Static and Dynamic stretches

Static and Dynamic stretches

In our previous article we discussed the importance of stretching. However, there were few benefits which didn’t complement  each other. The reason is different types of stretching techniques. Stretching in a specific way will provide you slightly different results compared to other stretching techniques. The two most popular techniques are static and dynamic stretches. People often get confused which one to use and when.

Static stretch

Fig.1 Forearm Static stretch

Since decades static stretches have been practiced around the world. It is a great way to stretch those tight muscles. Static stretches, as the name suggests involves holding a stretch for certain amount of time. There are no repetitive movements involved. For example, a static stretch is a simple forearm stretch (fig.1) where you hold the position for around 20 seconds. They have been used in the past and are still being used as part of warm-up routine. However research has shown that Dynamic stretches are more appropriate than static stretches when it comes to warm-ups. Implementations of dynamic stretches have been difficult as many athletes still prefer to stick to satic stretch routine.




Dynamic stretches aim to prepare athletes physically and mentally, to cope with the demands of the subsequent activities. They are sports specific, as it involves similar movements which will occur in the sport or training routine. They are believed to sensitize the neuromuscular system better than static stretches, considering the movements involved. Looking at variety of sports and exercise routines, there are plenty of options for dynamic stretches. Some examples for dynamic Stretches would be butt kicks (fig.2), inch worm, lunges, and kicks.



Continue Reading – Next Page




Knee Pain – Patello Femoral Pain Syndrome

Knee Pain – Patello Femoral Pain Syndrome

PFPS (Patello Femoral Pain Syndrome) is one of the common knee pain condition affecting active population of all age groups. It is found more in women because of wider pelvis which changes the direction of forces acting on knee joint.

Patella (knee cap) sits in a groove which is present in the lower part of thigh bone (femur). In a normal knee it glides up and down in the groove smoothly, whenever there is knee bending and straightening movement, such as going up and down stairs. However, in an affected knee the patella moves out of the groove causing friction between the two bones which eventually results in pain. Pain can vary from dull ache to sharp pain, which might be accompanied by clicking or momentary weakness in knee joint.




Knee cap is held in position with a good balance between outer and inner structures around the knee cap. Structures which are responsible for movement around the knee are the muscles. The muscle present in front of the thigh is known as quadriceps, as it has four prevailing muscles. Any imbalance between these 4 muscles can change the way the patella moves.

Contributing factors:

  • Poor lower limb mechanics due to
    • Increased foot pronation (foot  flattening)
    • Decrease lumbopelvic (lower-back and hip area) stability due to weak core (abdominal) and gluteal (hip) muscles
    • Decrease VMO (vastus medialis obliques) activity, the inner most muscle of quadriceps




  • Incorrect footwear
  • Muscle tightness; specially increase in Vastus lateralis (outer most muscle of quadriceps) and Illiotibial band (ITB) tightness/activity. ITB is a connective tissue band present on the outer thigh
  • Tight hip flexors and Tensor fascia latae muscle
  • Poor sporting technique/ergonomics
  • Heel strike running pattern increases GRF (ground reaction force)
  • Over-training
  • Sudden increase in training intensity/frequency

Treatment options – Click here



Stretching – Your body needs it!!

Stretching

Stretching has always been an important part of an exercise routine. However, it is also a greatly ignored part of an exercise/lifestyle routine. Reason can wary from it being boring, painful, unfitting, time consuming, worthless and many more. People can give you plenty of reasons to avoid stretching and jump straight to their preferred physical activity or sports. However, there are equal number of reasons or even more to spend quality time in stretching. Stretching is not only limited to an exercise routine or sports, it has an important role in day to day activities as well.

ITB-stretch

 

Our muscles have a tendency to get tighter overtime either from their regular use or from any muscle imbalances. When we train or play sports the dominant muscles tend to get stiffer and tighter from their use. Similarly bad postures will lead to tightness of the shortened and overactive muscles. In order to maintain a good muscle balance and flexibility, stretching plays an important part. Many people will argue that they do nothing except sitting at their work desk, why should they be stretching. These people are at a higher risk of not only contracting general health problems but muscle imbalance and musculoskeletal issues. Reduced movement tends to make the muscle tighter than using it.



Stretching helps in

  • Maintaining good flexibility in muscles
  • Reducing fatigue/soreness in muscles
  • Injury prevention
  • Maintaining good muscle imbalance
  • More power generation
  • Improving blood flow
  • Maintaining good posture
  • Improving joint range of motion
  • Relaxation





Continue Reading – Next page




Ankle Mobility – Significance in Injury Prevention

Ankle mobility and its significance in injury prevention

Let it be walking, running, jumping or landing, ankle is the first major joint, from where the forces are transferred up in the body. So it makes the ankle joint a lot more important than what people think of it. Ankle joint is often overlooked while dealing with conditions occurring at knee joint, hip joint or lower back. Primarily ankle joint movements include dorsiflexion (toes coming closer to shin) and plantar flexion (tip toeing) (Fig 1 & 2). Limited dorsiflexion at ankle joint affects shock absorption and many functional movements such as squats and going downstairs.

Every time our foot lands on the ground while walking, running or landing, there is ‘Ground Reaction Force’ produced. To keep the forces acting on the body within limits, it is important for the body’s musculature to absorb the forces.  Under impact activities every joint involved should work in their optimal range. If any joint’s range of motion is affected, it will increase stress on the other joints. This will also influence the muscle function and shock absorption around the affected joint.This is why ankle mobility is important to prevent injuries at foot, knee, hip and Lower back.

dorsiflexion

Fig 1 – Dorsiflexion

plantar-flexion

Fig 2 – Plantarflexion


 



A simple example to better understand it is to do a small jump, landing with stiff joints and another landing while bending at different joints. Landing with stiff joints will feel heavier and impart high forces on the joints. On the other hand, same landing done while allowing ankle knee and hip joints to bend, will feel much lighter. A good range of motion in joints allows the muscle to stretch more and absorb the forces optimally. Therefore limited/restricted joint range at ankle joint will increase the share of Ground reaction force more on knee and hip joint. In addition, a stiff ankle not only lacks in absorbing shock but it also reduces your overall agility and control.


 



Factors leading to reduce ankle mobility – Click here


 


Improve Hip Mobility To Prevent Low Back Pain

Hip Mobility and low back pain

Hip mobility is a major factor in deciding how your low back will behave overtime. Hip joint movement restriction has been found to be one of the major factors in developing low back pain. These two areas are so closely related that they work in conjunction at times. Change in the appropriate proportion of hip and low back (lumbar spine) movement can lead to movement dysfunction and injury. Considering a movement such as a squat (Fig. 1), where low back should be kept neutral throughout, with full movement occurring at hip. If hip range is limited due to joint stiffness or muscular tightness, it can force the lumbar spine to flex and lead to injury.



shiv 2+3

Fig. 1

It is also noteworthy that this disproportion in ROM(range of motion) has been increasing day by day. Following this, the low back problems are at a high. We can relate reduce hip mobility to ever increasing sitting habits, inability to do a full squat and lack of Stretching and cool down in sports. So, why or what leads to this kind of movement dysfunction?




Factors leading affecting Hip mobility – Next Page



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









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



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

Page 1 of 3
1 2 3