Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Top 5 Kettlebell Movements - Part 1


While getting depth in the squat is important to to involve the glutes and hamstrings (as opposed to using the quads only), the spine should stay neutral throughout the movement. Try not to let your butt tuck under in the bottom position; if it does, you are likely going lower than your range of motion allows and your lower back will take some of the load. Mobilizing the hips and hamstrings prior to squatting can improve depth and activation of the posterior chain.

The Goblet Squat can be utilized to build strength by completing sets of 3-5 reps; Kettlebell Kings bells go up to 203 lbs, so there is a bell weight to challenge almost anyone’s strength! The Goblet Squat can also increase strength endurance and metabolic conditioning; simply use a repetition range of 8-20 with a lighter weight. A fun variation to try is the Goblet Squat Curl, which requires holding the bottom position while doing a bicep curl - guaranteed to cause extra muscle pump!

1.      Stand with feet about hip width apart. Bring the kettlebell into the goblet position, grabbing hold of the handle on other side.
2.      Squat down while keeping the chest up and weight in the heels. An easy way to determine proper depth is to bring the elbows to the inside of the knees. The spine should stay neutral.
3.      Drive into the ground as to come back up to standing position, contracting the glutes and fully extending the hips.

The Turkish Get Up (TGU) is a total body movement that builds shoulder stability and core strength. Since there are many parts to the movement, be sure to practice the sequence with bodyweight initially. Ensure proper and smooth execution of the entire movement before adding a kettlebell. You should have control over each part of the movement; if someone yelled “freeze!” at any point, you would be able to stop and maintain stability of the kettlebell.

The TGU is best practiced in sets of 1-5 repetitions. There is a lot of focus required, so doing a lower rep count will ensure better quality movement. Build up your volume slowly by increasing the number of sets. I recommend being able to do at least 3-5 perfect repetitions with the weight you are using before moving up in weight. A perfect repetition means there is no wobbling of the kettlebell and you have complete control of each portion of the movement (including the return to the floor).  

The TGU can be practiced in parts as well. Typically the most challenging part of the movement is the Turkish Sit Up (also known as the Half Get Up), which is the initial portion of the movement where you come to an upright torso position with hips still on the floor, then slowly return to the floor. When training toward a heavy TGU, it’s helpful to work on the TSU with heavier weights than what you would use for the full TGU. Besides the TSU, other parts of the TGU to isolate would be the pass through of the leg from the TSU into the Kneeling Windmill, the Kneeling Windmill, and the Overhead Lunge.

1.      Start lying on your side in the fetal position. Insert your hand fully through the kettlebell handle.
2.      Roll onto your back, keeping both hands over the kettlebell handle and elbow tight to the body. Set the legs about 45 degrees apart, with the leg bent and foot flat on the side you are holding the kettlebell. The other leg should be straight.
3.      Press the kettlebell up until the arm is straight and the weight of the kettlebell is balanced over the shoulder. Remove the free arm and place it on the floor, palm down and about 45 degrees from the body.
4.      Use the elbow of the free arm and the foot of the bent leg to drive into the ground and bring yourself up onto your elbow, then up onto your hand.
5.      Lift the hips, then pass the straight leg underneath until the knee is under the hip. Keep your eyes on the kettlebell.
6.      Bring the torso up straight, then pivot the back leg so you are in a lunge position.
7.      Drive into the heel of the front leg to come up to a standing position.
8.      To reverse the movement, step back with the leg opposite to the side youre holding the kettlebell and come back into the bottom of the lunge position (knee resting on the floor).
9.      Pivot the back foot in, then slide the free arm down the thigh and onto the floor directly beneath the shoulder. Pass the back leg through the free arm and the front leg and set your hips down onto the floor.
10.  Lower down to the elbow. As you lower all the way down to the floor, feather the kettlebell across the body slightly to slow its descent.

The Bottoms Up Press (BU Press) is an upper body pushing exercise that encourages proper mechanics for the shoulder and activates the neuromuscular system. Due to how hard the handle must be gripped during this movement, muscles that wouldn’t contract on a regular press are suddenly brought to life, i.e. rotator cuff, core, glutes, lats.

Since the BU Press is much harder than a regular press, start with a light weight and let the body adapt before trying anything heavy. The BU Press can be utilized in a training program like any other upper body pushing exercise -- and may actually be better than other pushing exercises for anyone with shoulder pain. To build muscular endurance, train higher repetitions with lighter weight. To increase strength, train lower repetitions with heavier weight.

Before even attempting the BU Press, you should know how to fail out of the movement safely. If you fail before the kettlebell reaches shoulder level, you can simply use the free hand to prevent the bell from hitting you. If you lose control of the bell in the top position, simply let the bell fall and step in the opposite direction so the bell drops onto the floor. Another precursor to doing the BU Press is to have a solid and stable BU Clean. If you perform a poor BU Clean, the BU Press that follows will not go well! You should be able to stabilize the kettlebell in the BU rack position before attempting a press overhead.

1.      Start in a standing position with feet about hip width apart and a kettlebell in front of your feet.
2.      Hinge at the hips and grab onto the kettlebell handle, then hike the kettlebell back between the legs. Fully extend the hips and bring the kettlebell into the rack position, with bottom side up. Stabilize the bell here first; if you have a bad clean, re-clean the kettlebell before attempting the press.
3.      From the bottoms up rack position, inhale and engage the lats by pulling the shoulder down and away from the ear. Press the bell overhead as you exhale.
4.      Hold the bell in the top position for 1-2 seconds before slowly lowering the bell down with control, again engaging the lats by pulling the shoulder down.
5.      Once back in the rack position, prepare for the next repetition.


Friday, October 23, 2020

Product Review: Speed Hound - Compression Therapy

Product Details:

TURBOCHARGE YOUR RECOVERY WITH THE TOUCH OF A BUTTON

Accelerate your recovery and #crushtomorrow with the Speed Hound ProPerformance Recovery System. Provides on-demand, dynamic air pressure that massages your legs after an intense workout so you're fresher and ready to take on tomorrow. Note: Most men are size "long". Heights of 5'5" or taller should order size Long. 5'4" or below should order size Medium. Please read sizing carefully below before ordering.

Features:
  • More adjustable than other brands: Wide range of pressure settings (20mmHg - 250mmHg), On/off toggle for different parts of legs, Flush and Massage mode, Time settings of 10-30 minutes
  • Premium Quality: Attachments are made of high quality material that's durable, lightweight and easy to clean
  • Want to try? FULL REFUND & FREE returns within 45 days of purchase - If you're not happy, we don't want your money!
  • Peace of mind: We've got you covered in case anything comes up with the system!
Train like world-class Olympic, professional, and collegiate athletes by supercharging your recovery
with the Speed Hound recovery system! The system, which utilizes dynamic, sequential air compression, is based on important medical technology and principles proven to improve circulation, mobilize metabolites and other toxins like carbon dioxide from muscle tissue, flush out lactic acid, mitigate edema, reduce exercise-induced swelling, alleviate inflammation, and facilitate protein synthesis by increasing blood flow to muscles. In short, this speeds up your body's natural process of healing, allowing you to recovery quickly and consistently. The boots have other applications outside of sports medicine, including rehabilitation from injuries or surgery and treating lymphedema, poor circulation, tension, cramps, restless legs, varicose veins, sciatic nerve pain, and general venous insufficiencies.
My Review:
After much research and testing across several alternatives (including Normatec), I purchased the Speed Hound Recovery System. After 2 weeks of use, I am happy to report that it is the best recovery product I have EVER used.

Training for Spartan Races and Crossfit, my legs are constantly placed under significant training load. The Speed Hound System has allowed me to significant enhance (and shrink time required) for my recovery. The boots flush my legs of all lactate buildup and after 20 minutes (30 following really long workouts) my legs feel as though I could hop right back on my bike or pull on my running shoes.

Compared to other alternatives, I really appreciate the increased compression available with the Speed Hound System. In conjunction with a reasonable price point these boots are (in my opinion) the best option on the market.The  pressure range goes from 20 mmhg to 200 mmhg in 10 increments. (This is an increase of 20 mmhg at each level.)

If you are between sizes, go by your inseam. Some tall people have longer torsos and shorter legs in which case they would fit better in a shorter size. On the other hand, some shorter people have longer legs than torso in which case they would fit better in the longer size. When in doubt, we recommend people go with the size longer.

The boots are bladders covered in a stitched material. They have a zipper that runs down the middle of the boot with a second zipper for people with larger legs. I don't know who would use the larger size because they would have to have enormous legs though. The setup and use are very simple. It has 2 different modes, adjustable pressure and you can turn on/off different compartments. It comes with a nice travel case. Overall we've been very impressed with the quality.  We have 2 people that have been using them almost daily for 3 weeks so we can't comment on the long term durability.

Now for the normatec vs Speed Hound comparison. The quality of the two seems to be the exact same. I don't think that one is better than the other in that category. The Speed Hounds can go to a higher pressure than normatec. I doubt many people would be able to go to the highest pressure but it's available if you want it. Ease of use is the same also. A win for normatec is the size of the control. The Speed Hound puts the control on top of the pump box which is similar to the old model of normatec. The new normatecs have a smaller control that can be held in our hand while using the device but I'm not sure why you would need it. Once I started it I just let it do it's thing until it's done. The biggest difference was the price. Normatec retails for $500 - 1,000 more than Rapid Reboot. I wasn't even able to find a pair of used older model normatec's for cheaper than I was able get the Speed Hounds (obviously that could vary from what someone finds).

Overall I recommend the Speed Hound Recovery Boots System. They work really well and are cheaper than comparable options.  Finally, although not a buying consideration for many people, I also find the staff at Speed Hound to be extremely friendly, accommodating, and customer focused. As compared to being "just another number" like with other companies, I firmly believe my best interest is what matters to the team at Speed Hound.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Ready to Rid Yourself of Headaches? PT Can Help

 


Finally Find Relief for Your Persistent Headaches with Physical Therapy

If stress-related headaches are happening so frequently that they are impacting your daily life, it’s time to start thinking about physical therapy for relief. Stress-related headaches, also called tension headaches, are the most common type of headache that impacts people.

While they are not as serious as migraines, tension headaches are a sign that something in your body is “off.” A physical therapist can work with you to determine the cause and eliminate stress-related headaches for good.Ready to Rid Yourself of Headaches? PT Can Help

How can a physical therapist help with my headaches?

The ultimate goal of your physical therapy regimen will be to eliminate your stress-related headaches. However, in addition to relief, you will gain additional benefits that will likely improve your overall quality of life:

  • Improved posture. Bad posture is really one of the leading causes of stress-related headaches. If you don’t enjoy good posture throughout the day, it is likely to lead to more generalized aches and pains, as well as the muscle tension that contributes to stress-related headaches.
  • Neck tension relief. You will have better range of motion in your neck and reduced tension, thanks to manual physical therapy techniques applied to the muscles there.
  • Increased strength: Your therapist will teach you exercises to strengthen your neck and upper back, which will lead to improved posture. With better posture, you will be able to stand and sit longer without experiencing discomfort.

The many benefits of physical therapy

The treatment of your stress-related headaches will depend in part on the diagnosis. For example, one course of treatment that would work for correcting your posture and strengthening the neck muscles might not be appropriate if your headaches are the result of a past injury.

In general, you can expect stretching and strength training to be part of your treatment. Other options that your physical therapist might employ can include:

  • McKenzie therapies
  • Cervical traction
  • Body mobilization
  • Hot and cold compressions
  • Soft tissue mobilization

Aside from your physical therapy sessions at the clinic, your therapist will also recommend exercises, stretches and lifestyle changes that you can make at home, which will all contribute to eliminating your headaches.

How else can PT help my headaches?

Our physical therapist can help you get to the bottom of your headache problem.

If your headache is cervinogenic in nature, we may need to work on your neck. For instance:

  • Our physical therapist can help you identify other migraine triggers and suggest strategies for avoiding them in your everyday life.
  • If your migraines are the result of a recent concussion, a carefully-administered course of physical therapy can actually help you recuperate from that concussion more quickly.
  • Corrective exercises and postural/ergonomic changes can help you steer clear of “text neck” and other occupational headache triggers.
  • Laser therapy and massage therapy can both relax tight neck tissues and speed recovery to injured muscles.
  • Chiropractic adjustment can correct skeletal misalignment issues that place your neck muscles under unnatural strain. These adjustments can also help to reduce cluster headache attacks.
  • Exercises that strengthen and loosen your neck muscles can help to ease the stresses that set off your headaches.

Diagnosing headaches with PT

Before your physical therapy treatments begin, your therapist will work with you to diagnose your headaches. You’ll need to discuss your medical history with the therapist. If you sustained an injury to your neck, back or jaw years ago, it could still be contributing to headaches to this day. The location where you experience pain, such as in the face, back of the neck or forehead, can also help to diagnose the source.

Your physical therapist will likely run you through some tests as part of the diagnosis phase. For example, your posture will be checked as you engage in several activities. The strength of your muscles and the range of motion in your neck and shoulders will be tested. Your therapist might do some manual therapy to see how mobile your neck joints are.

Once the cause of your stress-related headaches is determined, a customized course of physical therapy can be prescribed to treat them.

So, what’s causing my headaches?

One of the main causes of stress-related headaches is right there in the name: stress. The headache generally happens when the muscles in the neck or scalp become tense and contract.

Depression and anxiety are similar emotions to stress that can also lead to headaches. In addition, there may be a physical cause behind your stress-related headaches. An accident or injury to the neck or back can contribute to headaches. Poor posture and arthritis are two other potential causes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Finally, Relieve Those Aches in Your Back with Physical Therapy


Find the Answer to Your Back Pains Today!

Most Americans will suffer temporary back pain at some point in their lives. When back aches are not temporary, however, it becomes a major quality of life issue. The American Physical Therapy Association states that back pain is the most commonly experienced form of pain for Americans.

In fact, one in every four Americans has sustained some sort of back pain in the past three months. The good news is that you don’t have to live with back pain permanently.

Taking a proactive approach like working with a physical therapist can help you find back pain relief at long last. 

Finally Relieve Those Aches in Your Back with Physical Therapy

What can I expect with physical therapy for back pain?

Over the course of your work with a physical therapist, your progress will be monitored to ensure that you are recovering.

The goal is to eliminate the back pain so that you can live a normal life. A big part of working with a physical therapist is that you will learn strategies for movement and carrying out daily tasks in ways that will prevent the pain from recurring.

For example, your therapist will show you proper posture techniques while you are at home, at work or enjoying leisure activities.

You will also learn how to keep up a regular exercise regimen to keep your supportive muscles strong, which will prevent the back pain from coming back. If your weight is contributing to your back pain, you will learn nutritional advice in addition to exercise to control your weight and keep back pain at bay.

What do treatments look like?

Once your back pain has been diagnosed, a personalized course of physical therapy will be outlined for you. Treatments for back pain will vary based on the diagnosis, your age, weight, physical ability and other factors.

Your course of treatment may include any of the following:

  • Posture work to provide better support for your back
  • Electrical stimulation for pain relief
  • Manual therapy and spinal manipulation to improve joint mobility and relieve tissue pain
  • Stretching and strength building exercises
  • Ice or heat treatments for pain relief
  • Education on how to take better care of your back, such as proper methods of lifting, bending, sitting, and sleep positions

How will a physical therapist diagnose my back pain?

Your journey with a physical therapist will start with a discussion of your symptoms. Your therapist will also review your medical history for any past injuries or illnesses that could be contributing to your current pain. Your physical therapist will also conduct an exam to assess how you are able to move and function as a result of your back pain.

The diagnosis phase will also involve some tests to find symptoms of more serious conditions. If your physical therapist suspects that there is a serious health condition contributing to your back pain, you will likely be referred to a specialist for more testing. In most cases, this will not be necessary.

So, why am I experiencing back pain?

Did you know that the World Health Organization estimates that approximately 149 million workdays are lost due to back pain? It is a sensation that is all too common for millions of people.

60-70% of people across industrialized nations experience back pain, which can greatly hinder daily life and limit you from participating in certain tasks and activities that you enjoy. If left untreated, back pain can also progress into more serious health issues.

There are three main types of back pain:

  • Chronic Back Pain: If back pain lasts longer than three months without subsiding, it is classified as chronic.
  • Recurrent Back Pain: This occurs when acute back pain goes away for a while, but then comes back periodically.
  • Acute Back Pain: Acute back pain is the most common type. This is a temporary pain that goes away in less than three months.

Back pain is usually not serious and will resolve on its own. Recurring pain and chronic pain, however, can be a sign of a more serious health problem.

There is a broad range of potential physical conditions that could be causing your back pain, which include osteoporosis, degenerative disk disease, a herniated disk, fractures, or lumbar spinal stenosis.