Monday, November 16, 2020

Ready to Overcome Your Hip and Knee Pains? Give PT a Try


Move Comfortably Once Again with the Help of Physical Therapy

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 taking potentially risky painkillers 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.

How can physical therapy relieve my hip and knee pains?

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:

  • Step exercises
  • Hamstring curls
  • Leg lifts
  • Hip flexion, extension, or abductor exercises
  • Mini-squats
  • Heel-to-buttock-exercises
  • Hip rotations
  • Knee lifts

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.

knee painPhysical therapy can help you reduce your daily pains

You may get pain relief when you are at the physical therapist and going through treatment, but what about when you go home? A major goal of your physical therapist is to heal your injuries over the long term.

The various exercises and treatments they use with you will steadily improve your condition so that you experience less pain on a daily basis. As your body gets stronger and more mobile, you are likely to experience less pain in your hips and knees.

What’s causing my hip or knee pain?

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:

  • “Runner’s knee” – An unstable kneecap can lead to chronic knee pain. This condition is known as patellofemoral syndrome or “runner’s knee.”
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.

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 cause the muscles to weaken, setting the stage for chronic strain and joint instability.

Choosing physical therapy over drugs

If your doctor has prescribed you pain relievers it is best to follow the guidance of your doctor.

However, you are welcome to discuss physical therapy with your doctor as well.

If you find that your pain level has decreased through physical therapy, you can discuss reducing your pain reliever usage with your primary physician.



Monday, November 9, 2020

Product Review: XTERRA Fitness AIR650 AirBike Pro

Product Details:
The XTERRA Fitness Airbike Pro offers a tremendous range of workout solutions – the unlimited range of air resistance provides low resistance at slow speeds to high resistance at fast speeds. Simply put, it increases resistance the harder you work, so it’s great for everyone.
This modern take on a classic modality is one of the most popular full-body workouts available. The XTERRA Fitness Airbike Pro offers a tremendous range of workout solutions – the unlimited range of air resistance provides low resistance at slow speeds to high resistance at fast speeds. Simply put, it increases resistance the harder you work, so it’s great for everyone. Few other full body workouts are as low impact, easy to use, and burn so many calories in such a small compact design. Whether you are looking to rehab an injury, shake up your WOD (workout of the day), or cross-train for your next race, the XTERRA Fitness AIR650 Airbike Pro has you covered.
Features:
  • RESISTANCE: Smooth, unlimited air resistance provides low resistance at slow speeds and high resistance at fast speeds – user controlled and great for anything from rehab to high intensity interval training
  • DRIVE SYSTEM: Industrial grade chain drive system operates as a fixed gear (direct drive) and is extremely durable and reliable
  • CONSOLE: Performance monitor LCD display is easy to read with all your necessary information - RPM, Speed, Time, Distance, Calories, Watt, Interval Prompt, and Heart Rate. Chest strap transmitter (not included) is required for heart rate display to function.
  • PROGRAMS: Quick mode program buttons include Target Time, Target Distance, Target Calories, Target HR, Interval 20-10, Interval 10-20, and Interval Custom
  • SEAT: Performance designed seat enables maximum exercise mobility while still providing support and comfort
  • HANDLEBARS: Ergonomic handlebars are designed with multiple padded grip options and are built to take the most intense upper body workouts
  • PEDALS: Wide, low profile pedals are anti-skid with dual sided molded pegs for an excellent grip
  • FOOT PEGS: Large foot pegs are knurled for better grip, allows user to rest their feet during targeted upper-body workouts
  • ADJUSTABILITY: Seat is fully adjustable (up/down/forward/back) to provide users with a proper fit
  • FAN: 9 heavy duty steel fan blades are completely enclosed in a 27” wire steel fan housing – added benefit is the fan keeps you cool during workouts
  • FRAME: Heavy-duty steel frame is extremely stable and backed by our lifetime warranty
  • POWER: No external plug-in required, console uses 4 AA batteries (included)
  • STORAGE: Large transport wheels allow for easy transport to any room in the house
Product Review:
Finally, a heavy-duty exercise bike designed directly for the use of athletes to rehab patients and everyone in between. The Xterra Fitness AirBike Pro reinvents and retools nearly every component of the traditional fan bike, from the frame construction to the crank, pedals, monitor and more.
The great thing about the Xterra Fitness Air Bike is that it can work for a beginner, a rehabbing athlete, or a seasoned pro training at the highest levels of competition—no matter their sport, body type, or ambition. While fanbikes have existed for nearly half a century, modern advances in their design and function have made them increasingly in-demand among military personnel, pro and college sports teams, competitive cyclists and sprinters, and high performance athletes from the cross-training ranks. The key: you set your own pace. The resistance adapts to your own output, and the bike’s multiple, custom seat adjustments make for a more comfortable, customized ride.
This bike has become an essential part of my daily routine. I've actually been using fan bikes for almost two years at my local CrossFit gym and fell in love with it there. Now I have one of my own so I can use it when I want, which is just about every day.


There's nothing quite like it. Resistance increases the faster you pedal. There is no coasting. It's a workout from the first pedal to the last. And it's super simple. Some might be put off because of this. The monitor is an upgrade over the competition with all the the important information you need to monitor your work...time, calories, MPH, watts (watts are what you should be watching actually..it's the best indicator of how much work you're actually doing).

It also has several simple programs built in including interval training, distance, calories, and heart rate. I like the interval programs. Research shows interval training is the best for your overall well being. I've taken to doing the 10-20 (that's 10 seconds work hard and 20 seconds rest) in the morning. You go through it 8 times which is a total of 4 minutes. I burn about 50 calories in that 4 minutes and I really feel it when I'm done. If you do interval training right and push as hard as you can during the intervals, you will get to that "breathless" state where the magic happens.

In the physical therapy world, Dual Action Air Bikes are simply smart. Wind resistance is exponential, so the harder you pedal, or push/ pull your arms, the higher the resistance becomes. This naturally provides the right workout for both a novice exerciser and an elite athlete.  You will find the bike in heart centers, physical therapies, Cross Fit gyms, NFL training rooms, and millions of homes throughout the world.
The bike was super easy to put together. I followed along with the directions that were included  and it probably took me all of 20 minutes. There are actually very few parts for you to assemble, and it's super helpful that all the screws are already in the holes that you'll tighten them in.


Main Points to Consider:
-   Effective for Any Ability
Xterra Fitness Air Bikes resistance is controlled by the user, not the machine. You can control the intensity of your workout - The harder you push, pull and pedal, the more air you're moving and the greater the resistance. Cool-down and lower your heart rate by easing the intensity of your push, pull, and pedal stroke in order to decrease the resistance and amount of air moving.
  
-  Full-Body Workout
Pushing, Pulling, and Pedaling can all be done with a Xterra Air Bike. This activates muscles in your arms, chest, back, legs, and even your core for washboard abs! Quickly burn calories with a full-body workout where you control the intensity of your exercise regimen!
  
-  Comfortable and adjusts to fit various heights
The adjustable seat allows you to adjust the seat up/down, and forward/back. Simply loosen the pop-pin and pull out to adjust the vertical distance from seat to pedal. Next, loosen the seat lever to slide the seat closer or further away from the handlebars!
  
-  Easy Transport and Storage
Simply tilt the AIR650 forward and roll away using the 2 over-sized wheels from the front stabilizer
  
-  Built to Last, COMMERCIAL GRADE!
More robust than competitor Bikes and uses more durable moving parts. Xterra Fitness Air Bikes utilize the best technology in exercise bikes for a heavy-duty piece of equipment built to withstand anything you can throw at it!

-  Easily Measure Performance and Progress
Competition Ready: The Xterra Fitness Air Bike comes everything you're accustomed to and more! The console measures distance, watts, speed, and calories. The Large Console Display gives users an easy way to measure performance and track progress.  Everything you need in one, easy-to-read console with the ability to setup Interval Training, Target Training, Heart-Rate Training, and more. Polar-Heart Rate Chest Belts are compatible.

The console also allows for switching between units of measurement: Meters or Miles and measures to the tenth of a Calorie so you know your exact progress. Our console is easier to use and more accurately reads changes in speed. We've also included the ability to SET or TARGET distance, calories, and time while the console counts down from your targeted goal so you know just how much longer to work for.

-  How does it compare to other Air Bikes?
The Xterra Fitness AIR650 Air Bike features increased durability by using higher quality parts throughout the frame. We've reinforced weak points of other air bike models to create the most durable and robust bike on the market. The frame weighs more than comparable models which leads to more stability.

Purchase your XTERRA Fitness AIR650 HERE

Monday, November 2, 2020

Top 5 Kettlebell Movements - Part 2


The Snatch is one of the quintessential kettlebell movements; the combination of strength, power, stability, and cardiovascular fitness embodies kettlebell lifting perfectly. Whether you want to build power or strength endurance, the Snatch is a great exercise to add to your training. Another reason to love the kettlebell Snatch is that the movement is accessible to a larger population than the barbell Snatch; the mobility requirement is less stringent, with many of the same benefits.

Since the Snatch is a highly technical movement, take plenty of time to practice with a light kettlebell. The neuromuscular system needs time to coordinate the movement and build muscle memory. The shoulder also needs time to build stability in the overhead position. A great way to start is to practice the Half Snatch. This allows you to focus on the upswing of the movement before tackling the more challenging drop into the backswing. Once the upswing is mastered, you can work on the drop, making sure that you allow the bell handle to skip the center of your hand on the way down so there is no pulling on your palm, which can cause blisters and tears.

There are two variations in technique you can use on the Snatch. The first is a Snatch that uses a hinge motion, which is great for building strength and power. The second is a Snatch that uses a pendulum leg action, which is ideal for endurance work. Choose the variation that suits your goals, or simply the one you enjoy more!

1.      Start in a standing position with feet about hip width apart and a kettlebell in front of your feet. Grab onto the kettlebell with hook grip (bell handle in the fingertips, and thumb locked over the fingers).
2.      Pull the bell into the backswing, then drive with the legs to bring the kettlebell up. For the hinge-based power swing, use a hinge motion and extend the hips forcefully. For the pendulum-based endurance swing, use a slower pendulum leg action that follows the motion of the kettlebell.
3.      When the kettlebell reaches the float point (somewhere between hip and shoulder level), redirect the kettlebell into the overhead position as you punch the hand up and through the bell handle to meet the kettlebell in the overhead position. For the power swing, the arm and the kettlebell should stay tight to the body on the way up. For the endurance swing, the bell should be allowed to follow its natural path (which will be farther from the body) before redirecting into the overhead position.
4.      After stabilizing the kettlebell in the overhead position for a couple seconds, turn the bell and allow it to drop; give the kettlebell a head start before following it into the backswing with the torso. The arm should hit the hip before the torso folds forward.
5.      Once the kettlebell completes the backswing, go into the next repetition. 
The Renegade Row is a challenging core exercise that involves both pushing and pulling upper body components. The movement is comprised of one kettlebell push up followed by a row on each side from the plank position. One of the main functions of your core is to prevent trunk rotation, which requires your core, glutes, and hips to work together. Keeping the hips in place while performing rows in the plank position is a great way to train anti-rotation, as well as upper body pulling. The push up provides the upper body pushing component, and requires the core to stay active.

The Renegade Row should be trained with focus on form, not speed. Moving quickly typically leads to hip rotation and less core engagement. Instead, move slowly and deliberately to ensure proper body position in each part of the sequence. Start with 3-5 repetitions and work up to 10 repetitions. When you can easily complete 10 repetitions at a particular kettlebell weight, you can move up to a heavier weight.

1.      Start in the plank position with a kettlebell underneath each shoulder. Begin with the feet spread apart wide, and move them closer if you want to make the movement harder.
2.      Perform a push up, keeping the elbows in close and the belly button pulled up toward the spine to engage the core.
3.      From the plank position, perform one row on each side. Try not to move the hips -- this is the anti-rotation component -- and think of pulling the elbow and hip toward each other while you row.
4.      Once you complete the rows, go into the next repetition.