Tag Archives: muscles

Oct. 02.

The Mobility Issue

The Mobility Issue

Increasing the mobility of the kenetic chain to get the most out of your squats.

Mobility is usually an issue for beginner lifters or those who sit majority of the day . The initial assessment done by a fitness professional should cover all mobility issues with muscles and what tendons and joints therefore are being affected. Most individuals don’t realize there is an issue until too late and injury occurs.

What & why is it important?

-For proper muscle contraction and eccentric contraction. Muscles work in antagonistic partnership, therefore when one contracts the other will relax; a simple example is the bicep and tricep. In a mobility assessment I would quickly be able to assess that you would not be able to safely complete a tricep extension if your bicep does not have the flexibility to fully extend in an eccentric contraction; therefore not allowing the tricep to fully contract. Mobility is a partnership between muscles and joints to attain the full range of motion in a movement.

Mobility and the Squat

Almost everyone that starts exercising incorporates squats, yet aren’t getting the most out of it. During the squat movement it is easy to tell where an individual lacks mobility because form and center of gravity are compromised.

The perfect squat form.

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Mobility issues in 4 main areas:

Ankles- Ankles should be able to dorsiflex in a squat position.  Many people start working out by doing cardio which tightens the calves and anterior tibialis, then if you sit all day the muscles and tendons don’t allow the ankle to fully flex therefore also tightening the joint. Some will never get full flexion but mobility exercises with the ankle do help and allow you to fully get low in a squatting position.

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Angle of ankles in a dorsiflex position with feet not at an angle.

Thoracic spine- In a previous blog spinal flexibility was discussed. If your thoracic spine is not flexible in the extension, center of gravity is compromised therefore the weight will not stay loaded on the quads through the movement. You will almost always notice lower back pain following squatting if you have little to no flexibility in the thoracic spine (this though may not be the only reason for back pain following lifts.)

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One of many exercises to increase thoracic mobility.

Hips –One indicator to noticing that your hips are tight is lack of gluten activation. Your hips are your body’s center and any issue related to your hips affects the body’s whole kinetic chain. Those individuals with desk jobs, I recommend you stretch regularly for hip mobility issues are often seen with those who sit all day. Three muscles that tighten while you sit: quadratus lumborum, mediums gluteus and the piriformis. If hip flexors are tight, hips will be seen to have an anterior pelvic tilt causing you to have an excessive forward lean in the squatting position.

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quadratus lumborum stretch

Knees- Knee mobility can be helped through working on short and long abductor flexibility as well as making sure tendons around the patella are not tight. Knees in a squat should not go far forward past ankles.

Besides the exercises shown there are many others to help correct mobility issues in these areas.

 A body in motion staying in motion.

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Feb. 13.

Importance of the Deadlift

 

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The deadlift is often a client’s most dreaded exercise in the beginning; as time progresses and the deadlift is performed again and again it soon becomes a favorite exercise.

Why is the deadlift important?

1. The exercise uses so many muscles! What better way to show total body strength? And why most clients dislike the exercise in the beginning, until strength is built this exercise is a killer!

Though the deadlift works the whole body the muscles strengthened the most by the deadlift would be your back, the posterior chain and glutes. Lower body muscles are used as well but the importance of upper body strength and how to engage them is a must for this movement. Take a look at the diagram below of muscles at work.

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2. Unlike the squat the deadlift causes you to move the weight concentrically from rep one. A squat is eccentric, meaning the first rep is lowering the weight not causing legs to contract. Therefore moving a weight from a dead stop is the best way to increase your rate of force development.

3. The deadlift is functional and can help the body better through daily tasks;  unlike selectorized  machines.

4. It is a movement that is executed properly can correct for many muscle imbalances and weaknesses.

5. Helps gain size, strength and speed! How speed? Try to sprint or jump without glutes or hamstrings!

6. Deadlifts burn a ton of calories! It a compound movement, meaning uses multiple joints and muscles attached to those joints; forcing more energy to be used.

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Teaching Rosa how to deadlift

 

“Some people whine, quit and make excuses. And some deadlift.”

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