Tag: rehab

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.

Scoliosis and Exercise

According to the National Scoliosis Foundation, scoliosis effects about 2-3 percent of the U.S. population with 85 percent of the cases being idiopathic (no known cause) and without cure.

Kyphoscoliosis involves excessive S-curvature of the thoracic spine, and some scoliosis can create more of a C-curvature of the lumbar. Scoliosis can be congenital, or can be a symptom of a neuromuscular condition.

Common affects are ventilatory function restrictions, dyspnea, uneven torso rotation strength, rib or shoulder blade prominence from the spinal rotation, uneven hips, arms and legs, and slow nerve action. It is commonly treated with physiotherapy, bracing, electrical surface stimulation, and spinal fusion surgery in severe cases. Physiotherapy can help tremendously in mild cases. A popular physiotherapy modality is the Schroth Method.

In treatment of scoliosis it is important to implement exercises that work on expansion of chest and back, assisted side flexibility and length, elongation of the spine, and proper hip mobility to correct seated posture. These movements can be done within several simple exercises.

  • Strength and Stability- Ball opposite arm and leg raises, ball back extensions with straight-arms overhead in a y-position, and straight-arm hanging side leg lifts are a few exercises that target balancing the affected areas.
  • Flexibility and alignment- Proper length and alignment of the spine occurs when creating good length-tension relationships in the fascia and the muscles surrounding it. Hip flexor stretches, forward band walks with the inside hip and back foot on an elevated surface, pelvic tilts, and hip circles create the proper sacral/lumbar positioning. A single-sided dumbbell overhead press with a side bend and incline band chest presses with rotation are two effective exercises to stretch and align the thoracic spine.

Scoliosis can be challenging to deal with, but with proper care and attention to detail, you can decrease the severity, increase overall function and strength, and maintain a pain-free life. For a demonstration or if you have any questions or concerns, please contact Amber Walz for further information.

Secrets of Shoulder Success Part Two: Secrets of Training

As discussed in Part 1 the shoulder complex is designed to allow both force generation and force transmission from the legs, hips and trunk. It can only perform these vital functions if adequate mobility and stability are maintained. To quickly evaluate the mobility throughout your shoulder complex, simply try to touch your hands behind your back with one elbow pointing up and the other elbow pointing down. Can you get anywhere close to touching? Do you notice a difference between the two sides? This motion requires full range of motion in the gleno-humeral joints, the scapulas and the thoracic spine and failing to touch or nearly touch the hands behind your back can indicate immobility at one or several of these joints. Re-gaining adequate mobility requires much more than static stretching because the underlying issue may not be the structural length of the tissues but rather the coordination between the brain, spinal reflexes, muscles and proprioceptors. To account for these variable explanations, a successful mobility routine must incorporate several modalities such as self myofascial release (SMR), proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching (PNF) and dynamic stretching. SMR includes massage-like activities such as foam rolling and increases mobility by relaxing fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds muscle bellies. PNF is a general type of stretching that involves a pattern of contraction and relaxation, for example stretching a muscle, contracting that muscle against a force and then relaxing to stretch the muscle more. Performing PNF at the beginning of an exercise session provides dramatic transient improvement in range of motion which allows improved mobility for the remainder of the session. Dynamic stretching includes anything that gives the shoulder an opportunity to explore a maximally large range of motion (ROM) at variable speeds and provides practice at incorporating the shoulder into whole body movements.

After acceptable mobility has been established, the ability to maintain a position within this ROM must be developed. Stability is not as dependent on strength as much as coordination; your neuromuscular system must work in harmony to quickly react to a perturbation. Training stabilizer muscles, such as the rotator cuff, for strength (with exercises such as rotator cuff rotations) does not train these muscles for stability and can even contribute to a dysfunctional, unstable shoulder complex. Instead stability exercises should challenge the shoulder to maintain position before, during and after a movement. Exercises such as a one arm bench press, reverse rows from a bar and even pushups can be used to evaluate and develop shoulder stability. The key to stability exercises is that they provide a stimulus-rich environment to teach the body what position is stable and how to maintain this position. Whatever exercises are being used, proper feedback is critical to avoid development of faulty motor patterns and ensure stability.

Both mobility and stability depend on the neuromuscular system to function properly. Several methods can be used to increase mobility and stability but it is imperative that any exercises designed to improve these traits provide an opportunity for the body to learn about moving through a complete ROM and maintaining a stable position. Because the neuromuscular system controls these traits, a chronic adaptation can be made within just 2-4 weeks. Adequate mobility and stability provide a safe and efficient platform from which to develop strength and then power. Mobility and stability in the shoulder are key to pain free, efficient movement and improved performance in racquet sports, golf and daily activities. There is no better investment for your shoulder function than to spend 2-4 weeks developing the mobility and stability you need to thrive! To learn more about shoulder and see if your shoulder mobility and stability are adequate, contact Personal Fitness Trainer Hunter Spencer.

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.

Spinal Alignment and Positioning

Spinal alignment is key for proper development and activation when exercising. Most exercise is done with a neutral (can also be referred to as straight) spine, which is the maintenance of the natural s-shaped curvature when the spine is erect. Everyone has an anatomical variation; a slightly different degree of curvature. But, often the spine can get out of alignment from bad posture, trauma, or work- related stress. So when do we need to move the spine through articulation, and when do we need to stabilize it?

Several exercises will help develop the slow-twitch muscles directly along the spine; the multifidus and erector spinae. Increase in load of the exercise will also strengthen larger muscles responsible for spinal strength; core muscles, quadratus lumborum and psoas muscles.

Stabilizing exercises with a neutral spine:
Plank – The plank is arguably one of the best exercises you can do. It incorporates core muscles and spinal stabilizers in an isometric contraction (without movement). There is a lot of shoulder and scapular involvement, and will improve overall posture.

Side plank – The side plank is more intensively focused on lateral hip stabilizers, intercostals, and quadratus lumborum of the side closest to the ground. This can be helpful to correct or help dominance issues and scoliosis.

Bird dog – This is also called the quadruped opposite arm and leg raise. This exercise focuses on stabilizing the hips and shoulders from the core muscle structure while aligning the body parallel with the ground.

Bridge – The bridge is a great hip strengthener. It is directly targeting spinal stabilizers and there is the central focus of core contraction.

Strengthening exercises with a neutral spine:
Seated row – The seated row works on stabilization of the lumbar spine and scapulae through a retraction and depression motion that activates large muscles in the thoracic spine (rhomboids, rotator cuff muscles, latissimus dorsi).

Front weighted cable squats/ barbell squats – Require a more intense stabilization of the spine and core muscles through a movement. With the weight in front of the body or on the shoulders there is more load applied to the spine in particular.

Weighted hinge/ deadlift – This exercise is one of the most important to develop strong spinal stabilization. Most of the movement that is done throughout the day requires little to no stabilization so our movements tend to articulate and relax the muscles around the spine. This movement works on integrating large hip muscles and core stabilizers to move from, versus the back muscles. The motion itself is often inhibited in a lot of people and can be a challenge to teach the body, but worth it in the long run.

Prone cobra – The prone cobra directly targets muscles along the spine from the rhomboids of the thoracic spine to lumbar fascia and quadratus lumborum of the lumbar spine. This exercise puts the lower back into extension and opens the chest cavity; as well as, loosens hip flexors and activates hip stabilizers when done correctly.

Articulation is important to prevent nerve impingement between the vertebral discs. Pilates and yoga have the best full-body movement that articulates. In sport-related movements the initiation of a movement is stabilized and then progressions with follow through.

Spinal movement:
Cat/Cow – This is a yoga movement to fully articulate the spine through a gentle motion.

Spinal twists and lateral bends – There are several different exercise techniques that accomplish this. The exercise should start with little to no weight (added or body weight) and then progress to adding more load.

Light cable rows/ band rows – Doing a row with little to no weight will accomplish the same as the gentle movements if articulation is integrated, but will also strengthen the spine during this kind of motion in daily life.

Hinge/ deadlift with articulation – This will accomplish the same as the above exercise by allowing the spine a full motion and then engaging to increase strength.

These last two exercises are relevant to an athlete for increased performance and protection during the sport and less relevant to someone who is moderately sedentary for most of the day.

One of the best ways to improve posture and spinal stabilization and strength is learning to sit and walk with a straight spine. The muscles will have to fire more continuously and develop as a result. A general rule of thumb – nothing will improve posture better than working on just that, posture. If you have any questions concerning desk/computer alignment or an assessment of your posture and needs, please contact Personal Fitness Trainer Amber Walz for further details.

How to Workout with Medical Issues… Cardiovascular Disease

Nearly one in four Americans experiencing some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in their lifetime; with hypertension being the largest risk factor for CV. Thus it makes sense for us to take a look at hypertension and CVD and how to treat both through exercise.

Normal blood pressure is <130 mmHg Systolic and <90 mmHg Diastolic; and hypertension starts above 140 mmHg for Systolic and 90 mmHg for Diastolic. Regular exercise is believed to be the first line of defense to treat mild to moderate hypertension. Regardless of age, aerobic exercise in previously sedentary men and women decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 6 to 10 mmHg; and results can be seen as quickly as 4 weeks of exercise. For people who stopped exercising, blood pressure returned to hypertensive states within a month. Resistance training will create a large increase in blood pressure while training, but will not result in an elevated resting blood pressure; some resistance training regiments have been show to lower resting blood pressure. The benefits of exercise for people with cardiovascular disease are:

  • Prevention of stroke
  • Regression of the hardening of your arteries
  • Prevention of heart disease
  • Decreased hypertension

The goal of an exercise regime for some with CVD is to improve one’s functional capacity, making everyday activity easier and more manageable. By getting on an exercise routine people can reduce the work that the heart has to do for any external exercise load; this is usually seen with a reduced heart rate & reduced blood pressure.

What should a cardiovascular workout look like for someone with CVD?

  • Frequency At least 3-5 times a week
  • Intensity 40-65% heart rate max or RPE 10 to 13 (out of 20)
  • Type Rhythmic large muscle groups that stimulate breathing
  • Time 20-30 continuous min per session
  • Progression May be cyclical with periods of regression depending on treatments

What should a weight workout look like for someone with CVD?

  • Frequency 2 nonconsecutive times a week
  • Intensity Low weights, 10-15 reps to moderate fatigue
  • Type Rhythmic large muscle groups that stimulate breathing (no isometric exercises)
  • Duration 1 set for each exercise, prevent carry over fatigue

If you have a family history of CVD or you presently have CVD you should be thinking about adding some light cardiovascular training to help stabilize your circulatory system and gradually try to increase duration and then intensity. Adding some weight work will also help get your body to a better functional condition, allowing you to enjoy your day and loved ones even more! If you have questions about how to exercise with cardiovascular disease please feel free to contact Fitness Director Jacob Galloway.

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.

Athletic Shoulders: Training the Shoulder Girdle for Sports Performance

Over the years I have worked with a wide variety of athletes. Soccer players, runners, squash players and martial artists. In all of my athletes I have found limited range of motion and overall weakness. Though the athletes on the tight side do have strength in certain ranges, these ranges are usually limited (straight forward, straight up). In the rare cases of hypermobility the athletes lack strength and the ability to protect the joints involved.

Regardless of their sport the regimen for training the shoulders is usually comprised of linear, robotic movements. Push ups, pull ups, shoulder press, lateral raises and maybe the occasional rotator cuff exercise are usually the movements of choice. Though these may make sense in a fitness routine, they hardly cover the vast ranges of movement and velocity the shoulder has to utilize in performance. In addition they create a hyperactive upper body that activates too early in the kinetic chain and often too aggressively.

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. It flexes, it extends, it rotates, and moves across and away from the body. The scapula (shoulder blades) protract, retract, rotate (up and down), abduct (separate), adduct (squeeze together), elevate and depress. Ideally this happens in a smooth and graceful manner. This is rarely the case. Typical methods of training the shoulder (see above) compress the head of the humerus in the glenoid fossa of the scapula (aka the socket). In addition the scapula is often in a fixed position. This is ideal under external load but hardly ever in athletic movements. This limits its ability to move freely and severely hinders throwing ability, racquet and running speed. This starts off as tightness, then chronic soreness and in some cases this can progress to injury.

To truly train the shoulder as it was meant to move you have to change your way of looking at exercise. Forget what muscle or muscle groups you are trying to train. Try and focus on two things: 1) What ranges are you tight and/or weak in? 2) What motions do your shoulders have to perform in your sport?

Once you have identified these two things it’s time to get things moving. When training for athletic performance we need light weight and flowing (and ideally fast) full body motions. Small handled medicine balls, cables, bands and wrist weights are ideal. When selecting a weight pick one that doesn’t hinder your speed, power or quality of movement. Don’t think about fatiguing any one muscle. Focus more on enhancing your movements.

When selecting movements try throwing and swinging versus pushing and pulling. The power should generate from the feet and surge through the body in a seamless manner. If this is done in a competent manner, by the time the force reaches the shoulder it can loosen up those tight areas (#1). This teaches the overused and tight muscle to wait its turn to activate in correct order and in a more appropriate manner. Ideally it should activate and let the power flow through it instead of tensing up and taking the brunt of the movement. When addressing tightness make sure not to move through pain or extreme tightness. Stop just short of these sensations. Trying to power through will shut down your speed mechanisms and can cause injury.

Over time and with precision and care you can make vast improvements in tight overused areas. Once this is accomplished you can now move onto sports specific movement. Once again use light weights and fast and flowing full body movements. Strive for graceful power in your movement with seamless transitions from one muscle to the next. Once that grace or power dissipates end the movement. Pushing or muscling through these movements for the sake of volume ultimately sets back your progress for athletic speed and power. Make sure and rest long enough not only to catch your breath but allow enough time for you to regain the ability to move with force and grace.

This isn’t by any means an easy process. Avoiding and improving on tight and injured areas while improving sports performance is a whole different creature than fitness. It takes time, dedication, precision and most of all patience. Keep your eye on the long term goals of longevity and quality of movement and feel your body heal and watch your athleticism reach heights.