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Sports Performance

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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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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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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5 Ways to get the Most out of your Exercise Routine

Execise Routine Hallandale Beach, FL

 

1. Blend resistance training and cardiovascular training

The most important part of choosing your exercise routine is picking an activity that you enjoy. With that being said, the more variability that you can include in your routine, the more well rounded your fitness will be and the healthier your body will be in the long run. If your exercise of choice is primarily weightlifting, try and incorporate at least 2 days of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise. Likewise, if you are a runner or tennis player, try spending two days a week performing sport-specific resistance training to strengthen your muscles and joints to build durability.

 

2. Take time to train your joints specifically

Most active individuals know that cardiovascular training (running, cycling, swimming) and weight training (barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells etc.) should be supplemented with stretching and warming up, but most individuals don’t take the time to actually improve the capacity of their joints. Spending time during the week improving your joints capacity (range of motion, stability, etc) will not only improve your quality of exercise, but also help reduce injuries and improve your long term ability to pick up new activities.

 

3. Take recovery as seriously as training

Recovery is a very mutli-dimensional topic and is heavily dependent upon the frequency/intensity of your training as well as factors such as age, training history, etc. In general, recovery can include activities such as sleeping, eating, stretching, and using modalities such as heat and cold. There are many other ways of recovery but these are a few of the basics that can be used by an individual. Nutrition and sleep are two topics that can be covered at length but most individuals are aware that improving your quality and quantity of sleep as well as adhering to good nutritional guidelines most of the time will heavily impact your ability to recover. If you are training hard or are new to training, try and block out extra time for more sleep, be sure to eat a healthy meal before an after training and take time to stretch on your own during non-training days.

 

4. Be mindful of your posture and ergonomics at work

Often times when individuals injury their spine while training, it is not necessarily the activity they were performing at the time of the injury that perpetuated the injury, but rather an injury caused by partaking in strenuous activity after being sedentary and in poor posture throughout your day. If you are mindful of keeping a neutral spine while seated throughout the day and take frequent microbreaks to stand up and move around, you will be much less likely to come to the gym feeling stiff and being injury prone. It is also crucial that if you are training first thing in the morning or after a long work day that you take the time to warm up properly before partaking in any strenuous activity.

 

5. Breathe

Breathing is one of the most fundamental and frequent physical activities that our bodies perform throughout the day. If your normal pattern of breathing is not optimal you may not be stabilizing your spine properly during both activities of daily living and physical exercise. Additionally, taking shallow breaths through your chest can increase tension in the muscles attaching to your neck and your shoulder blade. Proper breathing through your diaphragm should have minimal chest elevation with 360 degree expansion through your abdomen. Building this habit throughout your day and taking the time to practice proper breathing will improve your spinal stability and lead  to decreased injuries and improved performance in the gym.

 

How to Build a Bulletproof body for Jiu-Jitsu

Chiropractor Hallandale Beach Jiu Jitsu

Essential exercises to keep you healthy and performing at a high level consistently in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

 

Jiu-Jitsu is a particularly unique martial art and sport in which the majority of a match is played with one or both competitors on the ground either on their back, on their behind, half kneeling or full kneeling positions.

What makes a jiu-jitsu athlete unique is that throughout their training they will learn to be comfortable in several positions and be able to both simultaneously attack their opponent and defend themselves from each of these positions.

To build a perfect body for longevity in jiu-jitsu, we must break down each position and the mobility and stability requirements from each position to be healthy and effective in the sport:

The Importance of Mobility in Jiu-Jitsu

Mobility can be defined as the ability for one joint to express a full range of motion independent of other motion in the body. An example of this in jiu-jitsu that most can relate to is the hips. At some point in your jiu-jitsu training, you have likely encountered an individual who has a near-impossible guard to pass due to his hips being extremely flexible as well as good speed to pummel their legs and recover guard. This is a prime example of using mobility to your advantage to improve your jiu-jitsu. In other cases, you have likely encountered an individual who is very prone to be “stacked” in the guard due to hip immobility. Even if an individual is taught the proper technique to retain and attack from the guard position, if their hips cannot keep up with the position or passing of their opponent, they leave themselves vulnerable to both being passed and being injured.

The Importance of Stability in Jiu-Jitsu

Stability can be defined as our body’s’ ability to keep certain areas of your body still and balanced while moving or being moved in other areas of your body. A great example of this is passing the guard. As a jiu-jitsu player, you have likely encountered the individual who has such a great base that they seem impossible to sweep or control from the bottom position. Even when controlling one of these individuals’ legs or having a deep grip on their collar, there is something about this individual that makes them an immovable object. Having excellent stability, particularly in your “core”, will allow you to move quickly, powerfully and efficiently on the mat, all while significantly reducing your chance of injury.

At Miami Spine and Performance we work with many jiu-jitsu athletes, both recreational enthusiasts, and high-level competitors throughout Hallandale, Aventura, and Hollywood. We have found that many of our jiu-jitsu athletes present to the clinic with neck and lower back pain that is ultimately a result of poor respiration, core stability, and hip control during training. In our Jiu-Jitsu Injury Prevention video series, we are going to share 3 of the primary exercises we use with our jiu-jitsu athletes to keep them healthy on the mats and performing at a high level in competitions. We will cover the basics of proper respiration, as well as how to properly train your hip for both stability and mobility.

For exclusive access to our Jiu-Jitsu Performance and Injury Prevention series please sign up below!

 

Jiu-Jitsu Injury Prevention Series: Breathing

Proper Respiration is the foundation of any good athletic movement but is particularly important for Jiu-Jitsu because of the dynamic nature of the sport and the regular transition between positions. To smoothly transition between positions, maintain cardiovascular performance and maintain a strong base is contingent upon your ability to use your respiratory and stability diaphragm muscle in sync.

Not only does proper diaphragm function and intra-abdominal pressure improve your performance, but it also protects your spine from injury during training. The actual strength of the core muscles does not prevent injury, but rather your ability to generate pressure in your abdomen to create stability around your spine and prevent bucking of the vertebrae.

Our goal with training the diaphragm is to produce pressure in the abdomen in 360 degrees with each inhale and to be able to maintain 20-30% of that pressure during exhalation. Once you can accomplish this task lying on your back with your legs elevated, challenge your breathing in different positions! (Example: Face down, side-lying, half kneeling, in guard)

Watch the video below for instructions on how to begin training your breathing and core stability for Jiu-Jitsu!

 

 

Jiu-Jitsu Injury Prevention Series: Hip Stability

Once you have established your intra-abdominal pressure, you have already successfully built the foundation for good stability in jiu-jitsu.

In addition to intra-abdominal pressure, it is also crucial that you have good centration and stability in your hips. This will allow you to sit back into your hips and use them explosively when shooting for a takedown. Hip stability means more than just strength, there are plenty of individuals with an impressive leg press but no hip stability.

Hip stability is a product of proper hip centration and the ability to produce force from all different angles. Not only will it strengthen your standing position, but also is beneficial in both the top and bottom position on the ground. When passing guard at higher levels, most individuals are standing and must have an excellent base to not be off-balanced by their opponent.

It is important to note that strength does not equal balance. Balance starts with centration. Many individuals are shocked when they can put up large numbers in the weight room on exercises like squat, lunge and leg press but are unable to properly bridge with their hip. A lot of the stability demands required for Jiu-Jitsu fall on the small musculature of the hip.

Watch the video link below for how to train hip centration and stability properly for Jiu-Jitsu!

 

Jiu-Jitsu Injury Prevention Series: Hip Mobility

Before we dive into the importance of hip mobility for jiu-jitsu and how to train it, let’s first discuss the difference between mobility and flexibility. Flexibility is the ability to passively stretch muscular, tendon and ligament tissue beyond its resting length. Mobility, on the other hand, is the ability to control soft tissues in their end range of motion. This means that flexibility is a prerequisite for mobility.

For example, If an opponent can push your feet behind your head and you feel a very little stretch in your back or hips, this would be an example of excellent flexibility, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that this position is safe or ideal for your body. However, if you can bring your feet behind your head on your own without compromising other areas of your body, this would demonstrate excellent mobility and means that you can safely control this position and use it as part of your game.

In addition to improving your jiu-jitsu game and giving you more options on the mat, having great hip mobility also reduces the strain on your lower back when training. The large majority of lower back injuries are the result of overloading on the joints of the lower back due to inadequate movement of the thoracic spine (middle back) and the hips. Therefore, improving the movement quality of your hips can greatly reduce your incidence of lower back pain and prevent injury in the long term.

Most individuals mistake flexibility training for mobility training. Holding stretches or rocking back-and-forth are not adequate means of improving mobility, particularly if your goal is to build strong and efficient hips to use in a contact sport such as jiu-jitsu. To improve hip mobility and create lasting changes that impact the long-term, it must be trained just like any other physical capacity.

Learn how to train your hip mobility by clicking the link below!

Miami Spine and Performance

1250 East Hallandale Beach Blvd. #305.

Hallandale Beach, FL 33009

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