Category Archives for "exercise"

Sand Training

As summer approaches, one of the best places to exercise is the beach. Not only do you get a beautiful view, but working out on the sand also allows for a challenge due to sand plyometrics. Sand plyometrics has been proven to increase performance in regards to strength.

A study by Arazi, Mohammadi and Asadi (2014) was conducted on 14 men comparing the effects of plyometric training on sand versus land surfaces. Both groups showed significant improvements in the vertical jump and standing long jump test.

Another study by Binnie et al., (2014) comparing the effects of sand versus grass training on ten elite athletes demonstrated that there were significantly higher heart rates present and rating of perceived exertion in the sand training sessions. There were also no differences in their post exercise performance, no indication of further muscle damage, and rates of inflammation were similar between each surface. The results suggest that performing conditioning sessions on sand rather than grass can result in a greater physiological response without adding any additional damage to the performance during the next day.

To conclude, both studies demonstrate that sand training can offer a higher energy cost and lower impact-training stimulus when compared to a firmer training venue such as grass. If you’re hoping to get more out of your workouts or training sessions, try it out at your next session!

If you have any pain during exercises, or are unsure about what you are doing, please consult your local physiotherapist before continuing.

Resistance Band Exercises for the Lower Body

Resistance bands are cheap, portable, and versatile. With a simple resistance band, you can easily do a full body workout. Here are some exercises for the lower body. 

Supinated Clamshell
Loop a band around your legs just above your knees. Lie on your back with hips and knees flexed to 90 degrees. Pull the knees apart while contracting your glutes and hold the position for a few seconds. Slowly return to starting position and repeat.

Knee Raises
Loop a band between the middle of your foot, and hold the band with one foot while lifting the other. Keeping your foot flexed, raise your knee up to hip level, making sure the band is still looped across the top of the raised foot. Pause at the top, and lower your leg back down to starting position. Repeat on the other side. 

Lateral Band Walk
Place feet shoulder-width apart to create tension on the band. From a half-squat position, take small steps from side to side, while keeping the band taught. 

Glute Bridge
Tie a band around your legs right above your knees. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, bending your knees to 90 degrees. Lift your hips until your shoulders, hips and knees align, contracting your glutes through the entire movement. Increase the difficulty of this movement by repeating the movement on one leg, while sticking the other one straight out.

If you have any pain during exercises, or are unsure about what you are doing, please consult your local physiotherapist before continuing.

Stretches to do while on an Airplane

Extended durations on cramped, uncomfortable seats for hours can cause your body to become stiff and sore. These discrete simple stretches and exercises can help travellers reach their destination pain-free, while encouraging blood circulation throughout the body. 

Seated
Seated Spinal Twists – Sitting tall, grab onto the arm rests of your seat and twist your torso from one side to the other.

Neck Rolls – slowly twist your neck from side to side, and up and down. Then bring your left ear to your left shoulder, and repeat on the other side. Finally, tuck your chin down to your chest and repeat the steps until you feel the tension release from your neck. 

Shoulder Rolls – sit in a relaxed position with your arms by your sides. Roll your shoulders both forward and backwards.

Ankle Circles – lift your feet off the ground and roll your ankles in a circle.

Standing
Calf Raises – stand with your feet a couple inches apart and raise your heels so you’re on your toes. Hold this position for a few seconds before lowering back down. You should focus on stretching out your calves. 

Quad Stretches – In a standing position, bend your knee, grab your ankle and pull it behind your back. 

Pec Stretch – place your hand on a wall with your elbow at chest height. Rotate your body away to stretch out your shoulder. Repeat on the other side. 

In addition to these stretches, don’t forget to take the opportunity to walk around every few hours to get your blood circulating throughout your body. 

If you have any pain during exercises, or are unsure about what you are doing, please consult your local physiotherapist before continuing.

One Legged Squat

This exercise is deceptively simple. It is called the one legged squat and the key of the exercise is, you want to keep the knee in alignment, don’t let it wobble back and forth. And as you keep the knee in alignment, you also want to make sure you engage the core as you squat down you want to bring the buttocks backwards so the centre of gravity is back, and as you squat down, you want to keep the knee over ankle - not over your toes. And you’re going to repeat three sets of ten. As you master that then you’re going to add a more difficult component - the hop. Now all this as you can see is using a red resistance band and as you do the hop you want to make sure you keep the alignment the same as you were doing before with just the squat. You’re also going to do three sets of ten.

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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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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7 Easy Exercises with a Towel

Home exercising can be just as effective as going to the gym by using household items such as a medium-sized towel. Check out the exercises below for a full body work-out:

1) Plank Walks: 

In a plank position with a towel under both feet and maintaining a neutral spine, walk forwards by placing one hand in front of the other for 10 to 20 steps.

2) Neck Rotation: 

Find where the hairline ends to locate a noticeable “bump” on the back of your neck. This is the spinous process for your 2nd cervical vertebrae. Place the edge of an unrolled towel on this spot, then cross your hands over, making sure the top hand is on the same side as the direction of rotation (e.g. right arm will pull towel downwards towards the middle of the chest if you are turning LEFT). Complete a pain-free rotation 3 times in each direction per day.

3) Knee Tucks: 

Start in a plank position with a towel under both feet and keep a neutral spine, then engage the lower abs below the belly button to pull the knees in toward the chest. Extend the legs back to starting position and repeat for 10 reps. 

4) Reverse Lunge: 

Place one foot in front and a towel underneath the other foot that is slightly behind. Slide the rear foot backwards until the knee of the front leg is at a 90 degree angle. Press the rear leg back into standing position by engaging the glutes and hamstrings. Repeat 10 times on each leg. 

5) Rotator Cuff Holds: 

Step into a door with the left foot and throw a towel over to the back of the neck with the left hand and reach with the right arm to grab the other end of the towel. Prop the right shoulder on the edge of a doorway and hold this position for 20-30 seconds while maintaining a neutral spine. 

6) Single-Leg Hamstring Curls: 

Get into a bridge position by lying flat on your back, hands to the either side of your body and knees bent. Place a towel under one foot, then slide this leg forward while keeping the other leg in the bent position. Slide the extended leg back into starting position. Remember to engage the core and glutes. Repeat 10 times on each side.

7) Back Extensions: 

Lie flat on your stomach and place a towel under each hand, then extend both arms forward so that your chest and chin are near the floor. With the core engaged, slide both hands towards your body and lift your upper body off the floor. Repeat 10 times. 
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5 Exercises for Stronger Scapulas

Weak scapular muscles can lead to an array of injuries including shoulder impingement, rotator cuff tears, and other shoulder-related pains. Pain may be followed by a restricted range of motion and may severely worsen if left untreated. Strengthening the scapular muscles can provide long-term benefits for rehabilitation and performance. Try the five following exercises below:

LYING DUMBBELL PRESS:

1. Lie down flat on a bench with a light dumbbell in each hand.

2. Hold the dumbbells on either side of your chest with the palms facing away from your shoulders and your elbow at a 90 degree angle.

3. Push your arms upwards and feel your shoulder blades separate. Remember to keep the dumbbells parallel to each other until the very top of the press.

3. Inhale and slowly bring down both dumbbells to the sides of your chest until you reach the 90 degree angle at the elbow. Breathe out on your next rep. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.

WALL PUSHUP:

1. Stand a few steps away from a wall, then place your hands on the wall so that they are slightly more than shoulder-width apart and arms are locked out.

2. Maintain a neutral back and neck, then slowly lean towards the wall by bending your elbow.

3. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lower yourself and hold this forward position for 2-3 seconds.

4. Slowly straighten your arm and relax your shoulder blades. Repeat 10 times.

BAND PULL APARTS:

1. In a comfortable standing position, hold a light band in between both hands about shoulder-width apart.

2. Pull the band as wide as you can, then slowly bring the arms back to the starting position. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.

Y-RAISES:

1. Lie on your stomach on a bench or Swiss ball with a light dumbbell in each hand.

2. Straighten your arms so that the dumbbell is in front of your head.

3. Lift the dumbbells up, keeping your arms straight, to make a “Y” shape with your torso.

4. Slowly lower them down. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.

ISOMETRIC DUMBBELL HOLDS:

1. Hold a very light dumbbell straight in front of you at approximately 45 degree angle.

2. Maintain this position for about 10 seconds.

3. Then, slowly lower the dumbbell to the side of your body. Perform 10 holds on each side.

BONUS: Watch this video to learn an extra exercise for the scapula muscles!

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

How to Squat Properly

Squats are an excellent way to target the full body and to build significant strength. It heavily relies on your thighs, calves, lower back, arms, and abs. Some key benefits include building muscle, burning fat, increasing endurance, and improving proprioception. However, proper form is needed to avoid back or knee pain.  
HOW TO SQUAT WITH A BARBELL:
Starting Position
1.      Stand with feet approximately shoulder-width apart, toes pointing straight ahead, and knees aligned over second and third toes.
         As much as 5-8° of external foot rotation is allowed in the starting position, some consider this normal anatomical position.
2.      To perform the high-bar back squat, rest the barbell on the shoulders, behind the neck, with hands grasping the bar wider than shoulder-width apart.

3.      To perform the low-bar back squat, rest the barbell on the middle trapezius region with hands grasping the bar wider than shoulder-width apart.
         It is important to note adequate shoulder mobility (external rotation) is required to hold the bar securely.
Movement Pattern
1.      Slowly begin to squat down by hinging at the hips and then flexing at the knees.  
2.      Allow glutes to “stick” out behind the body as if sitting into a chair.
3.      Keep the chest up and the cervical spine in a neutral position. Avoid excessive cervical flexion, extension, or anterior translation (jutting the head forward).
4.      Squat to a depth that can be safely controlled with no movement compensations.
         Common movement compensations include knee valgus (knock knees), rounding or arching of the low-back, an excessive forward lean of the torso, and overly externally rotating or pronating the feet.
5.      To rise back up, contract the gluteals and place pressure through the heels as the knees and hips are extended.
6.      Stand up straight until hips and legs are fully extended. Fully contract the gluteals in the standing position for maximal muscle recruitment.

FOR BEGINNERS:

1. Place the big ball up against the wall and have your lower back against the ball
2. Roll up a towel, place it between your knees and shimmy your feet out slightly in front of you.
3. Make sure your knee is in line with your second toe, squeeze the towel and keep your core engaged.
4. Squat down until your knees are at 90 degrees and hold that for 10 seconds.
5. Do 3 sets of 10. Rest for 5 seconds between each rep.

For reference:
http://www.ptonthenet.com/articles/biomechanics-of-the-squat-4016

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

Exercises for Sacroiliac Joint Pain Relief

If you suffer from sacroiliac (SI) joint pain, you know it’s a problem that can’t be ignored. Walking, sitting and even slight movements can amplify the discomfort.

While certain motions may exasperate the feeling, did you know exercise can be among the best ways to alleviate your sacroiliac joint pain symptoms? Specific exercises and stretches can help you achieve significant relief from your pain.

What Is It?

First, it’s best to know why you’re experiencing sacroiliac joint pain and where it came from in the first place. The joint pain is called SI joint dysfunction. The SI joints are located in the low back, where the sacrum and right and left iliac bones join.

Cartilage covers the SI joints, and when that is damaged or worn down, the bones rub together, leading to degenerative arthritis. That is the top cause of SI joint dysfunction. Another major cause of SI joint pain is pregnancy. Additional weight gain due to pregnancy leads to more pressure on the joints, and when ligaments relax and stretch to make room for the baby, it can alter the way a woman walks.

The extra weight plus a change in walking can irritate the SI joints.

Exercises for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Certain exercises promote movement in the SI joint area. These stretches and exercises can allow for more normal, painless motion if you find yourself limited by your SI joint pain. Click each exercise for additional instruction and video examples.

Beginning Stretches: These stretches are ideal for a workout warm-up or a daily stretch series.

  • Single knee to chest stretch: Pull one knee, then the other, to the chest one at a time. Pump each knee three or four times. Do 10 repetitions on each leg for a full set. This extends the range of motion within your joints and promotes movement and fluidity.

  • Press-up: This is a simple but effective stretch, and the intensity is simple to adjust. Lie on your belly and press up with your hands. Be sure to keep your pelvis on the floor. Hold that position for five seconds, and work up to 30 seconds when you are comfortable. Repeat that motion 10 times.

  • Lying Tailbone Twist: This a slightly deeper stretch to try after you are warmed up. Lie on your back with one leg straight. The other leg will be bent with your foot flat on the floor. Drop the bent knee over your opposite leg and turn the shoulder on the bent leg side away from the bent leg. Hold that stretch gently. Repeat this stretch on the other side of your body.

  • Lumbar Rotation: Lie on your back with both knees bent. Keep your feet flat on the floor and rock the knees side to side. This will be a very slight motion. Continue to rock the knees for 30 seconds.

SI Joint Exercises: These movements help to stretch the SI joint area, and bring more motion to the joints.

  • Walking Sacral Shift: This is an exercise that uses pressure to help pinpoint your pain as you alleviate it. Place your middle finger of the hand on the side of your SI joint pain and touch the bottom of your tailbone. Move your finger about an inch toward the painful side, and pull up on the tissue there.

    Press the heel of your palm up and inward, in the direction of your belly button. As you do that motion, walk ten paces forward, turn, and walk back to the starting point. Repeat the exercise with the other hand to assess your level of pain relief.

  • Reverse Sacral Twist: Like the Walking Sacral Shift, this is an exercise that uses pressure along with a stretching movement for pain relief. Lie on your back and raise one knee, starting with whichever side is in pain. Keep your foot flat on the floor. Gently drop your raised knee over the opposite leg and let it rest. Place the hand that is on the same side as your bent leg on your tailbone. Use your index and middle finger of that hand to locate the bottom of your tailbone. Move your fingers about one inch toward the painful side and gently pull upward, pressing your palm in. Keeping that pressure, roll back onto your back and straighten your leg. Repeat this motion on the other side of your tailbone.

  • Tailbone Rocking: This exercise strengthens the glutes and back muscles, and brings focused motion to the SI joint area. Lie on your back, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor. Alternately tuck your tailbone up and pull it back down by arching your back. Do this motion 20 times.

  • Resisted knees opening and closing: The resisting motion of this exercise really gets your thigh and hip muscles to work and release, which should bring relief to your SI joint pain. Lie on your back; bend your knees and pull knees up to be perpendicular with the floor. Hold your hands 4-6 inches apart and place them between your knees. Push your hands against your knees while resisting with your knees. Hold this for about 3 seconds. Then, you will do the opposite motion. Place hands on the outside of your knees. Try to push your knees together while resisting the motion. Do this motion for about 3 seconds. Repeat this process five times. Go through those same motions with your knees one foot apart.

  • Resisted Bicycle Motion: This motion, like the Resisted Knees Opening and Closing, uses resistance to help your muscles release. Lie on your back, bend your knees and raise them toward your chest until they are perpendicular to the floor. With hands 4-6 inches apart, hold one knee on the front of your leg, and the other knee from the back of the leg. Alternate pushing your knees into your hands. Do each rep for three seconds, switch hands to the opposite side of the knee and repeat. Do five sets. Then, repeat this set with knees one foot apart, then two feet apart.

  • Lying on a Wedge: Finish your stretching exercises with a relaxing position that uses your own bodyweight to stretch. Lie on your back with legs straight. Take a sneaker with a folded sock in the toe area, and place it below the SI joint. Relax in that position for five to 10 minutes. Repeat that position on the opposite side.

Practice different exercise and stretch series until you find a couple options that best alleviate your pain.

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