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Improving Flexibility

3 Reasons Why You Haven’t Improved Your Flexibility

Ok so you’ve set yourself a task of improving your flexibility, great!

Improving Flexibility

Maybe you have been trying for a while to no avail or maybe you are planning on starting. Either way you should keep reading as we delve into 3 reasons why you might not be getting the flexibility improvements you are seeking.

1)      You aren’t using load

Yep, read that again. There is a principle called ‘SAID’ that is – specific adaptations to imposed demands. This principle basically says if the stimulus is adequate, we will change, adapt so our body can handle the stress.

That’s were load can come in handy, resistance training is actually a very effective way to improve your flexibility!

By adding load, we can elongate or stretch our tissues under load. Having an extra 10, 20, 100kg whatever the stimulus can lead to some pretty nifty changes in our tissues as they must adapt. The catch is to actually improve your range of motion (ROM) in a joint or tissue you require full range of motion. Sorry to the people reading who love using partial reps.

2)      You’re relying on static stretches

Static stretching is outdated. Please stop placing all your efforts in this as a means to improve your flexibility hence forth. This isn’t to say static stretching is completely useless, you may use this as a cool down or you may simply just enjoy the feeling but don’t view this and get disappointed when you haven’t changed your range of motion.

Instead, a better approach is to focus on the bone structures and your breath. I go into this in detail HERE.

The gist of it is, that our bones drive our ability to move. If you’re hips are tilted placing you at a specific orientation let’s, say a posterior pelvic tilt. To visualise this image a bowl of water where your hips are and you are spilling water out of the back of the bowl – that is a posterior pelvic tilt. If you are stuck in this predisposition and can’t access the opposite (spilling water out of the front of the bowl or an Anterior Pelvic Tilt) than you are missing a crucial part of hip motion. It would be no surprise that you would be restricted or lacking flexibility around the muscles of your hips.

Focus on learning how to move your body both in isolation and together and watch your flexibility improve!

 

3)      You’re neglecting your lifestyle

Lifestyle changes should be integral to any endeavour to improve your flexibility. Lifestyle may include your sleep habits, what you do majority of the time e.g. you sit 8 hours a day for work or maybe you stand a certain way, place sports that require specific actions and stress levels. This isn’t an exhaustive list but your lifestyle can be a major part of your day, if you don’t acknowledge and take steps to alter or change it, chances are it will be an uphill battle to make meaningful change in your flexibility.

 

Have you found this helpful? Share it along!

Have a specific question?

Reach us at moverightep@gmail.com

Should you be performing weights or cardio for exercise?

cardio or weights

Should you perform weights or cardio as an exercise modality?

An age old question that can leave many of us scratching our heads as to where to start, how much and why we might even perform these tasks to start with.

Let me help out.

First we must understand the benefits of each form of training because they can differ vastly!

Cardiovascular exercise:

Cardiovascular exercise generally relies on your aerobic system, that is you require air, breathing regularly to complete the activities!

Cardio exercises are rhythmical, that involve keeping a elevated heart rate for an extended period of time!

Common examples of cardio-based exercises involve going for a walk, running / sprinting, bike riding, swimming.

While each movement has a specific substrate of benefits that come with it, overall there are some key benefits involved with cardiovascular exercise.

These benefits include:

  • Improving your VO2 Max – this is a measure of how your heart pumps blood through your body to the cells – the higher = the better your fitness is!
  • Improving mitochondrial abilities of your cell – these are energy producing cells within the body
  • Improves overall efficiency of your cardiovascular system e.g. lower resting heart rate, cholesterol, blood pressure

Weight / Resistance Exercise:

On the other side of the coin we have weighted or resistance based exercise.

These movements still involve the aerobic system but also rely on our anaerobic system (quick energy producing system).

Typical weighted exercises may involve lifting weights for a desired repetition range such as 10 repetitions before stopping and resting and then recommencing.

This style of training generally relies on external forces to place your body under stress! These forces may include weights and gravity.

Overall through regularly engaging with resistance based exercise you can expect to see some of the following benefits:

  • Increasing skeletal muscle mass
  • Improving bone density – great for preventing osteopenia / osteoporosis
  • Developing tendon health and longevity – this can prevent pain and improve movement quality
  • Improve nervous system efficiency leading to gains such as higher strength – enabling you to push, pull and carry objects easier!
  • Can prevent injuries through improving the coordination of your musculoskeletal system, the adaptability and strength overall.

Want more knowledge around the benefits? Check out my blog HERE. Alternatively feel free to reach out directly to me! –  moverightep@gmail.com

Now that we have a backstory behind the benefits, the question remains which is for you?

First and foremost, have a clear understanding of your goal. This will dictate how much of each you will perform.

The truth is you require both for healthy living. Your goal might be more specific than that though, perhaps you wish to participate in a body building competition – here I would implore you to utilise both, but heavily focus on the strengthening / weighted aspects of training. Marathon runner? Again utilise both methods but shift your attention towards the cardiovascular components of training.

Life requires balance.

  1. Start with a goal – I have shown you how through a blog linked HERE.

2. Check out the current physical activity guidelines HERE. This will point you in the right direction for how much you require.

3. Start working towards your goal! Develop your plan whilst setting goals and aim for high adherence over a long period of time. This will lead you to success in your goal!

I must mention my bias is primarily towards weights, throughout my life I have engaged extensively with both forms of training and my personal preference is with weights. This however does not impact my statement that we require both!

 

Let’s get your exercise mojo back post Covid!

I get it, you’ve lost your exercise mojo! Covid has been hard for many and having the gym’s closed hasn’t help you and your training post Covid!

Some of you may have still been active, great job!

For those that haven’t been active it may be time to start mapping out an attack plan for returning to an active lifestyle!

So where do we start?

Moving forward I’ve listed some tips and considerations to include that will help you build a plan!

  • Set a goal! If you want to get into the nitty, gritty about goal setting check out our blog HERE.

Having a goal will give us direction, set your intentions and track so you know how you’re travelling in meeting your goal!

  • Build slow – if you’ve had some time off chances are you’ll have lost some strength, technique efficiency and more. Take the time to build back up to it! If you could run a marathon and haven’t run in months, try starting by getting some small runs under your belt, if you used to train 6 days per week, start with 3-4 and look to add sessions over time.
  • Follow a routine! Having a routine builds habits, these habits transfer into your actions and from there we see change! For many of us throughout Covid it would have consisted of sitting down, eating snacks, watching Netflix, occasional work? Repeat and that is our life. Take the time to assess your current routine and how you can change it to enhance your health!
  • Prioritise yourself It’s time to reclaim your health, not just for you but for those around you! Engaging in regular exercise has a host of benefits, don’t believe me? I’ve written a blog on this too, click HERE! These benefits range far and wide and can allow you to be the best version of yourself.
  • Don’t over commit! For some of us we are so eager to get back into a healthy lifestyle that it can become unhealthy! Don’t lose momentum by going 100 kilometres an hour, setting yourself a target of completing 7 sessions, twice a day isn’t viable if you can only commit to three sessions per week.

 

Now that we have some key considerations thought about it’s time to formulate this into action!

  • How many days do you have available?
  • What’s times in the day can you train or move?
  • What are you aiming to achieve and when does this need to be achieved?

This is the building blocks of your plan. The next stage is developing an exercise regime that matches the above factors!

If you have three days or less available – try looking for a mixed program

If you have more days – try splitting up into an upper and lower program

If you want a specific program for you and your goals – we can help!

Find out more ways a coach can help you HERE.

 

 

 

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You can still train when injured!

You may be asking yourself, why have I put up a photo of my legs and what does this have to do with being injured?

Well let me give you some back story about me!

Have you ever heard of the good ol’ ACL?

The ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament, one the key roles of this ligament is to prevent your shin (tibia) from moving forward past the thigh bone (femur) as well as providing over all stability.

Even though it’s so important for healthy knee functioning, it is actually an extremely common area to injure!

Just in the United States there is between 100 and 200,000 ACL ruptures per year!

I’m one of those statistics! I have ruptured my ACL once which was repaired using a strand of my hamstring and then I re-ruptured the graft which resulted in two knee reconstructions before I was 20 (thanks soccer).

The average recovery time after going through a decent rehab period is around 12 months.

Was this 12 month hard physically? You betcha!

Did I doubt myself over and over about restoring my knee? Tick

Was I ever able to train like I did prior to my injury? Yep! In fact, I even exceeded my pre-injury state!

What I want you to understand from this is that injuries can be debilitating, some more than others, in majority of cases we can still function at a high level after injury!

Given my time as an Exercise Physiologist I have seen a host of injuries – traumatic brain and spine injuries from car accidents, ligament and tendon ruptures, impingements, chronic pain, you name it!

Our injuries do not have to be the end. We can still regain a high level of functioning and achieve meaningful goals to us!

Am I saying it’s easy? No, I have seen injuries that occurred years prior and are still healing and trying to regain what they once had.

This is hard physically, mentally and emotionally, you will days when you feel amazing and some where you think you aren’t making any progress. This is part of the injury healing process; it is not linear it’s more akin to a rollercoaster!

So how can we keep you moving whilst injured?

  1. Choose appropriate exercises
  • This may look like biasing certain areas of your body, if you have injured your legs, you may utilise more upper body movements!
  • You can use fixed position exercises such as machines or closed chain movements that don’t require you moving the injured site too much
  1. Modify your range of motion!
  • We can change the intensity of the exercise by changing how far you move!
  • This may look like utilising a box squat instead of a full depth squat
  • Using incline push ups instead of push ups
  1. Use different types of contractions!
  • We have three – 1 shortens (concentric), 1 lengthens (eccentric) and 1 stays the same (isometric)
  • With our isometrics these are generally great for injuries as they tick a lot of the above box’s – They don’t require you too move through much range of motion and they also have an analgesic or pain-relieving effect on the injury site.
  1. Train the Unaffected Limb
  • Let’s say you injure your left arm, does that mean you have to stop training your right arm? No!
  • In fact, training the uninjured limb actually still helps you gain strength through the injured side! Sounds strange, doesn’t it? This occurs through your neuromuscular system, by repeating actions we become more efficient at utilising our nerves which stimulate the muscle and this leads to a cross over so you can maintain some gains in the injured limb!

What injuries have you gone through or are you currently suffering with?

I’d love to hear your story!

Move Right. Live Right.

Move Right EP

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