It’s that time of year again for a lot of us here in Colorado when we dust off the ski boots, strap the snowboards to the roof, and head up to the mountains. Skiing and snowboarding both require a combination of strength, endurance, agility and balance to keep you upright as you head down the hill. Whether you’re a year-round weekend warrior or winter is your time to shine, here are a few essential training tips to keep in mind before hitting the slopes.
How Do I Prepare My Body for Snowboarding and Skiing? Exercise Tips to Stay Injury Free This Season.
In a previous post, we discussed how kettlebells allow you to replicate many of the basic movements you make in everyday life. This type of strength training helps you re-establish natural movement patterns, learn how to handle unstable loads without thinking about it, and reduce the risk of injury.
In today's post, we'll look into four kettlebell exercises that can be applied to all walks of life, whether you’re a world-class athlete or you struggle to pick up a bag of groceries.
In my previous blog post, Should I Be Doing Squats, I explained the benefits of training the fundamental movement pattern of squatting. When engaging in an exercise program, the way you move is vital for overall health and performance. Within the realm of your exercise techniques are the cues and instructions given by coaches, fitness trainers, physical therapists and physicians. You also have the interim reality of internet opinions weighing in.
Keeping the knees behind the imaginary vertical line of the toes is a cue frequently given when instructing someone to squat. This “over-cue” may be the result of certain biomechanical studies — showing compression forces on the patella-femoral joint with a knees forward approach — that have since been extrapolated to all populations. What may be at issue here is the suggestion of a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching the squat.
The squat exercise continues to have a dual identity in the realms of fitness, sports performance, and physical rehabilitation. On one hand, an exercise like the barbell back squat is in an elite category for its ability to build full body strength, especially in the legs. It has even been called the “King of exercises” by some enthusiasts. On the other hand, there is a polar opposite perspective in the industry where squatting is misconstrued as a negative exercise that increases wear and tear on the knees.
I can't claim to be an expert yogi, but I have been practicing for over a year with a fantastic instructor (shout out to Joanna Wilson). Yoga has added much value to my life. As a physical therapist and former Division 1 softball player, most of my fitness has come in the more standard forms of weight lifting and running. I also did some Pilates to build core strength and coordination after sustaining an injury of my own.
I always shied away from yoga because I didn't think I was flexible or graceful enough. But, when I started seeing clients for pain they developed in their yoga practice, I had to better understand how they were pushing themselves, and what they were experiencing in their bodies. I also had to find out why people were getting so excited to do a handstand! So I signed up for my first lesson.
Today, a year later I am still at it. After countless hours of training, I can fully appreciate the simultaneous strength, flexibility and balance required for yoga practice. This was something that was lacking from my previous fitness routines.
So you want to throw, swing or hit harder. But how? I remember playing high school volleyball and one of my coaches used to yell “HIT HARDER!” And all I could think was “Well, if I could I would!”
Sure, there are plenty of things about your throwing, swinging or hitting mechanics that can be tweaked and fine tuned to improve velocity and power. However, much of your ability to do this comes from the strength and muscle control you’ve developed in the off season.
There are literally an infinite number of training regimens and workout ideas to pick from. Likely, you will rely on your coaches and trainers to prepare you in the best possible way.
You stretch, you feel better, and then the tightness comes right back. What gives?
Many of you have been told that your upper traps are like rocks, your hamstrings are like bricks, or your calves are the tightest your trainer has ever seen. Usually these muscles also hurt. And typically the first remedy is stretching. While stretches aren't necessarily harmful, there is a reason why you would seek out a physical therapist for help. You're still in pain even though you've been doing your stretches regularly. But why?
It all comes back to balance. Your body requires balance in many dimensions. You need balance between your left and right sides. You need balance between your core and extremities. You need balance from the contribution of your smaller muscles that stabilize the joints, versus your larger muscles that move the joints. You also need balance between being strong yet flexible, and being stable yet mobile.
First, there is a lot of evidence showing that pain on the inside of the elbow is only becoming more common in baseball players, particularly pitchers. So, you’re not alone here. The elbow has several structures that become irritated with overhead throwing: the wrist flexor tendons, the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), and the ulnar nerve. The set of symptoms you have will vary depending on which of these structure is irritated, but all will create pain on the inside of the elbow that gets worse with throwing.
We never want to see a trend of increasing injury rates, so let’s unpack what might be going on here. There are a few main reasons why you are experiencing elbow pain...
Have you ever wondered: What does a physical therapist actually do? Aren’t they just for people who have had surgery? Don't they just do massage? How can they possibly help me with my overhead sport? These are some of the questions we hear all the time from athletes.
Well, let's clear this up. Physical therapists are movement experts who optimize quality of life through prescribed exercises, hands-on care, and patient education. Some physical therapists pursue advanced specialization in helping athletes with overhead sports, like volleyball, baseball, tennis, swimming, gymnastics, and track & field events.
Kettlebell training involves basic, fundamental movements that mimic many of the movements you make in everyday life, such as carrying uneven loads, bending over, squatting and getting up off the ground. Some kettlebell exercises are explosive movements (ballistic), while others are slow and deliberate (grinds).
The beauty of kettlebells is that they support all fitness goals or activities and conflict with none. They make your body stronger and more resilient while reducing the risk of injury.