Category Archives for "exercise"

How to Activate Your Glute Muscles

Properly activating your glutes before starting any exercise is important to ensure safety and optimal performance. Complex lifts such as deadlifts or squats not only require a strong and engaged core, but also activation of your large leg and glute muscles to help generate a desired level of power for the movement. 

The glute muscles consist of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medium, and gluteus minimus. The gluteus maximus is the largest of the three muscles and its primary function is to extend and externally rotate the thigh at the hip joint. The gluteus medius, which spans laterally to the side of the hip and thigh, works to abduct the thigh at the hip joint. Lastly, the smallest muscle in the group is the gluteus minimus works in conjunction with the gluteus medium to abduct the thigh and helps prevent the hips or knees to collapse inwards. Engaging all three muscles will help stabilize the hip, pelvis, and trunk. Try these exercises below to engage your glute muscles:

1) Side Stepping with a Band

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a circle band placed just above your knees. Bend at your knees and hips to maintain a squat position. Then step to one side, driving the leading knee outwards and engaging the glute muscles. Bring the trailing leg back to the starting position. Continue stepping for another 10-15 repetitions before stepping in the other direction, driving the opposite knee outwards. 

2) Clamshells

Lie on your side with your hips at 45° and your knees at 90° with a band above your knees. Keep your feet together at all times as you open your top knee up against the resistance of the band. Slowly bring the top knee back to meet the bottom knee. Repeat for 10 repetitions. Then complete on the other side. 

3) Sidelying Leg Holds


Begin by lying on your left side to strengthen your left Gluteus medius “Butt” muscles. Keep your right hip stacked on top of your left and place your right hand on your right hip. Then bring your right foot on the ground in front of your left knee and bend the left knee to 90 degrees. Bring your left foot up, while maintaining the ninety degree bend in your knee. Hold this for 10 seconds; Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

4) Lateral Step-Downs / Runner’s Step-Ups

Stand with one foot on a step box and your hands on your hips. Then bring the other foot down to the side and touch the floor. Engage your glute muscles at all times and repeat for 10 repetitions for 3 sets on each leg. Progress the exercise by beginning in the same starting position with one foot on a step box and the other leg straight out to the side. Then kick back with the side leg to about 45° behind your body. Repeat for 10 repetitions for 3 sets on each leg. The third progression is a step-up. Begin in the same starting position, step down with one foot, then drive the same leg and opposite arm upwards. Repeat for 10 repetitions for 3 sets on each leg.

5) Ball Raises on the Wall


Wrap a resistance band around your inside hip.Lean your inside hip onto the exercise ball against the wall and pull with the band towards the outside hip with your hand. With your inner core engaged and your posture tall flex your inside knee up to your chest. Start by driving your outside hip into the ball to bring the inside hip upwards so it’s level with your other hip. Then release and drop your inside hip back down and repeat. Do 10 repetitions for 3 sets.
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5 Morning Stretches to Wake Your Body Up

Ever feel sore from a workout that you did the previous day or from sleeping in an odd position all night? Try out these quick and simple stretches in bed when you wake up in the morning!

1) Full Body Stretch: 

Lie on your back with your legs together. Extend both of your arms overhead. Lengthen your spine by stretching your arms as far overhead and your legs stretched as far downwards as you can. Hold for 30 seconds or more.

2) Spinal Twist: 

Lie on your back with your right leg extended straight down. Bend the left leg at the knee and cross your knee to the other side of your body. Open your left arm to the side and turn your head to the left side. Hold for 30 seconds or more, then repeat on the other side.

3) Hamstring Stretch:

Lie on your back with one leg extended straight down. Hold the back of your thigh or your knee and bring the other leg extended upwards towards your chest. Bring the leg close to your chest until you feel a comfortable stretch through your hamstrings. Hold for 30 seconds or more, then repeat on the other side.

4) Child’s Pose:

Begin with your knees and feet together. Then sit back on your heels and extend both arms overhead placing your palms onto your bed. Take a deep breath in and press your belly against your thighs. Hold for 30 seconds or more. Variation: Walk your fingers over to the top right corner of your bed as far as you can reach to stretch the left side of your body. Then repeat on the other side.

5) Bedside Hip Lift: 

Begin by the side of your bed with both feet planted on the floor and your palms placed shoulder-width apart near the middle of the bed behind your body. Press your heels into the floor and your hands into the bed to lift your hips upwards towards the ceiling to form a straight line between the top of your head and to your knees. Hold for a couple of seconds, then slowly bring your hips back down to the starting position. Repeat 5 or 6 times.

Images retrieved from:
http://www.yogabasics.com/asana/child/
https://www.thoughtco.com/funny-good-morning-quotes-2831856
http://rajora.in/fitness/exercise-sequence/static-streching/
http://www.satyaliveyoga.com.au/2015/02/26/sleepasana/
http://sunina.com/2014/03/
https://www.cosmopolitan.com/health-fitness/advice/

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Whole-Body Partner Workout

Looking to try something new for your next workout? Try these fun and challenging exercises with a partner at the gym or at home. 

1) Medicine Ball Pass: 

Lie on your back with a mat with your feet planted next to each others. Begin with one person holding the medicine ball, then both sit up by engaging the core, and pass the ball to the other person. Repeat back-and-forth passes by performing simultaneous sit-ups for 20 to 30 repetitions. 
                                                                                                                                  credit: Kami Price

2) Squat Seesaw:

Grab a resistance band with a handle on each end and stand face to face. Begin with one person performing a squat to bring the resistance band downwards, while the other person stands tall and brings the resistance band overhead by extending their arms. Remember to keep an upright body position through out the movement and engage the core. Repeat for 20 repetitions. 
                                                                                                                              credit: Travis McCoy

3) Push-up to Bent-over Row:

Partner #1 will begin in a push-up position by placing both hands on the floor shoulder-width apart while the partner #2 holds the ankles. Partner #1 will perform a push-up by engaging the core and glutes to lower their body towards the floor as Partner #2 holds their ankles by keeping their arms extended and back neutral. After Partner #1 has brought their body back up by pushing up, Partner #2 will then pull their partner’s ankles upwards to chest level to perform a row. Repeat 10 times before switching roles. 

                                                                                             credit: Kami Price

4) Single-Leg Core Rotation:

Stand tall side to side with your partner and hold a medicine ball. Raising the outer leg to a 90 degree angle for each person, engage the core, and rotate to pass the ball back and forth between your partner and yourself. Complete 10-15 passes before switching positions to raise the other leg and complete another set. 
                                                                                                                              credit: Travis McCoy

5) Plank High-Fives

Begin in a plank position facing each other by placing hands directly below your shoulders and body positioned in a straight line. Engage the core and keep the spine neutral, raise one hand while the other partner raises the opposite hand to high-five in the space between you and your partner. 

                                                                                                                            credit: Stephanie Smith
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What is PNF Stretching?

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, also known as PNF stretching, is a technique employed to improve muscle elasticity and range of motion. PNF is frequently used by therapists to restore functional range of motion and increase strength capabilities in patients who have sustained soft tissue damage or in post-surgery rehabilitation. It is found that consistent performance of PNF stretching and PNF stretching post-exercise may increase athletic performance by increasing range of motion. It is evident in literature that there are two types of techniques that can be utilized under PNF stretching.

The contract-relax method (CR) includes lengthening the targeted muscle and holding it in that position while the targeted muscle is contracted to its maximum isometrically for a period of time. A short period of relaxation and a passive stretch of the targeted muscle follows this initial contraction phase. The contract-relax-antagonist-contract method (CRAC) begins with the same procedure as the CR method. However, it takes a further step by contracting the antagonist muscle to the targeted muscle instead of passively stretching the targeted muscle.

How to Properly Perform a PNF Stretch:

Contract-Relax (CR) Method:

1) Stretch targeted muscle to the limit of normal range of motion. Contract the targeted muscle group for 5 – 10 seconds while a partner or immovable object such as a band applies sufficient resistance to inhibit movement of the muscle group.

2) Relax the targeted muscle group for 3 – 5 seconds.

3) Have your partner passively stretch the targeted muscle group by applying a controlled, deeper stretch for about 20 – 30 seconds into a greater range of motion.

4) Relax the muscle for approximately 30 seconds before repeating the above process 2 or 3 more times.

Contract-Relax-Antagonist-Contract (CRAC) Method:

1) Stretch targeted muscle to the limit of normal range of motion. Contract the targeted muscle group for 5 – 10 seconds while a partner or immovable object such as a band applies sufficient resistance to inhibit movement of the muscle group.

2) Relax the targeted muscle group for 3 – 5 seconds.

3) Contract the antagonist muscle (opposite to targeted muscle group) for 5 – 10 seconds.

4) After brief period of relaxation, have your partner passively stretch the targeted muscle group by applying a controlled, deeper stretch for about 20 – 30 seconds into a greater range of motion.

5) Relax the muscle for approximately 30 seconds before repeating the above process 2 or 3 more times.

Example of PNF Stretching for the Lower Body: 

Begin by lying on your back with one leg on the floor and the other leg extended and stretched into the limit of your normal range of motion. 

Contract the hamstring of the stretched leg and have your partner resist leg movement. 

Relax the hamstrings then have your partner passively stretch the leg past its normal range of movement.
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5 Stretches for Tight Chest Muscles

Sitting in front of a computer or performing in repetitive activities such as weightlifting or volleyball can lead to tight chest muscles that may impair an individual’s posture and function. The pectoralis muscles, both major and minor, attach at the sternum (breastbone) and to the bones of the shoulder and upper arm. The pectoralis major is a strong, fan-shaped muscle that begins at the clavicle and sternum to insert onto the humerus. This muscle works to flex or medially rotate the arm at the shoulder joint. It also plays an important role as an accessory breathing muscle to help with inspiration. The pectoralis minor begins from the third through fifth ribs and extends diagonally up the chest to attach to the scapula. It helps draw the scapula forward and downward. Both of these muscles work together to allow you to horizontally adduct your shoulders to bring it in and across your body. Tight chest muscles may lead to a decreased range of motion and difficulty with performing daily activities that involve lifting or pushing. Read below to learn five effective stretches to release tension in the chest muscles.

1) Doorway Pectoral Stretch: 

Stand beside a door frame or corner of a wall. Keeping your back straight and your inner core engaged, bring your arm up against the wall with the elbow and shoulder bent at 90 degrees. With the arm planted on the wall, draw your opposite shoulder back followed by your torso in a straight line. Keep the back straight and core engaged. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times on each side 2 times per day.

2) Camel Pose:  

Kneel on the floor with knees hip-width apart and your hands on your waist. Tuck your toes or place them flat against the floor. Slowly reach back and place one hand on each heel. Keep your chest lifted, shoulders back and down, engage your core and slowly push your hips forward. Hold for 15-20 seconds and repeat 3 times. 

3) Hands Behind the Back: 

Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Interlace your fingers behind your back and straighten your arms. Keep your chest lifted and pull your shoulder blades downward. Hold for 15-20 seconds and repeat 3 times.

4) Floor Angels: 

Lie flat on your back with feet hip-width apart and flat on the floor. Position both arms to the side at a 90 degree angle with palms facing upwards toward the ceiling. Keeping in contact with the floor at all times, slowly bring your arms up over your head until they are fully extended. Then slowly bring both arms back to the 90 degree starting position. Repeat 10 times for 3 sets. Remember to keep your back flat against the floor and ribs tucked at all times. 

5) Pec Release: 

Place a lacrosse or tennis ball between your pectoralis muscles and a doorway or the wall. Slowly lean your body onto the ball for 20-30 seconds to release tension in the muscle. Move the ball to other points in the chest area and repeat the previous step. 
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Knee Injury Prevention Guideline

Knee and ACL injuries commonly occur in sports such as soccer, ultimate, and rugby. Athletes may require months to even more than a year to recover and to be able to return to play. There is a vast amount of literature describing a number of ways on how to prevent knee and ACL injuries. However, the most effective prevention strategies are the ones that are based on scientific evidence, a thorough assessment made by the coach and medical team, and the individual’s input.

Strongly suggested by research, programs most beneficial in preventing injuries consist of flexibility drills, running drills, strength training, core strength, and plyometrics. Each session should last approximately 20 minutes with a goal of exercising a minimum of 30 minutes per week. Programs should be implemented through out the year from preseason to regular season. Although most research studies focused on athletes between the ages of 12 and 25 years, these programs may benefit older individuals.

Recommended Exercises

Dynamic Stretches:

1) Toe Taps: Standing tall, kick one leg up and touch your toes to the palm of your hand. Alternate legs. Repeat 10 times on each side.

2) Reverse Lunge & Hop: Step back with one leg until you get into a lunge position. Swing the back leg forward until your knee is bent at a right angle by your chest. Maintain an upright body and repeat on the other side. Perform 10 repetitions on each side.

3) Calf Stretch: Standing tall on one leg, extend the other leg forward with only the heel in contact with the floor. Gently bend forward at the hips and feel a stretch along the front leg. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on other leg. Perform 3 times on each side.

Running Drills: 

Perform running drills such as forward and backward running or bounding. Watch Physiotherapist Claire lead two athletes through a series of running and other dynamic drills below.

Strength Training: 

Two-legged Squat:

Starting with tall posture, engage your core below the belly button by drawing the inner core muscles towards the spine without arching the low back. With arms in a ready position do a two legged squat with your body weight distributed equally over both feet. Don’t go any lower than a ninety degree bend in the knees, keeping your knees in alignment with your second toe and over your heels as much as possible. Hold for a good long second and then straighten back up with your butt muscles to the start. Do three sets of fifteen repetitions daily.

Advanced Superman Deadlifts:

Start by holding on to a 5 pound dumbbell on the same side as the leg that you are going to extend back on. With nice tall posture, engage your core below the belly button. Keeping your spine flat, bend forward at the hips while you extend the leg back and reaching forward with the opposite arm and holding onto the 5 pound dumbbell with the other hand. Remember to keep that hip down on the side you’re extending the leg back on. Do 3 sets, 10 repetitions, holding for 3 seconds.

Split Squat Jumps:

Start with a nice tall posture and your inner core pulled in to keep your low back flat. Engage your back leg into extension by pushing the back forefoot into a solid bench or a chair supported against a wall. With your arms in the ready position bend the knee to 90 degrees by bringing the butt down and then jump back up. Keep your thigh strong by preventing the knee from buckling inwards. Keep your knee over the heel and don’t let it go over your toes. Do 3 sets of 10 on each side.

Core Strength Exercises:

1) Planks: Begin on the floor resting on your forearms and knees. Extend both legs until your whole body forms a straight line from the top of your head to your feet. Engage the core and glute muscles. Begin by holding this position for 30 seconds. Progress to 60 seconds or more to increase difficulty.

2) Glute Bridge: Begin on the floor with your back flat, legs bent at approximately 90 degrees and both feet on the ground. Place both arms to the side then engage your core as you lift your hips up. Hold for a second or two at the top as you squeeze your glute muscles.

Plyometrics

1) Box Jumps: Use a box that is around your knee height or higher. Stand in front of the box with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend slightly downwards, swing your arms back, then swing them forward and explode up off the ground onto the box. Repeat 10 times.

2) Lateral Skater Jumps: Begin by standing on one leg and bend the other leg. Jump sidewards and land on the leg that was bent. Then switch sides. Repeat 10 on each side.

References:
https://www.ufvcascades.ca/2018/01/cascades-mens-soccer-program-to-host-id-camp/
https://www.jospt.org/doi/full/10.2519/jospt.2018.0509
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How to Safely Exercise When Pregnant

Remaining active during a pregnancy may help reduce some discomforts and help prepare the body for delivery. Acute exercise generally increases oxygen uptake, heart rate, stroke volume, cardiac output, and lung volume during pregnancy. Remember to complete the “PARmed-X for Pregnancy” health screening prior to participation in a prenatal fitness class or other exercise. Medical clearance should be obtained prior to exercise for women who were sedentary prior to pregnancy or have a medical condition.

Benefits:

  • reduced backaches
  • reduced constipation and bloating
  • may help prevent gestational diabetes
  • improved weight management
  • increase in energy
  • improved mood
  • improved posture
  • better sleep patterns
  • development of muscle tone
  • promotes strength and endurance
  • better coping with labour

Contraindications to Exercise:

Absolute Contraindications:

  • hemodynamically significant heart disease
  • restrictive lung disease
  • incompetent cervix/cerciage
  • multiple gestation at risk for premature labour
  • persistent second or third trimester bleeding
  • placenta prevue after 26th week of gestation
  • premature labour during current pregnancy
  • ruptured membranes
  • preeclampsia/pregnancy-induced hypertension

Relative Contraindications:

  • severe anemia
  • unevaluated maternal cardiac dysrhythmia
  • chronic bronchitis
  • poorly controlled Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • extreme morbid obesity
  • extreme underweight
  • history of extremely sedentary lifestyle
  • intrauterine growth restriction in current pregnancy
  • poorly controlled hypertension
  • orthopaedic limitations
  • poorly controlled seizure disorder
  • poorly controlled hyperthyroidism
  • heavy smoker

Warning Signs to Terminate Exercise Session

  • vaginal bleeding
  • dyspnea before exertion
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • chest pain
  • muscle weakness
  • calf pain or swelling
  • preterm labour
  • decreased fetal movement
  • amniotic fluid leakage

Exercise Recommendations:

Aerobic Exercise

Frequency: 3-4 days per week (women who exercise less than 2 days or greater than 5 days may increase their risk of having a low-birth-weight baby) 
Intensity: Moderate intensity exercise is encouraged for women with a pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) of less than 25 kg per squared meter. However, women with a pre-pregnancy BMI of greater than 25 kg per squared meter should engage in light intensity exercise.
Time: More than 15 minutes per day is recommended. Individuals may gradually increase the duration to a maximum of 30 minutes per day of moderate intensity exercise for a total of 120 minutes per week. A 10-15 minute warm-up before exercise and 10-15 minute cool-down of light physical activity after a training session is recommended. 
Type of Exercise: Use large muscle groups in dynamic, rhythmic physical activities.

Resistance Exercise

One to three sets of 10-15 reps with approximately 2-3 minutes rest in between each set is recommended. Engage in light to moderate resistance exercises. The following are sample routines according to different trimesters from Brad Schoenfeld (NSCA). 

References:
http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/exercise-during-pregnancy/
https://www.nsca.com/uploadedfiles/nsca/resources/pdf/certification/quizzes/quiz_pack_articles/october_2011_33.5.pdf
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How to Program: Linear vs. Non-Linear Periodization?

Designing a work-out program for yourself? There are many different ways to create the ideal program that suit your fitness levels and fitness goals.

PERIODIZATION

Periodization entails systematic planning of various aspects of a training program through progressive cycling during specific periods. The goal of periodization is to optimize fitness levels while reducing the risk of injury. There are different components to the basic structure of a periodization cycle.

CYCLES 

A macrocycle is a complete training period that may be 1, 2, or 4 years in duration. A mesocycle is a period or multiple periods within a macrocycle aimed to develop a single training block. The mesocycle may consist of a preparatory period, a competitive period, and a transition or rest period. A microcycle is a structural unit that makes up a mesocycle. It details weekly plans for progressive overloads specific to the goals of the mesocycle. For example, four 4-week microcycles will equate to a 16-week training program or one mesocycle.

TYPES

Linear periodization progressively increases in intensity with minor variations in each microcycle. Beginner athletes typically utilize this type of training where the program starts with a higher initial volume then progresses to a lower volume as intensity increases. This traditional model has a greater focus on developing general strength and requires longer training periods. For example, an individual may be only focused on building muscle mass in a hypertrophy phase for all of their workouts within a week.

Non-linear periodization involves varying the intensity and volume within each week over the course of a training program. This allows individuals to train different muscle features within the same week. Non-linear programming is ideal for experienced or elite athletes. For example, an individual may incorporate workouts aimed at developing strength and power at the same time. This model also provides flexibility in scheduling for individuals as the goal of non-linear periodization is to complete the workouts whenever possible, instead of completing the program in a fixed number of weeks.

The red chart depicts a non-linear periodization within a week that varies the type of training, sets, reps, and recovery time. Conversely, the blue chart details a linear type of periodization where the first couple of weeks are aimed at focusing on strictly resistance type workouts with the same sets, reps, and recovery time for that designated time frame. A hypertrophy phase and a maximal strength phase follows accordingly.

PHASES

Four common types of phases in a training program are: hypertrophy, strength/power, peak, and recovery.

Hypertrophy involves building muscle mass. Exercises are completed with short rest periods and high volumes. Strength and power are completed with a reduced volume, but an increase in load and rest time. Peaking involves low volumes, higher loads, and long rest periods. Finally, recovery uses low volumes and low loads.

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How to Warm Up For a Bigger Bench Press

The bench press is one of the key complex exercises to build upper body strength and mass. It involves the pectoralis major, triceps brachii, anterior deltoids, traps, back, and glute muscles. Check out the following blog post on how to properly perform the bench press: https://insyncphysio.com/strength-training-for-dragon-boat-paddlers/


Warm up prior to any exercise is key as it raises the heart rate and circulation of blood to the muscles to prepare for an increase in activity. Complete the following steps before performing light reps on the bench press to warm up effectively for a bigger bench press:

1) Self-Myofascial Release: 

Foam rolling decreases tissue density and muscle viscosity, while increasing blood flow into the muscles. Apply moderate pressure to the chest, lats, and tricep muscles. Do not roll over joints. Pause on any tender spots for several seconds. 

2) Dynamic Warmup:

a. Side Lying Windmills: Lie down with your back on the floor with one leg extended and the other leg crossed over your body with the knee bent at a 90 degree angle. Extend both arms in the same direction as the knee that is pointed to the side. With the top arm, slowly raise it in a circular motion over your chest to reach the opposite side. Then bring the arm back to meet the other arm. Do not move either legs through out the motion. Repeat 10 times on each side.


b. 4-Point Clock Reaches: Loop a closed elastic band with mild resistance around your arms above your wrists. Kneeling on the ground, keep your spine in neutral posture with your inner core muscles engaged. Imagine there is clock face numbered 9 to 3 O’clock on the ground in front of you. Begin by reaching the right hand to 12 O’clock and then back to the start position. Continue to 1 O’clock, 2 O’clock, 3 O’clock and then backwards up to 12 O’clock again. Repeat 5 times on each side.


c. External Rotation: Position your elbow by your side, shoulders relaxed and your posture in spine neutral. Holding on to a resistance band use your other hand to help it out to the end range of external rotation. The opposite hand is doing all the work pushing the band outward that is being held by your other hand. Then let the hand holding the band slowly return to the start position. Repeat 10 times on each side.

d. Push-ups: Start in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart, then lower your body downwards until your chest nearly touches the floor. Keep your elbows tucked in and engage the core to keep a neutral spine. Bring your body back up by pushing upwards with your arms. Repeat 5-10 times.

3) Central Nervous System (CNS) Activation

a. Chest Throws: Stand perpendicular to a wall with feet shoulder-width apart. Holding a medicine ball level to your chest, use the momentum provided by your upper body, throw the ball, and catch it when it bounces or is tossed back to you. Repeat 10 times. 


b. Ball slams: Stand shoulder-width apart, raise a medicine ball above your head. Using the momentum from your whole body, throw the ball downwards towards the floor. Repeat 10 times. 

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How to Improve Flexibility with a Yoga Block

Flexibility is the ability to move a joint through its complete range of motion and is important in carrying out daily activities and in athletic performance. Maintaining flexibility of all joints produce efficient movement and reduces risk of injury. It can be improved in all age groups by regularly engaging in exercises targeting different joints. Joint capsule stiffness, muscle viscosity, ligament and tendon compliance all affect flexibility. Therefore, adequate warm-up and proper stretching is essential in optimizing joint range of motion. Chronic conditions such as lower back pain may arise if an individual has poor lower back and hip flexibility, in conjunction with weak abdominal muscles.

Flexibility exercises are most effective through warm-up exercises or passively through moist heat packs or hot baths to increase the muscle temperature. An effective warm-up is typically 5 to 10 minutes long, but may be longer for older adults or individuals with health conditions. Watch the video below, led by InSync Physio’s Claire McDonald, on how to do a comprehensive warm-up targeting all of the major muscles:

Evidence-Based Recommendations:

Frequency: more than 2-3 days per week with daily being the most effective
Intensity: stretch to the point of feeling tightness or slight discomfort
Time: hold a static stretch for approximately 10-30 seconds, hold for 30-60 seconds for older individuals
Type: static (active or passive), dynamic, ballistic, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation
Volume: a total of 60 seconds of stretching time for each flexibility exercise is recommended
Pattern: repetition of each exercise 2-4 times

Stretching for Beginners: 

Yoga blocks can be very helpful for individuals building their flexibility by reinforcing balance and proper alignment. Use a yoga block for the following positions:

1) Forward Folds for Tight Hamstrings

Place a yoga block flat on the ground and sit directly on top with legs extended forward and feet flexed.

2) Hip Openers for Tight Hips

Sit on the ground and bring your feet together, then place a yoga block under each knee for support. Remember to sit up straight.

3) Standing Thigh Holds for Posture: 

Standing tall, place a yoga block between the thighs to tilt the pelvis downwards and realign the spine.
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