Category Archives for "Exercise"

These VerticAlign blog posts contain information about different exercises and stretches that can assist with posture and alignment.  These exercises aim to help reduce back pain, neck pain, hip pain and knee pain. Each movement can be used to help build core strength, overcome an anterior pelvic tilt (arched back), posterior pelvic tilt (flat back) or kyphosis (hunchback) posture.  Each exercise has a detailed description to help the reader understand exactly how to do it properly.  Exact form is ideal for doing each of these movements. It’s important for the client to know exactly what to do, and how to do it.   It’s also important to know what ORDER to do these movements in. Clients can use these descriptions to do workouts at home. Exercising at home is a powerful way to help overcome pain and feel better. Daily movement to improve posture will make you look slimmer, taller and leaner.

 

a couple of years ago

Are You Standing Up?

Standing desks are becoming so popular, and that makes this posture geek so happy! I actually have a full sit/stand desk that I use on a daily basis.

In fact, I’m getting a device that will turn any desk into a sit/stand desk delivered to my home next week.  It will be installed on the non sit/stand desk in my office. I’ll try it out and write a review for all of you! The cost of this particular product is far less than buying a full desk.

In the meantime, for those of you who have standing desks already, I created some standing exercises for you to do. “But wait”, you ask, “if I’m standing, this is much better that sitting, so why would I need desk exercises?”

The reason that “sitting is the new smoking”, is due to inactivity. Our bodies need and crave activity. Yes, standing is overall better for your hips and pelvis and requires more muscle activation. But moving throughout your day (versus standing stationary for hours on end) is really the best thing for your body.

So yes, you need exercises for your standing desk. Luckily I have 3 easy easy exercises for you published on the Autonomous website right here.

Take a read, and give them a try, and let me know what you think! These are quick and easy and can be done anywhere!

How many of you have standing desk options? I would LOVE to hear what brand you have, what you spent, how often you use it, and what you think overall.  Inquiring minds want to know so comment below!

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a couple of years ago

Chop Off Your Legs from your Hip Joint

The technical term of today’s post is called “disassociation of your leg from your hips”.

What in the world does that mean?

In plain english; it means learning how to stabilize your hips and move your femur (thigh bone) up and down and around, without letting that movement affect the positioning of your pelvis.

Why in the world is this important?

Remember, last week we talked about my friend who threw out her back lifting her laundry basket? I gave you “step one” on strengthening your core by doing an exercise called “grounding”. Today, I talk about pelvic stability and how it can minimize excess movement in the lumbar spine.

Let’s look at a picture.

This is a picture of a hip replacement. I’m using it here to illustrate a point: Your leg is attached to your pelvis via a ball and socket joint.  This means that your leg has the capability to move around, without excessive movement from the rest of the pelvis.

However, many times in my career, I have run across clients who have no idea how to do this. I make them lie face up, and put their pelvis in neutral position (watch this quick video if you have no idea what I mean when I say “neutral pelvis”). I’ll tell these clients to bring their leg up in a bent knee or straight leg position, without moving their pelvis. They will, but they compensate by pushing their lower back into the mat, and thus moving their pelvis.  I’ll correct them.  I’ll even place a hand beneath the lower back to prevent movement. Still my hand will get squished because the pelvis moves.

What they don’t realize, is that every time they move their pelvis, there is movement happening in their lumbar spine. Now, it’s ok to move from the lumbar when needed. There are other times when we want to minimize movement from this part of the spine. If we don’t know how to minimize this movement, and our default position is to always move the lower back, well, that’s how dysfunction begins, and pain follows.

So, let’s do an exercise that focuses on stabilization of the pelvis, and mobilization of the legs. There are two versions.  The first is a great “preparatory” exercise:

 

If that’s easy for you, and you KNOW you are not moving your pelvis, you can advance to the full version of the exercise!

 

The second exercise should be harder, and maybe even make your stomach muscles quiver.  If this happened, email me back, as I want to know about it!  Stat!

You may feel your thighs working in this exercise, which is ok. But, I really want you to focus on pulling in your abdominals and not letting them pooch out.  You’re ALWAYS welcome to shoot a video of yourself doing any exercise and send it my way. I’m happy to give you corrections on your form!

As always, give it a try and comment below to tell me how it goes.

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a couple of years ago

She Picked Up the Laundry Basket and Threw Out Her Back

Raising kids takes a village. I’m so blessed to have a few key partners in my mom village. We take care of each other and help whenever we can!

Well, one of my key mom friends was in pain this past weekend, and I didn’t find out until it was too late to help.

When she told me the story, I almost died.  I had joked about this last week in my post! It’s a very common experience and it happened. She literally threw out her back when she picked up her laundry basket.

So this is dedicated to my “village”.  To the moms and dads who are too darn busy to get real workouts in. To any person who needs to learn how to engage their core before they pick up that laundry basket, or 68 pound child, or rock heavy backpack on the trek to school.

This exercise takes practice, as it involves engaging the “deep core” musculature. These are the pelvic floor muscles at the base of your spine. They help stabilize your pelvis and strengthen your inner corset. With practice, they can learn to fire easier and help you when lifting and picking up things.

In the picture above you see the pelvic floor muscles connect at the tailbone and the pubic bone, and that they help to control a bunch of organs in between. They are powerful, and simple to work and activate.

Other bonuses? They assist with incontinence issues, as well as sexual health.

You can do this exercise BEFORE you even get out of bed in the morning. Five repetitions will take less than 5 minutes.

If you are struggling to understand where your pelvic floor muscles are, imagine going to the restroom, and suddenly someone walking into the bathroom while you are “mid stream”. The muscles you use to stop yourself, are part of your pelvic floor. Yes, these are often also called the “bathroom” muscles. (Don’t tell my 10 year old daughter, potty jokes are HUGE these days!)

Give it a view here:

Ok, so the big question I have for you is: Can you feel yourself activate your pelvic floor? Is it something you’re “clued” into, or are you struggling to know what I’m talking about? It’s fascinating to learn how people feel about this particular exercise. I give it as a warm up for EVERY client.

This exercise is step one to building a strong inner corset so you don’t go throwing out your back while lifting a feather pillow.  Step two coming to you next week…

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