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Learn How to Properly Hip Hinge

The hip hinge is an important movement pattern that actively engages the posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings) and helps build the foundation for complex exercises such as the kettlebell swing, deadlift, and squat. A proper hip hinge requires the movement to begin at the hips with flexion of the hip muscles while the spine is kept at a neutral position for optimal power and strength. Depending on what exercise is being performed, the change in hip angle will vary. For instance, there will be more hip flexion and less knee flexion in a deadlift compared to a squat. Good pelvic mobility and control in the hip muscles is crucial in maintaining a neutral spine and preventing injury by minimizing the stress impact. Begin practising the hip hinge movement with the exercises below and continue with the following progressions once each stage has been mastered. 

Beginner Level:
1. Hip Rock: Begin by lying with your back and feet flat on the floor and both knees bent. Ensure the ribs are tucked in (towards the floor) and lift the hips towards the ceiling by engaging the core and glute muscles. Hold for 1-2 seconds, and then slowly bring the hips back to the starting position. Repeat 8-10

2. Glute Bridge: Begin in a “table-top” position with your hands flat on the floor directly below your shoulders and knees hip-width apart. While maintaining a neutral spine, slowly bring your hips back towards your heels while your hands and knees remain stationary in contact with the floor. Then, slowly bring your hips back to the starting position. Repeat 8-10 times. This exercise will help familiarize you with the basic movement pattern at the hip joint and ensuring the spine is kept neutral at all times.

Progression:
3. Hip Hinge with a Dowel: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dowel vertically behind your back with one hand on the top end and the other end by the bottom end. The dowel should be in contact with the back of your head, mid-thoracic spine (center of your back), and sacrum (bottom of your back) throughout the movement. Keeping the knees and ankles stationary, slowly bring your hips back while you bring your shoulders and trunk forward. Then, slowly bring the hips back to the starting position. Repeat 8-10 times ensuring the dowel has a 3-point contact with your body at all times. Place a box in front by your knees to help fix the knees and feet in place.

4. Weighted Hinge (Wall): Stand a few inches away from the wall with your feet hip-width apart. Facing away from the wall, hold a light weight, such as a kettlebell or a dumbbell, by your chest and slowly bring your hips backwards until there is contact with the wall. Keep your knees and ankles stationary while your spine is kept at neutral throughout the movement. Slowly bring your hips back to the starting position and repeat 8-10 times.

Hip Hinge:
5. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dowel slightly more than shoulder-width apart (can also use a pair of dumbbells). Keep your knees and ankles stationary while maintaining a neutral spine. Bring your hips back while bringing the dowel down towards your knees. Ensure your chest is kept open and your shoulder blades are squeezed together to prevent rounding of the back. Do not sway the arms by keeping the dowel near your body during the movement. Then, bring your hips and the dowel back to starting position. Repeat 8-10 times. Remember to engage the core at all times.

Full Body TRX Work Out

Cull Body TRX Workout

The TRX System relies on suspension training equipment that allows individuals of varying fitness levels and abilities to perform a wide range of exercises. Body weight exercises, also known as total resistance exercises, on the TRX can help strengthen different muscle groups in many planes of motion in a safe and effective way. Try the following exercises below for a full body workout!

1) TRX Inverted Row:

Face toward the anchor of the TRX and grasp the handles with palms facing each other and arms fully extended. Position your feet slightly apart and in front of your body to begin in a leaned position. Ensure your body forms a straight line from head to toe, engage the core muscles, and pull your body towards the handles by keeping the elbows close to the torso. Then, slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position. Repeat for 3-4 sets of 10. Lower the handles or position your feet further in front for more lean to increase the difficulty.

Face away from the anchor of the TRX and grasp the handles with an overhand grip and full extend both arms. Position the feet slightly apart behind your body and lean forward so the body is at a slight diagonal. Lower your body towards the handles by bending the elbows. Then, push yourself up by contracting your chest and tricep muscles to the starting position. Repeat for 3-4 sets of 10.

Face away from the anchor of the TRX, place the top of your foot onto both TRX handles to form a 90 degree bend in the knee and stand tall on the other leg. Bring your body straight down to the ground to perform a lunge. Do not let the knee of the standing leg go past your foot when performing the lunge. Make sure the knee is in line with the foot at all times. Repeat for 3-4 sets of 10.

Face away from the anchor of the TRX, place the top of your foot onto both TRX handles to form a 90 degree bend in the knee and stand tall on the other leg. Bring your body straight down to the ground to perform a lunge. Do not let the knee of the standing leg go past your foot when performing the lunge. Make sure the knee is in line with the foot at all times. Repeat for 3-4 sets of 10.

Begin with your back flat on the ground and both heels on the TRX handles with your hands on either side of your body. Engage the core and lift your hips upward by activating your glute muscles. Ensure your ribs are not flaring by pulling them downward toward your belly button. Then, slowly lower yourself down to the starting position. Repeat for 3-4 sets for 10 reps.

Shoulder Pain: Posterior Deltoid and Capsule Stretch

Shoulder pain can be caused by many things going on with the shoulder complex. One of the things that can cause shoulder pain is an impingement problem of the rotator cuff due to a tight posterior deltoid muscle or posterior shoulder capsule. To stretch this out find the angle that it is most tight in the back side. Then, lean your shoulder blade firmly against a wall to stabilize the shoulder blade to isolate the stretch. It’s important to place your shoulder blade firmly against the wall to stabilize it. Otherwise, the stretch will be more into your rhomboid muscles on the inside of the shoulder blade. Gently pull the arm across the body and hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat this for 3 sets.

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.

Ankle Pain after Running

Running is most the natural and widely loved form of exercise, and there are numerous benefits associated with it. Some take it up as a part of their fitness regimen, some for psychological reasons, and some as a sport. Knee, foot, ankle, and calf injuries are the most common form of injuries affecting runners. Among these, the ankle is easily prone to injuries, as this joint between the foot and the leg, and it bears the weight of the whole body and also acts as shock absorbers. After running, knee and ankle pain is a common complaint and can have many causes. It can vary in its intensity and can be a result of injury in either the bones, ligaments, or tendons. Sometimes, it just starts as a slight feeling tenderness and can be quite severe in some cases. It is important to follow proper techniques to avoid ankle pain after running, some of which are discussed below.

Causes

It is very crucial to follow the tips on safe running to avoid any kind of injuries. There are several reasons why ankles hurt after running, like wearing inappropriate shoes, running on slippery or uneven surfaces, and twisting of ankles. Psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, etc., which are some of the inflammatory diseases of the joints, too can lead to this condition while you run and also afterwards. Though these diseases are not directly related, running can aggravate the condition. Therefore, the main causes of can be attributed to:

  • Sprain: is the most common form of injury caused due to a stretched or torn ligament in the ankle joint. This injury is graded as I, II, and III as per the severity in the tear of ligament. The sprains are of 3 types. If the pain remains on the outer side and is not internal, then the sprain is called inversion sprain. In medial ligament sprain, the ligament of the medial is injured leading to internal pain. The third type is the high ankle sprain, which occurs due to injury of syndesmosis ligament located above the ligament joint.
  • Achilles Tendonitis: leads to pain due to inflammation and degeneration of the Achilles tendon. Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone and is the strongest tendon of the human body. This tendon is designed to withstand the pressure and stress while running, so repetitive and intense activity can strain and cause injury. The condition worsens due to improper shoes, prolonged activity, running uphill, and inadequate recovery time after injury. Achilles tendonitis can be considered acute or chronic depending on the period of occurrence.
  • Fracture: is most often categorized with a sprain, however, it differs in the intensity of injury. A fracture takes place when either of the 3 bones, namely, the tibia, fibula, or talus, found in the ankle are broken. Bone fracture is a traumatic injury leading to severe pain accompanied by swelling and tenderness. A fracture is easy to detect due to the visible deformity, and it can be confirmed with the help of an X-ray.

Symptoms

There are several signs related to this problem. Some of these are acute, while some can be chronic and aggravated by either not following the proper tips or due to inadequate rest after an injury. These can be listed as:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Slight ache to sudden throbbing pain
  • Inability to put weight on the ankle

Treatment

Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. In most cases of sprain and Achilles tendonitis, treatment can be carried out successfully at home. The recommended method is to follow the R.I.C.E. therapy:

  • Rest by reducing regular activity and avoiding putting any weight on the swollen ankle for 48 hours.
  • Ice pack is applied for 20 minutes to the injured area and repeated several times a day.
  • Compression bandages are used to reduce swelling.
  • Elevation method is used by keeping the ankle above the level of heart to minimize swelling.

Over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen can be taken to ease the pain for a short period of time. If the swelling and inflammation does not subside despite these methods, it is always advisable to consult an experienced doctor. If fracture is suspected, one should not delay the treatment process by attempting treatment at home. Severe cases of fracture might require a cast or a splint to be fitted on the injured area, and some might even require a surgery. When the swelling subsides, stretching exercises for runners targeting muscles, tendons, and ligaments help in relieving pain and expedites healing.

Prevention

It is always good to prevent the injury in the first step to avoid a tedious process of recovery. To reduce the risks of this kind of injury, proper footwear that supports ankles and has enough padding and cushioning should be chosen. Avoid slippery and uneven tracks for running, and follow a healthy diet to strengthen the bones and reduce the risks of injury. It is mandatory to allow the affected part to heal properly, as ignoring the pain can make the ankle susceptible to injuries in future.

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

Neck Strength Predicts Concussion Risk, Study Says

New research shows that stronger necks may lead to safer heads.

For years, biomechanics researchers have suspected that girls had higher concussion rates than boys in sports like soccer and lacrosse because of gender differences in neck strength. The weaker your neck, the more likely your head will bob around on impact. And concussions are caused by the brain shaking inside the skull.

For the first time, new research backs up this conclusion. Before practices and games, athletes shouldn’t just be stretching and strengthening their legs and backs. They should be working out their necks as well.

At the fourth annual Youth Sports Safety Summit in early February, the findings showed that presented the findings. During the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 academic years, athletic trainers collected measurements of head circumference, neck circumference, neck length, and four measurements of neck strength — extension, flexion, right lateral and left lateral — on 6,704 athletes nationwide across three sports; boys’ and girls’ soccer, lacrosse and basketball. These measures were taken before the start of the season; during the season, athletic trainers reported injury data — including concussion incidence — for each athlete.

And the results didn’t favor those with tiny necks: concussed athletes had smaller mean neck circumference, a smaller mean neck-circumference-to head-circumference ratio (in other words, a small neck paired with a large head), and smaller mean overall neck strength than athletes who did not suffer a concussion. After adjusting for gender and sport, overall neck strength remained a statistically significant predictor of concussion. For every one pound increase in neck strength, odds of concussion fell by 5%.

Neck strengthening exercises are easy. For example, you can use your own hands as a resistance tool — put your hands on the back of your head, and press them forward while your bend your neck backwards. They don’t require any huge investment in additional equipment; that’s important for today’s cash-strapped schools.

The takeaway is clear: don’t neglect your neck. Your head may thank you later.

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

How to Remedy Thoracolumbar Fascia Back & Spine Pain

When you think of pain in the back, the thoracolumbar fascia is not likely the first guess as to what is causing the discomfort and pain you are experiencing. The thoracolumbar fascia is a very important tissue of the body as it is needed for coordinated movement, plus it is an attachment site and a connective element for a number of muscles and joints of the lower and upper back. Therefore, it is not uncommon for pain to occur in the middle or lower back regions stemming from thoracolumbar fascia injury.

Thoracolumbar Fascia Back Pain Causes

The thoracolumbar fascia is a tough membrane composed of three layers that cover the deep muscles beneath the back, covering the thoracic spine. Muscles are also enclosed within the layers. This fascia tissue crosses the entire low-back area and it connects the shoulder to the opposite hip. This transitional area between the upper and lower half of the body allows forces to be transferred as needed for athletic and daily movement. Besides enabling movement, the thoracolumbar fascia is also important for stability and sensory roles.

Some tasks can take a toll on the fascia, resulting in thoracolumbar fascia back pain or a loss of mobility of this tissue over time. Excessive strain, overuse, repetitive stress or having poor posture when lifting an object or squatting can bring on thoracolumbar pain in the low-, mid- or upper back.

This injury is relatively common among those who lift moderately heavy loads on a regular basis at work, such as construction workers or farmers. It is also seen among athletes, especially those who lift weights without proper form.

Sitting all day can also damage the thoracolumbar fascia. If you are looking to correct your posture try wearing a posture brace or following these simple tips while sitting at your desk.

Symptoms of Thoracolumbar Fascia Injury

Besides pain in the back, you might also develop trigger points in the fascia, adhesions and scar tissue that can diminish your strength and range of motion. Pain in the back can also cause you to alter your motion to compensate for the discomfort, leading to pain elsewhere in the body. These symptoms can worsen if you do not pursue thoracolumbar pain treatment.

Achieving Thoracolumbar Fascia Pain Relief

Most instances of thoracolumbar pain can be remedied using conservative methods, such as tissue manipulation, relaxation techniques, exercise and stretches, or wearing a thoracolumbar treatment brace.

Tissue manipulation, more commonly known as massage therapy, is often the go-to mode of treatment for thoracolumbar pain. Seeing a professional is usually preferred, but regular self-massage via tools like a foam roller or massage stick can also help. Tissue manipulation can increase the blood flow to the region, reduce tension and stress, and improve mobility.

Wearing a thoracolumbar support can also help support the back, especially if your career involves a lot heavy lifting or twisting. This support applies compression to the lower spine region. It also has a pocket for easy application of ice or heat therapy.

Other relaxation techniques, breathing exercises or meditation can also help to regulate the pH of the body and it can help the thoracolumbar fascia to relax.

Engaging in mild exercise on a regular basis can also help. The same can be said of daily thoracolumbar exercises and stretches to improve the strength, stability and flexibility of the back and core. Some also have success with deep tissue laser therapy for relieving pain in this thoracolumbar fascia.

How To Treat Inflamed Thoracolumbar Fascia Strain

Preventing thoracolumbar fascia pain involves following many of the guidelines for general back health. Shown below are 7 remedies that can help to treat your thoracolumbar fascia pain and discomfort.

  1. Maintain a healthy weight
  2. Practice good posture
  3. Take frequent breaks for stretching and movement when sitting for long periods of time
  4. Warm up and stretch before exercising or heavy lifting
  5. Strengthen your core muscles
  6. Wear a back brace to help apply compression and support to the spine
  7. Use massage therapy to increase the blood flow to the injured area
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

7 Tips to Staying Injury-Free

Have you ever been just into your first set of lateral raises and felt a pinching feeling? What about being halfway through your run and your knee starts to hurt? What do you do? Do you press through or stop?

There are very few of us that don’t deal with injuries or niggles of some sort. So how can we prevent and manage injuries so that they don’t stop us from living active lives? Here are some tips that we try to use in our training:

1) Listen to your intuition. 

You know your inner voice that speaks to you? Is it whispering or screaming at you? If something really hurts or the pain continues, it’s best to stop. If you have a sharp pain or a pain that is very one sided, something is not right.

2) Keep tension on the muscle. 

Muscles support joints so you want to have tension on the muscle when you are training, you don’t want to be just falling into your joints. You want to slowly lower into a squat, not just drop down and bounce out of the bottom. Keeping the tension on will strengthen the muscle and help to protect your joints.

3) Land softly. 

With HIIT and plyometric training all the rage it’s easy to really hammer on your joints. Think of absorbing your landing (shock absorption!) throughout the movement. Bend at the joint and cushion the landing. If you have a joint or muscle injury that is bothering you then skip the power movements (jumping, explosive movements) until you have fully recovered.

4) Focus on the muscle that is working and the form 

Don’t just go through the motions, know what muscle groups you are using and the proper form for the exercise. If you feel lower back pain, it’s likely that your form is off or your back is compensating for other muscle groups that should be working. Be educated and start with a lighter weight until you have mastered the form.

5) Have a regular yoga or flexibility practice

Having a regular yoga practice can not only keep you limber to help prevent injuries but it also provides more body awareness so that you become more attuned to what is working, what is tight, what is out of balance etc.

6) Take time off when you need it

We can’t stress enough how important it is to rest and heal when you have an injury. If you don’t let an injury fully heal, it may keep cropping up and nagging at you or can put you out of commission for good.

7) Cross train and strength train. 

We’re always harping on our clients to cross train and to ensure that they are strength training. We need to build those muscles that are supporting those joints and instead of only participating in one mode of exercise that can cause overuse injuries and muscle imbalances, be sure to switch up your training. It can help to have a personal trainer assess your weaknesses and work with you to strengthen any lagging muscle groups.

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

What is the sciatic nerve?

6 Stretches for Sciatica Pain Relief

Sciatic nerve pain can be so excruciating and debilitating that you don’t even want to get off the couch. Common causes of sciatica can include a ruptured disk, a narrowing of the spine canal called spinal stenosis, and injury.

The sciatic nerve runs down the spine and branches off, like a zipper, down the legs. The pain of pressure on the sciatic can feel like sharp shocks running down your leg (generally just one at a time) or nagging lower back pain. Sometimes people experience numbness or tingling in the leg, too.

Sciatica pain can occur for a variety of reasons. Identifying ‘what doesn’t move’ is the first step toward solving the problem. Often, the most problematic body parts are the lower back and hips.

The best way to alleviate most sciatica pain is to do any stretch that can externally rotate the hip to provide some relief.

Here are six exercises that do just that.

Pigeon pose

Pigeon Pose is a common yoga pose. It works to broadly open the hips. There are multiple versions of this stretch. The first is a starting version of the pigeon pose, known as the reclining pigeon pose. If you are just starting your treatment, you should try the reclining pose first. Once you can do the reclining version without pain, work with your physical therapist on the sitting and forward versions.

Reclining pose

  1. While on the back, bring your right leg up to a right angle and grasp it with both hands behind the thigh, locking your fingers.
  2. Take your left leg and place your ankle against the knee. Hold the position for a moment before changing legs. This helps stretch the tiny piriformis muscle, which sometimes becomes inflamed and presses against the sciatic nerve causing pain.
  3. Repeat by switching sides and doing the same exercise with the other leg.

Sitting pose

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out straight in front of you. Then bend your right leg, putting your right ankle on top of the left knee.
  2. Lean forward and allow your upper body to lean toward your thigh. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and then switch sides. This stretches the glutes and lower back.

Forward pose

  1. Kneel on the floor on all fours.
  2. Pick up your right leg and move it forward so that your lower leg is on the ground, horizontal to the body. Your right foot should be in front of your right knee while your right knee stays to the right.
  3. Stretch the left leg out all the way behind you on the floor, with the top of the foot on the ground and toes pointing back.
  4. Shift your body weight gradually from your arms to your legs so that your legs are supporting your weight. Sit up straight with your hands on either side of your legs.
  5. Take a deep breath. While exhaling, lean your upper body forward over your lower leg. Support your weight with your arms as much as possible.

Knee to opposite shoulder

This simple stretch helps relieve sciatica pain by loosening your gluteal and piriformis muscles, which can become inflamed and press against the sciatic nerve.

  1. Lie on your back with your legs extended outward and your feet flexed upward.
  2. Clasp your hands around your knee and gently pull your right leg across your body toward your left shoulder. Hold it there for 30 seconds and then push your knee so your leg returns to its starting position.
  3. Repeat for a total of 3 reps, and then switch legs. Remember to only pull your knee as far as it will comfortably go. You should feel a relieving stretch in your muscle, not pain.

Sitting spinal stretch

Sciatica pain is triggered when vertebrae in the spine compress. This stretch helps create space in the spine to relieve pressure from the sciatic nerve.

  1. Sit on the ground with your legs extended straight out with your feet flexed upward.
  2. Bend your right knee and place your foot flat on the floor on the outside of your opposite knee.
  3. Place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee to help you gently turn your body toward the right. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times, then perform this stretch with your left leg bent and body turned to the left side.

Standing hamstring stretch

This stretch can help ease pain and tightness in the hamstring caused by sciatica.

  1. Place your right foot on an elevated surface at or below your hip level. This could be a chair, ottoman, or step on a staircase. Flex your foot so your toes and leg are straight. If your knee tends to hyperextend, keep a slight bend in it.
  2. Bend your body forward slightly toward your foot. The further you go, the deeper the stretch. Do not push so far that you feel pain.
  3. Release the hip of your raised leg downward as opposed to it lifting up. If you need help easing your hip down, loop a yoga strap or long exercise band over your right thigh and under your left foot. Hold for at least 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.
InSync Physiotherapy is a multi-award winning health clinic helping you in Sports Injuries, Physiotherapy, Exercise Rehabilitation, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture & IMS.

4 Tips on How to Improve Your Rock Climbing Ability

1. Climb More

The best thing you can do to get better at rock climbing is to climb more. A lot of newbies often feel they need to build up more strength before they can start rock climbing in earnest, but this is a mistake. If you’re really serious about giving rock climbing a go, then don’t waste your time pumping iron at a regular gym to “build up your strength” before you hit the rocks. The best way to get better at rock climbing is to climb. It is really as simple as that.
Pumping iron might be useful at a later stage but it won’t do you much good at the start. Plenty of buff guys coming into the rock climbing gym can’t climb to save their lives.
If you wanted to get stronger, you should do it by climbing more, not swapping out your climbing sessions with regular weight training sessions. Why? Because weight training is symmetrical. When you do a lat pull down, you pull equally with both arms. You don’t use your legs to help you and you certainly don’t have to balance on tiny footholds while you’re at it. Additionally, time spent at the regular gym is time you aren’t spending climbing. Since you can only do so much weight training (your rock climbing sessions included) a week before you start to overstrain your muscles, you lose out on the opportunity to hone your other climbing skills – such as balance, finger strength, footwork, etc.

2. Practice Down Climbing

If you want to get better at climbing, then you have to practice down climbing. Why? Down climbing helps you focus on the one thing most climbers, especially newbie climbers, often forget – your feet. When you down climb, the first thing you think about is: “Where am I going to put my foot?”
Many new climbers often underestimate just how much their legs can do for them when they climb. It has been said that you can tell the difference between a beginner skier and an experienced skier by listening to them complain about the parts of their bodies that ache after a day’s worth of skiing. A beginner skier will complain that their arms ache the most, while an experienced skier will complain that their legs ache the most. Similarly, the first part of a newbie climber’s body to give way in climbing is the arms and that is because they often forget about their legs. To reiterate the fact that many newbie climbers give little value to the power of their legs, you’ll hear many of them offer this statement when citing how they plan to get better at climbing: “Let me build more strength in my arms first.”
Why are your legs so important in climbing?
The more weight you transfer to your feet, the less mass you have to haul up with your arms – this is great especially if your upper body strength is poor.
The most common reason why a newbie fails to make it to the next hold is because they can’t reach it or they are unable to get a good purchase on the hold because they are too low. Just moving your feet up a few centimeters can be the difference between making it to the next hold and falling off. The most common mistake a newbie makes is that they forget to move their feet up.
The greatest virtue of down climbing lies in the fact that it makes you think about your feet and it teaches you to focus on your footwork. So the next time you’re climbing at the gym, try down-climbing a couple of routes. You should start with the routes that you normally “warm-up” on, that is, nothing too difficult.

3. Practice Traversing

If you’re new to climbing, you’re probably wondering what the heck is traversing? It is basically a horizontal movement across the wall as opposed to a vertical climb up the wall. It is normally done as a climbing warm up before you start climbing in earnest at the gym. Just start at one corner of the gym and keep traversing horizontally until you drop off.
When you first begin traversing, you may find yourself unable to stay on the wall for very long. Keep practicing until you can make your way around the gym easily or do laps across a short section. Try traversing with different holds and finding different rest positions instead of coming down when you need to take a break.
If you are traversing as a “warm up”, then do so only until you feel your muscles warming up and stop well before the lactic acid builds up in your forearms (often called a “pump”). If you traverse until your arms are pumped, you won’t be able to do much climbing, especially if you’re new to the climbing scene.
What does traversing do for you?
It teaches you to use your feet and it helps you think of different ways to move on the wall. You can learn which moves are easier for you and you can work through a problem close to the ground which allows you to tackle the problem without wasting energy on the parts you can do easily. If you find it too easy and you want something harder, try skipping holds or use fingertips only – vary the exercise. As you get better at traversing, you can graduate to “bouldering” which I will talk more about below.

4. Variety

Variety is the spice of life. It is also the key to getting better at whatever you do. Always try to climb something new and different – work on different routes, climb at different crags, go to different gyms. This helps you to improve a couple of things:
  • your route-reading ability – how you look at a new route and figure out how to climb it.
  • your repertoire of rock climbing moves – every new route will train your muscles in different ways. If you only climb the same routes over and over again, your body won’t learn anything new. Eric Horst once wrote about a climber who would climb at the same crag every weekend. He got so good that he could dance pirouettes around every single route at that crag. Until one day when someone broke one of the holds on a route and suddenly, he couldn’t climb that particular route any more. Don’t fall into this trap.
Add variety to your training sessions. Try different styles of climbing. You can work any of the following suggestions into your training program:
  • Climb using only one hand (the easier routes, of course); or only one leg.
  • Practice traversing on a slab (a forward inclining wall, see picture to the right) using feet only – this is great for improving your balance and your footwork. The wall in the picture below is a good example of a slab, but obviously if you’re only using feet, make sure it has bigger footholds.
  • Climb using first touch – that means once you have placed your hand or foot, you can’t shift the position, even if it is awkward. This helps you think about how you use a hold so that you optimise your moves and reduce the number of unnecessary moves.
  • Boulder – do this with a group of friends and give each other boulder problems to work on. Bouldering is the act of climbing a section of a wall without a rope. A spotter (usually another climber) will “spot” you to make sure you don’t injure yourself if you fall while bouldering. There are also crash mats for you to land on. Bouldering tends to involve a shorter, more powerful sequence of moves and this is guaranteed to help improve your footwork and your strength.
  • Do laps – up climb and down climb on a route that you can complete but is still somewhat challenging. Obviously, don’t pick one that you could climb in your sleep, make sure you feel like you are working out when you do laps. This helps to build your endurance.
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