Here we are at week 4 on my campaign to fight SB Syndrome.  Doesn't seem to matter where I turn, the affects still seem to be with us.  But to do my part, here is the next movement for you, or someone you know, to use to fight SB Syndrome. 

Remember, it's not just about vanity, it's also about keeping your core functioning and your lower back out of pain.  The glute/butt muscles play an important role in keep you out of pain. Because if they are too weak or not used appropriately your back and other muscles try to take over. And if you've ever had nagging back pain you know how uncomfortable and irritating it can be. So do your part. Feel free to pass on the info.

Be sure to stop by next week for another great movement to help you fight SB Syndrome.

If you'll remember last week I shared with you 7 of The Most Important Stretches if you spend your day at a desk.  Well as promised here's the other half of the equation.  Stretching is only half of the solution to getting out of pain.  The other half is Massage. And if you can't get to a massage therapist as often as you'd like, self-massage is the next best thing.  It provides many of the same benefits, loosening tight muscles and breaking up scar tissue that accumulates from either working out or from poor posture for long periods of time (think sitting over a desk working).

Truth be known, it only takes 7 minutes to feel the relief of self-massage.  But if you really want to get all of the "bugs" out, and really break-up that tight tissue, try 15-30 minutes of the techniques I demonstrate in the videos below.  Whether it's 7 minutes, or 15-30 minutes, it's a small price to pay to get out of pain and stay that way.  And for those of you that are really serious about kicking pain out on it's ear, do your self-massage followed by your stretching and watch how fast you get results.

And if you don't have your own tube, please visit my store and pick up your Energy F/X Tube. I promise it will last much longer than you're average tube or roller. I use my Energy F/X Tube 8-10 hours a day, 6 days a week with clients and it's still going strong over 1yr later!






After last Friday's post I received quite a few emails regarding which were the most important stretches. "I don't have time to do them all Kurt, c'mon."  So I thought it might be a good idea if I broke the stretches down into groups so that you can use them more effectively.

By and large most of my clientele spend the majority of their day sitting at a desk.  They tell me that they have few if any opportunities to get up from their desk for any length of time. And if they do, it's usually to go to a meeting where they spend anywhere from 2-4hrs sitting again. 

As all of you know, who have been following my posts, sitting for long periods of time has significant consequences to your body.  Especially your lower back, knees and sometimes wrists (depending how much time you spend on the computer).  So let's get rid of that pain and discomfort.

Below I have listed the 7 most important stretches if you're a person who is stuck at a desk for most of the day.

I would encourage you to do these stretches a minimum of 1x/day. They will take you approximately 15-30 minutes to do.  Not much time to invest to get out of pain.  Think about it for a second.  You spend 4-8 hours sitting.  I'm just asking for 30 minutes a day to get you out of pain, and help you decrease your stress level. Sounds like a good investment to me.

 This is Stretch#1.

Position your body with your right leg bent at a 45 degree angle. Straighten your back leg with the toe facing the floor. Position your upper body so that your knee is in line with your sternum (chest bone). Hips should be parallel to the floor.  You should feel no pain in the knee. If you do stop immediately. This pose is also know as Pigeon.

Hold position for 7 breaths.
 

This is Stretch #2.


Begin on your knees, with your knees out wide, resting on forearms. Then straighten one leg out to the side. Be sure that the toe of the straight leg is in line with the knee of the kneeling leg. If possible, reach out to touch toe of straight leg with same side hand.


Repeat movement 3 times on both sides.


 This is Stretch #3.

With your calves against the supporting surface take a medium to large step forward. Place one foot, shoe strings down, on the stable support surface behind you. Kneeling down bring the back leg knee to the floor. Now if you're just beginning you may need to place a pillow under your knee for cushion and to decrease the intensity of the stretch. Be sure that the front leg knee is bent at a 90 degree angle and the shin is perpendicular to the floor.

Hold for 5-7 breaths. Repeat on other side.



This is Stretch#4.

Begin with your head, forearms, shoulder blades, and butt against the wall.  Feet should be 6-8" away from wall. Make sure there is minimal space between your lower back and wall.
 


Ending position for Stretch #4.

Extend your arms up and out into a 'Y' position. Be sure to keep forearms and hands in contact with the wall at all times.

Repeat movement 7-10 times.


This is Stretch #5.

Taking a lunge position halfway through a doorway, use this inverted 'V', place your hands on a door frame and gently lean forward until a stretch is felt in the shoulder, chest and/or arms. Make sure your weight is evenly balanced between the front and back leg.

Hold this position for 5-7 seconds.  Repeat 2-3 times.


This is Stretch #6.


Stand straight and clasp your hands behind your back.



Ending position Stretch #6.

Tuck hips underneath you (by flexing your butt) and tighten your stomach, move clapsed hands towards floor, while pulling shoulders back and lifting chest. This should create erect posture. Be sure not to arch lower back.

Hold for 5-7 breaths. Repeat 3-5 times.


This is Stretch#7 (1/3).
This stretch is often called Child's Pose. From a kneeling position, toes pointed straight back, sit backwards so that you are sitting on the heels of your shoes. Reach forward with both arms, far enough to feel a stretch in the lower back and shoulders.

Hold for 7-10 seconds
 


Stretch #7 (2/3)

Keeping your legs where they are at, engage your abs and move both arms to the right until a stretch is felt on the left side of the body. Think of making your body into a half circle. Be sure to remain seated on your heels.


Hold for 7-10 seconds.



Stretch #7 (3/3).

Now do the same process you did for the above picture for the left side.

Hold for 7-10 seconds.

Well, there you go.  The 7 most important stretches for those of you who spend way too many hours seated at your desk.  These quick 7 should get you out pain and help you stay that way. 

As always let me know what you think.
Since May of this year, I've been sharing with you various stretches and exercises to help you get out of pain and stay that way.  From the questions and emails I've been receiving it seems as though a reminder of the blogs would be really helpful.  As I promised early on in my blog post, I am committed to providing reliable, useful, practical information that will assist you in getting out of pain and staying that way.

If your having Shouler Pain:

Try these stretches and exercises to get rid of pain and stay that way:

Shoulder Stretches Group 1

Shoulder Stretches Group 2

Shoulder Exercises Group 1

Shoulder Exercises Group 2

Having Wrist Pain, don't forget these tried and true movements:

Painful Wrists Stretches and Exercises

Lower Back Pain, remember these stretches for the hip and lower back:

Back Pain Stretches Group 1

Back Pain Stretches Group 2

Back Pain Stretches Group 3

Knee Pain have you limping around? Try these:

Knee Pain Exercises

So there you go. The bodypart where you're experiencing pain listed just above the stretches and exercises. It doesn't get much easier than that.

With this well outlined group of stretches and exercises you should have no problem getting out of pain and staying that way.  But I feel I have to remind you, you have to do them consistently if you want them to work. Doing these movements once in a while will not get you results. Make the committment, get out of pain and go do what you already enjoy doing . . . . better!

Have a great Labor Day Weekend.
For some strange reason I've been approached several times this week regarding knee injuries.  Not quite sure why this has been the issue this week, but thought I would share with all of you some tips on how to get rid of that nagging knee pain.

First though, let me help you better understand how the knee ends up being in pain.  If you have a habit of sitting to one side while at your desk, cross your legs under your desk and/or chair, or if you sit on one leg, all of these create misalignment in either the hip and/or the ankle.  Guess what joint sits right above or below this now misaligned hip or ankle -- the knee.  

When you sit in a posture that is not legs at 90 degrees, feet and ankles underneath knees, shoulders back and chest up, you are increasing the chances of muscles running from the hip to the knee or the knee to the ankle becoming strained. And as you know if you've been reading my blogs, muscles under strain will pull on the joints.

Now let's be honest. Almost none of us sit upright in the position I described above all the time; But if you're in pain you already now that. If you're having knee pain, please download this free Knee_Injury_Rehab_Level_1_(blog_8-27-2010).pdf and get out of pain now!

If you've been lucky enough to avoid pain so far, I would encourage you to begin rolling on an Energy F/X Tube or other roller to alleviate muscle tension, and decrease the chances of developing knee pain. If you have any questions on how to begin using an Energy F/X Tube to avoid or alleviate knee pain click here. And if you need to purchase a roller that will last, try the Energy F/X Tube.

Life is too short to live in pain.  Don't let bad habits set you up for pain.  Either get in the habit of sitting in an upright position on a regular basis, use a Swiss Ball as a desk chair, which aids in maintaining good posture, or get yourself an Energy F/X Tube and, like drinking a glass of orange juice to avoid a cold, it'll help alleviate the symptoms that cause knee pain.

Or you could just ignore all of this. . . . . .  and see what happens.
Sometimes I think people believe things have to be very complicated and exotic in order to get results. 

That's not true. 

Things just have to be consistent and effective.  When it comes to your body, all you need are simple movements that are consistently done - namely stretching and strengthening. 

As I shared with you last week, stretching is just part of keeping yourself pain free.  Stretching will relieve the immediate pain and start you on the road to recovery, but equally important are the strengthening exercises you do to create and maintain proper alignment and keep you out of pain!

As this is the last in my series on shoulder pain, I've included a worksheet of 5 very important exercises that you can print and take with you. That way you'll be sure that you're doing the exercises correctly and taking one more step to getting yourself out of pain and staying that way.

At this point, between all of the stretches I've shared with you, in addition to the exercises, you have enough information to get your shoulders pain free and keep them that way.  If you need a little extra help, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Here's your free worksheet. 5 more Shoulder_Rehab_Movements_(blog_208-20-2010).pdf to get and keep you PAIN FREE.

As always, please let me know how they worked for you.
For a bit of time I've been sharing a variety of stretches with you.  Now it's time for some exercises.  Truth be known, stretching is only 1 part of the process.  Stretching will relieve the immediate pain and start you on the road to recovery, but equally important is the strengthening of the area that is weak and out of alignment -- thus causing pain.

Check out the 2 stretches below to get you started on pain free shoulders.  Don't forget the previous blogs on shoulder stretches so you have all the tools you'll need to stay pain free.

This is Part#1. (X)

This exercise is known as X, X, T. Thus you should perform an X movement, another X movment and then a T movement before starting the process again.

From a standing postion, knees slightly bent, hands in front of body at waist height, take a band, anchored at knee height or lower, into an 'X' position as shown. Hold position for 1-2 seconds and return to start position.  Abs should be activated to stabalize core. Repeat 7-10 times.
 

Part #2. (X)


From a standing postion, knees slightly bent, hands in front of body at waist height, take a band, anchored at knee height or lower, into an 'X' position as shown. Hold position for 1-2 seconds and return to start position.  Abs should be activated to stabalize core. Repeat 7-10 times.

Part #3.  (T)

From a standing postion, knees slightly bent, hands in front of body at waist height, take a band, anchored at knee height or lower, into an 'T' position as shown. Hold position for 1-2 seconds and return to start position.  Abs should be activated to stabalize core. Repeat 7-10 times.
Here is another of my favorite shoulder exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff. I call it Pull Rotate. Simple enough. Click the video and learn another movement to get and keep your shoulders pain free. Repeat this movement as the others, 7-10 times.

Shoulder Pain must be the second largest complaint I hear about outside of back pain. Whether it's from doing too many bench press exercises and skipping rotator cuff work, or spending hours in front of the computer, shoulder pain . . . . is a pain!  Much like back pain, it is related to repeated poor posture, either sitting or standing. The purpose of these stretches is to get your body back in alignment and decrease the stress the poor posture has placed on your muscles and joints.

If the pictures and description are still a little confusing, I've included a freebie -- a Shoulder Stretch Sheet; that you can download and take with you to practice.

The first three stretches will be performed in a doorway. The images will demonstrate the proper set up position. In each of the doorway stretches be sure to engage your stomach muscles and tuck your hips underneath you to avoid arching the lower back.
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Stretch #1 
As I stated I would like for you to do these first 3 stretches in a door way. Taking a lunge position halfway through the door, reach up and out to a 45 degree angle. Gently lean forward until you feel a stretch. Make sure that your weight is balanced evenly between your front and back leg. Hold the position for 5-7 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.


Stretch #2
I've turned just a bit to the side so that you can notice the lunge position and the position of the hands (forming a 90 degree bend at shoulder and elbow). As in the first stretch, gently lean forward until a stretch is felt. Make sure that your weight is evenly balanced between the front and back leg. Hold this position for 5-7 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.


Stretch #3
Again, using this inverted V, place your hands lower on the door frame and gently lean forward until a stretch is felt. Make sure that your weight is evenly balanced between the front and back leg. Hold this position for 5-7 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.


Stretch #4
From a seated position place your hands behind you, approximately shoulder width, with your fingers pointing away from your body. Slowly slide your body forward, away from your hands, until a stretch is felt. Be sure to keep your chest up and gently squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lift your chest. Hold this position for 7-10 seconds.  Repeat 2-3 times.

Try the stretches above to get rid of that shoulder pain. It's summer and most of us are more active than usual. Don't be sidelined by unnecessary pain.  I've had great results with my clientele in relieving shoulder pain, and I think you will, too.

As always, let me know how these stretches worked.  And here is the freebie!  Bonus_Shoulder_Stretches_Sheet.pdf
I've been receiving some really great responses from the last 2 posts regarding stretches for the lower back. I also received an inquiry for a few more stretches for those that travel and have to deal with long plane flights (sitting for extended periods of time).

So here are 3 more stretches to get and keep you out of pain, whether you're flying every week, spending too much time in front of the computer, or need a little help keeping the hips and back open after a rigorous workout.



Stretch #1 Pigeon
This is a slightly less aggressive form of pigeon from the laying position. Lay flat on your back.  Bring your right leg towards your chest. Grasping your knee and ankle gently, pulling the leg towards the left side of your chest (so you are moving the leg across the body) until you feel a stretch in your glutes. You will create a very gentle stretch in the hip. You should feel no pain in the knee. Repeat this process 3-7 times.



Stretch #2 Windshield Wipers
Here is another version of the windshield wiper stretch from the previous back stretch post. Laying flat on your back, feet slightly wider than hip width, bring your knees together so they meet in the middle. Hold this position for approximately 5-7 seconds. Return the knees out wide over the ankles. Think of the windshield wipers on your car. Repeat the process 3-5 times.



Stretch #3 Knees Out Wide
As the name suggests, this is a basic groin stretch to decrease inner thigh tightness.  Resting on your knees, move them as far apart as you can comfortably. Place your elbows underneath your shoulders for support and rock back and forth to find your tight spots. When you find a tight spot, stop and breath 5-7 breaths before rocking again. I would suggest repeating for each tight area 3-5 times.

You requested it, so there you go.  Use these stretches along with the other 2 posts on back stretches to get and keep you out of pain.

As always, let me know how they worked for you.


I've got to tell you, back pain has got to be one of the most common complaints I hear from my clients and from the people who work out at the gym. 

Today was a good example. A member I've seen countless times at the gym approached me today and told me he's had to give up surfing, which he loves, because of back pain. After a quick assessment, I showed him how to go through these stretches as well as the one's from my earlier post on back pain.

I think we can all agree, we either know someone who has back pain or have experienced it ourselves. And quite honestly it just plain sucks.

Let me show you some additional stretches to get rid of that pain now!


Stretch #1
I call this Long Lunge. Take a lunge position, being sure that the lead leg's knee if over the ankle. Back leg should be straight, with knee resting on floor. Both hands should be placed on the floor, inside of lead shoe. Stretch should be felt in groin area of lead leg and the quad (front part of leg) of the back leg. GENTLY push hips towards the floor and feel the stretch.
Hold for 10-20 seconds. Do 2-3 times on each side.


Stretch #2 (part 1 of 3)
This stretch is often called Child's Pose. From a kneeling position, toes pointed straight back, sit backwards so that you are sitting on the heels of your shoe. Reach forward with both arms, far enough to feel a stretch in the lower back and shoulders.
Hold for 7-10 seconds.


Stretch #2 (part 2 of 3)
Keeping your legs where they are at, engage your abs and move both arms to the right until you feel a stretch in the left side of your body. Think of making your body into a half circle. Be sure to remain seated on your heels.
Hold for 7-10 seconds.


Stretch #2 (part 3 of 3)
Now do the same process you did in the above picture for the left side. Hold for 7-10 seconds.


Stretch #3
I call this Windshield Wipers. Lay flat on your back, arms out wide, knees bent 45-90 degrees, feet flat on the ground. Take your left ankle and place it on your right knee. Drop both legs to the left side to feel a stretch in the right hip. The goal is for the stretch to come from the hip and NOT the lower back.

In addition to the stretches from the previous post on back pain, try these and see how you can get rid of back pain.

Let me know how they worked for you.