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Cossack Squat

The Cossack Squat is a great exercise for building strength and flexibility in the hips and adductor muscles.  It is a good exercise to work into your warm-up routine prior to working out.

Start with your feet about 2 ½ times the width of your shoulder with your toes pointed outwards and your knees in line with them.

Squat

Begin by squatting toward your right side. Slowly move your weight onto your right leg until your left leg is straight, resting only on its heel. Next, slowly shift your weight back to your center and then onto your left leg, repeating the movement.  Perform 2-3 sets of 6-12 repetitions on each leg.  You will notice that at first you may not be able to go down very far.  Just start where you are and try to get a little bit farther with each rep.

Do not lean your body too far forward as this places added stress on the knees.  Instead, sit back and use your hips to handle most of the work.
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Goblet Squat

Squatting is a basic human movement.  It is also a movement that most Americans cannot perform properly or with ease.  To be able to perform a full, deep squat, a lot of things have to happen.  The ankles have to be mobile enough to allow the knee to travel out and over the toes.  The thigh muscles have to be strong to move and stabilize the knees and hips.  Your hips need to be mobile enough to prevent rounded of the low back at the bottom.  And you need core and back strength to maintain a neutral spine throughout the squat.

THE MOVE

Squat with kettle ballThe goblet squat is an easy way to improve your ability to squat.  Try performing this movement daily and reassess after a month and see how much stronger and easier it is to do.  You can do one quick set during your lunch break or add 2-3 sets into your workouts.  The idea is to be constantly developing the squat as a skill.  Your hips, knees, and back will end up healthier for it.

The Goblet Squat

  • Hold the dumbbell or kettlebell high against the chest
  • Keep your chest up
  • Have your feet slightly wider than shoulder width
  • Feet can be turned out 0-30 degrees
  • Sink down into the squat
  • Drive your knee out while the elbows track inside of the knees
  • Drive back up pushing through the heels
  • Keep the chest up

Goblet Squat




Functional Screen Series: Screen One – 6-inch Step-Down

screen1screen2As chiropractors that specialize in soft tissue treatments, we work with many individuals that have joint and soft-tissue restrictions. Finding spinal subluxations (spinal subluxation is when one or more of the bones of your spine (vertebrae) move out of position and create pressure on, or irritate spinal nerves) and soft tissue adhesions is like finding a needle in a haystack. The practitioners at Chicago Chiropractic & Sports Medicine focus on finding the relevant restrictions—the dysfunctions that are causing the most trouble. Functional screens are a way for us to narrow down the list of possible suspects, making treatments more efficient.

We will be doing a series of functional screens over the next couple of months. Screen One is the “6-inch Step-Down,” which helps us to determine hip strength and ankle mobility. To perform the screen, find a 6” step (bottom stair, wooden box). Stand on one leg with the opposite leg toes pointed up. Slowly lower the opposite heal towards the ground. Lightly touch the heel to the ground and return up. Perform on the other side. This movement should be done in a smooth, coordinated fashion. You fail the test if you lose your balance, you are uncoordinated, or you fail to reach the heel to the ground. Athletes should use an 8” step.
If you fail the Step-Down test, you may be lacking strength in your hip muscles (gluteus medius) or you may be lacking ankle mobility. One of the things you can do to help correct this is by adding the following exercises into your daily routine or before you exercise. If you feel that the exercises are not helping, you may need chiropractic manipulation or Active Release Techniques to remove the restrictions.

Calf Stretch with Stick Work

img-calf-stretch1To work the calf, start by using The Stick over the calf muscles. Use firm pressure moving up the calf to find any tender areas. Focus on these tender areas by giving each spot 30 short and quick rolls with the stick.

img-calf-stretch2To continue to stretch the calf, place the balls of one foot on a step and let the heel of the foot fall as far towards the ground as possible. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other calf. Do 2 sets of 30 seconds with each leg.

 

 

Side-lying Leg Lift
screen3

  • The purpose of the Side-lying Leg Lift is to strengthen the gluteus medius (side of your butt) in order to help stabilize the knee.
  • Lean your whole body forward 45 degrees and rotate your top foot so that the toes are touching the heel of your bottom foot.
  • Lift your heel 4-6 inches off the ground and then lower back down.
  • Start with 2 sets of 20-25 reps for each leg.
  • Work up to 2 sets of 50 reps
  • Then add 5 lb. ankle weight

Download Functional Screen Series: Screen One – 6-inch Step-Down




Piriformis and External Hip Rotators

Strengthening the left piriformis (external rotators): Piriformis and External Hip Rotators
Piriformis and External Hip RotatorsStart by lying on your side; your left leg should be almost straight, bent about 10-20 degrees. Next bend your left knee to 90 degrees. Support your bent right knee with pillows. Then push your left knee into the table or floor, and then lift the left foot toward the ceiling, against gravity. Lift your foot as far as you can comfortably, without twisting your pelvis or hips. You should feel your lower buttock muscles activate/contract. Then lower the leg slowly. Repeat for 8-12 reps for 2-3 sets. If needed, brace with your abdomen and/or activate the pelvic floor muscles to enhance the exercise.

Download Piriformis and External Hip Rotators




Hamstring Tendinosis

By Dr. Jon Sebby, DC, ART Provider

The hamstring muscle runs down the back of the upper thigh and is connected to the knee joint by a large tendon. Overuse, injury and stress can causes this tendon to become inflamed. Tendinitis is the inflammation or irritation of a tendon; tendons are made up of thick, fibrous connective tissues that connect muscles to bones. Hamstring tendinitis can be caused my overuse from activities such as running, biking or yoga. Tendons have only a limited capacity to become inflamed. Over time the swelling goes away but you are still likely to have pain from the repeated scarring of the tendon. In these chronic cases, we begin to refer to it as a tendonosis instead of the tendonitis that is associated with the initial inflammation. The tendon losses some of its blood supply and becomes weakened, leaving it more susceptible to injury. . can help treat the scar tissue and improve the blood flow to the area.

People suffering from hamstring tendinitis/tendinosis will likely have pain where the hamstrings attach to the ischial tuberosity (the bones that you sit on). It is important to get evaluated by a certified Active Release Technique (.) provider. The . practitioner can check for adhesions within the surrounding hip musculature to ensure that the hamstring is not being forced to handle excessive loads. In order for the hamstring to be allowed to heal it is also important to decrease the load/strain that the hamstring is placed under. If you are
a runner or cyclist, you most likely need to temporarily trade running/biking for walking, swimming, or upper body and core strengthening to give the hamstring a chance to heal. In any case, it can take up to 12 weeks off from the offending activity to allow your hamstring to heal.

Once properly diagnosed, . and massage therapy can help cut down on the recovery time by improving tissue quality and blood flow to the injured area. For healing the tendinosis, eccentric strengthening (negatives) of the hamstring is key.

Exercises to Strengthen Hamstring

These exercises can be performed for both rehab and prevention. A decrease in pain is a great indicator for healing. Once pain has resided, it is important to return to normal activity slowly. If you are a runner, for example, start by doing long walks. Then after a

week or two, start doing some short run-walk-run-walk training. It is important to increase distance or time slowly. Only add between 10-20% to your total distance each week to decrease the risk of reoccurrence.

Brady Eccentric Hamstring Exercise

Start by standing and directly facing a stable chair. Place the heel of the affected leg on the chair. Make sure to maintain a neutral lumbar spine while keeping the pelvis facing forward. Allow the knee to “unlock” by letting it bend about 10 degrees. You should feel about 75% of a stretch to the hamstring. Adjust by flexing your hip and not the heel height or lumbar spine. Press the heel into the table by attempting to bend the knee with near maximum force and then lean forward into hip flexion. You should take 3 full seconds to complete the forward lean. Relax and return to starting position for your next rep. Repeat for 2 sets of 15 twice per day.

Static Hip Flexor Stretch

Oftentimes when the hip flexors are tight, the hamstring has to work harder to create extension from the hip. By stretching the hip flexors, it allows the glutes to work easier, which will take load off the hamstrings. Perform the static hip flexor stretch for 3 sets of 10 second hold on each leg. Make sure you maintain a neutral spine.

Isometric Supine Bridge (Glute Bridge)

The gluteus maximus muscle is designed to be the primary hip extensor, while the hamstrings are meant to work as synergists. Oftentimes, due to excessive sitting and repeated movements, the glutes weaken and the hamstrings take over as prime movers (synergistic dominance). The end result of this is an overworked hamstring. This next exercise is designed to help strengthen the gluteus maximus.

Lay on your back in hook-lying position. Then raise hips to create a straight line from the shoulder, hip and knee. Try to use only your glutes to hold the bridge. Do not extend your lumbar spine. Draw in abdominals at the top and maintain position. Start with three 15-sec holds and progress to three 30-sec holds.

For more of a challenge – in the bridge position raise one leg straight so the ankle, knee, hip and shoulders are all in a straight line. Do three 10-second holds on each side.

For More Information

If you think you might have hamstring tendonitis or to learn more about the Center’s soft tissue treatments and functional rehabilitation program CONTACT US

Learn About the Author Dr. Sebby




Staying Healthy On and Off the Bike

By Dr. Jon Sebby and Dr. Josh Akin

It takes more than just spending time on your bike to reach your cycling goals. It requires listening to your body and implementing successful strategies to keep your body injury free.

In you are feeling out of sorts or you are having a hard time coming back from a ride, you may have developed restrictions that are preventing you from efficiently riding. Many times, athletes equate poor performances with poor conditioning or training. To overcome the poor performances, athletes tend to increase their mileage and intensity. However, your performances and training volume are not always directly related. Often time athletes with good training habits develop overuse injuries because their imbalances and dysfunctions were not addressed.

Adhesions in the soft-tissues and restrictions within joints can predispose athletes to muscular imbalances that can lead to injury. When athletes are training at a high level, these imbalances become magnified. Over time the body reaches a point where it is no longer able to adapt to the stress.

A normal muscle and its fibers should be able to move independently of the other soft tissue structures surrounding it. For instance, when paint is left on a brush overnight all of the fibers tend to stick together. Soft tissue adhesions or fibrosis are essentially this, when muscle fibers stick to each other and other structures around it (other muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves etc.). Muscles cannot and will not function properly in this state and pain is one of the symptoms people may experience when enough build-up has accumulated. Fact is stretching will never release the scar tissue, which is several times stronger than normal tissue. Stretching and other types of non-operative treatment become successful only after the scar tissue is released with soft tissue treatments.

By using chiropractic manipulation, soft tissue treatments (Active Release Technique and Massage Therapy) and functional rehabilitation, chiropractors and practitioners are able to reduce the dysfunctions that diminish an athlete’s efficiency and performance.

Utilizing chiropractic adjustments we are able to help remove joint restrictions in the spine and extremities. Soft tissue treatments, such as Active Release Techniques and Massage Therapy, are effective at reducing adhesions with the muscles, ligaments and tendons, which improves the functioning of the musculoskeletal system. After joint restrictions and adhesions are reduced, we use specific rehabilitative exercises to strengthen weaknesses and to help balance asymmetries.

Functional strength exercises are utilized to focus on weak areas and to ensure that the work done with manipulation and soft-tissue treatment is as effective as possible and is maintained. The exercises outlined below are aimed to help stretch and strengthen some commonly tight and weak areas in cyclists.

By utilizing an effective training plan coupled with chiropractic manipulation, soft tissue treatment and a personalized functional exercise program, the end result is an optimization of overall functions. With this integrated strategy, cyclists will see immediate improvements in their performance, from their speed, efficiency, range and ease of motion, and even accuracy of movement.

Here are some exercises that help address some of the common trouble areas with cyclists:

Cobra Pose

Being hunched over in the saddle for hours on end can leave on sore and stiff. To help reverse the effects of a sustained riding posture, add the Cobra Pose to your routine. Lie face down and place your hands underneath your shoulders. Gently press up, keeping a slight bend in the elbows.

 

Foam Roller to the Adductors

Foam Roller to the Adductors

The adductor group (groin muscles) function in cycling during the down stroke of the leg. These muscles can be overworked and
develop adhesions, especially if you are a sprinter or do a lot of time trials. Lay face down and position the foam roller parallel to your body. Then bring your leg out to the side with the knee bent and roll your inner thigh muscles (adductors).

Hip Flexor Stretch

hip flexor
The hip flexors are another group of muscles that work hard in cycling. The forward flexed posture and overuse can lead to tight hip flexors, which can cause problems off the bike. To stretch them, start by kneeling on one knee. Place the front foot about 12” in front of the back knee. Keeping your stomach and glutes tight, extend the hip of the down knee. Hold for 30 seconds and perform two sets on each side.

Glute Bridge

Glute Bridge

The glutes are underworked in cycling and with tight hip
flexors this combination can lead to low back pain. Lie on the floor, arms
at your sides, knees bent, and heels on the floor (1). Lift your hips with
knees, hips, and shoulders forming a straight line (2). Hold for 2 seconds,
then return to start. Perform 3 sets of 12 reps.

For More Information

To learn more about how chiropractic care and soft tissue treatments can help keep you healthy on and off the bike SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT.

Learn About the Authors, Dr. Jon Sebby | Dr. Josh Akin

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