Monthly Archives: April 2011

As The Body Turns, Pt. 1

I’ve been working a lot lately on building/strengthening my core -the entire girdle of muscles that keep the center of my body strong, stable, and straight.  Planks and bridges are a mainstay of stability work, but today I’d like to introduce you to another concept: anti rotation.

When our core muscles are not the strongest, our body can turn and rotate with either force or gravity even if it shouldn’t.  This rotation can give us hamstring problems, low back pain or shoulder pain that we just can’t seem to explain.

The erector spinae prevents trunk flexion and produces trunk extension-this is the muscle we train when we do planks.  The rectus abdominis prevents trunk extension and produces trunk flexion-this is the muscles we train when we do crunches.  The obliques produce trunk lateral flexion –the side-to-side motion we train against when we do side planks. Note that none of these muscles primarily resist rotation – this is only done by a combination of all three muscles working in unison.

Working Anti-Rotation

The exercises which will work anti-rotation will all be hold exercises instead of movement exercises.

Think of performing a bird dog.  You kneel hands and feet, then bring one leg and the opposite arm up parallel to the ground and HOLD IT.  The longer you hold that position, the more challenging it becomes to remain still and parallel.  The temptation is for the shoulders and hips to rotate in.

What’s wrong with rotating?  Let’s return to the bird dog as an example.  When the hips rotate in, it puts additional strain on the support hip as those glutes now must more of the load for both sides.  Eventually you can say: hello lower back pain!

As the shoulder drops, again the opposite shoulder picks up the load.  Stresses transfer, with the quadratus longorum transfers the stress down to the hip while the lats and traps transfer the stress to the upper back, the neck and triceps.  Hello back, shoulder and even neck pain!

Transfer these stresses to real life experiences -such as running and walking- and you can see why we are a world of neck and back pain!

Dehydration Guest Blog

It’s 2:30 in the afternoon. I’m sluggish, a bit foggy-brained and feeling the fuzzy edge of a headache developing.

When you feel this way, perhaps you grab a piece of fruit or a cup or coffee to get you going again. Which might not be the wisest choice. Check my guest blog at Diets In Review for another take on how to cure the mid-afternoon slump.

Here’s a clue. It begins with this:

glass of water

Photo credit: Greg Riegler Photography

Today is the Restart

We’re 10 days into the April Mountain Climber ClimbAThon, and I must admit I’m a slacker. (hangs head)…

It’s not that I don’t want to do Mountain Climbers, really. Most days, I plain forget and some days my hip hurts so much I don’t think I CAN. (excuses, excuses). When I get to the gym, I do superset every exercise with climbers (bench press/climbers; rows/climbers; lat pulls/climbers…. etc.).

Others at least have had a better start than I. Josie at YumYucky, regaled us last a couple weeks ago with her virtual camping adventures as she made her way up Mt. Tam.  I laughed so hard, I almost cried.

There are still 20 days left for me to get it back on track.  Today is the restart!