Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Thumb Spica Taping

This taping technique will limit movement in the joint between the thumb and the hand to help the soft tissues heal after a thumb sprain. You use loops of tape around the thumb that attach to the wrist and ‘rein in’ the thumb to prevent it from moving.

Equipment Required

  1. 2.5cm Zinc Oxide Tape
  2. Scissors (optional)


Step 1: Start by creating an ‘anchor’ on the wrist. Circle the wrist once with the zinc oxide tape as pictured:

Step 2: Now you add the tape strips that will support the thumb itself. With the zinc oxide tape, start on the outside edge of the wrist – i.e. on the same side of the wrist as the little finger is. With a single continuous strip of tape, bring the tape diagonally up the back of the hand, onto the first joint of the thumb. The tape should cross the main knuckle of the thumb (the knuckle where it joins the hand.) Continue all the way around the thumb, so the tape crosses itself, then come down the base of the palm and around the outside of the wrist to finish the strip of tape where it started. The steps are pictured here:

Step 3: Add a second support strip of zinc oxide tape directly over the first strip from step 2:

Step 4: Finally add a second anchor directly over the first anchor from step 1, to lock off the loose ends of tape. That’s it.

Tip: This technique will be helpful for lighter thumb sprains and in situations where you can’t wear a brace but still need to give some support to the thumb. However, a more complete immobilization of the thumb using a splint or brace may be more effective than tape. Therefore, you may wish to consider purchasing a thumb spica brace.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Posterior Capsule /Deltoid Stretch

This exercise is great to increase the mobility of the posterior shoulder capsule and deltoid muscle after injuring your rotator cuff & having scar tissue in the posterior shoulder capsule. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent. Bring your arm up and across your chest and lean your weight onto the scapula of the same side. With your other hand pull the arm above the elbow across the chest. Hold this for 30 seconds doing 3 sets twice per day.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

5 Surprising Benefits of Training Your Glutes

Booty, butt, derriere, backside, rump, fanny, keister, caboose, tush. So many different names for the one body part everyone wants to build, tighten and tone.

By far the largest and strongest group of muscles in your body, the gluteals (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus) and the hamstrings (biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus) work together to extend, rotate and abduct the hip. They also contribute to stabilization of the pelvis, in particular during walking, running and climbing.

A well-trained rear end isn’t just nice to look at. Strong glutes and hamstrings can help improve posture, alleviate lower back, hip and knee pain, enhance athletic performance, reduce bone density loss and even eliminate that stubborn abdominal pooch. What’s more, because muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does, increasing lean muscle mass via glutes training can accelerate fat loss and help to keep it off.

All pretty good arguments for training your glutes, don’t you think?

1. Better Posture

As a consequence of “sitting disease”, many of us suffer from poor posture. Tight, shortened hip flexors, weak, over-stretched hip extensors and glutes that ‘forget’ how to activate properly all contribute to the most commonly observed postural deviations: swayback and kyphosis-lordosis.

What’s more, forward-tilting hips push the abdomen out, creating the illusion of a ‘gut’, even in the absence of excess belly fat.

Try adding squats, lunges and dead lifts to your current strength training routine, making sure to adequately stretch out the opposing hip flexors to improve posture and reduce belly ‘pooch’. This is perhaps the quickest (and easiest) way to lose 5 pounds and appear an inch or two taller!

2. Pain Reduction and Injury Prevention

Strong glutes support the lower back. When the glutes aren’t strong enough to perform their hip extension function, muscles that weren’t designed for the job will take over. Over time, these ‘helper’ muscles may become overstressed, resulting in pain and compression in the lumbar spine, hips and knees.

Because the glutes are also hip stabilizers, weak gluteal muscles can result in poor alignment of the entire lower body, leaving you prone to injuries including Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprains and tears and iliotibial (IT) band syndrome.

Protect your hips, knees and ankles by strengthening your glutes with hip thrusts, single leg dead lifts and weighted clam shells.

3. Improved Athletic Performance

The gluteus maximus is capable of generating an enormous amount of power. This power can be translated into sports-specific speed, acceleration, vertical distance, and endurance. Training the hips to extend powerfully and propel the body forwards is key to improving your ability to run, jump, and cycle faster, harder, and longer.

Try adding in a day or two of lower body strength training on days when you’re not scheduled for a long run or cycle. And don’t forget to stretch and foam roll afterwards to maintain hip mobility and flexibility. A great love-to-hate hip opener? Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, the one-legged pigeon pose.

4. Increased Bone Density

Bone density peaks somewhere between 5 and 10 years after we reach skeletal maturity. Starting as early as age 30, old and damaged bone is resorbed faster than new bone is formed resulting in increased risk of osteopaenia (lower than normal bone density) and osteoporosis (a progressive bone disease).

Exercises that place mechanical stress on the bones, including lower body weight training, running and some forms of yoga, can postpone and even reverse the effects of age-related bone-density loss. The earlier you start incorporating them in your training, the greater their potential benefits.

5. Fat Loss and Fat Loss Maintenance

Fat loss requires a daily caloric deficit. Burn more calories than you consume and you’ll lose fat (more or less). Unlike adipose tissue, muscle is metabolically active, meaning that even when you’re not working out, your muscles will burn calories from stored fat. In fact, studies suggest that for every pound of muscle you build, your body will burn an extra 50 calories per day.

Given that the glutes and hamstrings are two of the largest muscle groups in the body, their potential contribution to fat loss is not to be underestimated. Try incorporating a variety of squats and lunges in a whole-body-compound-lift style circuit to build muscle, torch fat and continue burning calories for 24 to 48 hours after your workout is over.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Are Exercise Injuries More Common in the Cold?

Q: Am I at greater risk of muscle or joint injury when I exercise in the cold?
A: In general cold-weather workouts are almost always safe, as long as you bundle up (layers are key) and pay extra attention to slick, slippery surfaces. But what's happening inside?

Cold weather certainly can increase your risk of straining or tearing something. That's because the lower temps cause our muscles to tighten a little bit more.
Think about a block of clay that's been sitting there, that cold block of clay would tear if you stretched it, compared to how pliable it would be if you spent some time warming it up in your hands first. Our muscles and connective tissue also have less elasticity when the temperature gets lower.
That's why warming up is more important now than at any other time of year. In average temps when you're not using your muscles, most of your blood flows to your internal organs. When you start to call on your legs and arms to get moving, blood vessels open up to fuel those working muscles, but when the mercury drops, you're amplifying that effect. If you jump right into a sudden, powerful movement such as sprinting on a stiffer-than-normal muscle, that force could lead to injury.
The cold may also slow down some of our sensory mechanisms. When your nerves are colder, there's slower transmission rate, making, say, your feet a little numb, which could throw off your balance. It's possible then to be doing damage without being totally aware of it: In warmer weather, you might read a twinge of pain as a signal to ease up; in cold weather, you might push yourself through the twinge toward injury.
The good news is cold-weather exercise injuries are preventable. If you're dressed appropriately for the weather and you do a gradual, proper warmup, you can avoid a lot of that. Look at the warmup as literally warming up the muscles, tendons, and other parts of your body to get ready for the greater forces that you'll be applying to them in sprinting, jumping, or landing.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Neck Core Stability Strength

This exercise strengthens core stability muscles of the neck. Lying down with your knees bent place a small towel behind the arch of the neck. Next, press the tip of the tongue up against the roof of the mouth and do a chin nod. It will feel like you are giving your self a double chin. Then pivoting off the towel, slightly lift the head off the mat while keeping the lower back flat. Next, bring your arms up while keeping the chin nod engaged and the lower back flat. With your fists shoulder width apart slowly bring them apart even more for another for 5 seconds and then take 5 seconds to slowly bring them back up to the start position again. Do 15 repetitions of this for 3 sets. This is great for neck injuries such as whiplash, acute and chronic neck strains and headaches caused from neck injuries. "

Monday, 26 September 2016

6 Stretches to Prevent Rounded Shoulders

When you spend the majority of your time with your arms in front of you, it becomes habit for your body to round the shoulders. As a result, the muscles in the upper back and neck strain, overstretch and overwork. The chest muscles shorten, the small muscles between the shoulder blades weaken and the back muscles stretch and lengthen. Smaller muscles that are not designed to be postural muscles have to work doing a job they were not designed to do.

And all this poor posture can have a tremendous impact on our health. Poor posture causes all sorts of muscle and ligament imbalances which can lead to chronic back, neck and shoulder pain, headaches, fatigue, difficulty breathing and other more devastating health problems. If you are having pain, it’s important to see a physical therapist and/or a chiropractor who can help your muscle imbalances and align your spine properly.

When your body is aligned it means that your heels, knees, pelvis, and neck are directly stacked on top of each. Your body will not only be able to move so much more efficiently, but you will be able to carry heavier loads, tire less easily, have better digestion and will be less susceptible to injury.

These stretches, yoga poses and exercises are very important to work into your regular training program for improved posture and to combat rounded shoulders. If you sit at a desk or have your arms out in front of you for a large portion of the day (driving, texting, typing, etc.), it’s extra important that you do these as often as you can.

The first 3 can be done sitting on a chair, standing, kneeling, or sitting on the floor. These are great stretches for someone with a desk or office job and can be done (and highly recommended) anytime throughout the day.

Back Bound Hand Pose

Squeeze your shoulder blades down and together and bring both arms and hands behind you. Grab the right elbow with the left hand and then grab the left elbow with your right hand. If this is too hard, grab your wrist or forearm with the opposite hand. Take a few deep breaths. Lift your chest and keep your shoulder blades down and back. Now repeat by grabbing your left elbow with your right hand this time.

Shoulder Squeeze

Bring your shoulder blades down and back and clasp your hands behind you. Slowly lift your arms as far as you are comfortable as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. I like to pretend there is an orange in between my shoulders and I am trying to squeeze the juice out of it by my shoulders. Breathe deeply for a few breath cycles as you are doing this stretch.

Cow Face Pose

Place the back of your left hand on your lower back and slide it up as far as it will comfortably go. Now stretch your right arm up and bend your elbow reaching behind you to grab your left hand. This is difficult, so if you can’t do it, do not worry. Just go as far as you comfortably can and over time you will get better and better. Remember to keep your chest lifted and your shoulders down and back. Hold for a few breath cycles (30 seconds or so) and then repeat sides.

These 3 yoga poses below are excellent for expanding and stretching the chest, strengthening and reducing tightness of the shoulders, releasing tension in the back, all which will give you excellent results for rounded shoulders and better posture.

Baby Cobra Pose

Lie on your stomach with your hand directly beside your shoulders. Inhale and slowly press yourself up, keeping your elbows bent. Breathe deeply for a few breath cycles and then come back down.

Bridge Pose

Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Take a deep breath and raise your hips off the floor as high as you are comfortable going. Now draw your shoulders down and back and clasp your hands together if possible. Try to reach them as far to your feet as possible. Breathe deeply for a few breath cycles and lower your body gently to the floor.

Camel Pose

Kneel on the floor with your back to a chair. Keep your feet hip width apart and grasp the chair with your hands. Now push your pelvis forward and lift your chest to the sky. Breathe deeply as you keep pushing your shoulder blades back and down and keep lifting your chest as far as you can comfortably go. Hold this pose for a few breath cycles.

Reverse Lunges

Reverse Lunges are great for strengthening the gluteus maximus muscles, Adductors Soleus, and dynamic stability strength of the Hamstrings after a hamstring muscle strain. Engage your inner core below the belly button, then lunge backwards with the knee barely touching the ground on the toes and straighten out the back leg while pushing off. Walk back to the start position and repeat the same side 15 times 3 sets on each side. Reverse Lunges are great for lower quadrant injuries from running, soccer, ultimate frisbee and all sports involving running.