Posts Tagged ‘strength’

Bullet Proof Your Spine with the Bird Dog Row

This Bird Dog Row is an excellent exercise for increased spinal stability and enhanced hip and shoulder function. For those of you that suffer from lower back pain this may be a movement you will want to spend some time getting good at.

Many of you may already be familiar with the traditional Bird Dog exercise (extend opposing arm and leg in the air, lowering slowly to the ground and then alternating limbs). The opposing arm/ leg movement required for the traditional Bird Dog, emulates the natural GAIT pattern and consequently almost everyone can perform the Bird Dog without a problem. If performed with intention you can achieve great activation of the primary CORE abdominal muscles including:

  • Transversus Abdominus
  • Multifidi
  • Pelvic Floor Muscles
  • Diaphragm
  • Interal Obliques
  • External Obliques
  • Spinal Erectors

 Plus it works the primary movers of the upper and lower body:

  • Psoas Major
  • Illiacus
  • Hamstrings
  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Adductors
  • Quadriceps.

Connect the X: Lats and Glutes

The lats and glutes are designed to work as a team or what some rehab experts call a “Force Couple.” This Bird Dog variation works the entire body with a huge emphasis on the Gluteus Maximum and Latissimus Dorsi musculature working together as intended. Adding the rowing component encouraged activates of the poster oblique sling (latissimus dorsi and opposite gluteus maximus).

Think  of the lat and opposite glute pair as a giant “X”. The lats and glutes work together in creating stability in the lumbar spine. If you follow the orientation of the fibers you can see that the lat and glute muscle fibers practically merge into each other via the white portion which is called the thoraco lumbar fascia. 

I believe that people will never tackle their back pain issues if this relationship between the lats and glutes is not enhanced. Geeking out on functional anatomy is not required to get the benefit of this movement (leave the geeking out to me), but it does help to educate yourself on WHY you should do this movement. Simply put, if you take your time and progress slowly, I have found that all movements in your life will be enhanced if you can focus on this posterior sling relationship.

What you will need:

  • A bench.
  • A kettlebell or dumbbell.

Technical Cues

  • Minimize rotation in the body when lowering the weight.
  • Extend your leg back, not up (imagine toes pointing down, leg parallel to the ground).
  • Maintain a neutral spine. (Do not hyper-flex or hyper-extend any portion of the spine).
  • Eyes are looking down towards floor.
  • Row the Kettlebell or Dumbbell towards the hip.
  • Firmly grab the side of the bench wit an extend arm, hand directly underneath shoulder.
  • Focus on maintaining a smooth tempo.
  • Exhale as your row the weigh towards you and inhale as you lower the weight back down.

 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions is a great place to start.

In conclusion, I believe all people will benefit from the Bird Dog Row because of the strong activation of the lats and glutes and getting them to work as team. Give this movement a go and let me know what you think. 

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My Go To Move For Lower Back Pain

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Do you suffer from lower back pain?

Do this SI (Sacro-illiac) Joint Mobilization.

I have had back pain since I was 12 years old. That’s over 3 decades of back pain, sacro-iliac joint dysfunction, several herniated discs and muscle tears. I would be lying if I said it has been a breeze because it hasn’t been. Back pain is a royal pain in the “you know what.” If you also suffer from back pain I can relate to your suffering and I am sorry this plagues you.

As a fitness educator and personal trainer one of my favorite things to do is to share valuable tools, resources and exercises that have made a positive impact in my life and the lives of my clients. Because over half the population will suffer from back pain in there lifetime I feel this is a topic that we all need to learn about and most importantly learn how to MANAGE.

Back pain is all about management and finding drills and exercises that get you out of pain quickly and help restore as much balance and stability to the lower back as possible.

The SI Joint Self Mobilization drill is a wonderful drill you can do daily to offset any potential back issues. By using the power of your own muscles you can gently adjust these joints and get them moving better which also helps you move your hips more and lumbar spine less which is a good thing.

1. Lie on ground and lift legs in air. Hips and knees flexed to 90 degrees.
2. Gently resist the right hip from going into flexion (towards your chest) by placing your hand above the knee and resisting the movement.
3. Gently resist the left leg from extending by placing left hand around the left upper shin bone.
4. One leg is going into hip flexion while the other leg is going into hip extension. You resist both of these movements for 5 seconds.
5. Repeat 5 times one each leg.
6. To reset the pubic bones / pubic symphysis (where your pelvic bones beet in front of your body), place your two fists together in-between your legs and squeeze them for 5 seconds. You may hear a slight “clicking” sound in the pubic bone area and that is fine.

Do this daily or even multiple times per day to help your lower back joints and hips feel better. I certainly hope it helps. As always I am available via the web / e-mail to help you optimize your physicality and health.

Please share with anyone who has lower back pain.

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