It's 5:30 on a Monday evening at the local gym, raining outside and everyone in town is trying to get in shape for beach season. I can't seem to do everything I had planned so I compromise and work with what I can. In the meantime, one guy is texting his girlfriend while standing in front of the squat rack, another guy is performing "super sets" on the bench and bicep curl machine while the other guy is flexing in the mirror. What is going on?! Starting in a gym or fitness center can be an uncomfortable experience, but if you go into it knowing what to expect ahead of time, you may feel a little more at ease. For those of you who are comfortable in the gym, well maybe you're too comfortable and need to be a little more aware of your surroundings.
First of all, put your weights back on the rack when you're done using them! It's not the college kid's job that is working the front desk to go around and pick up after you. You're at the gym lifting weights, pick the weight off of the machine and put it back. Going to the gym to be lazy is like "jumbo shrimp", makes no sense! Besides, some people using the equipment after you may not be able to lift what you put on the machine in the first place!
If you're one of those guys that sweats all over the place, wipe the machine down after or use a towel between you and the equipment. Most gyms give out towels when you walk in.
When it is busy, don't use the power/squat rack to do bicep curls or shrugs when there is a thousand other places to do them! That is the safest place to squat and somebody is probably waiting to use it! Also, when it is busy, super-setting may not be the best idea! Tying up two pieces of equipment just leaves me at one of them wondering who is using it!
Who thinks grabbing the jump rope and doing a couple sets in the middle of the free weight area is a good idea?! Do I need to explain why?!
Why are you dropping your weights when you're done with your set? Any idea how much they cost? Probably around $2-3 per pound! A 90 pound dumbbell is not cheap, so don't drop it and let the handle snap off!
Another courtesy is to avoid working out in between somebody and the mirror, especially during heavy lifts. Just wait until they're done with their set and then move into that area if need be. Watching yourself in the mirror helps to maintain proper form and nobody wants to stare at the back of your head while performing a heavy lift.
If you need to use the machine that I am on, please don't stand there and stare at me. Ask to work in or find another way to perform the exercise, I'm sure there is ten other ways of doing it! If I'm taking too long, asking to work in or how many sets are left usually speeds things up.
Cell phones, cell phones, cell phones. Don't text at the gym while sitting on a machine when someone else could be waiting for you to finish!
Oh, and don't ask someone if they're using something in the middle of an exercise! Wait 30 seconds for them to finish and then ask.
The bottom line is to just be aware of others in the gym and respect that others are sharing the same equipment that way we can all have an enjoyable experience!
I'd love to hear any other tips you may have!
Thanks for reading and please "share" so that we can all BeneFIT!
The majority of golfers that come into our clinic for complaints of low back pain and other forms of injury lack flexibility through the hips, spine and ankles, all of which are heavily relied upon during the golf swing. Most professional golfers have incredible flexibility combined with excellent strength allowing them to compete at such a high level. For the weekend golfer who spends most of their day sitting at a desk, this can be a challenge.
I spend most of my time working with golfers to increase their hip flexor mobility that shortens from prolonged sitting. These muscles are located on the front of the hip and have a major influence on the curvature of the low back and how it behaves during the swing. The therapists at Nike Golf placed great emphasis on improving hip extension and rotation through a series of stretches that target the joint in 3 planes of motion. Most of us stretch in one direction and forget that we move in 3 dimensions and therefore must stretch in 3 dimensions to achieve the maximum benefit. Through the use of these stretches, I have been able to witness golfers drastically improve their follow through while resolving their back pain in a matter of 1-2 visits. Unfortunately, a lifestyle that involves sitting for 7-8 hours/day will require greater effort on your part to overcome.
The only equipment you need to perform a highly effective hip flexor stretch is a chair. Start by placing one foot on the chair and having the other foot grounded and turned inward. This is important because it really locks in the hip flexor. Lean forward at the hips until you feel tension at the front of the hip. Do not come off of the stretch and begin to gently rock forward and back for 10 repetitions, then move the hips in a side to side motion to stretch the frontal plane for 10 repetitions. It is important to also keep the back leg straight because the knee will want to bend. After those 2 motions, incorporate the transverse plane by doing a circular motion and remember not to come off of the stretch at any point for 10 repetitions in each direction, clock wise and counterclockwise. Now, switch legs and repeat. You should feel immediate relief and greater ease with the follow through of your golf swing!
I have a secret, something that only a few people know.
I sometimes workout at another gym besides the one I own.
I know, it's crazy.
I've been involved in a specific type of athletic training and strength and conditioning for so long that I've forgotten there is another world of exercise out there. One I actually came from when I started this journey years ago.
This world is populated by a group of people who aimlessly wail on machines and free weights, pulling movements they've learned from magazines and websites, in an effort to look something like the videos they see online and in print. They work for the sake of work, and while admirable, it is a gerbil wheel. Doomed to forever spin and get nowhere.
That, in essence, is the difference between training and exercise. Exercise gives you something to do. It makes you hot and sweaty, and it can be fun. Truthfully, there are a lot of people who have gotten in good shape by exercising. Training, however, has one key difference: direction.
The first day I train with a new client I ask "what is your goal?" Most of the time I get responses along the lines of getting fitter or losing weight. Occasionally I get a more specific answer; "I want to do a pull-up" or "I want to run a 5k in under 30 minutes". It's those quantifiable goals which distinguishes training from just "working out".
Attached to this distinction are the trainers and coaches of the world. You see them leading groups of men and women. Engaging their clients and classes to do movements they wouldn't normally do, leading them outside their comfort zones, and helping them discover something within themselves. This is a very important interaction.
When you exercise you just need someone with a clipboard and pre-written routine to walk you around the gym and make small talk.
When you train, you need someone to objectively evaluate your performance, offer improvements in technique, and provide "tough love" when you need it most. You need someone who can speak to you from experience, someone who provides insight not only into the bio-mechanical aspects of training, but also the mental and emotional states of motivation and training. You need someone you feel comfortable around, trust, and is invested in your success.
That, brings us to the second key difference, between a coach and a trainer.
A coach will see in you the best person you can be, and will work together with you to achieve that goal. You will see in you something you've never seen in yourself.
A coach will be supportive, and realistic. Whatever your goal, is their goal. At the same time if it is unrealistic or unsafe they will call you on it or work to make an appropriate adjustment.
A coach will know their passion and their limitations. If a goal is outside their limitations, they should have no problem bowing out and directing you to someone more appropriate.
Lastly, a coach should empower, and bring up the people around them to the highest of levels. Bettering the world with every movement, and word of encouragement.
The subtle differences between trainers and coaches, exercising and training are elusively obvious, and run through the under current of the entirety of the exercise world. Learn the distinctions now, to provide a better path in the future.
Evan Chelini is the owner of Sand Dunes CrossFit and Strength Coach in Miramar Beach, FL. He is also the owner of a great spirit and passion for helping others.
Please visit his page at Sand Dunes Strength and Conditioning
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When you're 10,000 feet in the air, the last thing you think about is jumping out the door of a plane. I had no intention of ever skydiving until my friend Jon signed me up after a difficult divorce he was going through. I agreed to go, but I didn't think the plan would follow through. It sure did and I'm so glad that I went. It's the experience of a lifetime and should be on your bucket list if you haven't had the chance to go. It is an amazing feeling hanging at 5,000 feet with nothing below you other than your shoes!
Something so simple, yet so effective! The foam roller is a great tool in physical therapy and general fitness. It is personally one of my favorite pieces of equipment to improve posture and alleviating neck, shoulder and upper back pain. The number of exercises that can be performed on these rollers are endless. They vary in length, diameter, material, color and firmness. Using a roller breaks up fibrous tissue and boosts circulation so you're less sore making it a cheap alternative to other forms of therapy while assisting in recovery from intense workouts. I've posted an article in the past about shoulder pain resulting from muscular imbalance which you can read here. If you feel that you fit into this category or if you find yourself sitting at your desk job all day this exercise is for you!
This is the "anti" rounded posture exercise and takes the strain off of the neck and shoulders that you feel all day. Do not push into pain when bringing your arms upward and try to keep the backs of your hands on the floor. You will need a roller that is long enough to perform this exercise, 6x36" seems to be the standard. You can find one in the 850HealthStore for around $15. The problem with the cheaper version is that they will start to flatten out from use. If you plan on using it frequently, you may look into spending a little extra and purchase one with plastic reinforcement. There are so many variations now that you can Google "foam roller" and find hundreds of choices. I have the Grid as part of my living room decor and use it frequently to loosen my thoracic spine and free up tight musculature. One of the exercises that I perform at home include the one shown below. You can roll up and down and massage your thoracic spine and shoulders. The Grid works great because of its firmness and ridges that act to massage the musculature while mobilizing a tight thoracic spine.
Find the Grid here...
There are hundreds of exercises that you can perform to better yourself. You can search the internet for exercises that are more specific to your needs and even YouTube them for demonstration! I hope this helps!
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Got knee pain? The knee is an interesting joint and I'm finding that the more knees I treat, the less I focus on the knee itself. In my other blogs I had mentioned how the hip influences the low back, well it also plays a major role in knee health. The knee likes to bend forward and back, flexion and extension, and would like to avoid the rotational component. It seems that those with knee pain lack what we call, proximal stability, quite often. The hip is weak and causes the knee to want to drift inward especially during single leg stance. Try this, stand on one leg only and try to lower yourself down in a mini-squat. Does your knee want to cave inward towards the midline of your body? If so, that is hip/glute weakness. If it does not, we may look into the ankle and other factors, but in most cases this is pretty common. That weakness may not be exposed through low level activities, but may create problems when performing repetitive activities, i.e. running, and load bearing activities, i.e., stairs.
Research is also coming out now stating that physical therapy is just as effective as arthroscopic knee surgery to correct meniscus tears (the cushion between your knee joint). This was featured on Dr. Oz on 04/25/14 with exercise demonstration. The exercises on the video are a conservative start, but I would encourage you to try the resisted side step exercise I described in my previous blog Piriformis/Sciatic Pain? Do This Exercise. It is great because it does not stress the knee so you can perform it without irritating your knee pain and indirectly make your knee stronger. Just balancing on one leg alone is also very important because it gives us a good idea how the hip is performing. If you try and you're struggling to stay upright, your hip is weak and makes you more susceptible to knee injury.
For any questions you may have about knee pain, contact me at email@example.com
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For those of you who don't know, 850 is the area code for which I reside in. It is the Destin, FL area which is a major hub for stand up paddle boarding (SUP) and the location of BOTE, YOLO and GUSU boards. You can't live here and not notice their presence in the area. At first, I didn't see the excitement in them. I'd sit on the beach and watch people float by and wonder how that was seen as enjoyable. Next thing you know, I had to have one! I rented one first to test it out and was amazed by how much fun I had. It is a great form of exercise and it puts you out in nature where you can see a different world below you. It is not at all like riding in a boat, you're right on the water and in full control. Imagine having dolphin swim by and seeing different fish while exercising and staying fit. The board is great because it forces you to use your lumbo-pelvic stabilizing muscles, your core, and using your entire body to paddle. We sit at work and spend most of our days in a slouched position, paddle boarding forces you to use your postural muscles which is great for your overall health. They even have Yoga classes on the boards and races are becoming very popular. Not to mention, the great cardio workout and metabolism boost. You can travel pretty far on a paddle board and venture to remote areas, turn it into a camping trip and just be outside! We all have gone to the beach and parked our butts in one spot, sort of like at work except better surroundings! Why not get up, paddle, enjoy nature, all while exercising and staying in shape?!!
So get off your butt and go paddle!
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Also, check out Stand up Paddle Board Review and Tower Paddle Boards
I recently read a post on Runner's World about what to do for piriformis syndrome and I felt like they had left something out. From working with piriformis and "sciatic" pain on a daily basis, I'd thought I'd share a little info on an exercise that has done wonders for my clients. Often, runners and triathletes neglect frontal and transverse plane movements, meaning that they do not perform any exercises going side to side or with a rotational component because all of their movement is in forward, backward flexion and extension. Some runners choose not to do resistance exercises at all because of the idea of carrying too much muscle mass which, I think, is a mistake. You can train to be strong and avoid the bulk while making yourself a more balanced and efficient runner. Your hip/glutes are vital in controlling rotational forces of the lower extremity and protecting the back from accessory movement. It's like driving on tires that are not balanced, they wear faster just like your joints. Your glutes are part of your "core", much more important than the 6 pack abs (they just look good). If you are already flexible, stretching the piriformis will provide you with little benefit other than temporary relief. The glutes and piriformis need strength to accept your body weight when landing on one leg while running. Strengthening the glutes may help with your knee pain as well believe it or not (We had an Ironman solve his knee pain within days of performing this exercise I'm about to describe). Your knee does not want to rotate, it wants to flex and extend. If the upper leg rotates inward because of weak glutes, it puts strain on the knee joint and IT Band. So, once again, you can try to stretch the IT all that you want, but the strength in the glutes will most likely provide the greatest benefit.
I am a huge fan of an exercise that we call resisted side step because of how effective it is in targeting your butt muscles. The only equipment you need is a theraband with good resistance. You can tie one around your ankles or purchase one in the 850HealthStore through Amazon. Blue or green would be your best bet, blue being more difficult. The continuous loop band seems to provide better resistance (12 inches). Now, walk sideways with it around your ankles while keeping your toes pointed a tad inward and avoid pointing outward because it will engage your hip flexor instead of the muscles we're going after. Also, avoid leaning sideways and keep your midsection tight. You can walk sideways for approx. 20 feet then walk back without turning around. Do 3 sets and you will feel it! Give it 2 weeks of performing most days of the week and you will be a better athlete!
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Let me begin by saying that this new technology called the Piezo Wave 2, has provided our physical therapy clinic with amazing results in the first couple weeks of treatment. It is nothing like we have ever experienced in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain. The Piezo Wave 2 is described as Myofascial Acoustic Compression Therapy (MyACT). There slogan is "Not all modalities are created equal" and I tend to agree. Our clinic has "experimented" on numerous clients with a variety of orthopedic issues from post-op patella fracture to chronic neck and low back pain and have received unexpected, yet very positive results. The only mistake we've made is not documenting client's responses after treatment. So, what is it?
Piezo Wave 2 was developed by Richard Wolf and a company called ELvation out of Germany. Richard Wolf was a leader in the development of endoscopes. MyACT delivers mechanical energy in the form of sound waves to the target tissue which includes tenocytes in tendons, fibroblasts in ligaments and skin, osteocytes in bone, chondrocytes in articular cartilage and endothelial cells in blood vessels which are all highly responsive to mechanical energy. What is great about MyACT is that you can also vary the depth of the treatment by changing the adapter on the sound head from 5mm to 30mm. I like to describe it as a metal detector for unhealthy tissue and trigger points. Please see my post for further explanation of trigger points. This device has pin-point delivery in targeting unhealthy tissue through a mechanical stimulus resulting in cellular changes that promote increased circulation and pain relief. You cannot feel the treatment around healthy tissue which also helps us as therapists to more accurately address our client's pain when we come across the discomfort of a trigger point. It is comparable to having a deep tissue massage in a fraction of the time and we suggest you drink plenty of water after the treatment just as you would after a massage.
We are more than excited to offer this treatment at Sandestin Physical Therapy Services as part of the Sandestin Executive Health & Wellness Center. Your first session is FREE because we believe you have to experience the results. This is no gimmick, it really is showing amazing results! Stop by or call (850)267-6755.
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Dr. Mark Giovanini
Sand Dunes CrossFit
Scott Rusin is the Director of Physical Therapy at the Sandestin Executive Health & Wellness Center in Sandestin Resort, Miramar Beach, FL. He has a degree in Physical Therapy, is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Nike Golf NG360 Performance Specialist Powered by the Gray Institute.