Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Body in Motion Tends to Stay in Motion

How to save your back and knees! The Bad Neighbor; continued..

PART III of "It's all in the hips" 
A Body in Motion Tends to Stay in Motion
In the last post we discussed what can be done to lessen the effects of postural strain and the resultant muscle imbalance that is silently causing or contributing to the back and knee syndromes.  We also need ACTIVE strategies to move well.  
The active strategies are called corrective exercises, they can be performed for just a minute (micro-break), as part of your "dynamic" warm-up, or in the cool down phase of your workout. The moment and duration you would perform these depends on individual needs, but it's hard to overdo these. Ask your qualified health/fitness pro for clarification or call upon us for specifics. These may look familiar for those of you with a regular work out routine, however why you're doing them may have been a mystery.
The Leg Lowering Progression
Here's a great exercise from Gray Cook, found in his book "Movement" (1), it promotes the amount one hip can move in relation to another. One may wonder why that's important, until we consider some sporting activities. Start with a supported (wall or partner) straight leg raise. The athlete should be pressing hard into the floor with the hands to lock in the trunk throughout the movement. Knees should remain straight, ankles dorsiflexed, hips neutral (watch for external rotation), and trunk is rigid.
The tall half kneel
This position is an essential step in our rehab progressions, and it's also a great way to strengthen with core integration, but it's use in this discussion is to promote hip extension. Hip extension is so critical to us all, it's especially absent in so many of my runner patients, so here's the fix. In performing the tall half kneel, form is everything, the upside knee and the downside knee are both at 90 degrees and the posture is lengthened (thus the tall). While maintaining the tall posture lean in to the front knee. 5 second pulses with a second break will restore some much needed movement.  This courtesy of functionalmovement.com , an excellent resourse for anyone that wants to perform better.

Tim Lincecum, a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants displays incredible hip "dissociation" which allows him to generate speed from his core, not his shoulder.

While we're not all MLB pitchers, the same principles that make these guys great in their movements,  help us be proficient at the activities we love also.  The opposite is also true, if we lack this movement, it's part of the problem. Hiking, surfing, soccer, racket/club sports and many other activities rely on this essential movement to generate power from the core. 

The Dynamic Warm up
The latest research on warming up before your work out supports moving stretches done briskly and briefly. These new stretches are called dynamic warm ups. The general rule is 10 to 20 paces, moving in a range that is only slightly challenging. We're not looking for the deep burn you may experience in Yoga, this gets the ligaments, tendons and joints ready for activity. The warm up you choose should mimic the target activity.
These two activities are literally the tip of the corrective exercise iceberg, I don't want to overwhelm you, just provide a deeper understanding of the many options that are becoming popular in the world of rehab and sports science. Contact us with any questions and consider getting some instruction on activities such as these.

1-Cook, Gray. Movement: Functional Movement Systems ; Screening, Assessment and Corrective Strategies. Santa Cruz, Calif: On Target Publications, 2010. Print.

Dr. Serafim is a Rehabilitation and a Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He lives and works in the Exton PA area and has devoted himself to furthering his understanding of movement related disorders, and is level 2 functional movement screen certified. He teaches continuing education and operates a private practice. More information can be found at Kinetx.org and feel free to like us at our Facebook Page page.

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