Viewing entries tagged
mobility

Mobility Moves for Road Trips

It's been a full week of adventure questing through the Pacific North West! I camped and hiked in Yosemite, drank from mountain springs, trekked up a volcano, and explored new superfoods with my friend Kevin in Mount Shasta. I explored the Wanderlust yoga and wellness festival in Lake Tahoe and needless to say there was a lot of driving! On my last night before heading back to San Diego I camped at Mercey Hot Springs where I enjoyed soaking my muscles in mineral baths and got a nice lengthy mobility session in. 

With all that driving, hiking, and workouts,I found these mobility moves to be just the medicine I needed to reboot. Give them go before, during, and after your next road trip and let me know it goes! 

Plank Pose for Core Engagement

unnamed-6.jpg

Downward Facing Dog: Spinal Extension. Stretch Calves, Hamstrings, Chest, and Shoulders

unnamed-5.jpg

90/90 for External Hip Rotation

unnamed-2.jpg

Internal Hip Rotation

unnamed-3.jpg

Active Straddle for Inner Thighs (Adductors) and Core Stabilization

Hurdler Stretch for Ankles, Quadriceps, Hip Flexors, Chest and Shoulders, and Spine Extension

unnamed-1.jpg

I create customized fitness, mobility, and nutrition programs for people because we all need different tools and exercises at different times to move and feel our best. 


Where are you all headed this summer? If you need a travel workout/mobility plan for when you are on the go let me know, plus I have tons of recommendations for your healthiest and mindful road trip ever. See a few here. 

 

Freedom of Movement

LISTEN TO A RECORDING HERE
LISTENING TIME: 3m 23s

When I was just 16 years old I worked the front desk at the local gym. Every morning at 7AM Calvin would check in with a huge smile on his face. I worked at that gym as front desk attendant, then group fitness instructor, and personal trainer before leaving for college. Almost everyday I was there I saw Calvin. 

Upon graduating college, I returned to the gym to workout and there was Calvin with a huge smile on his face.

Just last month while visiting my hometown I worked out at that same gym, and guess who was there....Calvin! 

Calvin is now 82 years old. He is in great health, happy, and energetic. His secret is simple. Never stop moving.

Movement is Freedom

Think of all the amazing things your body does for you on a daily basis. To move is a total privilege and it's medicine. 

Movement keeps your joints healthy. Unlike muscles joints do not have a direct blood supply. They need movement to get nutrition. You want those knees and hips to last a lifetime. 

Movement can boost your mood. It literally changes your brain chemistry making you happier and more optimistic. 

Movement makes you smarter. We learn with our entire body. Learning new moves and new skills builds new neural networks.

Think of movement as a way to code your nerve networks. “Neurons with the most connections, an average of 300,000, are located in the cerebellum, the primary movement center of the brain.” A variety of exercises that present unique challenges will code your body and brain for high level functionality. By providing your body and brain with new information you are literally upgrading yourself!

Why You Shouldn't Leave Out Cardio: A 2014 study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that aerobic training significantly increases the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory.

Movement builds confidence. When you push yourself and progress physically you are truly progressing mentally. You change your habits, cultivate greater will power, and literally transform from the inside out. 

MOVE BECAUSE YOU CAN

When I was a kid I had a terrible speech impediment and attended a special ed program at a young age. Nearly all of the other kids were in wheel chairs. They couldn't move. At that age I didn't understand why things were the way they were, but I do remember feeling very sad for them. From a very young age movement became super important to me not to just to be a great athlete or look a certain way, but because there is pure joy in movement and it's a total gift. For more see Grateful for Dirty Worn Out Shoes

Move...not just because it is good for you. Move because you can. Move with gratitude. Movement is a path towards liberation. 

 

 

Mobility Matters

Mobility is a prerequisite for movement. As a functional range conditioning mobility specialist and trainer I help people build a strong foundation for movement and training first, because practice doesn't make progress unless you practice correctly. It doesn't matter how you can bench or squat if your technique is faulty, because you could do more harm than good in the long run. Mobility limitations can hold you back or you may end up with injuries down the line. 
 

Check out this article for more
How to Relieve Your Aches and Pains With One Workout

Get Some Deep Squat and Hang time in Everyday

One of the greatest lessons I learned from my travels abroad is that to workout is a luxury. As my guide in Sri Lanka said, "The rich people do exercise and yoga, everyone else just uses their body to live and work."

In India and Sri Lanka I saw people climbing trees, squatting to simply rest, carrying bricks on their heads, and digging the foundation for a house with nothing more than a plastic bucket. Their backs were strong and they moved with ease. Mainly because they have been "moving like a human" their whole entire lives. 

In western culture we have adopted the habit of sitting in chairs often times in front of a computer screen or sitting in a car for hours per week. Sitting in chairs alone impairs hip mobility, leads to rounded shoulders in a slouched over position, forward head posture placing pressure on the cervical spine, compresses the spinal vertebrae, and decreases neurological drive to the abdominals, glutes, and legs (strong glutes and legs are essential for back health). 

Sometimes people think they need a certain amount of time or a facility to get a workout in. This is not always the case. High quality movement and mobility is a prerequisite for any workout you plan to do whether it's lifting weights, running, or even yoga so start there. The cool thing is you can do it anywhere! 

Everyday think in terms of movement patterns: squat, hang, hinge, push, pull, rotate. 

You most likely do many of these movements everyday anyways. What I am suggesting is to bring more awareness to HOW you are doing them and do them more often.

We can sit in a chair with awareness and use our core muscles and strengthen the back or get engrossed with emails, projects, etc get trapped in our heads and lose touch with the body as the shoulders round forward and the neck juts forwards. The key is to train the body and keep connection even as we are mentally engrossed with something else. 

Here are 2 Moves to Do Everyday for Better Mobility and Functionality

1. Deep Squat

Spread your feet a bit wider than hip distance apart. Keep weight evenly distributed in your feet. Drop your hips down towards the ground while maintaining the natural curves of your spine. Keep your chest lifted. Try to find length in your lower back by sinking the tailbone towards the ground. 

To Modify: 

Place a rolled up yoga mat or towel under your heels or sit on a yoga block or two. 

Just doing my laundry in India. 

Just doing my laundry in India. 

2. Active Hang

Grab a stable bar or overhang with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Keep your core engaged. Try not to over arch your back or swing. Keep tension throughout your body so your entire body is "active." Depress the scapula by bringing the shoulder blades down your spine creating space between your shoulders and your ears and retract by squeezing the scapula towards each other to lift and open the chest. 

To Modify: 

Choose a low bar or overhang, bend your knees, and let your toes touch the ground for support. Practice depressing and retracting the scapula for 10-20 repetitions and then releasing back to neutral to build stability and strength in your shoulders and also build grip strength. 

Catching some hang time for spinal traction on my way to explore Ella, Sri Lanka.

Catching some hang time for spinal traction on my way to explore Ella, Sri Lanka.

Move n' Play

Find something to hang from and get creative with it. New and novel movement patterns are good for the body and the brain! 

Roll & Stretch: A Short Montage of Mobility Drills

Is tension eating you alive? Move it out. 

Here is a short montage of some of my favorite mobility drills to wash away tension and create more space in the body for energy to flow freely. 

Equipment necessary to perform these drills: 

- Rad Roller 

- Mat

- Yoga Strap (optional for one move)

- BREATH

Fight Tension with Tension: Restoring Lost Ranges of Motion with PAILS/RAILS

How to regain lost ranges of motion and fight tension with tension by combining stretching with isometric contractions with a technique called progressive and regressive angular isometric loading (PAILS + RAILS).



Remember, flexibility is passive, whereas mobility is active. Mobility speaks the language of cells (force) to communicate with both the connective tissue and the nervous system. This means you not only gain new ranges of motions, but also have the ability to utilize and control them. 

By utilizing the power of isometrics in tandem with stretching you: 
1. Override or bypass the stretch reflex to go deeper into a stretch. 
2. Efficiently and effectively activate motor units
3. Build strength through the full range of motion and create resilient connective tissue
4. Engage in a safe way to gain strength and flexibility

For the exercises below follow this procedure: 

  1. Assume stretch position

  2. Passively maintain position (approximately 2 min) Play with angles to maximize tension

  3. Inhale, gradually build tension in the stretched tissues as you trap your air in the lower abdominal region

  4. Gradually, ramp up neurological drive. Hold contraction for as long as possible

  5. As you relax, ACTIVELY increase stretch depth/intensity.

  6. Hold newly acquired position for as long as possible.

  7. Repeat.

90/90 Hip Opener for External Rotation

1. Set up the stretch as pictured above aiming to pull your belly button towards the knee to find a deep stretch within the hip. 
2. Follow the procedure above as you press your knee down into the ground. 
3. When you reduce tension, do not come up. Stay in the pose and go deeper. Then, repeat. 
 

IMG_7743.jpg

90/90 Hip Opener for Internal Rotation

Press both knees into the ground while keeping your hips rooted. 

Focus on driving the trail leg down toward the ground as you follow the procedure listed above. 

IMG_7749.jpg

Hip Flexor Stretch and Hamstring Activation

1. Assume a low lunge keeping the pelvis aligned. Hold for 2 minutes as you bring awareness to the top of your back thigh and open the hip flexors. 
2. Bend the back knee. Draw your heel in towards your glutes. Hold and begin to ramp up neurological drive in the hamstrings and glutes. 
3. Hold the contraction as you remove your hand.
BEWARE: You will most likely feel cramping in the hamstrings! This is the nervous system reorganizing itself! It's a good thing and will fade as that tissue becomes more active. 
4. Repeat step 3 twice more then try on the opposite side. 
 

IMG_7817.jpg

Shoulder Sleeper Stretch for External Rotation

1. Set-up: Legs stacked, upper arm and legs parallel. Your arm should form a "V" position. Fingers come in towards the belly button. You can support your head with a pillow or block. 
2. Keep your shoulder on the ground as you press down to your end range of motion. Hold for 2 minutes. 
3. Increase neurological drive. Isometrically contract your body and press your forearm into your top hand as you simultaneously press the forearm down towards the ground. Gain 15-20 degrees more range of motion. 
4. Remove your top hand while trying to maintain the new range of motion- pressing forearm to the ground. 
5. Repeat. 

IMG_7797.jpg

Calf Stretch:

1. Press the ball of your foot into stable device/wall and hold the passive stretch for 2 minutes at your end range of motion. 
2. Build tension and ramp up neurological drive as you deepen the stretch. 
3. Keep the new range of motion as you attempt to pull your toes away from the device/wall. 
4. Repeat

IMG_7860.jpg

A Daily Joint Mobility Routine: Controlled Articular Rotations (CARS)

Human beings are multi-dimensional beings. We are designed to move dynamically in various ranges of motion. 

As a Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialist (FRCms) I help people restore lost ranges of motion, maintain joint health, and improve mobility so you can DO ANYTHING.

Mobility is the foundation for strength, speed, and power. It's essential in everything from power lifting, playing a competitive sport, to getting out of bed or walking the dog. 
 

MOVEMENT = HEALTH
 

Our health depends on movement. Movement is nature's anti-inflammatory pill. It pumps oxygen and nutrient rich blood to our cells. But, cartilage on the other hand has no blood supply. It receives oxygen and nutrition from the surrounding joint fluid by diffusion. 

During movement pressure expresses fluid and waste products out of cartilage cells, when it is relieved, fluid diffuses back along with oxygen and nutrients. 

Joint mobility literally bathes your joints in synovial fluid and washes away calcium deposits and toxins; helping you move with more ease. 

In life, we usually go about the same repetitive motions rarely taking each joint through it's full range of motion. As Dr. Spina, creator of Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) protocol says, "you will always regret not training the range of motion you got injured in." 

The bottom line is, if you don't use it you lose it.

We must move and train every angle and have control over our movements so the nervous system understands how to access and make use of the range of motion. This builds mobile joints and resilient connective tissue to bulletproof your body. 
 

HOW AND WHEN TO PERFORM THE MOBILITY ROUTINE
 

Performing the daily joint mobility routine consisting of controlled articular rotations (CARs) EVERYDAY as a morning ritual and as a warmup before exercise or play.

INSTRUCTIONS: 
1. Inhale, trap air in lower abdominal region while breathing shallow

2. Stabilize all articulations and perform an isometric contraction throughout your body in order to ensure strict rotation in the desired joint.

Tension Guidelines for Isometric Contraction of Body Besides the Joint in Focus: 
10-30% (morning routine)
20-50% (warmup before exercise)
70%-max (training) 

3. Begin articular rotation slowly ensuring that it is occurring in the outer limit of movement

4. Attempt to "expand the circle" with each repetition

5. If you feel a painful "pinch" on the closed angle of a joint skip over that area as it may indicate that there's a problem with the joint. 

6. Most people will feel "sticky spots," clicks, and cracks, and stutters in the movement or may couple or compensate by moving other parts of the body rather than isolating the joint. This is an indication that the joint and surrounding connective tissue requires more motion and neurological drive and input to restore lost ranges of motion and maintain the health of the joint. 


Keep moving and living life DYNAMICALLY!