Archives for posts with tag: t-spine

Yesterday marked the start of beer drinking football season for NE Pats fans, and we’re all in good spirits this Monday as they conquered their first W over the Titans.

Hay Tom haaaayyyyy

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), the start of football season means the end of summer, and I’ve already seen the gym’s flow increase substantially.  That’s a good thing; I like the increase in energy as people get out of lazy mode and into work mode.

I know the anticipation of your workout is killing you (right?), but don’t forget to spend a few minutes on your warm up. Here goes!

1. Lying figure 4 stretch Hip opener, hip internal rotation mobilization.

Start with both knees bent and feet flat. Keeping one foot on the floor cross the opposite ankle over your knee and relax. If that’s not intense enough , lift your foot off the ground and hold your thigh (as shown). You can go even further by pushing your knee with your elbow. Hold for about 30s/side.

2. Modified Plank-To-Pushup- Core activator, shoulder stabilizer activator, lateral stability

A.

B.

From the (A.) position, start with one arm and move from your elbow to your hand. Push yourself up and do the same on the other arm so you’re now in a high plank (B.). The trick here is to keep your hips as stable as possible while you’re moving your upper body. Remember to switch the arm you lead with each repetition (6-10x).

3. Squat-To-Stand- Hip mobility, ankle mobility (dorsiflexion), t-spine mobility, hamstring + posterior chain stretch

A.

B.

Get into a deep squat position with your chest tall. Spread your knees wide enough to get your arms in between and grab your toes (A.). If you can’t get into this position because of a lack in mobility, try elevating your heels on a board or rolled up towels. Then push your butt up and let your head fall so you’re in a forward bend position (B.). Try to get your legs straight. Repeat 5-10x.

4. Light bent over row- Posterior chain activator (esp lats, mid traps, and rotator cuff muscles

The most important cue (as always) is to keep your spine neutral and your shoulders away from your ears. Use a weight you can do 15 reps with easily.

Enjoy!

-L

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Happy Monday!

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. We finally had some sunshine this weekend here in Boston. I celebrated my Italian heritage on Sunday and made it down to the north end for St. Anthony’s Feast. I may or may not have had an eggplant parm sub. (I did, and it was ahhhsome.) It was a lovely day and I got in about 3 hours of walking with some friends around the city. Sometimes it’s nice to not have a formal workout on the weekends but rather just get out and do something physically active. That can be the best physical AND mental recovery for a long week of working hard in the gym and in the office.

However, we’re somehow back to Monday and it’s time to get back at it!

Here’s your WUOTW:

1. Knee banded side lying clams- Glute activation, glute medius activation

Lay on your side with a mini band around your knees. Bring your knees to your chest so your hips and knees are at 90 degrees. Make sure your hips, knees and feet all stay stacked (especially when you start moving). Keep your feet together and open your knees. This should not be a big range of motion; you should feel the burn on the side of your butt after a few reps. Perform 10-15 per side.

2. Supine 45 degree leg lowers- active hamstring stretch, core activator, tri-planar movement

This is a progression from the standard leg lowers. Instead of going straight down with the moving leg, you’re going to bring it slightly out to 45 degrees. You will feel this more in the inner and outer thigh. Repeat 10x/side.

3. T-spine extensions on Foam Roller- Tspine mobilization

Start with the foam roller wedged at the top of your low back. Knees bent, feet flat, butt on the floor, support your head with your hands. Let gravity do the work and lean back as far as possible. This probably will feel pretty uncomfortable. Repeat 5 times, roll the FR up a couple segments toward your head. This position will feel better and more mobile than the first.  Repeat another 5 times.

Warning: Be cautious that you’re not using your lumbar spine for extension, which looks like this:

Substituting lumbar extension for thoracic does no good.

Prevent that by contracting your abs and exhaling as your go backwards. This will lock your lumbar into place and force to use your t-spine for extension.

4.  Slow motion single leg mountain climber- core + upper body activator, hip flexor activator, movement prep for step-ups

Use a slider or sock

Put yourself in plank position with 1 toe on a slider. Slowly bring your knee to your chest as far as possible without letting your low back curve under. Repeat 10x/side.

5. Body weight step ups- – glute, hamstring, quad, and core activator

Pick a height were you can step up without excessive forward lean. Make sure you’re using your glutes and hamstrings and push your butt back when you step down. Try to load your knees as little as possible.

Enjoy!

-L

Image

Does that last position look familiar? You may or may not do it naked, but chances are you sit for most of the day. Here are my top 4 anti-sit stretches that you can do anywhere. Take a break every couple hours to do these stretches and you might just avoid some annoying aches and pains down the road.

1. Hip Flexors

Beginner

I haven’t been training for 20 years or anything, but I’ve yet to come across anyone with too flexible hip flexors. Get in the half kneeling position (seen above) and keep your torso nice and tall. Squeeze the butt cheek of the leg that’s down and you should feel a stretch at the top of your quad.

Moderate

Progress by taking 1 arm over head and bending to the opposite side. This will intensify the stretch.

Take hands up overhead to make it advanced

The last step will be to elevated the back foot using a bench, stool, couch or the likes. This will now stretch the hip flexors and quads from both the hip and knee joints.

2. Thoracic Spine

We have 3 main sections of the spine. Our cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back- aka t-spine), and lumbar (low back). We want to have good extension, flexion and rotation in our t-spine; and its where most people  lack.

The key for this stretch is to keep your feet, knees and hips stacked; don’t let the top leg shift when you open to twist. Your arm may not touch the ground at first but that’s okay. Spend some time relaxing and taking deep belly breaths (diaphragmatic breathing). The more you relax, the more your arm will sink. This might be my all time favorite stretch.

3. Chest 

The classic doorway stretch. This gets your shoulder out of that internally rotated position to open up the chest and shoulders. Make this dynamic by isometrically pushing into the wall for 6 seconds, and then relaxing for 20 for 3 rounds. You should be able to go deeper each round.

4. Shoulders

The towel stretch: Gently pull the towel up and down to get a stretch in the reciprocal pattern. Make sure to switch hand positions and go the other directions.

BONUS!! 

Lucky you! I’m giving you the money maker. If you have all the stretches in the world to choose from, and can only pick 1- this should be it. This stretch is dynamic, so a video will be better suited, but here’s a picture and description for those of you that are lazy enough to not watch the video 🙂

The Spider Man Stretch

Boo yeah!

Just kidding.

Take a larger than normal lunge forward with right foot and put both hands on the ground. Twist your right hand up toward the ceiling. Right hand down, right foot back (now you’re in plank position) – repeat with left side.

Here’s a video

Now get up and stretch!

-L