Archives for posts with tag: flexibility

Cafe au feet?

There are some exercises I could say the same of to the same person for 6 weeks, and they wouldn’t remember what I’m talking about.

The deadbug however, is not one of those exercises. Although, I feel like it’s kind of a misnomer.

A client of mine decidedly re-named it the “dying bird” which I actually think is a much better name. A dead bug wouldn’t be doing much of anything except… be dead. The dying bird, however, is a play off of the bird-dog exercise. It’s essentially the same movement except you’re on your back instead of on all fours.

So now that you know that completely useless piece of information, let’s get to the meat and potatoes.

This topic came to light because one of my clients consistently “throws her back out” every couple months. This translates to a muscle spasm that causes soreness for a few days but no permanent damage or spinal issues. Frustrated, she sought out a PT who diagnosed her with a hyperflexible low back.

“Flexibility is good though!” you might say. Well maybe not…

There’s a fine balance between the perfect amount of mobility and stability, and your low back should be Stable Sally.

Any of your standard strength training regimes that include deadlifting, squatting (specifically front squats), and upper body pushes and pulls, will all stabilize the spine when done correctly. Secondly, direct anterior core work is a must. These two things I know. But, one question came to mind…

Seeking some answers myself, I sought out someone a lot smarter and a lot more experienced than me, Tony Gentilcore, asking… “is it ever appropriate to train the low back exclusively?”

His answer? Well, probably not (yet).

It’s more important to attain and maintain a neutral spine.

Tony also noted that this is important not just in the gym, but all day every day. If you’re hypermobile, you have to be cognizant of keeping things stable at all times. You can’t just jump all nimbly-bimbly from tree to tree.

Name That Movie!

Anyway, getting back to my spiel about the deadbug…

It’s an exercise that’s up there with planks and bird dogs as far as core stabilization goes. Arguably even better for 2 reasons:

1. Since you’re on your back instead of all 4’s, you have no chance to ‘hang’ on your lumbar spine. The floor gives you a built-in external feedback mechanism that forces you to do it correctly. One of the cues is to eliminate the space between the floor and your low back by pushing down and squeezing your abs.

2. It allows you to stabilize your lumbar while mobilizing your hips. It is very important to be able to disassociate the two. (Thank you Tony)

Plus, you can feel it in your abz almost immediately and people seem to enjoy that. No 6-pack guaranteed though.. sorry.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you don’t have core stability, you need to get it… if you already have it you need to keep it! And if you have a hypermobile low back, it’s absolutely vital to practice this daily. The deadbug exercise is not “too easy” for anybody. So make it part of your warm up, ok bro? There are also many variations but that’s a post for another day.

Now go get some anterior core!



Happy Monday everyone!

First and foremost I apologize for not posting last week. I’m in the middle of moving all of my room mates into our new apartment, and the last two weeks have been chaos to say the least! Things are finally settling in and we’ve gotten enough toilet paper to last the year 😀

Anyway, I figured it would be cool to have a weekly feature of something everyone could incorporate into their gym routine. What’s better than  a weekly warmup?

If you’re not doing a warmup before lifting, you’re doing yourself a disservice. And I’m not talkin’ about a 5 minute walk on the treadmill. I’m sure you’ve heard the benefits of warming up before, but just to remind you:

a. preps your body for the more compound, nervous-system-taxing movements you’re about to do

b. increases body tempurature and blood flow

c. preps joints with mobility and range of motion

d. releases soft tissue constraints, ‘lubricates’ and mobilizes soft tissue

e. activates correct muscles

f. helps to prevent injury!

For my first edition of WUOTW I’m going to give you my go-to warm up routine.  It’s most likely stuff you’ve seen before, and maybe some new ones. This is my most basic form of warmup. I will give you progressions in upcoming weeks. In the future, I will have videos for each warm up. However, today will just be photos.  Here’s what were workin’ with:

A. T-spine twist- thoracic mobility, shoulder mobility, pec stretch, posture enforcer

B. Glute Bridges- Activates core and glutes

C. Birddog- activates core, glutes, and stabilizers. Posture enforcer and shoulder stabilizer

D. 1/2 kneeling hip flexor stretch- hip mobilization, hip flexor stretch

E. Inchworms- whole posterior back line flexibility, core activation

F. Spidermans- hip mobilization, t-spine mobilization, core activation, hip flexor activation, hamstring stretch

In my opinion, one characteristic of a good warm up is that it works from the ground up. Start with the simplest activations/stretches and work into more dynamic and compound movement. Of course, this isn’t always the case; but it’s a good rule of thumb. A warm up doesn’t have to take longer than 5-10 minutes but will do you a world of good for your workout.

It’s Monday! Go get ’em.