Prevent Shoulder Injuries With 5 TRX Shoulder Exercises

The shoulder is a complex joint that requires a lot of moving pieces to maintain some degree of health. To prevent pain and injury, the thoracic spine, scapula, gleno-humeral joint and upper arm all need to work together, without compensations and restrictions.

Many of these TRX exercises can accomplish that goal, training the muscles that attach at the shoulder to function the way they are supposed to.

A myriad of exercises will improve or maintain shoulder health, using bands, dumbbells, or bodyweight; but the TRX brings a unique dimension. A steeper angle means more resistance, making the exercise more intense, and vice versa. Bonus! Because every exercise has some degree of angle, your core musculature must constantly be engaged—leading to a better relationship for the whole body.  This equals way more gains.

While these exercises might look easy,trust me they are not.  Intention of movement is vital to the success of these exercises and your shoulder health.

After mobilizing and activating the areas that need the corresponding exercises, make sure the prehab drills stick by incorporating systemic strength exercises involving the shoulder joint. Exercises like the TRX Low Row and the TRX Chest Press will add strength to the newfound ranges of movement and engage newly activated muscles.

Check out the full article at Stack.com


Build Strong Hamstrings to Avoid Pulls & Strains

Explosive athletes, or those who require short-burst sprints, like football players and track runners, are usually the most susceptible to hamstring strains due to the nature of their sports. However, even weekend warriors are not immune from injuring their hamstrings.

But there is hope. These injuries can be prevented. The main precursor causing one to suffer a hamstring strain is having previously injured that muscle (or part of the muscle group). Adding a few hamstring exercises to your training program can keep you off the disabled list with a strain. Hamstring strains can cost an athlete weeks or even months of training and competing, so it’s important to take preventative measures to stave off an injury.

 

Aside from a history of hamstring injuries, strength, flexibility, and stability all factor into preventing hamstring strains.

Lack of Eccentric Strength
Hamstring injuries occur when there is a rapid change from acceleration to deceleration or when you approach top speed during a sprint. Since the hamstrings act to decelerate your leg during full sprints, lacking eccentric strength cause a strain. To prevent injury, it’s important that your hamstrings have the ability to control flexion at the knee while lengthening.

 

Lack of Glute Strength/Activation
In addition to being a prime mover for knee flexion, the hamstrings also perform hip extension, a role they share with the gluteus maximus muscles. The glutes are a huge, powerful muscle. Just take a look at the backside of any Olympic sprinter. However, when there is little or no activation/strength in the glutes, the hamstrings pick up the slack. They have to act synergistically, not solo. This is a recipe for a hamstring strain.
Lack of Flexibility/Mobility
Most people complain that their hamstrings are “tight” or “tense,” without actually having an issue with the muscles themselves. If you lack flexibility, it’s important to figure out why and not just crank away on the muscle through various stretching techniques. Lack of flexibility or having too much tension in the muscle can be a recipe for injury when you call upon it to fire quickly and it’s too locked up to do anything. You need flexibility so the muscle isn’t forced past its extensibility potential.

Muscle Imbalance
Many of us are naturally quad dominant, and our lives and daily patterns exacerbate the imbalance. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore our posterior chain. Too much quad strength over hamstring strength can lead to anterior pelvic tilt. When the posterior chain gets ignored, this condition becomes more aggravated.

 

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” —Benjamin Franklin

Check out the full article HERE


Make Your “Bad” Knees Behave

 

Snap, Crackle, Pop

Achy Knees, the top structural complaint people have, second to low back pain.  However, is the problem actually the knees or could it possibly be something else.

The general public has a tendency to scapegoat ‘knees’ as the main reason they avoid squatting or lunging or just exercise as a whole.  Either that or years of running and sports has ruined abused their knees and the thought of exercising without pain is now a distant memory.  What they don’t know is the longer they go without doing any lower body exercise, the more their knees will suffer.

There is ALWAYS a solution

What’s fun about knee pain, at least it should be for trainers, is figuring out the root of the problem.  Whether its weakness, mechanics, hypertonicity or “tightness”, or injury history, the goal is to find exercises that will help lead to more pain free movement.

This article isn’t about why knee pain occurs. There are many reasons as to how or why pain develops at the knee.  What will be examined is how to go about building strength for the muscles around the knee.  Muscles like the quads, hamstrings, calves, and to a certain extent the glutes.

Let Me Tell You a Story

Back when I used to run…. A LOT, like I’m talking half and full marathons, my knees would generally ache once I hit a certain threshold.  Attempting to back squat was out of the question.  Even my own doctor said “you likely have arthritis.”  Seriously, at 25, arthritis.  So what’s a guy, that loves exercising

to do.  We go to work.

But First…

Start with checking mobility.  Issues with the knee can stem from a lack of mobility in the joints above and below the joint, specifically the hips and ankles.  The body is incredibly resourceful in getting what it needs and adapting to stress, no matter the cost.  That unfortunately means creating movement in an area that is not meant to move or defensively tightening to protect an area.

  • Ankle– Simple movements on creating dorsi and plantar flexion through the ankle are important.
  • Hip– Especially if you sit a good portion of the day, the hips tighten and develop a lack of mobility. When we run, there is a good deal of stress placed on the hip flexors.  The problem?  Muscles like TFL run down the leg and past the knee. When such muscles are trained all day to maintain a shortened position, it can cause excess pressure on the knee when you attempt to use the muscles normally.

Solution

  • Foam Roll- Back to my personal case study, implementing a fair amount of rolling to my program was key. Quads, glutes, TFL, Hamstrings, and even calves.  This helped ease some of the tension I would feel in my legs daily and allow better movement.
  • Stretch- Additionally I would stretch, but not arbitrarily picking muscles at random. Areas like the glutes and piriformis would ease tension on my legs.

 

Crush that Posterior Chain

Does anyone train the back of their body anymore?  We live in a quad dominant world, whereas glutes and hamstrings need more attention in order to bring balance back.  If you have knee pain and are not currently doing any of these, start.

  • Deadlift/RDL- Both similar in that they are hip hinges, which will build strength in your glutes and hamstrings. Most people have very dominant quadriceps, especially women. Including heavy movements like deadlifts or their slightly related cousin, RDL’s, in your training will help to undue that imbalance.
  • Hamstring Curls- Isolated hamstring work is amazing for several reasons, and there are various ways to accomplish this no matter what your strength level. Still, in terms of altering a quad/hamstring imbalance, isolated work is going to help a great deal.
  • Glute Bridge/Hip Thrust- Focused glute work is fantastic for making your butt strong, and also help you look great in jeans. Double bonus.

Isolate the Quads

  • TKE- Also known as Terminal Knee Extension, this is a “rehab” type exercise meant to force you to contract the quads. This can be performed with a band tied around a post, then looped behind the knee. The knee is then slightly flexed and then fully extended by contracting the quads against the bands resistance.
  • Leg Lifts- Similar to a TKE in terms of Quad activation, perform this seated on the floor with your back to a wall. Then with your leg straight, lift off the ground.  Sounds simple? It is, however it is a challenge to perform properly.

Groove That Squat

  • Patriot Squats/Box Squats– How many times have you heard “squatting is bad for the knees.” Well that’s simply untrue. Squats with POOR technique are bad for the knees.  Learning to correctly squat will make your knees strong and healthy, which in turn makes you healthy and strong.  A patriot squat regression can progress to a box squat as your body becomes adjusted to the movement and master it.

 

Lastly, if your technique sucks on anything above, find someone to help you.  Seriously!  When it comes to exercise in general, it pays to have an extra set of professional eyes.

Takeaway

Healthy knees are all about having the right amount of movement in the lower body, as well as a necessary level of muscular strength.  Without both, you may be suffering from knee pain.  Now knee pain is not a life sentence.  Believe me.  I was there. I used to not be able to squat at all without pain.  I took the time to work on some of the exercises above, and now I have no pain when it comes to movement.


Wednesday Warm-up- The Deadbug

 

Whether it’s your first trip to AMP or your hundredth, your first date is with our AMP warm-up.  These exercises are specifically selected  and sequenced  to warm up your muscles, joints, soft tissue, and raise your core temperature.  Literally warm you up.  This means getting muscles and joints prepared so they can move with ease, working on improving range of motion and mobility, and finally to activate muscles in you core and glutes.  In this short series, we’ll go over each exercise in detail so that you know what to expect from each exercise, what we expect to see from you and mainly so you can engage and move in the best way possible to optimize your warmup, training and gains.

First up is the deadbug.

Although it may not look like much, it packs a mean punch when done correctly.  However, most assume this exercise does nothing or that the it’s too easy, so it remains overlooked and rushed through. If this thought has ever come across your mind when it comes to this exercise, then you may need to slow down and acquire some body control to truly nail it down.

Does this describe you?

  • Flailing limbs
  • Flaring ribs
  • Low back arches off the ground

Slow down the movement, focus on your breathing, and maintain core control.  If the proper care is not given to the deadbug, you won’t gain anything from it.  It’s likely that you’ll end up performing what is fondly called a ‘struggle bug’.

Deadbug

What we want to see:

  • Neutral Spine, so no gap between your back and the ground
  • Slow, controlled movement through the leg and opposite arm
  • Slow breath out as you lower the arm/leg

Don’t be a struggle bug!

Check Out the Video Below

Deadbug

Deadbug


Exercising for Now or for Life?

The Sprint vs The Journey

The sprinter goes all out right out of the blocks.  Everything is extreme.  Extreme exercise program, extreme nutrition program, extreme calorie reduction, extreme restrictions!  110% at all times.  These are the people that are training for the short term.  Ignoring technique, mechanics, proper progression/regressions.  It’s all go, go, GO!  They want to get results and they want them yesterday.

The journeyman is all about the process, learning as they go through proper progressions.  They make small changes in habits and stick to them over the long haul.  They understand that they have many many years ahead of them and they would like to enjoy them healthily.  Along with any fat loss or muscle building goals comes the goal of being able to move better and to not be miserable during it.  They want to be able to enjoy life.

So which one are you?  Are you the sprinter, training for the here and now?  Are you the journeyman, training for life?

I would opt for the journeyman.  You want to be able to do what you are doing now, 5, 10, 20 years from now…within reason.   You should be able to do a  push, pull, squat, and deadlift.  Maybe it’s already hit that time that you dont even squat or deadlift because “it hurts your back” or “hurts your knees.”  If that’s the case, it’s time to rethink your training program.

How often are you getting hurt?  Nagging, chronic injuries? More acute, sudden injuries or pain?  Again, maybe time to re-strategize.

Look, starting an exercise program is an awesome idea.  Whether you are looking to build muscle, lose fat, gain strength, get faster,  train for a particular sport, whatever; training is a great idea.  There a a myriad of positives when it comes to exercise, but as with anything, we can get carried away.  Whenever I see people start an exercise program, my first thought is “awesome, it’s great to see people moving and taking care of themselves.”

This leads me to my next point on exercise.  Exercise is not punishment.  That is exercising for the NOW, not for LIFE.  The warm and fuzzy feelings I get from people starting a training program quickly disappears  when you take a look at the approach to exercise that many take.  Unfortunately for many, exercise has become synonymous with punishment, as in “I have to X amount of cardio to make up for the cake I ate” or “OMG I ate so bad this weekend I have to kill myself in the gym this week.”  That negative connection to exercise is often why most people fail in their training endeavors.  They make the mistake of viewing it as punishment, as something negative.  Exercise is something you GET to do, something your ABLE to do.  It provides multiple benefits, physically, emotionally and mentally.

What is your view on exercise?  Or better yet, what constitutes a good workout for you?

For most, it’s about how big of an ass kicking they can get.  They want to crawl out of the gym, be sore for days and leave a pile of sweat and/or puke on the ground.

Exercise should be challenging for sure, but if it has you to the point that you can’t function the next day or day after that, did you really accomplish anything.  Now I’m not saying DOMS isn’t a thing or that you should never feel sore.  That’s not it at all.  Soreness is going to happen.  It’s the bodies response to a new stimulus.  But is that soreness the result of pushing you towards the adaptation you want or further away?

This obsession with being beaten down stems from the fact that there is a misunderstanding with how exercise benefits our body.  We have this preconceived notion that in order to it to work, we should be sweaty, tired, and sore. But it’s not about how much you can sweat; you can just sit in a sauna for that. It’s not how tired it makes you or even about how sore you are the next couple of days.  It comes down to how is it making you better.  Is it bringing you closer to your goal or further away? Really, the biggest indicator of whether it’s working or not is if you’re seeing the results you want.

Part of the blame falls on all the fitsporation that you see on Instagram or Facebook.  Things like:5417951858_62179c3035_bthe_only_workout_you_regret_poster-re476742a6f5a4e4fa0f9451a6ad0905f_wvt_8byvr_324

With garbage like that, its no wonder we have a dysfunctional view of exercise.  All that is BS.  I don’t regret not working out.  What I actually regret is not giving myself recovery days. As I’m typing this, I’m on a recovery week from 12 weeks of intense training with a ton of volume.  I needed a deload week before I jump back to heavy training again.  My body THANKS me for it.  Pain is alerting you that something is wrong and you better fix it or suffer some serious shit.  If you’re pushing through pain, you’re most certainly training for the now and not for life.  So….

Are you exercising for now or for life?