Muscle Action vs. Muscle Function

Muscle Action vs. Muscle Function

Training the glute med with banded crab walks and a myriad of hip abduction moments may be great to improve the ‘mind muscle’ connection or simply drive a hypertrophy outcome. However, if you desire to have hips that can withstand squatting and deadlift intensity without dumping into knee valgus you will at some point have to ditch the mini band and actually learn to control the relative positions of your femur and pelvis in standing postures against heavy external loads (gravity and barbells). The same way you wouldn’t program crunches to improve core stability and bracing for squats and deads.

Read More

Improve Hamstring Strength - GHD Case Study

Improve Hamstring Strength - GHD Case Study

We introduced a banded ‘reach’ instead of the external load to increase the ability to keep the rib cage back and down (retracted) through serratus anterior engagement. This doubles as an easy way to reduce the ability of the lats to extend the spine, as the serratus anterior directly opposes the lats ability to extend the lower back (read a surplus of information on this topic by S+C GOAT - Eric Cressey). We cued an exhale at the top of the movement to draw the ribs down and pelvis up into relative posterior pelvic tilt through oblique recruitment further reinforcing the ability to control the desire to extend the system and take tension off the hamstrings. This culminated in a very tough set of 5 reps with significantly increased hamstring tension.

Read More

Relative Stiffness

Relative Stiffness

When we actively engage serratus anterior in core/ flexion based drills we effectively shut down the involvement of it’s antagonist muscles, of most note in this example the latissimus dorsi. This increased stiffness created by the serratus anterior effectively shuts down the lats ability to extend the lower back and drive the rib cage anteriorly. This is because the serratus anterior’s function is to shift the rib cage BACK and DOWN relative to the scapluae, the direct opposite effect the lat has on the rib cage of FORWARD and UP (extension of the lumbar spine and lower thoracic spine).

Read More

Breathing is NOT Bracing

Breathing is NOT Bracing

For bracing to occur optimally we must stiffen the trunk and spine through muscular activation AFTER we breathe in. If the muscular brace was to be set before breathing in we would significantly reduce the amount of intra abdominal pressure that can be created because the rib cage would be compressed by the muscular activation of the rectus abdominis, obliques and lats. This compression would reduce the expansion of the rib cage and reduce the amount of air drawn in. You can sit there and try this yourself.. crunch down hard on your abdominal wall and take a full breath in, it will be significantly less air than if you sat and inhaled in a relaxed state. Bracing must occur AFTER the breath in.

Read More

Pain, Injury and Load Management - A Case for 'Correctives'

Pain, Injury and Load Management -  A Case for 'Correctives'

For the most part, as soon as tissue tolerance is exceeded an injury will occur. Gradual increase in load exposure over time will strengthen the tissue allowing for a greater tolerance and greater exposure. Exposure to too much load, too quickly and you are back to square one, either in pain or injured. Many factors will influence the tissue tolerance at any one point in time.

Read More

Side Lying Archer

Side Lying Archer

When we look upstream on those who present with shoulder impingement presentations we quite often see a reduced function of one, or all, of these proximal joints. This quite often means that taking the arm through full ranges of overhead movements, as required for the Side Lying Windmill, results in pain at the anterior/ superior shoulder so it is not a great tool to use in these situations.

Read More

Anatomical Structure Dictates Anatomical Function

Anatomical Structure Dictates Anatomical Function

The rotator cuff does however have great control of the arthrokinematics (sliding, gliding rocking and rolling of the ‘ball’ on the ‘socket’) of the gleno-humeral joint throughout larger, more global movements patterns of osteokinematics. This is a result of the structure of their insertion points on the humerus:

Read More