The squat is probably the most well-known exercise in the health and fitness industry. It is considered a compound movement of the lower limbs that requires not only strength but neuromuscular control and adequate joint mobility to perform correctly.
The squat is not just an integral component of our learned movement patterns; it is also performed in multiple sports and occupational tasks. We start squatting before we learn to walk and our bodies are made to move like this. It is also one of the most common movements we retrain here in the clinic!
So, what is the best squat technique?
Unfortunately – there isn’t just one technique, everyone is different and there is a range of different squat variations. However, there are a couple of common ways to squat at work, home and at the gym.
As shown in these two photos squatting down to pick up an object in a workplace versus a squat variation while gardening. These two positions are quite different as they stress different structures of the body and serve a different purpose but are commonly used throughout the day.
I’m not sure if it’s because I am pregnant myself and trying to adjust to my ever changing body, but social media seems to be rife with female fitness idols showing off their growing bellies surrounded by hints of what used to be a 6-pack of abs.
Strolling through the comments I was quite shocked to read threads about whether other women noticed an issue with abdominal separation. One woman proudly claimed that she didn’t have any tummy separation, and the fitness model replied saying “I thought you only got it if it was in your genetics”.
Unfortunately, many women aren’t aware that:
a) separation of their tummy muscles exists,
b) that it’s not a genetic issue
c) it is more common than you think
d) that if not fixed post-baby this can contribute to a number of musculoskeletal issues.
The devil wears Prada… by the devil, I mean our feet. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to wearing high heels for prolonged periods. There is no denying that a pair of Valentino 4-inch heels would be a perfect statement to go with any little black dress. However, as far as Physiotherapists are concerned, the only statement these shoes will be making is a painful one.
The simple elevation of the heels causes a chain reaction from the toes to the neck that can lead to a range of problems. Common issues seen in high-heeled culprits include:
lower back pain;
hip pain; and
other joint issues.
Your back is designed with precise natural curvatures that optimise shock absorption to protect your back.
When we wear heels the lower back is forced to curve even more. This adaption decreases the overall stability in the trunk.
Have you been experiencing pain for a long time but have found treating the area of pain has not been effective for you OR is your recovery only short term and you continue to reinjure yourself?
Sometimes treating your symptomatic or painful area can be ineffective or give only short term relief.
Assessing using the framework of “ConnectTherapy” considers the complicated network of physical connections in the human body, as well as, other factors such as social and emotional contributors that may be relevant to the pain that you are experiencing.
Without addressing these factors in a holistic and collective way the real root of your problem or pain will remain unchanged.
Dr Linda-Joy Lee is a Physiotherapist and creator of the treatment model called ConnectTherapy. Her research is driven by her unconventional thinking and her passion about changing people’s lives. The framework integrates current scientific research with her clinical expertise. A detailed and thorough assessment process is used to determine how all areas of the body are linking and interacting with each other during a specific task.
ConnectTherapy aims to find the root of the problem to prevent the injury from reoccurring.
Over time, your body can learn bad habits with basic movements or postures. These bad habits may occur as compensation for previous injuries or as a result of asymmetries that may develop from work, recreation or sporting activities.
Ultimately, these lead to altered mechanics of movement which are often accompanied by pain and dysfunction. Any functional task, whether it be sustained postural positions or dynamic activities requires integration and effective performance of all regions of the body. Effectively, the whole body has to work well together to allow us to function and perform well. This is why it is essential to assess the whole body, not just the area that is in pain or symptomatic.
IN WINTER: The body withdraws. Winter is the season where the kidney element is predominant. Our kidneys are held deep within the body and are vital to life. Winter is about withdrawing into ourselves, not overexerting one’s self. The Kidney’s element in Chinese medicine is water, water becomes cold easily and cold injuries the body if left unattended so keeping warm and eating warming food is important. The aspect of spirit that resides within the kidney is the Yi. This is our intelligence. The kidney organ separates the impurities from the fluid within our body and excretes them through the urine. Similarly, the Yi helps us to discern the pure from impure thoughts. Winter is a time to assess your current beliefs and values and redefine your focus for the spring, so you can clearly focus on the new ventures that spring may bring.
Physically Winter affects the body in more ways than one, particularly in the modern world. There is a dryness in the air both external and through heating devices – this saps our moisture that is vital to the kidneys, leaves our skin and lips dry and our brain a little muddled at times. Because our Qi withdraws it leaves our surface exposed to the elements and the cold and wind may sneak into the system, this is where we see wind cold invasion in Chinese medicine aka a cold or flu.
You know that eerie feeling when you think you are getting sick?
THAT’S WHEN YOU SEE YOUR ACUPUNCTURIST!
This is the point when the external elements have invaded the body and your body mounts a defence, you feel clammy and your glands may be up, you might wake with a kinked neck and you generally feel a bit off. Continue reading →
We have learned to accept that having a massage without pain means no gain. Although, it is true that in some cases we need to apply more pressure to release stubborn, chronic tension, there is also a magnificent technique that is based on zero pressure: lymphatic drainage. This specialised, powerful modality helps drain the lymph, which is designed to eliminate excessive fluids and waste from our body tissues. This fluid and waste removal stimulates the immune and circulatory systems giving a great overall immunity boost.
Why do we use zero pressure?
Because the lymph is located just below the skin (as well as, in deep organs) and the aim is to move the skin just enough to enhance the lymphatic movement.
Who Benefits from manual lymphatic drainage (MLD)?
All of us, as it cleanses the toxins that overload the body (from chemical stress, food preservatives, fatigue, infections and lots more in these modern age). In particular this modality is great for edema (swelling) due to pregnancy or inflammation, post surgery – both to heal quicker and helping reducing scar tissue, for those who get sick easily or tend to get the seasonal flu (even one treatment reduces the chances to get sick!), respiratory infections, chronic fatigue, immobile people.
Most of us will experience a headache at some point in our life. For some, it is a rare event that lasts only momentarily. For others, it can be a regular occurrence that can affect day-to-day function and quality of life. They can range from being just nagging and frustrating, to totally debilitating. In some cases, there are clear-cut causes, like too many late nights, not enough water, or perhaps a little too much red wine. However, many cases aren’t so clear-cut, and can be an absolute pain in the neck (literally)! Headaches can reduce your ability to concentrate, work and do the things you love to do.
There are many different types of headaches and Physiotherapists play an important role in the treatment and management of all types. Musculoskeletal-related risk factors of developing headaches include:
So.. it’s that time of year again! Easter is just around the corner and the tents and camping gear are getting unpacked and dusted off, prepped for their annual use! So here are just a few things to keep in mind to make sure that you can enjoy a camping trip that’s injury free and as pain-free, as possible, and also, that you don’t end up too stiff and sore when you get home from your relaxing escape!
Don’t forget to take your own pillow so that you can maintain good neck support despite your otherwise potentially nonoptimal sleeping set up
If possible, take an extra pillow to either place under your knees if you are a back sleeper, or between your legs / in front of you to wrap your arm around if you are a side sleeper – this will greatly improve your sleeping position on a potentially minimal support sleeping surface
A great way to add some extra support and cushioning to a camping mattress that may either too thin, or lacking some integrity (we all know the feeling of waking up in the hollows formed by a slow air leak! ) is to use a mattress topper or protector if you have one – simply fit it to your air/foam mattress for a more comfortable and supported sleep! Especially for those with sore and stiff low backs, shoulders and hips.
Remember your safe lifting and manual handling techniques when setting up your campsite! The last thing you want to do is injure yourself at the start of your trip and spend the rest of the time recovering! So remember:
Use your legs to lift, not your back;
Avoid lifting or loading in awkward positions or when you are twisted or rotated;
Avoid bending and twisting at the same time especially when lifting a heavy item (e.g. eskies), and always keep the load close to your body; use two people to lift these heavier items if needed;
Avoid loading or working in over-stretched or over-reaching positions (e.g. when tying off ropes or setting up poles)
All your bags are packed and you are ready to go, bikini body not quite on point, but, it’s too late now to do anymore about it. All you need to do now is sit back relax and find out that the emergency exits are here, here and here.
Well……..sort of relax, the idea of sitting on a plane or in the car for ten hours with your knees up in your armpits, drooling on the person next to you as you take a nap, and the kids screaming and carrying on isn’t always the best part of the holiday.
Although, I can’t help you with how to stop the kids from causing a riot and embarrassing you as they scream for nine of your ten-hour plane journey;
I can, however, give you a few hints and tips to help stretch those aching limbs and unkink that neck after you have taken a few zzz’s.
Prolonged immobility limits the body’s natural functions such as; returning blood and fluid back to the heart, thus resulting in increased risk of blood clots, swelling and DVT’s, not only whilst traveling but for some time after as well. The more you can do to assist the body during these periods of immobility the better. Not to mention it gives you something to do, and can actually help you feel refreshed and less fatigued after.
Here are my top exercises to perform for health, wellbeing, and general mobility whilst traveling.
For the past 3, 6, 12 months you have been looking forward to your holiday. You have been working out hard to get a body that you will be proud to be seen in a bikini/budgie smugglers, pencil dress/tucks. And although holidays are a time to let go, eat all the food and drink all the booze; because let’s face it if you haven’t put on a couple of kilos whilst away you probably didn’t do it right!
You would ultimately like to try your hardest not to completely undo all of your hard pre-holiday work and keep at least some kind of muscle memory, tone,and stability whilst away. This is always very hard to do when you are firstly out of your usual routine and you don’t have access to your usual equipment.
However, there is one piece of equipment that is the traveler’s holy exercise grail. Not only does it weigh nothing, it also rolls up into nothing, meaning that you don’t have to substitute an outfit in the suitcase to take it away with you. I am of course talking about a wonderful piece of elastic called a Theraband.
Theraband comes in a variety of colours which are used to identify the level of resistance it will provide. Below we will talk about the benefits of Theraband training as well as provide you with some all over body exercises to help keep the all-important areas lifted, toned and shaped.