiffness to reduce the effect of undesired spinal perturbations. Exercises aimed at bracing the abdominal muscles may reduce the risk of LBP.

There are two ways of stabilizing the abdominal muscles: an abdominal hollow or abdominal brace. An abdominal hollow begins by drawing in the lower abdomen (transversus abdominus) while maintaining relaxation of the other surrounding abdominal muscles such as the obliques. At the same time, small muscles of the lower back (close to the spine) such as the multifidus are contracted while the larger back muscles are relaxed. With contraction of the lower abdomen and small back muscles, intra-abdominal pressure is increased and the fascia surrounding the spine increases in tension. Combined, these contribute to provide intersegmental stability.

An abdominal brace is performed by activating all of the abdominal and lower back muscles, rather than specific muscle recruitment. By tensing the entire trunk without drawing the muscles in or pushing them out, global activation of the ab and back muscles may provide increased stability in all directions in various movement patterns.

Both the abdominal hollow and brace can help increase the stiffness of the spine to minimize lower back pain. The use of either one will depend on the desired movement pattern and the goals of the individuals in stabilizing their core. Strengthening the core muscles is also essential in reducing the amount of loading on the lower back muscles. Watch these videos below:

Back Pain, Lower Back Treatment “Building Core Strength”:

Back, Sacro-Iliac-Joint Pain & Dysfunction: Core Stability Foam Roller:

Strengthening Hips, Pelvis and Low Back For Ultimate Frisbee: “Psoas March”:

InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.