I’ve been working with people’s bodies since 1998, and to this day some people assume that working your core means doing sit-ups, crunches and the like. But at ZŪM we know better!
Sit-ups mostly target the abs (six pack muscles) and obliques. And while these are core muscles, they are only a small part of the entire core unit. Bear with me while I explain! The sit-up muscles are merely the superficial (close to the surface) stabilizers and mobilizers of the spine that assist with side bending, forward flexing, and rotating your trunk. But there is more to the core than that.
The Eastern Block countries get credit for all of the badass exercises. There’s the Russian Twist, where you sit on the floor and wield a medicine ball side-to-side in an arcing pattern, and the Bulgarian Split Squat, where you set a foot on a platform behind you and basically do a single leg lunge. The Romanian Deadlift is another cool Eastern Block strength-builder, and it’s our next key exercise in building resilient hamstrings.
I remember the day I learned about the next series of exercises. I was attending a continuing education course with a guy who was recognized and respected as an authority in sports performance. He said, “Nobody will strain their hamstrings if they master the hamstrings series on a physioball.” I’ve used these exercises with my clients since, but I refer to them as the Hamstrings Progressions on Swiss. The name makes it sound more like a sandwich than an exercise series, but I’ve found them to be potent for building resilient hamstrings.
A great way to start hamstring training, especially if you’re a beginner, is with incline walking. Hopefully your hamstrings are feeling loose and relaxed after the Seated Hamstrings Mobility exercise, and you notice a little more stride length and ease with each step. Your hamstrings and gluteal muscles (aka: butt, glutes, tush, ass, and my favorite, the booty) provide the strength to propel you forward in a long stride, and the power to propel you forward when you sprint.
Anybody who’s dealt with a hamstring strain knows they’re a royal pain in the, well, hamstrings. And probably other places like your hip, knee, or even your lower back as you change the way you move to avoid the discomfort in your strained hamstring, which can put repetitive stress in other places. This injury can be a nuisance that seems to take forever to go away, and can ruin your running program, soccer season, or hiking. It can even make a walk in the park uncomfortable.
The good news is that you can build resilience, strength, and mobility in your hamstrings with a systematic, low risk training approach, which we’re going to cover in this series of videos and blogs. Each video will give you pro tips and adaptations for each exercise so you can start with the appropriate exercise and progress your way to feeling ready to take on what you love to do. You’ll enjoy the power in your stride, the strength to climb your way up a mountain, and the freedom to run and play without worrying about injuring your hamstrings.
Foot pain is the 2nd most documented pain in our culture, following the lower back and can be caused by changes in physiology, biomechanics, environmental changes as well as genetics.
In my years of practice I have been commonly asked what is the weakest area of the body I see. Although most think it is the core, and often that is weak, it is only third in line after the neck/head, with the feet winning the first place position.
Foot problems are nothing new. Dr. William Scholl (June 22, 1882 – March 30, 1968), a world famous foot specialist and pioneer of foot care reported 7 out of 10 people had painful feet. With sundry avenues from which foot problems arise, you may wonder whether the foot was one of evolution’s few architectural mistakes. And, is there anything we can do to create better health for our feet? I definitely think so.
Posture, is it the same for everybody? Yes, and no. That didn’t help a whole lot, did it? Yet please allow me to explain. Posture, defined by Merriam-Webster is a position of a person’s body when standing or sitting. Posture, defined by biomechanics is when the central nervous system, internal organs, brain and skeleton are stabilized and supported by the coordinated action of working musculature to obtain it’s segments aligned and maintained.
Posture starts at your feet and works its way up to your ear. As well, it starts at the head and works its way down to your feet. It also dissects you in half, creating a left side and a right using your belly button as the midline. Yet, let’s make this simple. If I was to ask you to stand up tall and give me your best posture, 9 times out of 10 you will be standing backwards of your midline.
(Note: this is the final blog post from trainer Jordan Sahlberg, who has moved on to exciting new professional challenges. Good luck, Jordan!)
Wearable fitness trackers have seen a massive increase in popularity with the everyday person interested in more accurately measuring and quantifying their fitness level. Companies like Fitbit, Jawbone, Nike, Apple, Garmin, MOOV and more offer many different devices aimed at doing just that. But before you go out and buy a device it is worth asking yourself a few questions. First, do these devices actually measure what they say they are measuring? And if so, how reliable are their measurements?
In the November 18th issue of The Seattle Times, Nick Vannett, tight end of the Seattle Seahawks, was interviewed about his experience with Pilates. “Third-year tight end Nick Vannett embraced Pilates to help treat a herniated disc in his back. Months later he’s having his best season in Seattle.” Nick goes on to say, “it just gets your hips right. It gets everything in your core right. Even just walking around, I can feel the difference. It really just feels like I’m lighter on my feet, because my core is more activated now and it’s honing everything in and taking more of the load as opposed to my quads and my hammies and all of that.”