We’ve all heard someone say that deadlifts are bad for your back. Which is funny because they are actually one of the exercises used for low back pain rehab. This is just one of the many exercises labeled as a “bad exercise”. Also see upright rows, knee extension, or any “knee over toe” exercise. The same thing goes for running, it’s not bad for your knees (honestly it can be good for your knees).
None of these exercises are bad. Now that’s not to say that any of these exercises are mandatory. There could be some other exercises that you could use to achieve the same goal, but the point I am trying to make is that if you love to deadlift, you should be able to do it without hurting yourself. That is if you have the proper guidance.
Most exercise related injuries are because of one thing:
Stress is not always a bad thing. Lifting weights puts stress on our muscles. The cool thing about the human body is that it adapts to stress. The whole point of weightlifting is for the body to say “hey if we increase the size of this muscle, we can lift this weight easier.”
However, our body can only handle a certain amount of stress before it becomes too much. If you quickly increase the workload of an exercise, then you could be overloading the muscle and not allow it to adapt. Hence, you get a strain or sprain.
We can also look at things that affect your recovery from stress. Like getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night or eating enough to support your caloric expenditure. But there is enough to talk about that can be another blog post.
How Important is Form?
The answer may surprise you. It’s actually not as important as you may think. For example, some people create a fear around deadlifting with a rounded back. As long as the rounding is not excessive or the back does not move much while performing the lift, most people will be perfectly fine to lift this way. If you deadlift this way and work up in weight over time, your body can adapt and get stronger.
Some people will be sensitive to a rounded back posture, but others may be sensitive to whatever someone determined to be “good form.” It’s not a black and white thing. There can be some variation from person to person and you just have to find out what works best for the individual.
In general there is no such thing as a bad exercise. The human body can adapt to stress as long as it is not a sudden change and you ease into something. Start with the basic recommendations for form in an exercise and make slight adjustments as needed.
If you are having pain while exercising and are spinning your wheels trying to fix it, then it’s time to reach out to us! Click the link below to claim a Free Discovery Visit and we can talk about what is going, what you have tried, and what your goals are.
Knee pain can plague your workouts. Whether you are a runner, weightlifter, or athlete, there’s a strong chance that you have dealt with some achey knees at some point. It is a very common issue and it’s also very avoidable.
A lot of times people have limited mobility, which causes excess stress on the knees. Try these simple mobility exercises to work on reducing your knee pain.
1. Couch Stretch
Try this couch stretch for 1-2 minutes on each side and try to work your torso to be more vertical without hyper-extending your low back.
2. Knee Gapping
This knee gapping technique can help to take pressure off your joint.
3. Contract Relax Hamstring Stretch
This is a twist on a typical hamstring stretch. Drive the leg into the doorway or rig for 5 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds. Repeat this about 5 times and try to inch closer to the wall each time.
Don’t continue to struggle with knee pain. At Limitless Performance Physical Therapy, we offer free consultations to help you make the best possible decision about how to eliminate knee pain for good and get back to the things you love, pain free. Click the link below to claim your free consultation now!
You get your shoes on and set out for your run. Everything feels good, but when you get about 10 minutes into the run it happens again...
That nagging pain in your low back.
Low back pain is a frustrating issue that affects many runners. Exercise is one of the best cures for low back pain, but that doesn’t mean that healthy and active individuals aren’t susceptible to injuries. In this article, we will go over a few common reasons for developing back pain from running.
Improving pelvic control is one the most important things you can do to improve your running performance and reduce the risk of injuries. The most common fault people have is an anterior pelvic tilt. An anterior tilt of the pelvis creates a sharper curve and more compression at the low back. Running by its nature is repetitive, so it will amplify the pain with every step.
The other issue with an anterior pelvic tilt is that the glutes are lengthened which reduces your ability to call upon them. This makes other muscles work harder to bring the leg behind you, like the hamstring or low back muscles. These muscles are not built for this job and can quickly fatigue and become painful or tight.
Fixing this issue can come down to improving core stability to tilt the pelvis into a more neutral position. When we say stability, we mean exercises like planks. Not exercises that require movement of the spine or pelvis, such as crunches or sit ups.
We mentioned how the glutes can be put into a poor position because of the anterior pelvic tilt. If your pelvis is in a good position, but your glutes are just plain weak, then you will run into a similar issue here. The low back or hamstrings will take over the job of extending the hip, causing overuse.
Improve your glute strength with exercises like bridges or single leg deadlifts.
Having tight hip flexors can overlap with the first issue of anterior pelvic tilt. Maybe when you stand still your pelvis is in a good position. But when you bring your leg behind you it dumps forward. This could be because your hip flexors have difficulty lengthening.
Stretching your hip flexors the right way could be the key to improving your back pain. The video below has a great description of how to properly execute one hip flexor stretch.
Don’t Ignore Low Back Pain
The earlier you get it checked out, the more quickly it can be fixed. Take the guesswork out of fixing your back pain. Let us take a look at it and determine what the cause of your back pain is. Click the link below to claim a FREE Discovery Visit!
Tight hip flexors can be annoying for lifters and runners. It can limit your ability to squat, run, or even walk. Everyone’s instinct when they feel tightness is to stretch the “tight” muscle, but what if that muscle is not the real problem?
What is “Tightness”?
I will have people tell me that their hamstrings feel tight, yet they can bend over and touch their toes. In most cases, it’s not that the muscle is short. Instead, the nervous system is increasing the “tone” of the muscle which creates the sensation of tightness. The same thing goes for the hip flexor muscles.
Are Your Hip Flexors Short?
The Thomas Test is a classic test for assessing hip flexor tightness. If you do this test and your thigh can touch the table with knee straight and knee bent, then you do NOT have shortened hip flexors.
Why Do Your Hip Flexors Really Feel “Tight”?
The psoas is one of the main hip flexors that is a common culprit of feeling tight. The poas has attachments to the spine and has been shown to be a contributor to spinal stability. When the core muscles are weak, then the body searches for somewhere else to gain stability. So it calls upon the psoas and reflexively tightens it to support the spine.
How to Remedy Tight Hip Flexors
So instead of stretching the hip flexors constantly, work on improving core stability. No, this does not mean do more crunches. Exercises that require you to round your back are fine, but they do nothing in terms of stability. Work on stabilizing in all planes of motion (flexion/extension, lateral bending, and rotation). The McGill Big 3 is a good place to start. The three exercises are the curl up, side plank, and bird dog. Here is a good video explaining them!
Are hip issues preventing you from participating in your favorite sports and activities? Click the link below to request a FREE Discovery Visit! We will get to the bottom of what is causing your pain or tightness and let you know how we will help you fix it.
So you have been dealing with a nagging pain. You decide that you should just take a couple weeks off from running or working out and let it heal. Maybe even your physician prescribed the rest. While proper rest and recovery is important, it is likely not the solution to your problem.
People often get stuck in this rest/injury cycle. Where they get hurt, rest, come back, get hurt, rest, come back, etc. Spinning their wheels and stalling their progress.
It’s not that rest is inherently bad. Resting will help the irritated tissues heal and reduce the pain and symptoms. This is seen as the solution to the problem. “I feel better, so everything must be good, right?” Not really.
Ask yourself this, why did you get hurt in the first place? There are a lot of factors that could answer this question. This could be poor nutrition, poor sleep, and even improper rest time. If any of these are not addressed properly, then our recovery could be sub-optimal and lead to overuse injuries. But the main factor I want to focus on is finding the root cause of the problem.
If you are a runner with foot pain, is the foot the real cause of the problem? Probably not. We would look further up the chain. Some things we would asses are:
If all you do to heal an injury is rest, the root cause never gets addressed. As soon as you jump back into training, the cycle of pain and injury begins again.
Don’t get stuck spinning your wheels when you have goals that you want to achieve, group runs to participate in, or need that stress relief after work. Break the cycle by giving us a call at (607) 425-3369 or clicking the link below to request a Free Discovery Visit!
What is a Discovery Visit? It is a free 20 minute visit with a sports injury specialist where we sit down and talk about what you have been struggling with. At the end of the visit we let you know exactly what is going on and how we can help you fix it. If that sounds like something you would be interested in, then click the link below to quest one of these limited sessions!
The gym is a place to get stronger and better yourself. Lifting weights is actually very safe contrary to what some people may say. While it does carry a lower risk of injury than most sports, there is still some risk involved. But if you avoid making these 5 mistakes, you can mitigate the risk of injury even more!
1. Skipping a Warm Up
A proper warm up will accomplish a few things: loosen up the joints and muscles, get the heart rate up, and prepare the nervous system for whatever movements you will perform for the day.
Your warm up does not need to be 30 minutes, but it should be around 10 minutes of a few specific movements. Choose from some mobility work, stability exercises, and a few lower sets of whatever your first movement is.
A good example of why you should warm up is if you plan to squat and immediately get under the bar with limited hip rotation, then your knees will not be able to get in a good alignment. This could not only put extra stress on certain muscles or joints. It will also make the lift harder and limit your potential to build muscle or strength.
2. Improper Footwear
In general, we do not want to wear running shoes to lift weights because a lot of them are built to cushion impact. When doing exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts it is important to have a stable foot. Shoes with a flatter base and minimal cushioning are better (converse, vans, etc).
Runners can obviously wear running shoes. Crossfitters may want to look into cross training shoes that have a blend of stability and cushioning.
Making sure that your shoes fit properly is also important. This will prevent blisters and allow you to maintain proper function of the foot. Your local running store or shoe store should be able to help you get the best shoe and fit for you.
3. No Pain, No Gain Mentality
Pain is a signal from our body that we need to slow down. Doing too much is one of the biggest factors in overuse injuries sustained when working out. Not taking days off will also be a detriment to your progress because it will result in a buildup of fatigue and decreased performance.
Take active rest days where you do some kind of activity, but not your normal workout. Hiking, biking, swimming, or yoga are all good options.
4. Not Ramping Up
Ramping up the intensity and volume of your training properly is what will help your body adapt and get stronger. Doing too much, too quickly will not allow your muscles to adapt fast enough. This, again, can lead to overuse issues.
A good rule of thumb is to slowly increase one factor (i.e. sets, reps, time) at a time by 10-20% a week. When running, you will want to shoot for the lower end for increasing mileage.
5. Ignoring an Injury
Do not ignore an injury because it will likely only get worse if you keep pushing through it. Making the recovery process much longer than if you were to just take care of it right away.
With that being said, staying active is important. When working with us we always give options for our clients to exercise around the pain without aggravating it.
There you have it, 5 common mistakes that people make in the gym and some tips to fix them. If you are dealing with an injury that is preventing you from making progress, then give us a call at (607) 425-3369 or click the link below to request a Free Discovery Visit. At this visit we will sit down and talk about how long you have been struggling, what does/doesn’t help, and lay out a plan to fix it!