low back pain

The missing component that prevents you from achieving your fitness goals

Looking to build muscle? Lose Weight? Tone up? Chances are you are doing what millions of other people have done: cardio, resistance training, diet. However, the majority of you will quit…sad but true. So, why? Laziness, not seeing results, injury? Whatever the reason, one important factor in beginning any fitness regime is one of the most overlooked…the ASSESSMENT!

Any certified, qualified fitness professional will take you through a fitness assessment before you begin to get into your training program. Body composition, medical questionnaires, movement assessments are all things my colleagues and I have been educated on.

How many of you have worked out hard and were so frustrated that you were not seeing the scale number go down? So many people give up on their fitness program for this reason. However, the scale is one of the biggest liars. The adage muscle weighs more than fat is true. The scale could stay the same or go up, but your body fat could be heading down at the same time. So, the scale is not the only thing you should be paying attention to. For that reason, “losing weight” is not a statement I like to use when training my clients, changing body composition is the new mantra. During your assessment and reassessments, measuring your body fat is more of a priority than stepping on the scale. Your fitness professional can also guide you in the right direction if things need to be addressed about nutrition (as far as your macronutrients or whether or not you need to be tested for insulin sensitivity, which is a blog for a later date) or within the workouts themselves. Keeping you motivated is why we do this!

My personal favorite of the assessment are the movement assessments. Overhead squats, pulling, pushing, balance are all tell-tale movements that can reveal issues within the kinetic chain of human movement. The kinetic chain refers to the way you move your body. A block or flaw in the kinetic chain causes issues in other place in the body as well. For example, your ankle is going to affect the knee and the knee can impact the lumbo-pelvic region (lower back issues) and vice versa. This is likely due to a muscle imbalance or a previous injury. When you ignore this pivotal part of an assessment your body will continue to use itself in this ineffective and ultimately damaging way, because your body will seek the path of least resistance and keep using itself the way it has. There are several corrective strategies to address the issues that prevent you from achieving your goals. Once corrected, you will be able to activate your muscles properly in order to get them to grow and/or tone up and prevent any future injury.

The assessment is in place for the exact reasons that most people give up on their fitness programs, which is why they are so import to anyone looking to get fit or change up their current routine.

What to chat with a certified trainer and corrective exercise specialist? Contact us here.

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A thorn in the side…lower back pain

Research shows that almost every adult will experience some form of low back pain. Bulging discs, sciatica, etc. it is an issue that many people face. A proper assessment from a health/fitness professional can reveal what the major issue is. Whether it is a foot/ankle complex issue or the knee, the human bodies kinetic movement chain will indicate what you should be focusing on.

For a person who experiences low back pain, it can be a serious detriment to their wellbeing and quality of life. In the exercises below, we will examine exercises that will help aid in alleviating that pain and strengthen the lower back.

*You should always consult your physician before participating in any exercise program*

First of all we will focus on inhibiting and lengthening the overactive muscle tissue which pulls the body in an unnatural way causing those muscles to compensate for the weaker ones. We use Self Myofascial Release in order to inhibit those muscles with a foam roller, and static stretching techniques to lengthen. Muscles that are commonly overactive in association with low back pain are the Quadriceps, TFL/IT band, Adductors and Piriformis. Each muscle should be foam rolled for a minimum of 30 seconds one time.

Quad FRQuadriceps: Lie facing down on the ground with your forearms and elbows propped to support yourself. Place the top part of your quads on top of the foam roller. Roll slowly down your legs toward your knees. Bend your legs slightly to increase the pressure of the massage. Keep your head in alignment with your spine and pelvis. Do not stick your neck down or hyperextend your lower back. Hold the tender spot once you feel it, and breathe deeply. Gently rub it by slowly moving your legs up and down. Continue to roll up and down the thighs until most of the tenderness and pain subside.

 

TFL FRTFL/IT Band: Sit on the foam roller and roll to put your weight on your left upper leg, just below the hip. Stretch your left leg out straight, in line with your hip and knee. Place your right leg, bent in front of you on the floor and both your arms in front of you with your hands on the floor for balance. Push off with your right foot as you roll down your entire leg from the hip to the knee, keeping your arms straight and non-moving in front of you. Try to avoid rolling over the hip or knee joints. You can vary the pressure and the iliotibial band stretch, by how much you sink your weight into the foam roller. Shift your weight on the foam roller slightly, to the left or right to get the exact sore spot.

 

addcutor foam rollAdductors: Face down on ground with one leg to the side and foam roll under the inside of your other thigh. Roll along the inside of your thigh from your pelvis to the inside of your knee. The more uncomfortable it is, the more that muscle needs to be massaged. Hold on sore spots for an extended time to release them

 

piriformis FRPiriformis: The piriformis is a small muscle of the hip near the glutes. Using a foam roller to relax the piriformis also targets the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus. To foam roll the hip, sit on the center of the roller with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Cross your left leg onto your right thigh and lean to the right so the outside of your right glute is the only part of you touching the foam roller. Then, straighten your right knee to roll up your glute. Do not roll the center of the glutes as this might compress the sciatic nerve.

 

 

Next you want to perform 30 seconds of each of these static stretches.

Kneeling Hip Flexor StretchKneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

 

 

 

seated adductor stretchSeated Adductor Stretch

 

 

 

biceps femoris stretchBiceps Femoris Stretch

 

 

 

 

 

piriformis stret supinePiriformis Stretch

 

 

Next we will focus on strengthening the muscles that are underactive preventing low back pain from returning. You will perform one or two sets of each exercise doing 10-15 repetitions.

side lying gluteus mediusSide-lying Gluteus Medius

 

 

 

QuadrupedQuadruped Opposite Arm/Leg Raise

 

 

 

stability-ball-bridgeStability Ball Bridge

 

 

Perform these exercises every other day for four weeks.

For more exercises contact us at zac@espwellenss.com

~Zac Linton CPT, CES, FNS