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Dr. Adams

How Soft Tissue Therapy and Chiropractic can fix your pain!

What Makes Miami Spine and Performance in Hollywood, FL different?

At Miami Spine and Performance in Hollywood, FL we pride ourselves on using the power of chiropractic adjustments to help individuals with conditions such as lower back pain, neck pain, sciatica, and sports injuries. However, what our clinic really prides itself on is using a combination of therapies to provide our patients with lost lasting relief.

Soft Tissue Therapy in Hollywood, FL

At Miami Spine and Performance, we use a number of soft tissue tools to help reduce muscle tension and improve tissue quality so that you can move pain-free. Typically during a treatment session at our office, Dr. Adams will thoroughly examine both your joints and muscles to determine which areas need to be treated and which tool to use. At our clinic we use a number of highly effective soft tissue tools to treat our patients including Active Release Technique, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Therapy, Muscle Energy Techniques, Percussion massage, and therapeutic cupping.

Active Release Technique in Hollywood, FL

Dr. Adams is the only full-body Active Release Technique provider in Hollywood, FL. Active Release Technique is a hands-on assessment and treatment technique designed to:

  • Restore optimal tissue tension, texture, and interface
  • Improve mobility and strength
  • Improve circulation
  • Reduce nerve interference to allow for proper conduction to muscle tissue

Active Release Technique (ART) is effective at treating a number of conditions including neck and back pain, elbow injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, knee injuries, and plantar fasciitis. ART allows our provider to locate soft tissue restrictions and nerve impingements that may be causing your pain or movement dysfunction. Once the restriction is located, the provider uses a combination of tension, pressure, and patient-guided movement to restore tissue length and quality. Patients often report significant relief of symptoms within only 2-3 sessions of ART.

Graston Technique in Hollywood, FL

Graston Technique utilizes a number of stainless steel instruments to improve soft tissue quality, reduce muscle tension and break up adhesions within the muscle tissue. At Miami Spine and Performance we use a number of stainless steel tools to reduce tension in the spine, shoulders, forearms, thighs, and calves. Treatment with Graston tools is painless and relaxing! We often use this technique in conjunction with therapeutic cupping to first reduce muscle tension and then restore blood flow to the injured area. See our video below for a sample treatment session!

Muscle Energy Techniques in Hollywood, FL

Muscle Energy Techniques involve gentle contract-relax stretching for various muscle groups that tend to become overly tight due to poor posture and movement dysfunction. Some of the most commonly restricted muscles treated with muscle energy techniques include:

  • Suboccipitals
  • Upper Trapezius
  • Pectoralis Major
  • Hip Flexors
  • Piriformis
  • Quadratus Lumborum (QL)
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves

When these muscles become overactive, they may not respond favorable to aggressive massage and other soft tissue techniques involving pressure directly onto the muscle. When a muscle is hypertonic or over-used, we utilize muscle energy techniques to progressively relax the muscle over the course of 2-5 minutes. Once these muscles are properly relaxed and there is no guarding, we are then able to perform more effective chiropractic adjustments!

Therapeutic Cupping in Hollywood, FL

Therapeutic Cupping has been used in physical medicine for thousands of years! This manual therapy technique utilizes suction to improve blood flow to areas that are stiff or in spasm. Cupping can be used pre-training, post-training or on off day to assist in your recovery! See the video below of Dr. Adams using instrument assisted soft tissue therapy in conjuction with therapeutic cupping to help fellow chiropactic Dr. Eric Smith with his neck pain!

 

 

If you are interested in learning more about how chiropractic care can set you on a path to a healthier and happier lifestyle, please feel free to reach out to your Hollywood Chiropractor below!

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10 Health Habits That You Should Adopt This New Year!

Healthy

Hydrate

  • Being that we all live near Hallandale Beach, hydration is particularly important given the humid weather we experience during most of the year.
  • Most men should be drinking roughly 3.5 liters of water daily and women should be drinking 2.5 liters of water daily. If you are physically active and/or are consuming caffeine/alcohol, this number should be even higher.
  • Additionally, adding electrolytes to your water can also help aid in hydration if you are sweating frequently throughout the day.

Get Sunlight

  • Fortunately for most of us near Hallandale Beach, sunlight is no problem! We have access to the sun almost every day of the year.
  • Spending ~20 minutes in the sun is generally enough to get your daily vitamin D requirement
  • Do not spend too much time in the sun without sunscreen!

Hit Some Weights

  • Resistance Training 2-4x/week can help keep your joints and muscles strong as you age
  • Weight training has a number of metabolic and cognitive benefits
  • Be sure to incorporate a variety of movement patterns including squat, bend, push, pull, carry

Elevate your heart rate a few times per week

  • Beyond just walking and resistance training, performing higher intensity exercise that raises your heart rate has a number of cardiovascular and metabolic benefits
  • Think high-intensity intervals using sprinting, rowing, biking, or bodyweight exercises
  • Be sure to consult your physician before commencing high-intensity training!

Supplement with Omega 3s

  • Supplementing with Omega 3 Fatty acids is important because most individuals do not get enough Omega 3’s in their diet
  • Omega 3’s have been shown to lower the likelihood of atherosclerosis, reduce triglycerides, and lower blood pressure
  • Omega 3’s can be consumed via Salmon, Shrimp, Chia/Hemp Seeds, Walnuts and Kidney Beans

Move throughout your day

  • Many jobs these days require long hours seated on a computer, if you fall into this category, make sure to move your body every hour!
  • Going for walks, stretching, or performing bodyweight exercises all can help prevent joint/muscle tension from developing due to extended postures
  • There are numerous cognitive benefits to performing exercises during the workday including improved working memory and cognitive flexibility

Eat Whole Foods

  • Regardless of your diet preferences (omnivore, pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan), it is important that the majority of the foods you consume come from whole foods
  • Often times when foods are heavily processed they lack the vital nutrients that are used to help your body’s machinery run efficiently
  • Eating non-processed foods is beneficial to nearly every organ in your body, including your brain, heart, digestive organs, and skin

Pick up a New Hobby

  • Having hobbies outside of your work life can be a great stress reliever and provide your mind some need rest and relaxation
  • Learning new skills helps preserve your brain and prevent disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia later in life
  • Try picking one hobby that challenges you physically, one that challenges your cognitively, and one that challenges you creatively

Protect your sleep

  • One of the most underutilized health and recovery habits we see in the clinic is sleep
  • Sleep is your body’s most powerful tool to enhance physical and mental recovery and there is no other modality that can replace it!
  • If you are unable to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, look to take a short nap (20-60min) throughout your day to pay off that sleep debt!

Unplug

  • Excessive screen time (laptop, phone, tablet, television) has been linked to depression, anxiety, and “cognitive clouding”
  • Being immersed in technology 24/7 will overload your nervous system with input is damaging for your eyes, ears, and the areas of your brain that are involved in focus, memory, and cognition
  • Unplugging occasionally will allow you to pursue other meaningful activities such as a hobby, being in nature, exercise, or high-quality sleep

If you are interested in learning more about how chiropractic care can set you on a path to a healthier and happier lifestyle, please feel free to reach out to your Hollywood Chiropractor below!

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10 Facts You Should Know Before your First Chiropractic Adjustment

Chiropractic Adjustment

1. What is a Chiropractic Adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is a high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust that is performed on spinal or extremity joints that pushes the joint space slightly behind its normal range of motion. The procedure is usually performed hands-on but is also occasionally performed with a tool or a specialized drop table.

2. What Kind of Training do Chiropractors Go through before Adjusting Patients?

Chiropractic School consists of over 4000 hours of training in clinical diagnosis, anatomy, physiology, physical therapy, nutrition, and manual therapy. Chiropractic students spend hundreds of hours in the classroom practicing chiropractor adjustments and many students spend an additional 500-1000 hours perfecting techniques to deliver safe and effective adjustments.

3. Are Chiropractic Adjustments Safe?

Chiropractic Adjustments, when performed by a trained professional are extremely safe but like any manual procedure, there are risks of injury if the chiropractor does not perform their due diligence prior to performing an adjustment. At Miami Spine and Performance, we make sure to always perform a very thorough health history and examination prior to adjusting any patient in our office.

4. Who can perform Adjustments/Manipulation?

Currently, manipulation procedures are performed by chiropractic physicians, osteopaths, and occasionally physical therapists with advanced training. During school, chiropractors are trained in located joint fixations through palpation of the spine and trained in how to manually remove these fixations with adjustments. At this time massage therapists, acupuncturists, personal trainers, and coaches are not licensed to perform manipulations.

5. How do I know if I’m a good candidate for an adjustment?

Some of the conditions that chiropractic adjustments can help with include neck pain, back pain, disc herniations, joint stiffness, headaches, and sciatica. If you are working at a desk throughout the day, a fitness enthusiast, or an athlete, you could most likely benefit from regular chiropractic adjustments!

6. What is the “Cracking” Sound?

Contrary to popular belief, the popping noise that typically accompanies a chiropractic adjustment is not the sounds of “bones moving” but rather small air pockets releasing pressure from the joints. Some adjustments produce more noise than others and this is not necessarily an indication of an effective adjustment

7. Do I need X-rays before an adjustment?

Most of the time we do not require X-rays for patients before they are adjusted. We use motion palpation and functional examination in order to find areas that need chiropractic adjustments. We typically only refer out for X-rays if we suspect a fracture or bone disease.

8. Do Adjustments Hurt?

Chiropractic adjustments are a manual therapy procedure performed by trained doctors in order to improve the joint range of motion and decrease pain. Most joints in the body can benefit from chiropractic adjustments including but not limited to the spinal column, joints of the foot, Sternocalvicular joint, ribs, wrist, and hip capsule.

9. Can I find relief without a Chiropractic Adjustment?

Of Course! While chiropractic adjustments are valuable tools for helping our patients find relief, we often use manual therapy, corrective exercise, and a number of other modalities in the clinic as an adjunct to chiropractic adjustments. Many conditions such as muscle strain/sprains benefit more from manual therapy and rehabilitation than chiropractic adjustments. We are no than happy to use our other tools if you are not comfortable being adjusted.

10. What is the first visit with a chiropractor like?

We cannot speak to any other offices, but at Miami Spine and Performance your first visit always starts with a 60 minutes exam and consultation with your physician, after which the doctor will explain your diagnosis and the best course of action for treatment. Typically on the first visit, after your diagnosis, you will receive your first chiropractic adjustment!

 

If you are interested in booking a chiropractic appointment with one of our doctors, please click the “Schedule Appointment Now” button below!

 

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The Ideal Morning Routine for Joint Health

Morning Routine, CARS

Often at our office, we get asked by patients, what are the best stretches to perform first thing in the morning prior to starting their day? While the answer may differ for every person depending upon their specific age, injury history, and goals, for those with no significant injuries who want a general program, our #1 recommendation is to perform CARs (Controlled Articular Rotations) for every joint, each morning. 

CARs are active circulation rotational movements of the joint at the end range, meaning that you are taking your joint through all its respective ranges of motion, as far as you can go without compensation. 

Here are 8 benefits of performing these movements every morning as part of your self-care routine:

 

1. Prevent the loss of joint range of motion over time

One of the “effects of aging” that many individuals fear is the loss of joint range of motion such as turning the head or being able to sit down into a squat. The truth of the matter is that these losses of motion are not “age-related” but rather related to lack of movement over time. When you do not use a particular range of motion, your body will adapt and decrease your usable range over time. By moving your joint through a full range of motion regularly, you can prevent this loss of motion over time.

2. Allows you to screen the health of your joints on a daily basis

Before you experience pain in a joint, your body will likely give you clues that there may be an issue present in your body in the form of closing angle pain and decreased joint motion. Most individuals are not aware that they have a joint dysfunction until they are in significant pain and need to heal the injured area. By screening your joints daily via controlled articular rotations, you are able to stay ahead of and address these injury predictors before they develop into a more serious problem.

 

3. Bring nutrition and fluid to your joints

In order for joints to remain healthy and move properly, they require adequate blood flow and synovial fluid. The most optimal way for joints to receive proper nutrition and hydration is through movement. When joints do not move on a regular basis, they lose nutrition and degenerate over time. By moving your joints through a full range of motion daily, you can ensure that your joints move smoothly and healthfully long-term.

4. Increase the number of movement options

Many fitness enthusiasts claim that they would love to participate in activities such as Crossfit, tennis, skiing, or mountain climbing, but their body doesn’t allow them to do so. Oftentimes, joint range of motion is what dictates which movements you can and cannot participate in safely. By maintaining a full range of motion in your joints, allows you to partake in a wide variety of activities and have enough movement options to perform them safely and effectively.

 

5. Decrease Likelihood of injury

The equation for injury is simple when the demands on your body exceed your capacity, you are more likely to become injured. Therefore if you have a large capacity in the form of available joint range of motion, then you are able to undertake more demand without the likelihood of injury. Likewise, when your capacity exceeds demand, this leads to adaptation and improved performance.

 

6. Allows for Comprehensive Joint Training

Most exercise training that individuals undertake involves single joint or mid-range motions. For example, cycling and walking are mid-range exercises, the lower body is never taken all the way to the end range. Gym exercises such as bench press, pull-ups, and lateral raises all work specific motions of the shoulder joint but do not take the shoulder all the way to the end range of motion. By performing controlled articular rotations, you are able to effectively train your joints into the ranges that are not regularly trained by conventional gym exercises.

7. Improve healing post-injury

When tissue is injured, it is not simply enough to let the tissue rest and be immobilized for a significant period of time. The tissue will heal in the direction that it is prompted to heal. If you do not move an injured joint, then the new cells being laid down into connective tissue have no input as to how to heal properly. This can ultimately lead to scar tissue formation and a disorganized foundation of connective tissue at the site of the injury. By moving your joints through a pain-free range of motion during the healing phase of an injury you can increase the likelihood of an organized healing process and restoration of joint range post-injury.

 

8. Prepare your for life

Life can be unpredictable and may throw unexpected challenges at your body. For example, stepping off of a curve or reaching to catch a falling glass. Oftentimes injuries occur during these unexpected and reactive moments. By performing CARs on a daily basis and moving your joints through end-range, you are able to better prepare yourself for the unexpected difficulties life throws at you.

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How to Structure a Knee Rehabilitation Program

knee injury

Knee injuries can be very frightening and debilitating if not rehabilitated properly. Before commencing a rehabilitation program for any musculoskeletal injury, we advise that you get assessed by a healthcare professional that is able to diagnose your injury, explain the mechanism of your injury and prescribe you a well-reasoned rehabilitation program.

The specifics of every rehabilitation program are going to differ for every individual and will depend upon the actual tissue that is injured as well as the severity of the injury. This article is designed to give a rough outline of the important characteristics and priorities of most knee rehabilitation programs regardless of injury as well as some specific examples.

 

Knee Rehabilitation Phase 0

The Goal of Phase 0 is to reduce the initial bout of inflammation following the knee injure. During this phase, it is advisable to spend as much time as possible not bearing weight on the injured leg and keeping the knee elevated. It is also advisable to wear a knee brace when it is necessary to walk and bear weight on the knee. The emphasis should be placed on icing the knee and reducing inflammation through supplementation, over the counter medications, or prescription medications. This phase will generally last 3 days to 2 weeks depending upon the severity of the injury.

Length of Time: 1-2 weeks

Priority: Reduce Initial Inflammation

Training Modifications: No Physical Training at this time, focus on film study or reading.

Treatment Plan Example:

  • Ice Applied 3-4x/day for 15 minutes
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Keeping injured knee elevated
  • Staying off of affected knee as much as possible

 

Knee Rehabilitation Phase 1

Knee Rehabilitation Phase 1 should begin when you are able to bear weight on your affected leg with minimal pain. During phase 1 of rehabilitation, you are going to begin training the other joints of your lower body (Hip, Ankle, Foot), as well as the core, and stretching the muscles that cross the knee (Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Calves). It is also important during this phase that you begin low-intensity cardiovascular exercise on a bicycle. This will improve blood flow to the injured knee and improve healing times. At this point low-intensity sport, specific drills can be performed (ex. Shooting free throws, Boxing on a heavy bag).

Length of time: 2-4 weeks

Priority:

  • Restore Range of motion
  • Train non-injured body parts (Upper Body, Core, Hips)
  • Regain Balance

Training Modifications:

  • A protective Knee Brace should be worn during exercise
  • Avoid running, sprinting, jumping, and cutting
  • Perform low intensity, sport-specific drills
  • Focus on Upper Body exercise

Treatment Plan Example:

  1. 10 minutes on the stationary bike
  2. Standing Quadricep Stretch, 3 sets of 30 seconds
  3. Standing Hamstring Stretch, 3 sets of 30 seconds
  4. Deadbug, 3 sets of 10 per side
  5. Glute Bridge, 3 sets of 15
  6. Single leg stance, 2 sets of 20 seconds per side

Knee Rehabilitation Phase 2

Phase 2 of rehabilitation is focused on transitioning into lower body stability and knee-dominant exercises. During this phase, unilateral lower body exercises are performed to enhance balance, stability, and strength in the affected leg. Additionally, knee-dominant exercises such as leg extensions and leg curls are used to strengthen the muscles around the knee. Joint training such as CARs and PAILs is used to continue to restore range of motion in the knee and hip of the affected leg. During this time, low-intensity sport-specific drills and running can be introduced as tolerated.

Length of time: 2-4 weeks

Priority:

  • Single leg Exercises (Lunge, Squat, Step-up)
  • Single Joint Movements (Leg Curls, Leg Extension, Calf Raises, Hip Extension)
  • Joint Training (CARs, PAILs/RAILs)

Training Modifications:

  • Moderate intensity running/jogging, ease back into Sports drills.

Treatment Plan Example:

  1. 20 minutes on Stationary Bike
  2. Seated Leg Curls, 3×20
  3. Seated Leg Extension, 3×20
  4. Walking Lunges x100 total steps
  5. Knee Flexion PAILS/RAILS x2 minutes
  6. Standing Hip CARs x5/side

 

Knee Rehabilitation Phase 3

Phase 3 of rehabilitation is the final phase and as such can last anywhere from 4 weeks to multiple months. During this phase, there should be very minimal pain in the knee, and the range of motion should be at least 90% restored. Bilateral strengthening exercises such as squats and deadlifts should be introduced into this phase as well as plyometric exercises to ensure the knee is stable enough to withstand ballistic forces. If there is still a limitation in active mobility in the lower extremity, passive range holds and end range lift offs should be used to expand the range of motion. During this phase, it is also appropriate to introduce live sports drills if applicable while wearing a knee sleeve to improve sensory awareness of the affected knee.

Length of Time: 4-12 weeks

Priority:

  • Bilateral Strength (Back Squat, Trap Bar Deadlift, Leg Press)
  • Plyometrics (Box Jump, Broad Jump, Olympic Lifts)
  • End Range Joint Training (Passive Range Holds, End Range Lift Offs, Eccentric Neural Groove)

Training Modifications: Return to live sports drills at moderate intensity, stay cautious of activities that continue to aggravate the knee.

Treatment Plan Example:

  1. Seated Box Jump 7×3
  2. Hang Power Clean 5×2
  3. Back Squat 3×8
  4. SL Leg Press 3×12
  5. Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl 3×15
  6. Knee Flexion Passive Range Holds

If you are currently dealing with a chronic injury and would like an assessment and custom-tailored rehabilitation program, we would love to help!

 

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How to prepare your Body for Combat Sports

martial arts

Have a Purpose for Each Session

Combat Sports are tough and physical, and while it may be tempting to push yourself to the limit on every session, in the long run, this approach will hinder your ability to excel in the long term.boxing

Periodizing both the content and intensity of the session are important when structuring a week of training. For example, performing hard sparring 6 days a week will certainly result in overtraining and likely injury as well. A more appropriate approach may be to have 2 light/technical sessions during the week, 2 moderate/conditioning sessions, and 2 hard/sparring sessions. Splitting the week up this way will allow you to spend certain periods of the week on technical proficiency and others practicing the sport in a live situation.

Additionally, working on different aspects of your sport throughout the week will help prevent overuse and allow for higher intensity in each session. If, for example, a kickboxer works only on throwing hooks throughout the week, the shoulders, elbows, and wrists may take the excessive strain. Alternatively, making some days more boxing heavy and other days more kick heavy can spread the weekly volume throughout the body.

 

Incorporate Strength Training

Because combat sports competitions are generally centered around weight classes, there has been a bit of a stigma against weight training for combat sports athletes for fear of excessive weight gain or slowing down an athlete. What these athletes don’t consider, however, is that strength training does not necessarily equate to weight gain and can significantly improve an athlete’s durability.

When an athlete is competing in a sport that does involve weight classes, it is pertinent that he or she fills out that weight class with lean muscle tissue as much as possible. Even if you are comfortable at your current body weight, strength training (particularly in a lower rep range) can allow you to become stronger without gaining any size.

Additionally, strength training plays a critical role in injury prevention. Putting external load on your body in the form of resistance training improves the strength of your muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments while also enhancing joint durability. By regularly exposing your soft tissues to load, you reduce the likelihood of these tissues becoming strained or torn.

 

weight training

Prioritize Sleep

Most individuals are aware that proper sleep quality and quantity are important for the body to recover physically and mentally but for combat athletes, sleep is non-negotiable. Combat sports are both very physically taxing as well as psychologically. Getting onto a jiu-jitsu mat, into a boxing ring, or into an octagon requires a high level of mental toughness as well as psychological prowess.

Because the stakes are so high in combat sports, it is extremely important that an individual take advantage of proper sleep to ensure that they are mentally sharp during every practice. In the world of combat sports, a mental lapse can mean the difference between getting punching in the face, strangled, or getting away safely.

Sleep will also aid in the muscular and nervous system to recover from hard bouts of training. Not only is tough, contact training hard on the body but also on the nervous system. Being in a combative situation usually leads to an increased sympathetic response from the nervous system (think fight or flight). This heightened state of awareness needs to offset with long bouts of parasympathetic activity (rest and digest), which can be provided by high-quality sleep.

 

Ensure Proper Nutrition and HydrationNutrition

One of the best ways to keep the body healthy and free from unwanted inflammation is to make good nutritional choices. Eating lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats will ensure that your body has the proper fuel that it needs for every training session.

Caloric intake is also a critical piece of the nutrition equation when it comes to combat athletes with a high volume of training. While some, select individuals feel better keeping carbohydrate intake to a minimum, this macronutrient is responsible for providing your body with usable energy to be burned during training and daily activities. Carbohydrates are best consumed before and after training and both fuel the workout and allow you to recover from training.

Combat sports athletes are notorious for long training sessions and multiple sessions per day. This means that not only are their bodies losing a lot of water but electrolytes as well. If an athlete is training for more than 90 minutes per day, it is imperative that he or she include electrolytes in their re-hydration beverage to ensure that not only water but minerals are properly replenished.

 

Listen to your body

As an athlete or even an avid-hobbyist, it is sometimes too easy to ignore your body and “train through pain”. This approach, unfortunately, leads to a number of nagging injuries as well as a significantly increased likelihood of serious injury that can take you out of training for months. If you are experiencing consistent or worsening pain in an area of your body, it is always better to have the area checked out by a professional, rather than waiting until it is too late.

 

If you are a combat sports participant looking for a sports-centered chiropractic physician to help keep you healthy, please reach out to our office, we’d love to help you!

 

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How to Recover Like a Pro

Pro athlete recovery

Recovery is the process of returning to a normal state of health, mind, and strength. In the context of training, the ability to “Recover” means not just returning to normal, but even better than before.

For our overview of How to Recover Properly, see Here

When it comes to gaining strength, improving running times, or improving in sports, much of the emphasis is on the intensity and frequency of training, but little attention is paid to the quality of recovery. Proper Recovery is a multi-factorial paradigm that requires active participation in aligning your nutrition, active rest, and modalities with your training schedule.

Nutrition

The first and most important aspect of recovery is what you are (or aren’t) putting into your body. This includes foods, liquids, and supplements

fruits and vegetablesOne of the primary goals of recovery is to mitigate inflammation, meaning consuming anti-inflammatory foods such as

  • Berries/Cherries
  • Salmon
  • Brocolli/Peppers/Mushrooms/Spinach/Kale
  • Avocado
  • Walnuts/Almonds
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In addition to reducing consumption of pro-inflammatory foods such as

  • Fried Foods (French Fries, Chicken Fingers
  • Processed Carbohydrates (Bagels, Flour Tortillas, Breakfast Cereal)
  • Soda (Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mountain Dew)

Making these food choices alone can have a profound impact on your body’s ability to fight off inflammation and recover properly from training.

 

Supplementation

It can be challenging at times to eat all of the proper foods every day, which is why recommend supplementing the nutrients that you are not able to get in your diet on a daily basis.

The supplements listed in this article are general guidelines and we always recommend that you consult your physician if you are planning on taking supplements.

If you are interested in a customized supplement protocol for your body, you can book an appointment with our functional Medicine Physician Here.

Supplements that have been shown to aid in recovery include:

  • Omega-3 Fish Oil
  • Co-Q10
  • Glutamine
  • L-Arginine

vitamins and supplements

Movement

While there is certainly value in simply putting your feet up relaxing on the couch during an off day, there is also value in being active on your off days in order to promote blood flow and mobility for recovery. We generally recommend to our patients that they move every day, whether that be a walk, a 15-minute stretch, or swim in the ocean, a daily dose of movement goes a long way.

Activities that we consider to be “Active Recovery Include”

  • Low-Intensity Cardio (Walking, Hiking, Casual Swimming)
  • Stretching or Mobility Work
  • Deload or Light Sessions in the gym

Modalities

Being under the care of a clinician or therapist trained in sports medicine can be an invaluable tool to enhance your recovery from training. Not only will these providers have access to tools to expedite your recovery but can also give you a comprehensive assessment to determine which areas may need more recovery or correction than others.

If you would like to schedule a comprehensive Movement Assessment with one of our providers Click Here!

Some Specific Modalities and Treatments that can enhance your recovery include

Hands on manual care from a trained provider is one of the most valuable investments you can make into your health and recovery. Professional Athletes often invest thousands of dollars annually into their “Recovery Team” to ensure that their nutrition, manual therapy, and corrective exercise is custom tailored to their specific needs.

Dry NeedlingProgramming

In addition to eating right, moving often and utilizing recovery therapies, properly programming and peroidizing your training will also ensure that you have an appropriate balalnce of breaking down your muscles and re-building your muscles.

Most times, individuals just continue to train hard year-round and only take time off for injuries or illness. While, injury and illness are often your body telling you that you are overtraining, we advocate that you take planned deload weeks during the year every 4-12 weeks to recover form a given training phase and prepare your body physically, mentally and metabolically for the next phase of training.

In addition to planning deloads, it is important to also measure your progress to ensure that your weekly volume does not exceed what you are able to recovery from. Weeks and monthly of trianing above threshold will result in “overtraining” and will not allow your body to adapt and supercompensate from training.

 

For more informative videos about this topic and many more, please visit our Youtube channel as well as our Instagram Page.

 

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6 Ways to Keep your Shoulder Healthy and Functional

Shoulder Health Physical Therapy

1. Move Through a Full Range of Motion DAILY

Joints love to move. Moving your joint through its full range of motion on a regular basis helps maintain joint mobility and allows for adequate nutrition and blood flow to be supplied to the joint. The shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in the body with a variety of muscular, ligamentous, and capsular attachments, making it even more important that each motion (ex. flexion, adduction, internal rotation) is performed on a daily basis.

For some daily Shoulder Motion to Practice for Mobility Click Here

 

2. Pull More than you Push

Resistance training is an excellent way to keep your shoulders strong and healthy. Performing Pushing Exercises for the chest and deltoid, Pulling Exercises for the upper back and lats as well as shoulder exercises for the lateral/posterior deltoid and rotator cuff are integral for long term shoulder health and function.

In order to weight train appropriately without over-taxing your shoulder joint, you should be performing 2-2.5 times as many pulling exercises (pull-ups, rows) as pushing exercises (bench press, pushups).

For more specific exercises to strengthen the shoulder safely see our “Upper Body Training” Playlist on our Youtube channel Here.

 

3. Train your Shoulder Mobility

Many of you train to become stronger, faster, lose body fat, etc. But do you train for mobility? Mobility is a physical capacity just like strength and speed are, it must be trained deliberately on a regular basis to see a noticeable improvement.

Performing the Shoulder CARs variation seen above is a great starting point but there are also a number of ways to improve range of motion and motor control long term without excessive stretching and soft tissue therapy.

At our clinic, we use a system called Functional Range Conditioning in order to work with patients to improve usable mobility long-term.

 

4. Show your Shoulder Blades Some Love

We cannot have a conversation about shoulder health without talking about the shoulder blades. The Shoulder Blade (Scapula) is intimately connected to the shoulder both structurally and functionally. If the shoulder blades do not move properly and the muscles connecting the shoulder to the shoulder blade are not engaged, the shoulder will never be able to express its full range of motion.

The Scapula, Humerus, and Cervical Spine (Neck) work together to allow for clean and efficient movement of the upper extremity. When working on shoulder health… Keep your Scapula strong and mobile!

 

5. Strengthen the Small Stabilizers of the Shoulder

“The Rotator Cuff” has gained a lot of attention over the years as it is an area that is frequently injured and deconditioned. The Rotator Cuff is a group of muscles made up of the Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, and Subscapularis. The role of the “Rotator Cuff” is not only to rotate the shoulder but also to stabilize the shoulder during motion and should be trained in both functions. 

Additionally, the muscles of the rotator cuff often become tight and overworked in individuals involved in powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, boxing, tennis, golf, and baseball. For these types of issues, we often use manual therapy techniques such as Active Release Technique to resolve the tightness and poor tissue quality of these muscles.

 

6. Develop Adequate Thoracic (Upper Back) Mobility

The era of technology and long work hours has caused many of our upper backs to become immobile and excessively rounded (flexed). Regular Motion of the thoracic spine into extension and rotation is critical for upper body and shoulder health. Here are a few variations on training Upper Back Extension and Upper Back Rotation.

The shoulder is most comfortable moving with a neutral or extended upper back, so be sure to get your upper back adjusted regularly to keep a strong posture when moving the shoulder!

Be sure to follow our “Shoulder Series” to gain valuable insight on shoulder health! We will be sharing practice tips to improve in each of these areas on our Instagram.

These are general guidelines that may not apply to you. If you are experiencing any shoulder pain we recommend that you are assessed by a health care professional.

If you or someone that you know is currently dealing with shoulder pain and would like an evaluation and customized treatment plan, please reach out! We’d love to help you.

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5 Key Reasons you May Be Experiencing Headaches

Headache Treatment and Therapy

1. Stress

  • Stress can come in the form of
    • Emotional stress
    • Physical Stress such as clenching teeth or poor posture
    • Physiological stress in the form of excessive sugar or caffeine
  • Stress is a normal human reaction that can be used to improve productivity and awareness, but when excessive stress begins compounding, it can detrimental to your health.
  • Though a cycle of stress can be difficult to manage, simple strategies can help such as
    • Deep Breathing
    • Meditation
    • Quality Sleep
    • Eating nutrient-dense foods
    • Proper hydration

2. Posture

  • Common postural stressors include sitting with a rounded back, chin protrusion, or tilting/rotating the head to one side for a period of time.
  • These postures may lead to excessive tone in the muscles of the neck, leading to increased pressure on the nerves and joints.

3. Food/Drink Consumption

  • Food intolerances are one of the least known causes of headaches
  • Food/Drink triggers are very individualized, so be aware of what you are consuming when you are experiencing headaches
  • Common foods and beverages that may trigger headaches include:
    • Caffeine
    • Alcohol
    • MSG containing foods
    • Aged Cheeses
    • Excessively processed or salty foods

4. Hydration

  • Dehydration is a very common and overlooked reason you may be experiencing headaches, particularly living in South Florida.
  • Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water, try and always have a bottle of water to sip throughout the day.
  • If you are physically active and sweat often, be sure to include electrolytes in your hydration program to replenish what is lost during activity.

5. Movement Quality

  • Poor movement quality and range of motion in the neck, shoulders, and upper back can lead to strain on sensitive structures such as joints, ligaments, and nerves.
  • Regularly moving the joints and muscles of the neck through a full range of motion can reduce the likelihood of excessive strain and headaches.
  • Strengthening the small stabilizing muscles of the neck and shoulder blades can balance muscles and reduce the over-use of larger muscle groups in the neck

 

If you or someone you know has been dealing with headaches and would like to schedule and evaluation with one of our physicians please give us a a call or click the link below!

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Grapplers Guide to Injury Prevention: Closed Guard

Jiu Jitsu Closed Guard

The Closed Guard

The Guard is arguably the most fundamental position in Brazilian jiu-jitsu during which you, the guard player, are on the ground and your opponent is above you looking to pass your guard. Though there are many variations of the guard, the position can be fundamentally broken into two parts: closed guard and open guard.

The Closed guard is a position in which your legs are wrapped around the hips or torso of your partner. From this position you, as the guard, player are likely looking to perform a sweep and gain top position, or submit your opponent from the bottom. 

First, we are going to look at the major sweeps from the closed guard and what physical capacities are necessary to perform these sweeps effectively and safely. The specific technique of the sweep will not be address in this article because every professor teaches their variation, but generally, there are enough commonalities amongst how these sweeps are taught for us to analyze the biomechanics.

Second, we will analyze some of the common submissions from closed guard and talk through the proper execution of these submissions from a biomechanical standpoint.

For each major sweep and submission from closed guard covered below, there will also be a video covering a specific exercise that can be used to improve the quality of execution of these fundamental jiu-jitsu movements.

 

The Scissor Sweep: 

The Scissor sweep is one of the first taught sweeps in a beginners jiu-jitsu class. This sweep involves opening the guard and kicking your opponent with the top leg while chopping with the bottom leg. This “scissoring” action coupled with proper upper body grips will force your opponent to one side with no base. 

While this sweep is basic in its execution and does not require as much mobility as other sweeps, it doesn’t require the ability to quickly shift your hips from square to your opponent into a position where your hips are perpendicular. If you do not have appropriate coordination between your core and hips as well as dexterity, you could potentially excessively rotate through your lower back during this sweep.

 

The Pendulum Sweep:

The Pendulum Sweep is another fundamental sweep in Jiu-Jitsu. Relative to the Scissor Sweep, the pendulum sweep has more set up and mobility requirements. While there are several ways to execute a pendulum sweep, the general premise is that you take away your opponent’s base-arm on the side of the sweep and use the momentum up a full-body pendulum to knock your opponent in that direction.

While the sweep itself involves a scissoring motion similar to the scissor sweep, the momentum behind a pendulum sweep coming from your mobility in your hamstrings and adductors as well as your ability to contract these muscles from end range.

Below is an end-range training variation we use with outpatients to improve hamstring and adductor output for grappling as well as striking motions.

 

The Hip Sweep:

The Hip Sweep is another common sweep variation taught in beginners jiu-jitsu classes. This sweep does require rotation of the thoracic spine in addition to the bracing and hip dexterity requirements of other closed guard sweeps.

During this sweep, you will first look to bring your opponent’s hands down to the mat and then will post on your same-side elbow or hand while turning your torso and hips over your opponent, ideally ending in mount. Proper stability of the arm, shoulder blade, and spine is required to execute this sweep efficiently and safely. Having a stable upper body foundation allows you to build the base for your hips to finish the sweep.

Below we will look at a DNS 10-month transition that can be used to train the mechanics of this position and develop the proper body mechanics for a technical and well-executed hip bump sweep.

 

In addition to sweeping the top opponent, closed guard players are also generally looking for an opportunity to submit the opponent inside of their guard from the bottom. Again, there are several variations in how these submissions are taught, but we will use the common principles of these submissions to break down the mechanics.

 

The Armbar:

The Armbar from guard is one of the most fundamental jiu-jitsu submissions and is generally taught early in the beginner’s curriculum. As with other jiu-jitsu submissions, the specifics of the execution will likely vary from school to school depending on the preference of the professor but the fundamentals of the armbar and generally consistent across techniques. 

The traditional armbar from guard requires holding onto your opponent’s arm followed by a shift of the hips to the opposite side followed by a clamp made by your legs on your opponent’s torso and neck. From this “finishing position”, the bar is extended over the crease of the hip/groin for the submission.

One of the most unique characteristics of the mechanics of the armbar is the briding of the hips into the arm combined with the clamp. Performing this movement safely and effectively requires control of the lower abs and the ability to properly activate the posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings) without overextending the lower back. Below is a drill we use to practice proper lower ab activity with glute and hamstring activation.

 

The Triangle:Jiu Jitsu Triangle

The triangle is another fundamental jiu-jitsu submission that has several unique biomechanical and anthropometric (leg length, etc) requirements to be effective. The requirements to execute a triangle from guard are similar to those of the armbar. The technique involves bridging the hips up and locking your legs around the neck and one arm of your opponent. This position is where the leg length and hip dexterity become important.

The finishing of the Triangle choke itself requires pulling one leg horizontally across the back of your partner and locking the opposite knee around the shin. This requires a high degree of hip external rotation to properly execute this submission without excessive strain on your hip and back or a failed submission.

 

The Cross-Collar Choke:

The cross-collar choke is generally the first submission that is taught in a fundamentals jiu-jitsu GI class. This choke involves gripping the two collars of your opponent with opposite arms and ulnar deviating your wrist, to the pinky side. Generally, when individuals have difficulty with ulnar deviation, they will compensate by trying to complete the choke with the arms and likely fail or over-exerting the upper body. Below is a demonstration of controlled articular rotation for the wrist that we use to improve wrist mobility for grappling and other sports.

 

If you are a jiu-jitsu athlete currently dealing with an injury or would like guidance on how to stay injury-free and have longevity in the sport, book a consultation with us below!

 

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5 Ways to Optimize your Workstation for Productivity

Workstation ergonomics

Most individuals spend more time at their desks or workstation than they do at home. The workstation should be a place that you are able to be productive and comfortable but unfortunately, for many, the workstation is a place associated with stress, discomfort and often times, pain in the neck and back

Below we are going to give you 5 practical tips in order to optimize your workstation so that your body feels great at the end of the workday and you don’t need to be distracted by neck and back pain during your workday.

 

 

1. Ensure the Brightness and Text size on your screen are appropriate

 

This first pointer for workstation ergonomics is one that is often overlooked when an individual is looking to make their workspace neck and back-friendly. The reason that improper brightness and text size can affect neck and back pain is that if you cannot read your screen you will be more inclined to lean forwards towards your computer, resulting in excessive protrusion of the chin, upper back flexion, and lower back flexion.

 

 

2. Place your Desk and Chair at a height that allows you to sit upright 

 

Often times, individuals will neglect the importance of chair and desk height for ergonomic safety and health. Ideally, you want to have your chair at a height that allows you to have two feet on the floor and allow your forearms to rest on your desk.

If your desk is too high, you will be required to have your arms higher and ultimately this will lead to tension in the neck as well as an increased likelihood of carpal tunnel syndrome. Conversely, If the desk is too low, you may be more likely to lean forward or flex your spine excessively to reach the level of the screen.

 

 

3. Have lumbar support on your chair to maintain your natural spinal curvature

 

Contrary to popular belief, your spine is not meant to be “straight”. Your spine has three distinct curves and is shaped more like the letter “S”. When individuals sit for an extended period of time, they are likely to round their lower back. Naturally, the lower back is meant to hold a slight arch, meaning that sitting oftentimes reverses its intended curvature. 

Over time, when this flexed position of the lower back is held for an extended period of time, you are likely to experience lower back discomfort. We often recommend to our patients to use a Mckenzie Lumbar Roll or purchase a chair that allows them to maintain a normal lumbar curvature.

 

 

4. Take breaks regularly to move your hip and hips through a full range of motion

 

Microbreaks are an area of workplace ergonomics that most individuals partake in by necessity. After sitting for hours working on a project, it is natural to walk to get up, stretch, and walk around. Though walking around the office for a few minutes is a great start, we want you to be even more specific with your microbreaks. We recommended getting up for 5 minutes from your desk every hour or two.

While sitting at work, generally, the joints of the spine, as well as your hip and shoulders, are in a flexed position. Standing and walking, however, are positions considered to be relatively neutral. We know that joints love to be moved in all directions regularly, so what we want to do during our microbreaks is not only stand and walk but actively extend our joints. Here are some examples of extension based movements that can be performed during your breaks at work!

 

5. Practice Proper  and Controlled Respiration through your abdomen

 

Proper respiration is one of the most significantly overlooked aspects of posture, ergonomics, and even physical activity. When individuals become stressed at work, their posture breaks down and they begin slightly hyperventilating (taking quick breaths). 

Taking these short, choppy breaths forces you to use your shoulder elevator and neck musculature to assist in the breathing process. This causes a buildup for tension in the upper back and neck and puts small degrees of compression through your spine.

By focusing on expanding your abdomen while breathing, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth, you will be able to decompress your spine, protect your lower back and inhibition the muscles of the neck that commonly contribute to pain and tightness.

For more details on how to breathe properly and begin to train for respiration, please see the video below.

Breaking Down Weightlifting Movements: The Snatch

Athlete Performing a Snatch

The Olympic Snatch is one of the most complicated and effective weightlifting movements that is frequently used in sports performance, CrossFit, and barbell sport.

The Snatch itself involves Lifted a barbell from the ground to the overhead position in one motion. Traditionally, the snatch is caught deep in a squat position requiring a significant amount of upper-body stability and lower body mobility.

Part of what makes the snatch such a unique lift is that any small deviation from proper technique and mechanics can result in a missed lift. For other major lifts in the super total such as the deadlift, Clean and Jerk, and Squat, small deviations can be compensated for by strength and grit. This is why the Snatch is called by some “the most athletic movement in Olympic Sport”

 

The snatch itself is typically broken down into three primary phases; the first pull, the second pull, and the catch

 

The First Pull:

During the first pull, the barbell is lifted off of the ground up to the crease of the hip. Within the first pull, the knees are pulled back to make room the barbell around the knees and then return forwards as the bar is brought towards the crease of the hip.

The physical demands of this position include primarily proper thoracic (upper/middle back) extension, foot stability, and the ability to appropriately load the hamstrings

While there is much debate as to the appropriate torso height for the liftoff phase of the snatch, most coaches will agree that a rounded upper back is an efficient position to pull from, which means that some level of thoracic extension, without composing the neck or lower back is ideal.

Additionally, the ability to stabilize the arch of the foot is critical for the liftoff phase as the foot is to be in full contact with the ground and any deviation away from the balanced position can result in a missed lift or injury, particularly when the weight increases relatively to your max. Most lifters also use an Olympic weightlifting shoe designed to improve dorsiflexion capacity of the ankle, though at times at the expense of a properly centered foot and stabilized arch.

The initial lift of the bar during the snatching from the ground up to the top of the knee requires a proper hip hinge during which the hamstrings and posterior chain are adequately loaded to produce maximal force and reduced the compressive load on the spine while lifting the bar. Likewise, the bar is taught to be kept very close to the body to reduce strain place on the lower back during the lift.

 

The Second Pull:

Once the bar has reached the top of the thigh or hip crease, the second pull is initiated in which the body uses triple extension (hip, knee, ankle) to propel the bar vertically. Once the bar has reached the maximal height, the lifter descends into the catch position to receive the barbell.

Athletes vary in at which point they initiate the second pull. Some athletes chose to extend just before the bar reaches the crease or the hip but the majority of weightlifting coaches teach the lifter to be patient during the first pull and explosively triple-extend once the bar reaches the hips in the snatch. An early second pull can result in an inefficient bar bath and potentially a leak of potential vertical force to propel the bar upwards.

Important characteristics for the second pull are more related to training athletic qualities and synchronizing extension of the hip, knee, and ankle. From a mobility and motor control standpoint, however, the ability to properly extend the hip while stabilizing the spine is arguably the most important physical characteristic for executing an efficient and safe second pull.

Hip Extension is not only an important motion for the snatch, but also a variety of fitness movements including the deadlift, running, bridging, and lunging. Often individuals possess very little hip extension and use their lumbar spine (lower back) to extend during a lift or athletic movement. When we can effectively address pure hip extension, through manual therapy and specific exercises, we can expand your force capacity as well as significantly reduce the likelihood of a lower back injury.

 

The Catch:

After the lifting drops under the barbell following the second pull, the catch position requires the lifter to have two feet planted on the floor and the arms locked out overhead. Once the lifter catches in a stable position and stands up to the standing position.

The “catch” phase of the lift is by far the most physically demanding in that it requires a tremendous ability to sit into a deep squat with an upright posture and lock the arms out overhead. The squat itself has numerous prerequisites that we will cover in a later installment of this series, but the difference during this lift is that the squat is required with a barbell locked out overhead. A traditional powerlifting squat has very little upper body mobility requirements beyond enough shoulder rotation to hold the bar. The front squat does require a relatively upright torso as well as upper body extensibility for the front-rack. However, neither of these compare to the demands of the overhead squat.

To catch the barbell in a stable enough position to stand up and maintain a successful lift, the shoulder complex must have a tremendous degree of overhead stability coupled with adequate upper back extension to take the strain off of the shoulder joint itself. 

Additionally, a physical capacity that is not talked about frequency is the ability of the wrist to radially deviate (bend towards the thumb side). Generally, at higher levels of Olympic weightlifting, lifters will grip very wide on the bar to both meet the hip crease during the second pull and reduce the overhead mobility requirement during the catch. Because the wrist is a small and complex joint, we mustn’t place the wrist in a vulnerable position during the snatch.

 

Common Injuries Seen in the Snatch

If you are a Crossfitter, Olympic weightlifter, or other athlete and would like a joint-by-joint injury risk assessment as well as therapy to correct these findings, please reach out to us at 754-231-8338, we would love to help you!

10 Push-ups Progressions for Strength, Size, and Stability

Push ups

The Push-up is one of the most battle-tested exercises to develop your chest, shoulders, triceps, and your abdominals. There is a reason that everyone from Elementary Physical Education Teachers to NFL strength and conditioning coaches uses this exercise – it’s a fundamental movement that has unlimited regressions and progressions, making it usable for anyone.

At its core, the pushup is a very simple exercise, but making slight variations to ensure proper muscle activation and technique turns this simple exercise into a challenging full-body exercise. Doing simple down-and-up push-ups in just the beginning of the endless variations and progressions of this exercise. 

Working through a proper progression on an exercise is very important for getting the most benefit from the exercise and protecting your joints from unnecessary injury. Unfortunately, due to poor technique and rapid progression, individuals frequently experience shoulder pain and wrist pain when performing pushups.

Before beginning any exercise program be sure that you have the pre-requisite joint range of motion to perform the exercise. In the case of the pushup, it’s important you have adequate shoulder extension and wrist extension in order to perform the exercise safely and properly. If you are experiencing pain during a push-up, see a qualified professional to give you an assessment to help you correct the issue!

We recommend working through these progressions slowly and once you are able to perform variation for repetitions and multiple sets with flawless technique, try the next variation!

Isometric Holds

    • Brace your abdomen
    • Be sure your entire hand is in contact with the floor and rotating slightly outwards
    • Maintain a slight Chin-tuck

Eccentric Pushups

    • Start in the same position as the isometric push-up
    • Slowly lower yourself down for 5-8 seconds without losing your brace of chin tuck
    • Once you have lowered yourself all the way down, restart at the top

Incline Pushups

    • Find a surface that is elevated and allows for a comfortable position of the wrist
    • Lower yourself to the surface over the course of 3 seconds with good form
    • Think “Push the surface away” as your press-up

1.5 Rep Pushups

    • Start by performing one full eccentric pushup to the ground
    • Instead of pressing all the way up, press yourself up until your elbow are roughly 90 degrees
    • Return down to the ground under control and press yourself back up to the top

Pushups with Shoulder Tap

    • Perform a Full Repetition of a push-up with good form
    • At the top of each repetition, lift one hand up and touch the opposite shoulder
    • When you lift the hand off the surface, maintain the integrity of the rest of the body

Single leg Pushups

    • From the starting position, lift one leg off of the ground
    • Keep the leg lifted as your perform full pushups
    • Do not arch the back or shift your hips when the leg lifts

Elbow to Knee Pushups

    • Start by performing one full pushup with good technique
    • Once you reach the top of the pushup, lift one arm and the opposite leg up off of the ground
    • Touch the lifted elbow to the lifted knee, without excessively moving your spine

Push-up to Sit out

  • Start by performing a full pushup with good technique
  • At the top of the push-up, lift one and one leg off of the table
  • Turn your body and lift the one leg up towards the ceiling with maintaining contact of the opposite limbs

Plyo Pushup

    • Perform a full eccentric pushup with good technique and a short pause at the bottom
    • From the bottom of the pushup, push explosively through your hands and attempt to lift slightly off the ground at the end of the repetitions
    • Catch yourself in the pushup position with a slight elbow bend and reset for the next repetitions

Clapping Push-ups

    • Perform a controlled eccentric pushup until your chest touches the floor
    • Once the chest touches, push explosively through the ground and clap you hands together while in the air
    • Land with “soft elbows” as to not put too much strain on the wrist and reset the position for the next repetition

Want to Train for Performance? Start with your Glutes.

Athletes deadlifting

For anyone that participates in athletic training or has been through physical therapy, some phrases that might sound familiar are “strengthen your glutes”, “Turn on your glutes”, “Active your glutes”, “Your glute isn’t firing”, etc. If you are able to use the prime movers and stabilizers of your hip effectively, then you will take the strain off of the joints of your pelvis, lower back, and knee.

 

The reality is that a muscle is never on or off, and even for every given muscle strength is very specific. A muscle may be weak in one position and strong in another depending upon the position of your body.

 

It is for this reason that a lot of rehabilitation and strength training for athletic performance emphasizes strengthening the glutes. In a performance setting, this may include Weighted Hip Thrusts, sled drags, and sumo stance deadlifts. In a therapy setting, this may include exercises such as glute bridges, clamshells, and kickbacks.

 

When most individuals are referring to the “glutes”, the muscles specifically they are referring to are the glutes Maximus, our bodies most powerful hip extensor, as well as our Gluteus Medius, a hip abductor and internal rotator. The gluteus medius is also responsible for the stability of the pelvis during locomotion. There are, however, a number of other small muscles in the hip that support the larges glute muscles and provide both stability and motor control to the hip.

 

While training the glute to prevent injury and performance is a great idea, oftentimes the proper intent behind the training is lacking. The ability to use and control the hip through a full range of motion is significantly more important than being able to generate a lot of force in one exercise. Additionally, activation of the diaphragm and proper respiration builds a critical foundation for adequate hip movement and glute activation.

 

When training the glutes in a therapeutic or rehabilitation setting, it is more valuable to break down exercises into the joint being used and specific motion or function, rather than focus excessively on which muscles are working. 

 

Hip Extension: Hip extension is an important move because it is used every day during walking. Each step we take requires a slight amount of hip extension. During running or sprinting, our hip demands even more extension. 

If we do not have an adequate hip extension range of motion and control, then other parts of your body such as your lumbar spine with compensating by excessively extending during movement. Because the primary muscles of the hip extension are the glute and hamstring group, it is important that we have the ability to use these muscles functionally and independently of the muscles of the lower back.

 

Examples of exercises that will help improve hip extension include Bridge Variations, Birddogs, and lunge variations.

 

 

Hip Abduction:

 Hip Abduction is when the leg travels laterally from the midline of your body. A common compensation for this movement is the lateral bending of the lumbar spine and torso. 

If the hip does not have proper abduction range of motion and control, you will generally compensation by tilting your pelvis and using your obliques and lower back muscles to compensate. Over time, this can lead to overuse of the joint of the lower back and pelvis and ultimately pain.

Exercises that improve hip abduction included Sidelying clamshells, band walks, and side bridges.

Hip Rotation:

The ability to adequately internally and externally rotate your hip is one of the most important joint motions in your whole body. Not only does your ability to control hip rotation improve your performance in athletics, but it also is a great indicator of overall hip health.

Hip rotation is driven by smaller muscles of the hip such as the Gemelli group and the piriformis. Though these muscles are often stretched and massaged, they are underdeveloped and often neglected when it comes to training and therapy. Having adequate hip rotation will prevent excessive rotation of the lower back or knee during movements such as a golf swing, a tennis stroke, or a roundhouse kick.

Because in many cases, the active rotation of the hip may be minimal, it is best to train this motion through repeated hip rotation, isometric contractions, and end range holds.

Hip Stability Training:

In addition to the three movements described above, The gluteal muscles and piriformis also act to stabilize the hip during single-leg stance and gait. This is why single-leg training has tremendous benefit even beyond improving balance and are an important part of your overall glute and hip development.

Starting with timed single leg balances and progressing to eye-closed variation or standing on an unstable surface is a great starting point for single-leg training. Once you feel comfortable and stable in a single leg stance, you can begin to incorporate exercises such as single-leg RDLs or single leg plyometric variations.

 

Remember, if you want to perform well in the gym, on the court or on the field and keep your lower body and spine healthy, you need to train your glutes through a variety of loading patterns and planes of motion. 

 

If you are dealing with hip, pelvic, or lower back discomfort and want some direction on how to improve your function long-term, give us a call and book an assessment with one of our physicians!

 

 

The 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Shoulder

Shoulder Health

 

1. Cervical Spine (Neck) Mobility

The Neck and the Shoulder complex are intimately related due to their joint proximity as well as the number of muscles that attached to both the shoulder complex and cervical spines, such as the upper trapezius and SCM (sternocleidomastoid). If these muscles become restricted at their cervical attachment, this can put a significant strain on the shoulder and restrict motion. Individuals with poor mobility in their necks have a tendency to compensate for neck motion with shoulder motion, leading to overuse and unnecessary muscle tension and adhesion development.

 

 

2. Thoracic (Upper Back) Extension

 

In order for the shoulder to be able to express its full range of motion, the thoracic spine (upper back) but be able to extend in order to create an environment for the shoulder to work properly. If the thoracic spine does not extend and you are performing a task that requires the shoulder to lift overhead, you will be forced to compensate through lumbar (lower back) extension as well as put excessive strain on your glenohumeral joint (shoulder). Because of the intimate relationship between the scapulothoracic joint and the shoulder, a poorly moving upper back will lead to poor shoulder blade movement and ultimately will impact the entire shoulder.

 

3. Proper Diaphragm Function

 

Of all of the requisites on this list, this one may the one that is hardest to connect to the shoulder. Most individuals think of the diaphragm as an involuntary muscle associated with breathing and abdomen, how could it be related to the shoulder? A strong case could be made that in order for any joint, particularly the spinal joints, shoulder, and hip, that the diaphragm respiratory and stability system must first be intact to express proper movement. This concept of “proximal stability for distal mobility” starts with core stability and proper diaphragm function. By using the diaphragm to produce intra-abdominal pressure, you are able to lay down a strong foundation for your shoulders to move off of.

 

4. Shoulder Blade (Scapula) Movement

 

The glenohumeral joint or the shoulder cannot be talked about without also mentioning the shoulder blade. The humerus and the scapula work very intimately together to produce movement in the shoulder joint which is the meaning of the nerve” Scapulo-humeral rhythm” The shoulder relies on the shoulder blade to slide and glide for all motions of the shoulder. Even if you have a very strong and mobile shoulder if your shoulder blade does not do its part in moving and stabilizing the shoulder, you will not be able to move effectively. Be sure that when you are training and mobilizing your shoulder that you don’t neglect its partner in crime… The scapula!

5. Adequate Joint Centration

 

The shoulder joint itself is a “ball in socket” joint meaning that the humerus has a round end that fits into the glenoid fossa which is a carved out socket for the shoulder. While this type of joint is able to express a large amount of range of motion, all of this freedom comes at a cost… instability. There are numerous muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other soft tissues that are required to work in sync in order for the shoulder to move properly and safely. The function of these tissues is not only to move the shoulder but also to center the shoulder in the glenoid fossa. When the shoulder sits nice and snug into the capsule, it is most able to express its full range of motion and significantly decreases the likelihood of a soft tissue injury related to the shoulder. Joint centration can be best trained through carries, get-ups, and plank variations.

 

6. Rotator Cuff Activation

 

When most individuals think of shoulder health, they think of the rotator cuff. This muscle group is made up of four muscles; the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. These muscles have two primary roles, shoulder movement, and shoulder stability. These four muscles play a significant role in shoulder joint centration (see #5) by stabilizing the head of the humerus in the joint during motion. If an individual does have good control and strength in the rotator cuff, they will more likely to use large muscles such as the Latissimus Dorsi and Pectoralis Major. Not only are these large muscles no designed to be stabilizers for the shoulder, but if too much is asked of them (primary movers and secondary stabilizers), these muscles can be more prone to injury and long term overuse. 

 

7. Full Range of Motion

 

As you can see from the prior 6 key factors to shoulder health, there are many joints and muscles that all act in synergy with the shoulder to ultimately lead to healthy and functional movement of the shoulder. Of course, improving your range of motion in the shoulder itself should be a priority. Regular stretching and mobilization of the shoulder is an important piece of shoulder health. If the thoracic spine, shoulder blade, and stability are all working properly, but the shoulder itself does not move well, then you will be limited functionally. Work on your shoulder range of motion regularly through controlled articular rotation and end range training. The shoulder is one of the most unique, complicated, and impressive joints in the body, treat it well and it will give you an abundance of movement options!

If you are currently dealing with any shoulder pain, discomfort, or want to improve your shoulder health long term, give us a call!

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Does your posture really matter?

Lower Back pain poor posture

Let’s talk POSTURE! 

From a very young age, we are reminded of the importance of good posture. Patients often talk about how their parents, grandparents, teachers, etc always told them to “sit up straight” or “stop slouching”. When we think about how many hours a day we spend looking at screens with our heads tilted forward and/or our back rounded over, it would make sense why people who care about us would give us this advice. We may be watching TV, reading a book, or doing the dishes and notice that our posture isn’t the best. We are reminded of our “bad posture” by our own bodies alerting us of the discomfort it’s feeling. 

What is Posture?

Posture involves a sustained position of the body for prolonged periods of time. This position may be held while standing, sitting or lying down. Being in sustained positions is not harmful. However, the accumulation of sustained positions over an extended period of time may inevitably cause discomfort in some individuals. Especially those who have preexisting musculoskeletal pain. 

What causes poor posture?

Poor posture can be due to a number of reasons such as obesity, pregnancy, stress, and muscle fatigue. Contrary to popular belief, poor posture is not caused by a weakness in core strength. Dr. Yoav Suprun, faculty with the Mckenzie Institute USA, debunks this common myth. He states that core strength does not hold someone in an upright position. In other words, the muscle development around the abdomen and low back will not help you achieve perfect posture. Instead, Dr. Suprun proposes that we learn how to sit, stand, lie down properly to avoid mechanical stresses especially when this stress is contributing to neck and low back pain that radiates down the arm or leg.  

How can posture affect you?

Long term poor posture can lead to various health problems that can contribute to conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, neck pain, thoracic outlet syndrome, breathing problems, and more. It is important to address postural stresses for the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal pain. 

Good posture can:

  • Decrease stress on the joints that support the spine
  • Maintain correct alignment of bones and joints
  • Reduce stress on ligaments, minimizing the risk of injury
  • Prevent muscle strain, overuse, and pain

How can we maintain the correct posture?

The first step is body awareness! It is important to pay attention to your posture as you sit, stand or lie down. Keeping your spine in a neutral position can help decrease the discomfort of postural stress. Using back support when sitting and bringing screens to eye level can drastically reduce discomfort in the low back and neck. Taking short breaks to stand, walk, or stretch when sitting for prolonged periods of time can also help decrease pain. Slouch – Over Correct is a simple exercise to perform to help train your body to recognize proper posture. Sit slumped in your chair and round your back, then slowly raise up and over-arch your lower back. Do this about 10 times every few hours to improve seated posture and decrease back pain.

It is also important to monitor our posture during sleep. Be sure to find an ergonomically friendly pillow and mattress to support your sleeping postures at night. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to posture. Be sure to find the pillow, mattress, back support, exercise, and/or stretching routine that works for YOU.

If you are experiencing numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in your arm, hand, leg, and/or foot in certain postural positions, it is possible that you may be experiencing Sciatica or Carpal Tunnel like symptoms. With this particular presentation, it is important that you receive a proper movement assessment by your healthcare practitioner. Night pain that is constant and is unchanged by position may be a more serious health presentation and it important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

How can Chiropractic Care help?

Your chiropractor can help you to maintain and correct your posture through chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue therapies, exercises and recommendations on proper positions during different activities. At Miami Spine + Performance we take a thorough look at your body’s biomechanics to address the root cause of your postural imbalances as well as teach you strategies to stay pain-free. It is our mission to build resiliency in your body and equip you with the tools necessary to prevent future episodes.

If you or someone you know is currently dealing with a postural pain and looking for permanent relief, we are here to help! Please click the link below to book an appointment.

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Maximizing your Mobility while at Home

stretching mobility exercise at home

Why Focus on mobility training now?

We are currently in a state of affairs in which most individuals are working from home and exercising at home. Many commercial gyms have closed down and individuals are looking for ways to stay active during this time. While home exercise programs involving bodyweight exercises are a great option for maintaining health and in some cases, sanity, this experience we are all going through is an excellent opportunity for us to work on some of the mobility deficits we’ve all been neglecting during our busy work, social and training lives.

One of the principles that we are always reinforcing with our patients is to regularly train their mobility just as they train for strength, skill and cardiovascular health depending upon their goals. Simply warming up before activity and occasionally stretching will not result in long term gains to your range of motion and functional control of that range. Additionally, mobility training does not require any equipment and can be performed from any location including your home or outside. Regular Mobility training can prevent conditions such as lower back stiffness, shoulder pain, and hip arthritis.

 

What causes a limitation in mobility?

Mobility can be defined as the ability of an individual to control soft tissues at their end range of motion. This is contrasted to flexibility, which is the ability to passively stretch muscular, tendonous and ligamentous tissues beyond its resting length. Flexibility is, therefore, a prerequisite for mobility, and mobility is a prerequisite for efficient movement.

Stretching, yoga, pilates and other forms of flexibility training provide a lot of value both physically and psychologically to their practitioners, however training mobility is a specific form of training and needs to be treated as such. Static stretching and spending extended periods in specific positions have been shown to improve flexibility and tissue elasticity over time but do not necessarily result in improved functional mobility that will carry over to activities of daily living and athletic pursuits.

The first step in performing at-home mobility training is to break down mobility into 3 groups: upper body, spine and lower body. 

 

Upper body mobility includes shoulder, elbow, and wrist

Spine mobility includes cervical (neck), thoracic (middle back), and lumbar spine (lower back). 

Lower body mobility includes hip, knee, and ankle.

 

There are going to be areas in your joints that you feel are particularly limited, we advise that you spend some time in each of these 9 key body areas while increasing your focus to the joint(s) that feel particularly limited. After performing your “Controlled Articular Rotations”, also known as CARS, you will have a much better sense of which particularly joints may require more specific mobility training. 

The first component of mobility training we like to address is using CARS to both assess, warm-up, and train the joint. In our office, we use these exercises as one of the key indicators for overall joint function because they demonstrate all the movements of the joint as well as transitions between movements. For ball-in-socket joints such as the shoulder and hip, we will utilize full joint CARs as well as capsular CARS (movements that target the tough outer sheath that encloses the joint). For the spine, we will be using segmental motion as well as rotation motion for the cervical and thoracic spine.

For “Controlled Articular Rotations” to be effective, the technique of the movement must be the number one priority. The movements are very simple but the true benefit is hidden within the fine details of the movement. Every joint in your body, not being moved through the joint rotation, should be kept still and slightly contracted to isolate the joint being trained. The idea is to move only the joint being worked and not any of the surrounding joints. 

Controlled Articular rotations increase mechanoreceptor activity in the joints, which is how the nervous system collects information about the environment which sends signals to the joint indicating that it is safe to move. By regularly moving the joint through a full range of motion your body will lift any “neurological restriction” brought on by poor posture or lack of movement. There is also evidence to support that muscle spasm and stiffness around the joint, designed for protection, will also be lessened by regular joint movement.

If you are planning on performing an at-home workout using bodyweight, bands, kettlebells, dumbbells or other equipment you have around the house, you can perform each of the CARs variations below for 5 repetitions to warm your body up and prepare yourself for your workout. Additionally, at the end of your training, you can perform each of these for 3 repetitions to ensure that you have maintained a full range of motion throughout your exercises program and your joints will be ready for activity the rest of the day.

Another benefit of using an active exercise such as “CARs” as a warm-up/ cooldown is that this movement will increase the total volume of your workout and ultimately increase the total caloric expenditure. If you are low on equipment at home, controlled articular rotations with added resistance, range of motion or active blocking can be used as a workout in themselves. At our clinic, we regularly use ankle and wrist weights to increase the difficulty, as well as yoga blocks to keep the range of motion strict and place more emphasis on the joint you are intending to work.

Below we have attached videos of “Controlled Articular Rotations” for a few of the major body areas. Keep in mind while you are training your mobility using these movements that there are unlimited variations such as partial CARs, half CARs, and many more.

We are also uploading home mobility workouts on our Instagram as well as our youtube channel. Utilize the principles discussed in the article as well as the videos and get creative with your mobility training!

5 Things You Need to Know About Pain

Neck and Back pain

Pain is one of the most complicated and interesting topics in modern healthcare because of the unique blend of biology, neurology, and psychology behind it. No matter what condition an individual is dealing with, their pain experience is going to be inherently different. It is nearly impossible for us as healthcare providers to compare one individual’s pain levels to another because we are always working off a different scale. 

Being in pain can be frustrating and scary, so here are 5 things you need to know about your pain

1. Your Pain is real

One of the most frustrating occurrences for a patient is going to see a doctor, being given a physical exam and imaging only to be told: “there is nothing wrong with you”. Just because there are no or very few objective findings associated with your pain does not mean that it is not real. The experience of pain is a biological, neurological and psychological experience. 

For example, you may sit and watch a funny movie and forget about your back pain but while you are stressed at work your back pain flares up. Even if all variables are the same, just the fact that you are in a stressful environment increases your lower back pain. Do not ever let a medical professional or otherwise convince your that your pain “is not real” and you need to somehow just convince yourself to be pain-free. Central and Affective pain are very real and require unique treatment plans of their own.

2. Your Pain is a message from your body

When you remain in a static postural position or perform a movement and feel pain in your body, it is your body’s way of sending you a message that the particular activity your are performing does not feel safe. There are numerous reasons why the body sends a painful message including improper joint alignment, injury to soft tissue and moving outside of your controllable range of motion. Your body’s job is to protect you from serious injury. However, this does not mean that pain always means to avoid a particular movement (see the video in #5 for details).

Feeling pain does not necessarily equate to a serious structural injury, even an activity such as sitting in a static posture may cause pain after a few hours, which is your body’s way of saying “Time to stand up and move your joints”. The body doesn’t like sustained postures or doing activities beyond its capabilities. If you are unable to lift your shoulder over your head normally, then your body will send you a pain signal if you try to do so with a barbell. This is protective!

 

3. You can control your pain better than you think

Every Painful Condition has behaviors. For example, certain conditions have constant pain, others are intermittent, some respond well to NSAIDs, while others respond to movement. As pain medicine clinicians, our first take when we see a patient is to first understand their goals and then do figure out the behaviors of conditions. If we know what times of day conditions act up, which movements are pain, and which postures are relieving, we are able to not only narrow down an effective treatment plan but also closely control the symptoms.

If your pain is intermittent (meaning that there are certain times it is painful and others it is not) then you are able to control your pain. For example, if sitting causes you lower back pain, then you are able to work standing or take frequent micro-breaks to offset the hours of sitting. Additionally, we know from the medical literature that symptoms that are intermittent and activity dependant are much more likely to be resolved quickly and conservatively than those that are constant because we are able to control when and where symptoms occur.

 

4. Your diagnosis does not tell the story

Diagnoses such as “Arthritis”, “Disc Herniation”, and a number of soft tissue injuries can be very disheartening to hear and if not accompanied by proper education on the part of your clinician, can lead to a life of disability. The truth of many of these diagnoses is that they are a normal part of aging and being active. Of course, this doesn’t mean to simply ignore your diagnosis or MRI, but there are many individuals with arthritis, disc herniations, rotator cuff tears and meniscus tears that are completely asymptomatic and have had these conditions for years.

Because in some cases the diagnosis or finding on imaging may be irrelevant or may have been present long before you felt symptoms, it is a better assessment to look at movement and symptom baselines. For example, the ability of your shoulder to function during work, activities of daily living and exercise are a better indicator of shoulder health than what you MRI says. When you are being assessed for a musculoskeletal injury, we advise that you see a conservative care physician first to see if your injury is manageable without the use of invasive surgery or medication.

5. You can stay active even when in pain

 

If you are currently dealing with pain and want a thorough assessment and a treatment plan specifically tailored to you, please give us a call or book online. We are here to help!

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Disclaimer: If you are in pain, please get a thorough assessment from a chiropractor or medical doctor! These tips are not designed to replace a visit to the doctor, but rather to be educational.

 

 

What does it mean to move well?

Yoga Exercise hallandale beach

For our Sports Chiropractors at Miami Spine and Performance, we consider movement quality to be one of the most important diagnostic criteria for an individual’s musculoskeletal health. We use movement to assess, treat and re-assess our patients to ensure that they are meeting their own personal goals and build long-term resiliency to stay injury-free. Below we will discuss how good movement is defined in our current healthcare and fitness systems as well as how we approach it at our own clinic.

The Current State of “Movement”

In 2020 there is a wealth of information available through Google, Youtube, continuing education, books, audiobooks, and distance learning in the world today, many individuals have a wealth of information at their fingertips. Having all of this information available and individuals taking learning into their own hands rather than through traditional means (modern academics, master’s degree, doctorate degree), it can be hard to know who what professional you can turn to. This is particularly true in the world of movement medicine, rehabilitation and training. Many physicians are implementing manual therapy, rehabilitation, and training in order to reduce pain and improve movement quality of their patients. Likewise, many trainers are becoming educated in manual therapy and using “prehab” with their clients to not only improve fitness but also improve the quality of movement and prevent injuries.

All of the different professions in conservative healthcare and fitness (chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists, strength and conditioning coaches, sports coaches and personal trainers) are becoming more educated on biomechanics, anatomy, and movement, there is an excellent opportunity for potential patients and clients to have access to an expert, but it can also be challenging to know which type of provider to see. Some conditions will require that you see a physician and be given an appropriate diagnosis while others may just be based upon poor movement mechanics and can be corrected with corrective exercise alone. 

It is our job as sports chiropractors and movement specialists to address what pieces may be missing in assessing and treatment movement impairment disorders as well as laying down some foundational principles for defining high-quality movement.

How can we objectively define good movement quality?

Every individual has different goals. For example, Alex Honohold, the legendary free-solo climber, for example, needs an incredible amount of dexterity and strength at end range whereas Terrence Crawford, the number one pound for pound boxer in the world, requires the ability to make subtle reactionary movements combined with quick bursts of power transferred from the hips to the hands. With this in mind, should every individual is held to separate movement standards depending upon their goals and lifestyle? And if your goals change, should the approach to movement, therapy, and function also change?

It is the responsibility of your healthcare professional to prepare you for not only the movement you currently do but also movements you want to do. Of course, a thorough activity and medical history are necessary to know your starting point and any limitations you may have going forward, but within the physiological limitations of your body, we are responsible for creating a system that is designed for fitness.

The next question that must be considered is, should we care more about movements or joints? Is there a required degree of ankle, hip, and midback range of motion that should be mandatory for an individual to perform an overhead squat. Elite athletes are masters at compensating to perform, so should we only be worried about whether or not you can perform the movement pain-free and chalk the rest up to individual variation?

The truth is, there ought to be a hierarchy when we are preparing an individual for movements. We know that if each joint is able to move through a full range of motion for that individual free of pain or obstruction, that we are prepared for much of the demands of activities of daily life and sport. This is where the relationship between physicians, trainers, sports coaches becomes crucial. A team approach is necessary for any individual to excel. The role of the physician is to prepare the patient or athlete for sport-specific activity.

Take Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for example. If we see a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner in our office, it is most likely because they performed or were forced by their partner to perform a hip movement for which their body was not prepared. As a result, their body responded with the protective measures of producing pain and obstruction to a movement that required medical attention. Once we abolished the patient’s pain and restored the hip to its original state before the injury, is this where we should stop? What have we done to ensure the patient we have taken measures to prevent further injury, that is just as much our responsibility as treating the initial insult.

Where does this leave us? Healthcare and Performance care are on a continuum. Our job as conservative musculoskeletal healthcare and performance providers is not to build a fear-mongering environment for our patients and clients to feel that they aren’t qualified to participate in activities they enjoy but rather to build battleships, unsinkable and resilient.

To gain more insight into how to improve movement, check out our trainer series on our youtube channel where we interview movement experts throughout Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, and Aventura or our blogs, written by our movement-focused chiropractic physicians.

5 ways to avoid injuries in your Crossfit gym

Crossfit Athlete Aventura, FL

Over the last ten years, CrossFit and functional group exercise have exploded onto the fitness scene, particularly in South Florida. It is difficult to drive more than one block through Hallandale Beach or Aventura without seeing a CrossFit box, boot camp, or other group fitness gym setting.

Not only do individuals enjoy the high-intensity nature of the classes themselves, but also the challenge of learning and applying new movements in the gym.

Performing challenging movements at high speed or intensity can be an excellent way to get into great shape but can also put you at risk for a sports injury if you are not taking the right steps in and out of the gym to keep yourself healthy.

In the steps below, we are going to walk you through 5 ways to make sure you stay healthy in the gym but also improving your fitness and maximizing your performance on a regular basis!

 

1. Find the “hardest thing you can do well”

Every individual that has stepped foot in a CrossFit or functional fitness gym for the first time looks around and may feel intimidated by the individuals around them performing movements they’ve never seen, with weights they’ve never touched at speeds they don’t think possible.

Prior to joining a CrossFit box, most individuals have not performed a single barbell snatch, let alone. 30 snatches at 135 pounds consecutively for time.

To start your CrossFit journey, the first principle you must become comfortable with for long-term success is the concept of “scaling” or modifying a workout in a way that meets your current fitness, strength, and skill level.

CrossFit workouts were originally written to be standardized so that one individual could measure his or her success against other competitors across the country. Over time, however, to accommodate individuals of skill levels and different backgrounds, the concept of “scaling” was introduced to keep members safe while still providing them with the appropriate fitness stimulus.

When it comes to making significant gains in fitness over the long term, injury prevention and incremental fitness gains are key. Find the hardest movements and workouts that you can complete with sound technique and train them with intensity regularly.

 

2. Be sure that your body is prepared for the task

Taking on a new workout regimen can be challenging and intimidating but ultimately very rewarding.

The human body is an incredible organism capable of tremendous physical capacity, and that capacity should be challenged regularly. It is critical that before partaking in new forms of exercise, you take the time to be sure that your body is ready to handle the demands you are about the place on it.

Every new task you ask your body to perform in the gym requires a certain level of physical capacity for the execution of the movement to be safe and efficient. Often, individuals will jump into a new exercise regimen early in the year only to stop in the first month due to injury or overtraining.

Before partaking in a new physical exercise regiment, get a thorough assessment from a movement educated physician or sports-based chiropractor that can help identify deficiencies early and give you strategies to prevent injury as you embark on your fitness journey.

Even if you don’t feel any pain at the moment, getting a “movement-based” physical exam from a sports-based chiropractor and checking to make sure that all of your joints are moving adequately can pay huge dividends in the long run of injury prevention and help set a path of success for you during your journey towards health and fitness.

 

3. Train to improve your joints capacity

When most individuals think about training physical capacity, the phrases that generally come to mind are “endurance,” “strength,” “skill,” etc. Most individuals neglect to actually take time to train the capacity of their joints.

For example, to perform a technical and efficient snatch, you must have adequate ankle dorsiflexion, hip flexion, and thoracic extension, shoulder flexion, and wrist extension.

Often athletes use the movement itself to train capacity, i.e., snatching to improve mobility. This is a misconception in how the body adapts.

First, the proper environment in your body must be established via the joint range of motion and proper muscle activation, and the exercise (in this case, the barbell snatch) is simply the expression of that physical capacity.

Not only does improving the physical capacity of the joints decrease the chance of shoulder injuries, disc herniations, and other sports injuries but also allows you to efficiently train the capacity of your skill and fitness.

If, for example, you do not have the necessary prerequisites in upper body mobility to perform a proper handstand, you will struggle immensely with performed handstand pushups for repetition and for time.

How do you go about preparing your joints for exercise?

It all starts with a thorough assessment! Miami Spine and Performance is one of the few chiropractic clinics in Hallandale Beach trained in Functional Range Conditioning (FRC), which is a system that uses a specific joint assessment to design a corrective exercise system specifically tailored to your body.

If you are interested in receiving a full-body joint-by-joint assessment and an individualized corrective program, click below!

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4. Use diet and hydration to gain an edge

 Injury prevention is not a one-dimensional process; there are several factors even unrelated to the physical capacity that can improve your body’s ability to adapt to exercise safely. Two of which are hydration and nutrition.

 

Hydration

It is no secret that South Florida can be very humid during certain times of the year, which can put you at risk for dehydration even if you aren’t visibly sweating.

Because our muscles are nearly 70% made up of water and most of our body’s metabolic processes require adequate hydration, if you are not keeping up with regular water consumption, as well as electrolytes, you may be putting yourself at risk for dehydration, cramping or predispose yourself to a muscle strain during activity.

Nutrition

In addition to hydration, nutrition can play a crucial role in how your body recovers and adapts to training. There are a lot of excellent resources for general nutritional recommendations as far as good sources of proteins, vegetables, fruits, and fats to help your body perform optimally.

If you are looking to take your training to the next level, we highly recommend you see a physician specializing in nutrition that can create a custom-tailored program based on your medical history, training schedule, and blood chemistry. At Miami Spine and Performance, we offer Functional Medicine and nutritional consultations for athletes and individuals looking to optimize their health and improve performance for the gym

 

5. Take time to deload regularly

The last factor in managing your training load, staying injury-free, and performing at a high level is taking regular deloads in training to allow your body to recover.

Every 6-8 weeks, it is recommended you take one week to reduce the intensity and volume of exercise by at least 50% and take advantage of recovery modalities in your community. One of the most beneficial ways to recover properly during hard training and your deload is to regularly visit your Hallandale beach chiropractor at Miami Spine and Performance.

Some examples of recovery modalities utilized at our practice:

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Active Release Technique
  • Fascial Stretch Therapy
  • Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue
  • Normatec Compression
  • Compex Recovery System
  • Dry Needling

Blending chiropractic manipulation with manual therapy and specific rehabilitation exercises can help decompress your joints from hard training, restore your muscles to proper function, and address any nagging injuries you may be experiencing. If you are just starting your fitness journey or are looking to stay injury-free during your training please give us a call or book online for a comprehensive assessment

If you are currently participating in crossfit workouts and are currently injuried or would like to prevent future injuries and optimize performance, please give us a call or book online below!

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Miami Spine and Performance

3325 Hollywood Boulevard. Suite 204-A.

Hollywood, FL. 33021.

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