Tuesday, June 30, 2020

OpEd: Does Your Doctor Even Lift Bro??

Image may contain: text that says 'If your doctor ONLY gives you pain meds & tells you to rest... rest If your physical therapist ONLY performs soft tissue work or electrical stimulation... If your chiropractor ONLY adjusts your spine... You're seeing the wrong person! SQUAT UNIVERSITY' 
What’s your experience with dealing with doctors/PTs/chiros who treat like this?
I’m not here to call in to question pain medication, or passive treatments (like soft tissue work or electrical stimulation or even joint manipulation) ... but I am here to challenge the use of those as the ONLY treatment in dealing with an injury. The medical system today is largely broken because we so heavily rely on what professionals do or give to those dealing with injuries. This creates a dependency on those treatments and doesn’t empower the injured person to take control and actively participate in the rehab process.
Too many doctors ONLY prescribe pain meds & tell you to take time off. Too many physical therapists, physios & chiropractors rely on passive treatments instead of taking a step back & treating the person in front of them and how they move! Are there good professionals in all of these fields? YES & I applaud those who are taking a stand to change things but I think we can all agree we have more work to do!🙌🏼
Now this is also a two way street because as athletes, WE need to quit searching out the quick fix.Sometimes the right approach is a longer process. BUT with the right team in place & the right approach that does not rely ONLY on passive treatments we can hope to find lasting results that keep you lifting and participating in whatever fitness aspirations you have for life.🏋🏼‍♀️

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Safety Squat Bar Review: How it can Help Reduce Injury and Crush PRs

The Safety Squat Bar is one of our favorite specialty bars to use.  This bar is easy on the shoulders, which is especially helpful for powerlifters and those with a limited range of motion. That said, the SSB pretty much decimates every other part of the body.

Often times when people see the name "Safety" Squat Bar, they think the bar is easier to use. That, however, couldn't be further from the truth. So, just so I can put this idea to rest, the Safety Squat Bar is NOT easier than a traditional barbell squat. It's just different, and in some ways, much more difficult.

One of the details of the Safety Squat Bar that makes it quite a bit different from a standard barbell is the camber.

13 Reasons to/NOT to Buy Titan Safety Squat Bar V2 | Garage Gym Built
With a normal barbell, since it is straight (or at least should be,) the weight is directed along the path of where the bar is on your back. With an SSB, the weight is directed wherever the sleeves are in relation to the ground.

The majority of time, what the SSB is trying to do is dump you forward. This forces you to fight by keeping tighter and staying more upright. The people most affected by the SSB are low-bar squatters and it can take them some time to get used to the bar.   The primary benefit from this perspective is that it significantly decreases stress on the upper extremities, particularly the shoulders, elbows, and wrists.

The way the bar is designed, there is a padded section that sits around your neck with two handles extending over each shoulder. This allows you to easily hold the handles directly out in front of your body. There is no need to externally rotate the shoulders, which is something many people have issues with on a traditional straight bar. The length of the handles depends on the bar you purchase and on personal preference.

So if you have shoulder or elbow pain while back squatting with a straight bar, or if you have wrist pain when front squatting, this bar will help you tremendously.

BUT, it's not just the upper extremities that it helps. When squatting with the safety squat bar, your spine position will actually be more vertical. It looks more like a front squat or a high-bar back squat. This positioning minimizes shear forces on the lower back and also allows for improved range of motion through the hips, knees, and ankles.

One thing that is an improvement on the Titan SSB V2 over what other SSB offers is that the sleeves are an Olympic Sleeve, meaning they take standard collars instead of having to use axle collars. This means calibrated plates fit well on the bar without too much play as well. Honestly, all bars should use the standard Olympic sleeve size and companies are starting to adopt this.

13 Reasons to/NOT to Buy Titan Safety Squat Bar V2 | Garage Gym BuiltThe Titan Fitness SSB v2 pad is just right. It's made of a very dense foam that actually looks like really thick carpet padding. The covering has a great feel to it – it's grippy, yet supple. The stitching on the pad is very well done, adding to the high quality look and feel. The velcro used to secure the covering is really strong and it doesn't peel in any direction.

As you use this bar and become stronger, your ability to stay upright under a straight bar is going to be improved. Similarly, you're probably going to be able to hit depth easier with a safety squat bar because it does promote a more ‘sit down, not back' movement. This can also translate well to your straight-bar technique, as you should have a greater range of motion

The biggest and possibly only drawback of this bar is the finish, which is known to flake after sliding plates on and off the sleeves for an extended amount of time. This completely cosmetic issue has no bearing whatsoever on performance. To be fair, specialty bars in general leave something to be desired when it comes to sleeve finishes. Most of them are powder coated, which will also chip and flake, so it’s hard to knock Titan Fitness too hard on this. Still, it’s something to consider if you’re a stickler about such things.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Physical Therapy: The Key to Overcoming Hip and Knee Pain

Do your weight-bearing joints feel more like pain-bearing joints these days? If you have a hip or knee that just can’t support your body weight without causing annoying aches or agonizing pains, you may be unable to perform your job, play sports, handle household tasks, or even find a comfortable sitting or sleeping position. These limitations and frustrations might have you gulping down painkiller or considering joint replacement surgery. Fortunately, many causes of hip and knee pain respond quite well to physical therapy — the natural approach to pain management.

Why Your Hip or Knee Hurts

Your hips and knees do a lot of work over the course of a lifetime. These joints must withstand the majority of your body weight — not just when you’re standing still, but also as you walk, run, climb or jump. It’s not surprising, then, that a variety of ailments and injuries can plague the knee and hip joints. Your pain and stiffness may be caused by:
  • Osteoarthritis – Osteoarthritis is a degeneration of the cartilage that normally keeps the bone ends in a joint from rubbing together. The resulting friction causes chronic pain and inflammation.
  • Bursitis – Both the hips and knees have fluid-filled sacs called bursae that prevent friction between bones and soft tissues. Unfortunately, these sacs can become inflamed from overuse, a painful condition called bursitis.
  • Strains, sprains and ruptures – The knee and hip joints can move thanks to muscles, tendons and ligaments. Repetitive motion or acute injuries can cause a strain (damage to muscles or tendons) or a sprain (hyperextension of a ligament). Athletes are vulnerable to ruptures of the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament).
  • “Runner’s knee” – An unstable kneecap can lead to chronic knee pain. This condition is known as patellofemoral syndrome or “runner’s knee.”
Various health or lifestyle challenges can worsen a case of hip or knee pain. Carrying extra weight is a prime example. A musculoskeletal misalignment or postural imbalance can place unnatural stress on a hip or knee. Lack of exercise can allow the muscles to weaken, setting the stage for chronic strain and joint instability.

Banishing Pain and Optimizing Function through Physical Therapy Techniques

Getting relief from knee or hip pain doesn’t necessarily involve the use of heavy drugs such as opiates or procedures such as joint replacement surgery. Physical therapy can improve your joint function while also easing your pain and stiffness. Our physical therapist can prescribe exercises aimed at addressing your specific condition, such as:
  • Knee lifts
  • Hip rotations
  • Heel-to-buttock-exercises
  • Mini-squats
  • Hip flexion, extension or abductor exercises
  • Leg lifts
  • Hamstring curls
  • Step exercises
Even an activity as simple as walking to help preserve mobility and reduce pain in arthritic knees or hips. Our physical therapist may also recommend that you receive heat/ice therapy, ultrasound therapy, massage therapy, laser therapy, or orthotic footwear to help normalize your musculoskeletal balance.

Get a Leg Up on Your Pain Relief — Contact A Physical Therapist Today

The sooner you seek physical therapy for knee or hip pain, the better. Research shows that patients who rehab their hip or knee pain with physical therapy within 15 days of symptom onset have less need for pain injections, medications or surgical intervention. But whatever stage of pain you’re in, it’s never too late to benefit from physical therapy.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Product Review: PerformaSleep Mattress

If you're looking for a soft, pillow-like sleeping experience, this isn't for you. But if you're looking for a mattress that offers good support and is still extremely comfortable, this is a fantastic option.

I am a male athlete with a more dense body than the average person- meaning high muscle to body fat percentage. What made me decide on the PerformaSleep brand was the fact that it is targeted to an athlete's recovery.  The first few nights took some getting used to as my coil mattress was very old and out of shape. A few weeks later, I am very pleased and getting great rest. I definitely notice a difference in less stiffness each morning, deeper sleep, and just overall more comfort lying in bed.
The PerformaSleep™ Mattress | PerformaSleep
What makes this mattress different? The PerformaSleep™ mattress was specifically designed for people with an active lifestyle that need to recover fast. The CopperCool™ Technology infused into the top layer of the mattress help dissipate excess body heat, give a variable support, and eliminate any moisture. The PerformaSleep Enersorb™ material also gives you that bounce you need to help you move freely throughout the bed and not feel like you are stuck in a hole as with traditional memory foam mattresses.

The bed is firm, but not too firm, and just soft enough to where I don't feel like I'm laying ON TOP of the bed, but rather slightly enveloped. The foam does not make huge indentions, which is nice because you don't sink in. It will be interesting to see the life of the bed and if it is worth the investment. The way it shapes around you is subtle, but I woke up this morning having slept better than I have in YEARS.

The cover of the PerformaSleep  mattress has a nice soft feel and also provides breathability.  This king mattress does a very good job at not sleeping hot due to the gel foam construction they utilize to help minimize heat retention and didn’t make us feel sticky or sweaty, which is often a problem for us as a couple with some traditional foam mattresses. Much better than most that we have tried by far.

This mattress provides good pressure relief as you sink in quickly to the top layer. If motion transfer is an issue this mattress handles that well. The motion transfer on this mattress is wonderful. I could not feel my spouse move around at night and nor could she feel my movements. It was like we had our own separate beds to ourselves.

One important thing to note is that this is an 11″ mattress whereas most competitors are only 9″ or 10″ mattresses. To me, this makes the bed feel more substantial – and my sheets fit on it better than most beds

Order yours HERE: https://www.performasleep.com/

In Conclusion:
I love this mattress. It really does have a great feel. Firm and supportive but soft and cloud like at the same time. And I do feel better when I wake up after a deep sleep with many fewer aches than my old mattress so there may be something to the athlete/recovery claim. If you are having a hard time making a choice, feel reassured that the PerformaSleep is awesome!

Additional Testimonial From Taylor J.
"I am a night shift nurse who enjoys the high intensity training of crossfit. Being able to sleep is an important aspect for body recovery, especially after a difficult 12hr shift. Previously I had been sleeping on a traditional mattress. When I would go to bed my aching muscles and joints would keep my tossing and turning all night or day. After receiving my PerformaSleep mattress I have noticed a dramatic change in the quality of my sleep. The 4 different layers allow my body to be cushioned and supported simultaneously. Some tradition foam mattresses sink half your body down into them and loose their elasticity over time creating large body indents in the mattress. But the PerformaSleep mattress foam layers hold the body in a relaxing manner without the sinking effect of other foam mattresses. Compared to other foam mattress that tend to trap heat the PerformaSleep allows heat to dissipate, keeping the body at a more conducive temperature for sleeping. Needless to say I have been sleeping deeper and much more peacefully"

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Improve Your Overall Health with These 5 Stretching Benefits

Some people think that stretching is an unnecessary part of exercising. The truth is that stretching is a necessary component of exercise. According to physical therapists, stretching is an important part of one’s daily routine, whether you’re exercising or not.

The 5 Benefits of Stretching

  1. Stretching specific exercises prior to exercising helps the muscles to achieve maximum range of motion. It also helps strengthen the muscles. That is why during physical therapy stretching is a main focus.
  2. Stretching helps reduce muscle tension. It’s a therapeutic treatment by a physical therapist. You’ll feel the rewards of stretching during your daily routine, walking or lifting.
  3. Stretching enhances joint range of motion. It enables the body part to move easier. For more dynamic movement, stretching increases muscular coordination. Some physical therapy sessions focus on a muscle group instead of just one muscle for stretching.
  4. Another benefit of stretching is increased blood circulation. Muscles require sufficient oxygen and nutrients in order to perform well. Stretching ramps up blood flow and transports oxygen and nutrients.
  5. Lastly, a benefit of stretching is heightened energy levels. The increased circulation increases energy levels. Learning to stretch properly will lead you to a more active lifestyle. “According to results of a new systematic review, moderate-grade evidence seems to support strengthening and stretching exercises to help ease chronic neck pain.”

Types of Stretching Exercises in Physical Therapy

Stretching involves stretching connective tissue, a muscle or a tendon. The goal of stretching is to improve range of motion, flexibility and muscle elasticity. The five most common stretching exercises are:
  • Ballistic
  • Dynamic
  • Static
  • Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)
  • Low Load
Ballistic stretch physical therapy is a rapid bouncing motion to stretch a muscle. Dynamic stretching by a physical therapist entails stretching with motion at different speeds and distances. These movements are performed in a controlled and slow manner. Examples include torso swings, arms swings and leg swings. Static stretch physical therapy involved stretching the muscle and holding it for a few seconds. PNF entails holding and controlling techniques to activate specific receptors in muscles. This technique improves muscle length and decreases muscle tension. The low load stretching technique is gradual application of tension to enhance connective tissue remodeling.
A physical therapist will determine the best stretching exercises for your affected area and implement them into your treatment plan. They will also give you home exercises. These stretching exercises may include groin stretches, quadriceps stretches, knee stretches, calf stretches and more. They will also show you how do easy stretches with a towel at home. Knee stretches are very common in all age groups. That’s because knee injuries are common due to overuse or athletic injuries. Activities like running and biking can result in tight quadriceps muscles. Keep in mind that tight muscles can predispose you to injury. If so, quadriceps stretches will be implemented into a treatment plan.