Tag: injury

Feldenkrais Workshop Series

Mind-Body Studio | Saturdays (see below for specific dates) | 2:00pm-4:30 p.m.


What is Feldenkrais?

The Feldenkrais Method® is based on principles of physics, biomechanics, and how the human nervous system adapts and develops. Specific exercises teach the body better ways to move, resulting in better posture, improved flexibility and balance, less pain, decreased stress, and an overall improved quality of life. This approach is highly complementary to any fitness program and is usually appropriate for all levels, ages, and abilities.  


What should I bring/wear?

Please wear layers of clothing that you can move in.  We will supply the mats, blankets, bolsters, and a demo skeleton. Peggy will be handouts and some “homework” materials.


When are the Workshops?


Improving Balance the Natural Way

  • Saturday, November 5th |  2:00pm – 4:30pm
    • Many factors can affect balance – injury, posture, age, or habit. Regardless of your physical condition, however, it is possible to improve your sense of stability and feel more “balanced” in your body. Using simple exercises, connect to your body’s natural ability to balance itself as you move with increased ease, grace, and flow. Get tips for applying what you’ve learned so you can access the freedom of better balance in a variety of activities.

Breathe Easy: Relax and Refresh for the Holidaze

  • Saturday, December 3rd | 2:00pm – 4:30pm
    • Take a breath and listen to your body. Enhance your enjoyment of life this season by reconnecting to your innate ability to feel relaxed and at ease in your body. Using gentle movements and breathing techniques, experience how your body can be an anchor during times of stress. Learn ways to apply these simple body-based practices to relax and refresh yourself at any time of day, whenever you need to.


Who is the instructor?


  • Peggy Protz has studied and taught a wide range of movement and exercise techniques. She holds a BFA in dance, was a Pilates instructor for 15 years, trained in yoga and massage, and has been a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner since 2001. Using the Feldenkrais Method, in addition to aspects of dance, pilates, and other modalities, Peggy helps people discover more pain free and comfortable ways of being in their body.


Is there a fee?


  • Yes. The fee for each workshop is $40 for members, and $60 for guests of SAC.


What if I can’t make it?

  • Then you can attend Peggy’s weekly Feldenkrais Class at the SAC, complimentary with your SAC membership!  It’s in the Mind/Body studio, 9:15-10:15 every Friday.  Drop in anytime!


For more information or to sign up, please contact Peggy Protz at peggy@peggyprotz.com or Danielle Zack at dzack@sacdt.com


More about the Feldenkrais Method:

(Better Movement for a Better Life Feldenkrais Method® changes how you live in your body)

Tired of a nagging sore neck, stiff hips, or a painful back? The Feldenkrais Method is a specialized approach that uses movement to improve physical comfort and enhance ease in living. Exploratory exercises are designed to improve flexibility, posture, and balance, leading to increased energy, faster recovery from injuries, and heightened athletic potential.

But what is it and how does it work? Developed by Israeli physicist and judo black belt Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984), the Method was first introduced in the United States in the early 1970s. Using principles of physics, biomechanics, experiential learning, and human development, it’s purpose is to awaken the body’s natural ability to move with efficiency, grace, and comfort…

To read more – (click here)

——  by Peggy Protz

Inspirational Member of the Month – Jennifer Gallagher

Jennifer is one of those people that is an example how perseverance and determination can surmount any obstacle. As an athlete, runner with the SAC Run Club and regular participant in many of the club’s group exercise classes, Jennifer set a new goal for herself. She wanted to complete her first FULL marathon (26.2 miles) in October.

Before she had opportunity to begin her new journey, she unfortunately experienced a physical setback; incurring a lower leg stress fracture which confined her to a boot for many weeks. This only made her more determined to succeed. She followed all protocols to facilitate her healing and continued to find ways to keep exercising within her limitations. She worked with our instructors to help rehabilitate her back to her level of strength and endurance while maintaining a focus and positive outlook that is testament to Jennifer’s personality. She continued to work hard towards her goal, transitioning back to running. She took one day at a time, with fierce perseverance, grace and a competitive spirit that got her back to training.

And she came back with a vengeance! Once her training began, she became a stronger competitor, leader as well as a source of inspiration and encouragement for her teammates. She was consistent, precise, diligent and committed; qualities that enhanced her success. On October 11th 2015, Jennifer competed in the Goodlife Fitness Victoria, B. C. Marathon, her FIRST full marathon and did so with a phenomenal time! She not only qualified for the Boston Marathon, but placed 10th in her age division! We think she surpassed her goal!!

Congratulations Jennifer! Your perseverance is truly inspirational.




Why Don’t We Listen To Our Bodies?

I recently went through a very extensive ankle surgery to take out some bone chips, grind down some bone spurs and fix some ligaments. After 11 years of using a progressively worsening foot I opted for the surgery and the 8 week recovery because without it I would be in constant pain and not able to function during my normal day. Through this process I realized that like me, many people may not recognize what a chronic injury is and are just living with it.


Jacobs_LegExRayMy injury occurred while playing college football; after my first ankle sprain came many, to the point where I had a permanent ½ golf ball sized swollen bump on my ankle. After college I was still active and worked out and that ankle progressively worsened until I was limping and couldn’t walk. So with the advice of my boss I went to an ankle specialist to see what was going on. After my doc assessed my ankle and looked at the x-rays, which showed a few bone spurs and bone chips, we decided to try a cortisone shot. Fast forward 3 years later, 2 cortisone shots later and I am still limping and in pain daily. I go into my ankle doctor to find that the bone spurs and chips in my ankle had doubled or tripled in size; leaving my ankle no room to function. So the next step was surgery to fix the ankle.

When I went in for surgery they gave me a pre-surgery Qualify of Life questionnaire and to my astonishment I failed it. Every single question they asked I marked to the far end of dissatisfaction and pain…yet even with all the doctor visits and cortisone shots, in my head my ankle wasn’t that bad. I made excuse after excuse to why it was ok to live with this chronic injury and not address it when in reality it was affecting every aspect of my life.





Now Offering Craniosacral Therapy at the Seattle Athletic Club

What is it?

Craniosacral is a form of manual therapy that focuses on the pulse of cerebrospinal fluid and the subtle motility of the cranial bones.

Where did it come from?

Originally it came out of Dr. William Sutherlands osteopathy in the cranial field in the 1930’s and later evolved into craniosacral therapy around the 70’s. It was headed at the time by John Upleadger and has continued to evolve over the years.

Who would best benefit from it?

People who have sustained head trauma or any kind of trauma that prevents them from receiving or tolerating deep touch. It is also very helpful in addressing headaches and jaw pain.

What can it do for me?

It uses many mainly gentle techniques on the head, face and spine to address held tension or trauma. It also implores the use of intraoral techniques to address deeper structures of the jaw.

Jessie Jo recently completed a 260 hour formal training in CST. If you have any questions about this new-to-the-club style, feel free to be in touch.

Genuine Movement: Mobility Routine

Mobility is the ability of a joint to move in a functionally adequate range of motion. It is the foundation of movement ability because it allows your body to be comfortable in stable positions. Mobility is the opposite of the stiffness, tightness and restriction that many of us experience everyday. I have noticed several lower body “hot spots” in SAC members lately. Ankles, knees, hips and even upper backs (thoracic spine) are commonly tight which leads to difficulty in squats, jumping and sports. Many people assume that these malevolent joints are caused by muscles being too short but mobility is actually much more complicated. Mobility is in part determined by nervous system control of all the tissues surrounding a joint which means that increasing mobility at a joint really depends on changing the neuromuscular system. The bad news: this means that passive stretching will probably not make a long lasting improvement. The good news: using smarter mobility exercises can help you overcome immobility in as soon as 2-4 weeks of consistent practice. Genuine Movement is a program that teaches great movement ability in a semi-guided format. Here are some Genuine Movement mobility drills to get you moving naturally and spontaneously. Please contact Hunter Spencer at Hspencer@sacdt.com with questions or for more information about Genuine Movement.

½ Kneeling Stretch

  • Targets: Ankle, knee hip
  • Lean forward until you feel a moderate stretch in the thigh or calf
  • Return to starting position. Repeat.
  • Oscillate continuously for 10 reps
  • 2 x 10

Rib Pulls

  • Lying on your side with top knee pressing into the support
  • Keep knee above hip level
  • Rotate shoulders away from bent knee
  • Hold 3-5 seconds and return to starting position
  • 2 x 6

Squat Progression

  • Targets: Ankles, knees, hips, upper back
  • Use small silver box
  • Start with arms overhead
  • Bend down and touch box with straight legs
  • Continue pressing into the box as you drop your hips down into a deep squat
  • Lift one arm and look at your hand, hold 10 seconds
  • Switch sides and repeat
  • Lift both arms overhead and return to starting position
  • 3 x 6

Please contact Personal Fitness Trainer Hunter Spencer with your questions.

Initial Injury Treatment

Musculoskeletal injuries are extremely common in sports. What you do with in the first 24-48 hrs can help or harm you. Immediate first aid efforts should be directed toward controlling hemorrhage and associated swelling. The primary goal directly after sustaining an injury is to reduce the amount of swelling resulting from the injury. If swelling can be controlled initially, the amount of time required for injury rehabilitation will be significantly reduced. The initial management of musculoskeletal injuries should include these 4 techniques: rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE).

  1. Rest
    Rest after any type of injury is an important part of any treatment program. Once the body is injured, it immediately begins the healing process. If the injured part does not get to rest and continues to be stressed then the healing process never gets a chance to do what it’s supposed to do. The time for rehabilitation is extended the longer it takes the body to get the healing process started. Give the injured area at least 72 hours of rest before a rehabilitation program is started.
  2. Ice
    The initial treatment of acute injuries should be the use of cold. Get ice on the injured area soon as possible. If heat is used in the initial injury phase then the amount of swelling will increase. The ice/cold will help to decrease pain and promote local constriction of the vessels, thus controlling hemorrhage and edema. The cold will slow down metabolism and the amount of cellular death in the injured tissue as well as help protect the healthy tissue. Ice/cold is also used to decrease muscle guarding which accompanies pain. Its pain-reducing effects are probably one of its greatest benefits. A good rule of thumb is to apply a cold pack to a recent injury for a 20 minute period and repeat every 1-1.5 hours throughout the waking day. Depending on the severity of the injury this process could last from 72 hours up to 7 days if needed. Be careful to not leave the frozen type gel packs directly on the skin for prolong periods of time. The gel has a lower temperature hand stays cooler longer than ice and can cause a burn if left on too long.
  3. Compression
    It is extremely important to get some compression on the injured area soon as possible. Immediate compression on an injured area will assist in decreasing hemorrhage and hematoma formation by reducing the space available for swelling to accumulate. An elastic wrap applied to the injured area can be just as important in the fight to decrease swelling as the use of ice. It may be helpful to wet the elastic wrap to facilitate the passage of cold from ice packs.
  4. Elevation
    Along with cold compression, elevation reduces internal bleeding. The injured part should be elevated to eliminate the effects of gravity on blood pooling in the extremities. Elevation assists the veins, which drain blood and other fluids from the injured area, returning them to the central circulatory system. The greater the amount of elevation of the injured body part the greater reduction in swelling. The injured part should be elevated for most of the initial 72 hour period after injury. It is particularly important to keep the injury elevated while sleeping.

Even with proper conditioning, equipment and other precautions you may still get injured. The initial treatment (RICE) will give your body the most optimal environment for it to do what it does extremely well and heal its self. If you choose to ignore your injury and just hope for the pain and swelling to go away on its own, you may end up with a chronic problem that could end up sticking around for a long long time.

Are Your Movements Causing You More Harm than Good?

From the day we are born, humans are constantly learning how to move. Most people learn fundamental movement patterns such as reaching, crawling, squatting, walking and running in succession and these skills serve as the foundation for movement throughout life. These movements are learned through many hours of trial and error and become solidified with more and more practice. But over time, the movements can be forgotten due to a lack of practice or even replaced with faulty patterns as a result of practicing bad habits. A great example is a deep squat. A curious baby can comfortably stay in a deep squat for minutes at a time while exploring an object on the floor but many adults find a deep squat uncomfortable or even impossible. Patterns such as the deep squat can be “unlearned” as a result of injury, exercise history, vocation or choice of hobbies. With so many potential ways for a pattern to break down, it can be hard to tell which fundamental patterns a person has maintained and which they need to regain. Furthermore, movement patterns are not related to skills or conditioning so athletic ability, strength, and fitness are very poor predictors of movement ability. Movement ability contributes to efficiency and safety, especially in challenging situations such as lifting weights, going on a long run or playing sports. Before engaging in any of these demanding activities, it is imperative to determine which patterns you can accomplish well and which patterns have limitations.

Movement screening is a systematic evaluation of basic movement patterns that can be used in a logical way to observe movement ability. Without screening, a workout can be like a shot in the dark with the trainer forced to throw out exercises at a vaguely defined problem. But screening allows for a scientific process that quickly determines which exercises are helping to improve the client’s most significant limitation and which exercises are not. Since movement ability is a matter of learning, dramatic results can be achieved within one session if the client is able to experience a well-tailored series of challenges. A more permanent adaptation will be made within 2-4 weeks as the brain and body are required to deliberately practice the new pattern. Furthermore, the “goal” of training movement ability is not to achieve perfection in every movement but rather simply to reach an acceptable level that will serve as the base from which to pursue a specific goal, such as increased fitness, weight loss or athletic performance. The rapid rate of neurological adaptation and the simple goal of attaining only a minimum standard ensure that hours of workouts are not spent trying to get “perfect form” on various exercises. Instead, investing a relatively small amount of time into learning fundamental movements will contribute to a natural ability to meet any challenge your body confronts.

Movement ability can be compromised as normal patterns are forgotten or replaced with bad habits but regular, consistent screening allows for the implementation of challenging exercises to resolve movement limitations. Once effective movement is achieved, training for increased physical performance can resume. By serving as the base for effective training, competent movement ability releases the body to train at a higher level and achieve previously untouched levels of performance.

If you would like to talk more about motor learning or movement screening please contact Personal Fitness Trainer Hunter Spencer. If you would like to better understand the necessity of movement screening and implementation of a movement screen, see the book Movement by Gray Cook.


Hypermobility is when a joint moves easily beyond the normal range. It is sometimes referred to as loose joints or being double jointed. The joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments are formed more lax. There are simple mobility screenings your doctor can do to diagnose hypermobility; however it is usually benign. Hypermobility Syndrome can be diagnosed if it causes pain in the joints, particularly knees, fingers, hips and elbows.

There are a couple of theories behind what causes one to be hypermobile; one being the heritable gene polymorphisms that effect the development of collagen, elastin, and fibrillins. It is also hypothesized to be a genetic connective tissue disease. It can be a feature of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, causes a higher risk for dislocation, sprains, scoliosis, osteoarthritis and is commonly seen in people with Down syndrome.

As one gets older, you may become less flexible and thus decrease your tendency to being hypermobile. A positive benefit of hypermobility is greater agility to perform certain physical activities. If you are someone with an increased range of motion within some joints (usually females) you may want to change how you exercise and move. Your whole body should aid in the movement (bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons); you should not allow your joints and bones to take the brunt of all the forces. Exercises should be tailored to avoid injury to joints and work on stabilizing and strengthening.

  • Proprioception – This can be addressed by working in multiple planes of motion and applying resistance coming from different directions.
  • Balance – Postural control and balance activate stabilizers to help strengthen around the joints. Try implementing a type of stability device into more standard exercises.
  • Strength – Working on the overall strength of large muscles will shorten the muscles and tendons surrounding the joints and add the majority of external support to the joint, so this is just one more reason to lift weights.

Hypermobility is not anything that is threatening to your body, but you should be aware of whether your body has an increased range of motion. If you do then just be aware of your movements and make sure that you keep the musculature and supporting connective tissue around the joint tight. Try working on proprioception, balance and strength to increase this joint awareness and thus safety and you can enjoy safer joints for longer. If you have any questions about how and what exercises to perform to help alleviate hypermobility, contact Personal Fitness Trainer Amber Walz.

3 Steps to Stay Injury Free

All of us go to the gym typically for the same reasons. To “get into shape,” improve on or get ready for a sport, or simply just to work off some stress from a long work day. The last thing on our minds is the possibility of injury because after all, we’re here to get healthier right? The unfortunate truth is that many people unknowingly increase their risk of injury by skipping some crucial parts of a truly complete workout. Adding a few simple steps into your workout can dramatically reduce your risk of injury, help alleviate pain from current injuries and believe it or not even speed up your results.

1. Warm-up
Possibly the most underutilized and arguably the most important part of anyone’s workout is an effective warm-up. Working out without a proper warm-up will eventually catch up to anyone regardless of current physical condition. But what defines an effective warm-up? (No, swinging your arms from side to side for 30 seconds before attempting to max out on a bench press doesn’t count). An effective warm-up should consist of at least 10-15 minutes of light-moderate cardiovascular exercise that ideally moves the body in all planes of motion with minimal impact. An example of this would be 5 minutes on a rowing machine, followed by 5-10 minutes of body weight exercises that involves the use of your entire body (i.e. combining pushups and squats or lunges and jumping-jacks). When in doubt, it is always better to play it safe.

2. Stretching
Another often neglected part of many peoples workout is stretching. Stretching should not be done as a warm-up to an activity as you could injure your muscles if stretching them when they are cold. At least 3 to 5 minutes of cardiovascular exercise is recommended to warm up the muscles sufficiently. Each major muscle group should be stretched slowly and with control, holding each stretch for 1 to 3 sets of 10 to 60 seconds. Hold each at the point of mild tension or tightness, not to the point of pain. Research has shown that the most effective time to stretch is post-exercise while you are “cooling down”. When muscles perform any exercise, they tighten and shorten as a result. Stretching them helps to restore and improve their length and in turn will help prevent imbalances in the body that can later lead to injury.

3. Imbalanced Workouts
This topic is typically dismissed when we lose focus on our primary goal. It is great to want to have legs of steel or arms that make Popeye look like a wimp, however all too often the approach to these goals comes with the sacrifice of a balanced muscular structure and in turn will lead to chronic injury. Remember that first and foremost we want stay healthy and injury free. One way to help protect against overtraining certain muscle groups is to use a push-pull technique that involves targeting the opposing muscle group in the subsequent set (i.e. bench press into seated row). Another method that has recently been gaining popularity, and with good reason, is functional training. Functional training breaks away from the mold of traditional isolation type exercises, commonly seen in the bodybuilding world, and challenges the body using multidirectional movement involving typically two or more major muscle groups. An example of this would be squats with a press or pushup and pike. For a balanced program it is recommend that you consult with a trainer. Often adding just a few exercises into your routine can help balance your workouts and help keep you healthy.

In conclusion it is crucial that when beginning an exercise regime that all of these points be addressed. Each has its own role in a performing a safe and effective workout and will in turn leave you feeling healthier and decrease your risk of injuries. If you are running late and consequently your workout time is diminished, rather than heading straight towards the dumbbells, reduce your total sets and include these steps. Your body will thank you! For more information on ways to ensure that your workouts are both safe and effective please contact Will Paton.

Common Hip Injuries

The hip is a complex joint that circumducts in motion. Often times, due to this complexity, the hip is a sight for injury. Pain may manifest inside the joint, on the posterior, anterior, or lateral side.

An injury inside the joint can likely be due to degeneration (osteoarthritis) of the joint, a labral tear, bone spur or fracture caused by trauma. Osteoarthritis of the hip joint can be secondary to previous trauma or genetics. It is a major ailment among the general population and has no cure of yet. The arthritis causes a reduced range of motion, so it is extremely important to work on increasing and maintaining mobility through low intensity corrective exercises and stretching. A labral tear, bone spur or fracture will require a set healing period of time and slow progression of exercises and stretching afterwards.

Common injuries that occur on the posterior side of the joint are piriformis and hamstring strains. The piriformis is a supportive hip muscle underneath the gluteus muscles that is easily strained when there are poor mechanics or gluteus muscles are improperly conditioned and in a compensatory action, becomes the prime mover. This can cause tightness that cause sciatic and lumbar issues. Correction for this requires training corrective exercises specific to the imbalance of the side where pain is associated, and flexibility techniques. A hamstring strain is caused either by an overload on the muscle, or an imbalance between the different muscles or sides of the body. Poor mechanics; for example, pronation (a flattening of the arch), is a likely culprit. Taking the same course of action for healing first, then addressing movement patterns can have a reduced likelihood of future strains.

Anterior injuries that occur are hip flexor and groin strains, or adductor tendonitis. Overload or overuse of the hip flexors from climbing stairs, running or mechanical imbalances can be alleviated through stretching and focus on training the posterior hip muscles. There can also be lower back pain associated with this injury, so stretching the lower back and developing core muscles is important. Adductor tendonitis causes tenderness at the insertion of the adductor at the symphysis. It’s common in athletes and requires a modification in training and stretching, but there is little likelihood for complication. Core strength should be the primary focus to insure there isn’t any compensation in movement patterns.

The most common lateral hip injury is illiotibial band syndrome. This occurs often in runners or athletes with repetitive movement in the sagittal plane, or due to excessive pronation. IT band syndrome results in inflammation where the band rubs across the distal lateral femur and can be felt at the outer side of the hip and at the insertion point in the lower lateral corner of the knee. Proper shoes, stretching and strengthening of the large leg muscles can aid in recovery. Electrical stimulation is an alternative if healing is slow.

The most important things to think about in relation to hip health are core and overall glute strength. Implement a program that works in all planes of motion and conduct a regular stretching routine to reduce likelihood of injury. Please contact me if you have any specific questions.