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Here we are at week 3 of November.  Time is certainly flying by.  But truth be told, it's just a reminder that the holiday season is upon us.  Right about now is when most of us begin to feel the time crunch of Thanksgiving quickly approaching us, hoping we don't over-indulge yet again this year.  It's also the time when the Christmas shopping countdown begins -- becoming more frantic with each passing week.

But I know all of you have self-control.  You aren't going to let the same thing happen this year that threw you off track last year.  This year you're going to make sure you keep yourself on that long list of "things to do".  This year you'll make sure to stop when your body says it's had enough.  You'll wait a few hours and then go back if you still want more. This year you're not going to wait till the last minute to get your shopping done.

And since you've made those commitments, here is your next exercise to keep you on track.  You use your core every single day of your life.  There really is no "time-off" from keeping this all important part of your body in shape and functional.  Besides, you already figured out back pain is really no fun.

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.
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.

I was asked today, "with all of the DVD workout systems, the old school ideas of working out, and now with the buzz around functional training, what is the best way to train?"

Well the truth is . . . (drum roll please) . . .  there is No Best Way to train.  The body is a dynamic system and whether it's super slow training, circuits, or whatever other trendy workout is the new thing, the body needs variety.  Each of the training paradigms/theories out there has merit.  In fact, I would dare say that each of the theories on training have some important place in a long-term program.  Based on your level of fitness and stated goals, a well rounded, versatile training/workout routine includes:

1.) strength training

2.) circuit style training

3.) explosive movement

4.) agility; and

5.) active rest.

The point I'm trying to illustrate is that you, as a dynamic system, cannot train any one way forever.  You have to change your routines regularly in order to continue to evolve and make progress in your fitness program.  The variety serves the purpose of avoiding boredom, as well as repetitive motion issues (where training a specific movement too often can actually decrease your effective fitness and encourage frustrating plateaus).  By keeping it versatile, you stay motivated, you keep making progress, and you keep reaching goals, something that will ripple through the rest of your life.

Don't get caught up in the trends.  Keep the important points mentioned above and wave bye-bye to plateaus.

As always, let me know what you think.
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.
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.