Lunges – Let’s do it right

 Lunges  – are you doing them right?

In the first part of the article series “Let’s do it right” we discussed the right way to perform exercises. Now this article will talk about – Lunges, one of the most common functional exercises done to build up thigh and butt muscles. Lunge is a great exercise to maintain or improve lower body strength. Apart from improving strength it also helps in improving balance and control.  It is also a very functional and specific exercise for many sports such as tennis and squash. Good thing about lunges is that you don’t need any fancy machines. However, if done in an inappropriate manner, it can lead to muscle imbalance and pain around the knee joint.

Lunges

Lunges





Muscles targeted

Many confuse this exercise to purely a quadriceps exercise. The primary muscles which are targeted by doing lunges are quadriceps muscles (front of thigh) and gluteal muscles (buttock muscles).  Second common confusion happens in identifying which leg is being trained front or back. Front leg is the driver however it is possible to feel a stretch on the thigh of the same. People compensate by loading their back leg more which is one of the many mistakes while doing lunges. Let’s see the common mistakes.

Next page – Common mistakes done while doing lunges







Let’s do it right – 5 essential exercise tips

Let’s do it right – 5 essential exercise tips

Exercise is great for everyone, as they help maintain your physical and mental wellness. Exercises can be divided into different categories depending on what we are trying to achieve. There are strengthening exercises, stretching exercises, balance and coordination exercises and cardiovascular (aerobic) exercises. They can be further divided into their respective subcategories.  All the four types of exercises are important in order to achieve a better output with respect to injury prevention and physical and mental fitness.




But if the exercises are done in a wrong manner, they can have a worse effect on your body leading to overuse or acute injuries. In this series of articles “let’s do it right” we will go through the basics of exercising and right form of exercises.

Components of your workout routine

People have a tendency to stick to one kind of workout routine neglecting other variables of exercises. For example, a person who loves to run but ignores stretching and strengthening exercises will have a higher chance of injury than a person doing all three in a balanced way.

A good workout routine involves exercises which target all 4 components of exercise. But being said that it’s not that all the 4 components need to have separate exercises, one exercise can target 2-3 components together. For example Lunges – involves balance, strength and stretch.




Start with warm-up and end with cool down

All your workouts or sports should start with a good 10-15 minutes warm-up. A good warm-up includes body temperature raising activities like jogging or spot jogging followed by dynamic stretches and sports specific or workout specific drills. Whereas cool down should consist of short recovery run or walk and static stretches.

Sequencing of exercises

Stable lumbopelvic area

Exercise technique



Running Shoe buying Guide

Running Shoe buying Guide

Nowadays buying the right running shoe is a complicated affair because of the variety in brands, technology, and aesthetics. Top reasons why people select a particular shoe are its aesthetic, brand and their favorite celebrity endorsing it. A good running shoe regardless of above criteria should be one which compliments your foot type and requirement. It doesn’t matter if the shoe which works wonders to your friend’s running will do the same for you. All foot types are different and all feet behave differently when placed in load bearing activities.




Foot and ankle make an important part in how your whole body mechanics will work. Foot is the first area which comes in contact with ground and decides how the gravitation forces will act on different joints of your body.

  • Know your foot type
  • Which time of the day you should buy your shoe
  • Selecting a brand of shoe
  • Particulars to carry with you to shop
  • How to check a shoe









Difficulty targeting hamstring flexibility?

 Difficulty targeting hamstring flexibility?

One of the main causes of musculoskeletal injuries is soft tissue tightness or weakness. When we talk about tightness the first muscle that comes to our mind is Hamstring. Hamstring has almost become like a synonym to tightness. Let it be your coach, friend, doctor, physio or social media everyone points out and suggests stretches to relieve hamstring tightness. However, in spite of spending enough time on stretching, many people complain of temporary to no change in its flexibility.



It is important to understand the reason why your hamstring tightens up so easily. It is equally essential to comprehend its significance in injury prevention and treatment, and the correct way to increase its flexibility.

Hamstring functions as a knee flexor (bending knee), moving the heel towards the buttock and also as hip extensors (kicking back) moving the leg to the rear. Hamstring muscle is an antagonist to quadriceps (muscle in front of the thigh). Hamstring helps in deceleration of the lower leg when in movement. The three muscles which are present in the posterior thigh are semimembranosus, semitendinosus and bisceps femoris (short and long head). They all originate from ischial tuberosity (sit bone) and attach on the leg bones (tibia and fibula).







Experiencing flow during physiotherapy…

Article by Adele Ang

adele

Senior Sports and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist

About the Author : Adele specialize in Sports and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy.  She also pursued the Polestar Pilates Method, which is a comprehensive method using Pilates as exercise therapy for rehabilitation of injuries.


Flow is a concept coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explained in detail in his book of the same name. Flow is the state of being which every professional athlete, dancer and musician wants to be in when executing an exquisite skill or art form. It is the state whereby the abilities and skills of an individual perfectly fits the task at hand. When this happens, the individual is totally present and immersed in the doing of the task, a sense of calm and being in full control without the presence of tension, doubt or anxiety. The individual in flow is fully committed to the process of the task without any expectation or concern for the results. It is in that moment when you feel that time stood still and yet ironically time flew past so quickly that hours felt like minutes. At the end of which you would probably feel that you just experienced heaven on earth.

The concept and best conditions to experience flow captivated my attention and interest since I read its book when it was first published more than 10 years ago. I found that the harder I try in wanting to experience it, the more elusive flow becomes. Flow is not something that happens with trying or pushing too hard, it requires one to be able to know when to push and when to pull back. This is probably similar to what the martial arts strive to achieve when executing precise and effortless forms and moves to defeat their opponent. The regular practice of skills with attentiveness is the key in preparation for the flow experience. However it cannot be forced or coerced, it happens when the individual is ready. Hence the experience of flow comes when ‘preparation meets opportunity’ (a phrase borrowed from Oprah Winfrey) and it happens when it happens, usually not when you want it to happen very badly.




In my work as a physiotherapist, I crave for flow. Simply because it makes everything better and of course, who doesn’t want to feel time fly past quickly at work. I see patients who come with their prime goal of getting rid of their pain, whether it’s a painful back, neck, shoulder, knee or ankle. As part of their experiencing pain, there is usually some level of anxiety and muscle tension that comes with it, there is an absence of calmness and in the patient feeling fully in control of the situation they are in.








Move your nerves and relieve your pain

 

 

After a long day at work or prolonged sitting, people experience stiffness in the joints and muscles. Then a simple stretch gives so much relief, however many times a nagging discomfort stays there no matter how nicely you have stretched your muscle. The tight muscle which is not responding to your stretch might actually be a nerve. Like our muscles, nerves also get tight from staying in a certain position for too long or tightening of muscles around the nerve.



The key to relieve discomfort coming from nerves is simple – stretch it – floss it or glide it. Nerves also get blood supply and this supply can be increased from these simple techniques. It also helps in improving the movement of the nerve along the joints and muscles by improving their ability to glide.

Below are few simple ways to stretch or floss the nerves. There are many variations to it depending upon location of tightness, symptoms and limiting factors such as joint mobility or any existing conditions.

Upper body nerve stretch

Three main nerves that need to be stretched in the upper body are median nerve, radial nerve and ulnar nerve. To stretch theses nerves is simple and fun as the movement is quite similar to dancing.

Median nerve – (on a call position) Place open palm on your ear as if you are on a call and elbow out and in line with shoulder. Now straighten up your elbow while keeping the wrist in same bend position feel the stretch and come back to starting position. The stretch feel would be in your arm and palm.

median nerve stretch

median nerve stretch

combined

Combined nerve stretch

Next page – Ulnar nerve and Radial nerve Stretch



When and why to use an Ice Pack?

When and why to use an Ice Pack?

Article by Adele Ang

adele

Senior Sports and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist

About the Author : Adele specialize in Sports and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy.  She also pursued the Polestar Pilates Method, which is a comprehensive method using Pilates as exercise therapy for rehabilitation of injuries.


In Asian cultures, applying cold packs to injured body parts is frowned upon. As there is a belief that it can lead to ‘rheumatism’, which is typically characterised as stiff and achy joints. As a kid, my dad would rub a hard-boiled egg, straight out of boiling water, on a bruise formed on my head or my knees the very moment after sustaining these bruises.

I was told that this is done to improve blood circulation to the bruise, for the bruise to dissolve, as well as to avoid having to cut the bruise out as it will be ‘dead flesh’, should blood permanently fail to return to the bruise. Really frightened that this threat might really happen, I endured the painful hot egg treatment with every bruise I sustained as a kid.




Applying cold therapy to injuries is not common practice in Asian cultures, whether it’s Traditional Chinese Medicine or Ayurvedic Medicine, heat therapy is still a treatment of choice. As such, it’s not common knowledge among some patients when to apply heat and when to apply cold.

Here are 3 pointers to help you decide to reach for ice whenever you sustained an injury.




1.First 72 hours

The basic guideline is that cold therapy should be applied in the first 3 days following an injury. Inflammation which is our bodies healing mechanism happens immediately following an injury, whereby blood flow is increased to that area to commence healing. As a result of inflammation, pain is experienced and the injured area will be swollen and warm to touch.

2.Red, swollen and warm to touch (past 72 hours)

When the area concerned presents with redness, swelling and is warm to touch. These 3 things suggest that the injured structures are still inflamed. Cold therapy may at times need to be continued after 72 hours especially when the injury sustained is extensive and/or it affects parts of our body such as the foot and ankle which usually have more persistent swelling due to continuous load on these areas if weight is placed on then as well as due to gravity pulling more fluid down to those areas.




3.Difficulty moving the injured area due to pain

Usually pain is intense and unremitting and episodic as well. May have been more than a few days, could be weeks or months prior but is episodic. A recurring injury to the same area may result in such a presentation, usually heat therapy is applied but should you feel worse or in more pain after, you may respond better to cold therapy. This may be due to repeated inflammatory responses to the injured area usually resulting from repeated aggravation of the same area as a result of insufficient rest as well as not receiving proper treatment, including physiotherapy and rehabilitation following the injury.

Rehab Mantra
Stay Fit. Love Life

 


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Shoulder Pain and Serratus Anterior

Shoulder Pain and Serratus Anterior

There is a sudden increase in neck and shoulder pain pertaining to many reasons. The most evident reason to this is our poor ergonomics which leads to muscle imbalances. Tightness or weakness of muscle around the shoulder or neck increases the load on its counterpart or other joints. One such muscle is serratus anterior, its weakness is usually targeted but the tightness factor is often overlooked.

Serratus anterior muscle lies underneath the shoulder blade and comes out on the sides of the rib cage. It is commonly known as punching muscle or boxer’s muscle. Serratus anterior has many functions in keeping a smooth and coordinated movement of the shoulder blade and arm. It helps in rotating the scapula upwards for arm to elevate overhead. It also keeps the shoulder blade pressed against the thorax and helps in bringing it forward around the thorax.




Serratus anterior weakness

Now since we know the movements it does around the shoulder, it is easy to relate what will happen if the muscle is weak. Reduced upward rotation from serratus anterior will increase load on other upward rotators, which is your upper trapezius muscle. Increased load on upper trapezius muscle will cause tightness and ache around the neck. Secondly, its ability to hold shoulder blade pressed against the rib cage also reduces. This affects the ability to pull or push objects and alters shoulder joint mechanics which can lead to problems like shoulder impingement.



Serratus Anterior tightness

Ever noticed when we are working on computers, the hand controlling the mouse is often kept away from the body? This is one of the leading causes of serratus anterior tightness now a day. When our arms are extended forward for prolonged hours it draws the shoulder blade forward, thus making serratus anterior muscle rest in a shortened position. Over time this leads to gradual onset of problems in shoulder joint as the joint mechanics gets altered.




Targeting strength and flexibility of serratus anterior muscle

Heel Pain Among Kids?

Heel pain among kids

There are many conditions which are seen in growing kids and often left aside as growing pains. One of these conditions is called Severs disease or Calcaneal Apophysitis, which results in heel pain. The name might sound frightening but it is an injury to the growth plate of the heel and not a disease. This is commonly seen in active kids involved in exercises or sports on regular basis. The average age when kids hit growth spurt is anytime between the age of 10 and 15 for boys and 8 and 13 for girls.




Growth plate is found at the end of growing bones which later turns into bone cells. During growth spurt, the bone grows faster than the muscle and tendons, which makes the muscles relatively tight and overstretched.  At heel, the Achilles tendon is attached to the growth plate of the heel bone. As the growth spurt hits, it increases traction forces on the growth plate. These increased traction forces in addition to the impact from physical activity, cause inflammation of the heel (calcaneal) growth plate. Similar growth plate injury occurring at the patella (kneecap) is known as Sinding Larsen Johansson Syndrome.




Pain is the most prominent symptom in severs disease. Swelling and redness might be seen in some cases. Other symptoms could be difficulty in walking and increase in pain from impact activities like running and jumping. Kids suffering from severs disease are often seen walking tip toe or limping.



Can you do a full squat?

Can you do a full squat ?

Article by Adele Ang

adele

Senior Sports and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist

About the Author : Adele specialize in Sports and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy.  She also pursued the Polestar Pilates Method, which is a comprehensive method using Pilates as exercise therapy for rehabilitation of injuries


As a physiotherapist I teach people to assume a squat position for many reasons. Being Asian and raised in a culture where squatting toilets were the norm, most people had no problem assuming a full squat.

With the rise of sitting toilets, less and less people are able to squat fully, this is particularly true for relatively younger people. Surprising isn’t it? So sometimes you get to see a sprightly older lady make her way to the squatting cubicles while the younger ladies wait in line for the sitting ones. And guess who is going to have more problems with the hip, knee and ankle joints in future. Well, I can proudly say I am one of those ladies, though not older, who cuts to the front to use those empty squatting cubicles.




Benefits of a Full Squat

A full squat has its benefits, both in keeping the joints of your legs sufficiently flexible and the muscles moving those joints both stronger and longer, as they support the joints through their full range of movement. Lost of joint range of movement or joint mobility is a common reason for ongoing hip, knee and ankle pain in many adults, commonly but wrongly attributed to be a result of aging.




Assuming a full squat has also been touted as a valid solution for complete emptying of one’s bowels. A full squat requires you to have your thighs brought up to your chest which tightens your abdominal muscles, the position places a slack on your pelvic floor muscles which in turn relaxes the anal sphincter.

In addition, if you are experiencing recurring hip, knee or ankle injuries it is worth seeing if you can do a full squat and if not, learn to do it.

Here are 3 things you can do to assume a full squat and in doing so, keep your legs and bowels happy and healthy!




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