Here’s a few mistakes we commonly see in the clinic with customers squats. Improving your technique can lead to reduced pain & better strength gains! Make sure you check out instagram or facebook @myothrive for more tips on squatting.
Squat Tip 1: Tucky Bum
This is a common one that can quickly improve your squat. Nearing the bottom of the squat some people tuck their bottom under creating a flat back. If you’re going right down (ass to grass) then this has to happen but often it happens when people are at 90 degrees or just below. This can create excessive unwanted pressure through the lower back.
To correct it, make sure you are keeping a neutral spine throughout the squat. Practice side on to a mirror if you are unsure on this one. You should see the same spine shape in the lower back throughout the entire squat. Try some self myofascial release (SMR) through your glutes and hamstrings if you are having trouble keeping the correct posture here. You could also place a strip of tape on the small of your back in neutral spine while standing. Once squatting if you feel the tape pull, you know you’re flattening your back out.
Squat Tip 2: More core
When you are lifting heavy weights, it is best to keep a straight (neutral) back so that the weight is shared equally between all the back segments. If someone has restrictions in their spine sometimes, in order to get their back straight, they will pop their ribs forward creating an excessive curve or arch through the mid back. This leads to the back muscles overworking and the core having a nice little holiday.
To correct it, keep your core engaged by thinking of your lower rib cage moving backwards slightly. When you are side on to a mirror you should see a slight backwards curve around the rib cage and then a slight forwards curve around the lower back (neutral spine). If you feel this position is uncomfortable it could be a tight back or tight pecs. Try some Myofascial Release through both areas to see if it makes a difference. Again you can use tape. This time put it on your ribs downwards onto the stomach muscles in neutral rib position. If you ribs flare during your squat you will feel the tape pull.
Squat Tip 3: Align your legs
I am not referring to knees over toes here. A common misconception is that the knees should not go beyond the toes. Unless you have actual knee pathology or pain, it is totally fine for your knees to move forward beyond your toes, in fact if you watch Olympic lifters you will see their knees moving about 5-10cms beyond their toes. What I am referring to is where the ankles roll in and the knees deviate in. Or both!
To correct it, face towards a mirror and do a squat without weight. Identify if you have either of these problems. If so, try tying a band around your knees and as you squat push out into the band until you see them come into alignment between your hips and your feet. Once you have done it correctly with the band a few times try it without and see if you can maintain the corrected alignment. If you are having difficulty, first make sure the band is not too tight or too strong and second you could try some Myofascial Release through your hip flexors. If you can do it successfully without the band time after time, you are ready for some weight!
Hopefully these tips have helped improve your squat. Remember our tips should not replace personalised professional or medical advice. If you are unsure on changing posture of an exercise and whether it is right for you or not, you should always seek advice from a health professional you trust. We offer both online and face to face appointments here at MyoThrive. We even offer free 15 minute consults.
Happy Squatting! Don’t forget to follow us @myothrive on instagram or facebook!
Do you ever experience groin or hip pain during or after running, deadlifts or squats? Do you feel like you never get a good hip flexor stretch even though to you they feel tight? It might be a hip alignment issue. A hip alignment issue can lead to Femoral Acetabular Impingement (FAI) which means an impingement of the hip.
FAI can become a problem for active and sedentary people alike. It may be aggravated by activity, sitting for long periods of time, operating the pedals in a car and crossing your legs.
On the other hand, even if you don’t have any symptoms these exercises may improve the quality of your chosen exercise. Check out the video below where I demonstrate 3 simple exercises that are quick and easy to help get your hip alignment improving. Let us know your favourite by leaving a comment!
Think you might have FAI?
There are 3 main types of FAI but often aligning the joint can make a huge difference to pain and function. Often people we treat in the clinic avoid surgery and cortisone injections all together.
Cam – This type of FAI occurs from a bit of extra bone on the head of the femur which then jams on the hip socket (acetabulum) during activity. This type typically occurs in young athletic men.
Pincer – This occurs more often in middle aged women and is the least common type of the 3. This type is caused by extra bone around the lip of the hip socket at the front then as the femoral head rotates it catches or jams against the extra bone.
Mixed – This is a combination of the two previous types; cam and pincer. As described above it causes a catching or jamming in the front of the joint capsule.
These 3 types all describe bone issues however often the pain is from other tissues around the area including ligament, tendon and muscle. Better hip alignment helps reduce the bodies protective mechanism. If movement begins to feel easier and pain begins to reduce, we know we are on the right track!
If these exercises didn’t help your hip alignment or hip and groin pain we have a lot more tricks in our Myotherapy bag. Reach out and we can have a conversation or click here to book. We offer both online and face-to-face consultations.
What to learn more? Check out this other articles.
Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI) also known as hip impingement is a problem among active and sedentary people alike. Symptoms may include pain in the groin or hip area and restricted hip range of motion (ROM). It may be aggravated by activity (both intense and endurance types), sitting for long periods of time, operating the pedals in […]
CR Stretching or Contract-Relax Stretching is a form of stretching where you hold the muscle in a state of contraction for a period of time (usually around 5-10 seconds) then on the relax phase (usually around 3-5 seconds) you move the joint to it’s new longer range and repeat. Repeat this contract-relax phase for 3 to 5 times until the muscle no longer increases in range. Follow this by holding the last position for 30 seconds. Sounds easy enough, right? But what is actually happening and why choose this form of stretching over dynamic stretching or passive stretching?
What happens when you stretch?
We used to think that stretching was causing a change in the structure and length of a muscle. We now know that stretching is more to do with the nervous system than the muscle. Our bodies are adaptable to our environment and within certain limits we can either shorten or lengthen a muscle over time depending on what feedback the nervous system is receiving.
So what is actually happening? When you hold a stretch, your nervous system gives feedback to your central nervous system that tells it is safe to “let go”. The central nervous system then sends a signal back to the muscles instructing them to lengthen a little bit. When we contract-relax stretch we fast track these messages. Holding the final position for 30 seconds also helps the nervous system to think of this as the new normal. If repeated often enough, i.e. daily for a period of 6 weeks, you should see significant gains in flexibility.
Factors that affect flexibility
Factors that can limit a person’s flexibility include:
previous injury to the muscle that has caused scar tissue (scar tissue lays in a cross fibre pattern unless stretched during the repair phase)
elasticity of the skin
temperature of the tissues on stretch (warmth increase flexibility)
time of day (most people are more flexible in the afternoon)
age (pre-adolescents are typically more flexible than adults)
gender (females are typically more flexible than males)
and the most important factor, ones commitment to achieving flexibility!
Who choose CR Stretching?
When considering what type of stretching is most suitable, always consider the sport or activity you want to master. If you are wanting to weight lift, you don’t just want length in the muscle but you also want strength, therefore dynamic stretching using your weight lifting in conjunction with lengthening the muscle may work best. If doing gymnastics you need strength at end range so passive stretching is not enough to keep injuries at bay, you again need a slower version of dynamic stretching to keep the strength in the end range of your stretch ability.
Contract Relax stretching is a great choice for people wanting to increase their flexibility. Try stretching at night after all your training and work for the day is done and focus on balancing your body out. For example, my hip flexors are short compared to my hamstrings when compared to standard range of movement charts. As much as I’d achieve the splits a lot quicker if I stretch my hamstrings each night, it would do no good for my gym and running technique so I choose the slower pathway to flexibility over injury!
You can also choose a CR stretch when preparing for strength training. Once you have completed the round of contract-relax stretching and held the last position for 30 seconds or so, you simply need to activate the muscle to be ready for strength training. You can do this by holding one last contract phase for a period of 10-30 seconds. This sends signals to the brain to get ready for contractions rather than stay relaxed. Passive stretching before working out before activating the muscle can leave you vulnerable to injury.
The most common desk related aches and pains we hear of in the Myotherapy clinic are neck, shoulders, back and wrists not to mention headaches! Here are some simple stretches you can try and see if they help alleviate your aches and pains. But first a couple of ground rules. If you have any medical […]
Short calf muscles, mainly the deeper soleus muscle can easily hold back your squatting ability. When this muscle is short you will have trouble letting the knee travel past your toes. In a normal squat (and particularly once you add load) in order to bio-mechanically keep everything aligned, the knee needs to travel past the toes […]
Whether you enjoy running, gymnastics, lifting weights or walking the dogs, ankle stability is important. Even moving from standing to sitting and vice versa requires some ankle mobility and stability. We want your ankles to be strong and flexible. Keep reading to learn how to test your ankles and also watch the video to learn the first steps of getting for stability.
How do I test my ankle stability?
Stand close to a wall or something you can grab onto if you loose your balance. Stand on one leg for 30 seconds. Now try the other side. If that was easy now try with your eyes closed. Be mindful you may loose your balance so make sure you are in a safe environment or we can go through it with you in the clinic. Again aim for 30 seconds each side. If you found you were wobbly on either of these exercises then it’s time to focus on building some ankle stability for yourself. You wouldn’t build a house without a good foundation and we shouldn’t expect our bodies to perform well if we aren’t taking care of our standing foundation, our ankles and feet. Watch the video below to take the next step!
What if I have an injury?
If you are suffering with any sort of pain related to or that may be coming from your feet / ankles. I suggest making a session with us to fully assess how to best remedy your individual situation. We can offer consultations both in the clinic and online for your convenience. Look forward to helping you become pain free and thrive!
Do you ever experience groin or hip pain during or after running, deadlifts or squats? Do you feel like you never get a good hip flexor stretch even though to you they feel tight? It might be a hip alignment issue. A hip alignment issue can lead to Femoral Acetabular Impingement (FAI) which means an […]
Why is low ab strength important? Lower abdominal (low abs) strength is really important for activities of day to day living and even more important if you’re participating in sport or general exercise. Test if you have weak lower abdominals as it can reflect in poor posture, sore lower back and tight hip flexors, legs […]
Ever wondered why you are at your sorest 24 to 48 hours after a workout? That’s DOMS. Ever left the personal training session feeling great only to feel tight and stiff after 6 to 8 hours? That’s DOMS. Remember those times you went “Yep that was a tough legs session yesterday”? That’s DOMS!
The reason behind this is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS, which occurs anywhere in the body which has been exposed to unfamiliar, unaccustomed, intense physical activity.
What is DOMS?
DOMS is caused by micro tears in the myofibrils (muscle fibres) resulting in micro-trauma. This increase in the inflammatory response alters intramuscular fluid and electrolytes and is a good thing as it is an important part of building new muscle. Not so good, it can also cause a dull ache anywhere from 6 to 48 hours post exercise in the affected muscles.
5 ways to reduce the affects
There are some simple ways to decrease the effects of DOMS after a tough workout.
1. Active Rest
Nothing is better than rest, promoting tissue healing and recovery. If you have worked to failure you should wait 72 hours before working to failure again, however we recommend light or different exercise as recovery such as swimming, walking or a easy gym workout.
This can prevent the cycle of progression to DOMS. There are several different stretching techniques, you could try the different ones to see which type works best for you. For more information on stretching search our blog posts, we have lots of ideas for shoulders, pecs and calves to name a few. Pro tip for when you are looking up stretches: Dynamic stretching is typically done before a workout whereas holding a stretch or doing a contract-relax style stretch can be safely performed post workout. For professional advice tailored to you, click here to see one of our Myotherapists.
May reduce the amount of inflammation that occurs and help promote a faster recovery. Typically an ice bath is the way to get the full body anti-inflammatory benefits. This is great for post sporting style exercise where you are constantly pushing yourself but not necessary post gym workouts where you want a bit of inflammation to help grow the muscle and get the gains you are after. A cold shower will work best in this instance.
Increases blood flow to aching muscles to promote healing and removal of waste products within the muscle tissue like lactic acid and scar tissue. Typically it is a lighter, non treatment massage. Our Myotherapy team can help if you need some healing hands. Click here to find a time that suits you best.
Natural remedies or anti-inflammatory medication can reduce the soreness after a workout. Some natural remedies include; tumeric, cinammon and magnesium just to name a few. For more information on these, we suggest you talk to a good nutritionist or dietitian on how to get these foods naturally into your diet, it’s yummier that way!
If you have any post workout tips we would love to hear about them! Reach out on social. We are on instagram and facebook.
Here in Australia gyms, Pilates Studios and Personal Trainers are starting to open again post our COVID-19 hibernation. I’m sure you’ve already seen plenty of posts and blogs telling you to go slow in getting back into it to avoid injury and to avoid early burn out but we think this is such a valuable time to make some meaningful SMART goals to really set you up for success, a positive mindset and ultimately a great end to the year! Read on to find out what a SMART goal entails, what the readiness to change stages are and a step by step of how to start putting your goal together.
What is a SMART Goal?
A SMART goal is an acronym to assist in making a goal. It stands for:
S – Specific. Make your goal specific and narrow with numbers and real deadlines.
M– Measurable. Make sure your goal is trackable. Decide how you are going to track your progress and reevaluate when necessary.
A – Achievable. Work towards a goal that is challenging but possible. Make sure to consider your deadline when considering whether your goal is achievable.
R – Relevant and Resonant. Make sure your goal is relevant to your values and any larger objective you have in mind. Make sure it resonates and excites you!
T – Time-based. Give yourself a deadline. Make sure it is realistic but ambitious to motivate you and help you prioritise.
A SMART goal differs from setting a broad goal by giving a comprehensive vision of what your goal looks like and gives you something to action straight away.
Consider your readiness to change…
Before you start jumping into your goal setting, consider where you are at on the “Readiness to Change Scale”. If you are a beginner, your first goal might simply be to try a few different personal trainers for example. This would be the preparation phase. Here’s the full scale so you can identify where you are at specific to the goal you have in mind.
You are likely considering a change but you occasionally catch yourself saying “Do I really need to…?” You are likely in denial. Try asking someone close to you, who you know will be honest with you. An ideal gym goal for someone who is in the pre-contemplation stage might be “I will do some research on the benefits of regular exercise”.
At this stage, you know you want to make a change but you haven’t worked out anything beyond this such as barriers (time, cost, fear, etc…). A good goal for this stage might be “I will research some of the gyms and personal trainers in the area” and a seperate goal for this stage might be “I will work out who I’m going to ask to be my support person in helping me achieve this goal”.
You are likely now prepared to try a few things. You’ve mentally overcome your barriers and now you are ready for a small, achievable goal. A ideal goal at this stage might be “I will book in a personal training session with X” and “I will try that class that my friend recommended”. Remember at this stage you are just having a taste to see what you like and what might suit your lifestyle, budget etc…
This is the stage where you take definitive action towards a change. This might be joining the gym, committing to a 10 class pass at yoga or signing on with a new personal trainer. The goal at this stage might look like “This week after yoga class I am going to buy the 10 week set”.
At this stage you have been taking action consistently. You now feel ready to work on maintaining the new behaviour over the long term or making the goal a bit more challenging. A good goal for this phase might be “I am going to buy the annual pass to yoga and commit to 2 classes each week”.
How to write your SMART goal.
1. Write down your big picture goal
This is the thing that really moves you and excites you! For example – “I will drop a dress size by the end of the year as we are going on a beach holiday!“
2. Write down the first step you need to make in order to achieve your goal
This will become your SMART goal. This is also the time to consider your stage of readiness to change. Example – “I will increase my personal training sessions to 2x per week” This person seems to be in the action stage but may also be in the maintenance phase.
3. Expand the first step to achieving your goal into the SMART acronym
Specific. Example – “I will do Personal Training on Mondays and Thursdays from 7am – 7:45am starting next week”. Notice the Specific included where it would be done, dates and times and how long it would be done for on each occasion.
Measurable Example – “I will cross off the days on a calendar each time I go to Personal Training so I can see my attendance progress. I will get the Personal Trainer to help track my physical progress by measuring me once a month”. For a goal to be measurable you need to come up with something that will be different when you’re finished, something to let you know you’ve completed your goal.
Achievable Example – “I have already been going to Personal Training once a week regularly for over a year so I feel I can easily add one more session in per week.”To effectively ask yourself if this goal is achievable you need to reconsider what stage of readiness to change you are at surrounding this goal. As noted above this example is at the action stage.
Relevant and Resonant. Check back to your bigger goal. Is this smart goal really in alignment with what you are trying to achieve? Is it in alignment with your values? Great! Now make sure it resonates. If not already, change it to a powerful “I am” styled statement. Imagine when this goal is complete; does it make you want to cheers and high five? Example “I am so excited to go to Personal Training twice per week on Mondays and Thursdays from 7am – 7:45am as I know it is helping me to achieve my bikini body!”
Timely. Example – “My deadline is Thursday the 19th of November 2020 when I will have my final measurements taken and reward myself after training with buying a new bikini for the holiday!” Write down the exact date and time of the deadline for completion for this goal.
Now you have your goal, congratulations!
4. Next write your goal down with you’re favourite pen on your favourite paper and stick it up all over the place!
Put one on the bathroom mirror, one near the kettle, one in the bedroom where you will see it when you wake up. Ideally stick your goals up in 5 different places. You can have more than 1 goal on each piece of paper but your main or most important goal should stand out the most or be at the top. I use photo paper with a felt tip pin so it stands out and that way I can use different inspiring colours as well. Once you feel like that goal is a reality or you have moved into a different stage of the “readiness to change”, make sure you update your goal by going through the same process.
I hope you take the time to use this approach and that you get as much out of it as we do. We use this a lot around MyoThrive. If you get stuck try searching google images for SMART goals sometimes there are worksheets available that lay it out and all you have to do is fill in the blanks. If you’ve never made a goal before or would love to learn more check out this article. It was a really good read about setting goals. If you’re working on something specific feel free to bring it along to your next Myotherapy session and we can spend the first 5 minutes on it. Click here to find a time that suits you best.
The things your plan and focus your energy on always come into fruition because they are achievable, actionable goals that you truely desire!