Article – BodyBasics Mobility Circuit – “Why” to Support the “How”
The bodies we possess are incredible in their design. Just watch any athletic event and it becomes clear how willing and able our bodies are to respond to just about anything we command them to do. That is, until we stop moving well. Take for example your ankle. When your ankle moves freely in any motion you work it through, you have the confidence to do whatever. But when you have some kind of trauma, like an ankle sprain for example, your movement quality diminishes. If your limit is not addressed in a timely and appropriate manner to restore it you may lose quality enough that your ankle issue begins to impact the quality of movement you have in other key joints as well like your hips and spine for example.
Fortunately our bodies, even after some kind of stressor, are very responsive to restorative movement. If the time and attention to quality is provided our bodies, your body, can move incredibly no matter your age. That is why we developed the mobility circuit and organized the different movements therein in the sequence that we did. I’d like to take some time in today’s article to give you some more of the “why” to support the “how” we’ve already taught each of you at a deeper level. I’d also like to provide some special tips that will optimize the outcome we aim for you to have from completing your mobility circuit consistently.
Let’s start at the beginning with the ankle rock movement we have you do at the wall. Why do we want you touching the wall with your forward knee while keeping that same foot’s heel grounded and about 2-3 inches from the wall? The ankle joint is intended to be a very mobile joint with a very similar range of movement to our hips and shoulders when healthy. When you’re able to perform the ankle rock as we’ve taught you and move freely without pain, you’re demonstrating the level of motion needed for exercises of the lower body like squats, lunges, step ups and running. You’re also showing more capacity in your daily life to go up and down stairs without favoring one side over the other and getting up and down from low positions.
Knee to Chest
Being able to know how to distribute your weight to one side while maintaining solid body control when doing so is a life skill that we can lose when joints stop working the way they are designed to. When our ability to transfer weight to keep our balance diminishes, our fall risk rises substantially. Reducing fall risk is the number one reason why we want you all to focus on reacquainting yourselves with the skill to stand on one leg while lifting the other knee toward your chest. A simple strategy to aid those of you who have trouble still doing so is to ensure your foot is supporting you well first. To determine if this is so, try this. Grab a paper bag and put it on the floor next to a wall or chair just to be safe. Then take a wet rag and get the bottom of your foot wet. Perform the knee to chest movement with your foot on the paper bag. Step off and check the footprint. If you can see all of your foot you’re arch is not supporting your well in a single leg stance and it will be important to improve that to reduce your fall risk.
Figure Four is very similar to Knee to Chest in terms of relearning how to distribute our weight to one side while maintaining solid body control as its primary purpose. The addition of rotating your raising leg externally at the hip as in the pattern one may take on to put their sock on while on one foot, is the distinct difference. This unique aspect of the movement causes our bodies to have to control movement in two ways. We have to stay upright just as we did with Knee to Chest. We also have to overcome a lateral bending and rotating force that the body experiences when we rotate the leg at the hip. This part is so valuable because our balance is also improved by keeping the muscles deep in our hip strong so that our femur, the upper leg bone, does not rotate inward when we are on one leg. If these muscles aren’t able to execute their function well, our knee will rotate inward. Our ankle will try to follow the knee and also rotate inward. The two actions together make it impossible to stay upright on one foot.
½ Kneel with Rotation
This movement is essential for so many reasons. For starters, simply getting to the ground is a life skill that we should strive to maintain as long as we possibly can. The action of getting down to the ground is a strategy we learned as infants. Traumas to joints and reductions in strength impact this action from being practiced. Taking it in small doses like we do to complete the mobility circuit is a great way to practice this life skill.
Once down the ½ kneel portion of this movement teaches us a lot about available range of motion in the front of your hips. This is super important because less range means less involvement of your buttocks muscles. If you have less involvement of your buttocks muscles you have more involvement of your lower back. A solid majority of lower back issues stem from simply being unable to use our glute muscles appropriately.
The ½ Kneel with Rotation exercise also incorporates balance. As you are on one knee, your knee is providing feedback to your brain as to how you’re distributing your weight, much like Knee to Chest and Figure Four do. As you begin to rotate you are furthering the balance challenge by moving your head and eyes as your track your reaching arm. The more influences at once you can place on your balance, the better reaction time you can have in a situation where you find yourself in a similar predicament, like stepping up on a curb and having to turn your head as someone beckons you at the same time. These types of experiences happen when we don’t expect them to. This movement can prepare you for these unexpected events.
Commonly as we age we start to lose some of the available range of motion that our middle spine is designed to provide. This is a frequent outcome of prolonged sitting activities, particularly hunched over ones, without equal time spend to ensuring healthy extension is still available. When we lose motion in our middle spines we also begin to experience reductions in motion of our upper spine, our neck portion. As we start to experience decline in neck motion, we begin to find alternative means of straightening up in pursuit of seeing what’s in front of us. Most commonly, we begin to overextend our lower spine, so much so that we can damage it. We do Cat/Cow to reduce the likelihood of this gradual demise from ever occurring. As you place focus on articulating all three segments of your spine in a controlled manner you are maintaining its motion and doing your part to reduce decline from happening.
The Perfect Stretch is another one similar to ½ Kneel with Rotation that has the ability in its design to accomplish much. Right away you have a balance challenge again as you set up in a ½ kneel position. Your balance needed becomes even greater once you kick out your forward foot to set up properly for this movement. As you extend your torso forward keeping it in line with your backside knee and hip, you are creating a significant stretch in the front thigh/hip area of your back leg. This element of Perfect Stretch is so valuable once again in promoting healthy range of motion so that your glutes can function as they are designed to in keeping your hips stacked under your ribs and shoulders. Someone who has tightness in this motion is also someone who tends toward lower back discomfort in their day to day activities.
As you maintain your hip extended position in Perfect Stretch and prop your inside arm against the inside thigh of your forward leg to turn your torso away from it, you’re promoting rotation of your middle spine. Middle spine, or thoracic spine, motion is another action that can be compromised over time if we don’t use it. The result of inaction is stiffness that affects our ability to properly rotate to our left or right and to side bend to our left and to our right. We also can experience decreased lung volume from restriction in our middle spine. Doing the trio of ½ Kneel with Rotation, Cat/Cow and Perfect Stretch promotes healthy thoracic spine motion.
Perfect Stretch continues to demonstrate healthy ankle motion as your kicked out forward foot’s heel is brought back ideally to a point just behind what is still your backside knee. Here again, just as with Ankle Rock, the ability to keep your heel down in this position communicates healthy range of motion needed to bend down and step up in our daily lives. A reduction of this motion increases the likelihood of having knee issues.
Upon standing, Perfect Stretch provides information about how well you hinge. Hip Hinging is a life skill that, when done properly, reduces unnecessary strain to our lower backs when picking stuff up. It also aids us in situations where we may need to be bent over for a period of time, such as when pulling a lovely bunch of weeds from the ground after a healthy monsoon storm has come through and watered the ground.
Alternating Lateral Lunge
When our hips are restricted in how they move we adopt alternative strategies, often unknowingly at first, to continue to do all the things we have to do with our hips on a daily basis. One common example of an adoption is the bending over strategy to pick something up versus the squatting down option that our hips are designed to provide. I can’t tell you how many times someone has hurt themselves from reaching down for something without squatting down to do so. We do the Alternating Lateral Lunge movement to encourage healthy joint range of motion at the hip and to stretch the muscles and connective tissue that may be impeding our ability to do so.
Our mobility circuit is meant to be a gateway through which you can reduce your injury risk in a variety of ways. We have integrated strategies to reduce your fall risk, enhance joint range of motion at all key segments, gain better body control and body awareness, and do all of this in a succinct and systematized manner. The next time you’re doing the mobility circuit, take your time. Really aim to get all that you can from it. As always, we can modify any part of it for you as well. Just ask.
Client Spotlight Questions
1. What was the reason you decided to go to a trainer?
When I entered Massage Therapy School (1997), one of my instructors said, “If you want any longevity in this profession, I highly recommend that you get involved in a program of weight lifting. You will need to stay strong…which will help prevent injury to your own body.”
2. Did you consider or participate in any other form of treatment for your reason before seeking a trainer? Examples: physical therapist, acupuncturist, medication
I have always had some form of exercise in my life which I felt would help me to stay strong. However, I soon learned that I needed to build up my muscles/strength in order to ensure a minimum amount of injury while playing tennis, hiking, and administering massage therapy.
3. How did you hear about BodyBasics?
I first heard about Body Basics from Nelda Chimienti. Then, I heard about Body Basics, maybe a year later, from my chiropractor, Ron Andelora.
4. Did you evaluate other gyms or trainers before deciding on coming to Us? If yes, what were other places missing that BodyBasics was able to provide?
Yes, since 1997 (when I graduated from Massage Therapy School), I worked with three different trainers prior to coming to Body Basics in 2008. The other three trainers were all good. However, their environment lacked the camaraderie, education, support, and motivation, that I have experienced at Body Basics.
5. Ultimately, why did you choose BodyBasics over other options?
I chose Body Basics because they HAD IT ALL!!!!!!
6. What goals did you have when you started at BodyBasics?
I told Chris that I wanted to stay strong for my profession and I had discovered that I had Osteopenia. Chris said, “Well, I can help you with that”! I said, “Really”? …..AND HE DID!!!!!
7. How long have you been training at BodyBasics and what specifically have you achieved over that interval?
I started training at Body Basics on September 3, 2008. Specifically, I am stronger now than when I started, and my bone density has gone from Osteopenia to “NORMAL.” : )
8. What current goals are you pursuing with your trainers at BodyBasics?
My goals have pretty much remained the same…I want to stay strong as I move into the Golden Years, and it is vital that I keep my bone density healthy. My mother had Osteoporosis. Besides that, Chris is helping me to be more aware of my hydration and my nutrition and my balance.
Welcome New and Returning Clients
The greatest compliment we can receive is a referral from one of our clients or allied health network!
Kathi Townes ~ referred by Emily Acre @ New Body Pilates
Mo Brady ~ referred by fellow client and good friend Jane Spitzer
Barb Genzman ~ Long time acquaintance of Chris
Nina Borland ~ found us via Google search
Joe Macher ~ referred by fellow client Gene Smith
Stephanie Henderson ~ Welcome Back!
Shout outs are about us voicing victories we witness you all having at BodyBasics. We’ll keep it to our top 5 each month.
Gene Smith ~ for his ongoing commitment to improvement. He’s now doing things that were not even possible when her first started back in June!
Bob Plymyer ~ for remaining incredibly consistent despite every reason not to during the last 6 weeks of his life!
Marge Furash ~ for continuing to learn how to temper intensity within reason, so much so that no one would even know she was once considering a total shoulder replacement! Thank goodness for second opinions and incredible work ethic!
Mike Sampogna ~ for his consistency participating with the Foundations group 3x per week. You’re energy and overall sense of well-being has clearly increased sir!
Patti Lane ~ for achieving her mid range goal of improving her fitness enough to transition to group training. First one October 5th!
Recipe – Quinoa and Turkey Mini Meatloaves
by Darcie Miller, owner and recipe developer of the allergy friendly and health food company, Naturbaker.
Extraordinary mini meatloaves that use quinoa and lean ground turkey as the binding agent and bacon and raisins for moisture and richness.
• 1/4 cup quinoa rinsed in sieve
• 1/2 cup water/vegetable broth
• 1/2 medium Onion chopped
• 1 stalk celery chopped
• 1 Carrot chopped
• 2 cloves Garlic peeled
• 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
• 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
• 1 tsp dried herb of choice (I use rubbed sage and/or thyme)
• 1/4 tsp chili powder
• 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
• 5 shakes hot sauce
• 3 slices Bacon cut into pieces
• 1/4 cup raisins
• 1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey
• 2 tbsp instant mashed potatoes
•Coconut oil spray (or oil spray of choice)
• 1 tbsp mustard
• 1/4 cup ketchup
• 2 tbsp turbinado (or brown sugar)
1 Combine the rinsed quinoa and water/broth in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil.
2 Turn heat down to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Set aside and cool.
Prepping meatloaf mix
1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2 In a food processor, combine the onion, celery, carrot and garlic and pulse until the vegetables are diced, but not a paste.
3 Add vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Add Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, dried herb, chili powder, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Stir to combine.
4 In the food processor that chopped the vegetables, combine the bacon and raisins. Pulse until a paste is formed.
5 Add the quinoa, bacon mixture, ground turkey and instant potatoes to the large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands.
Shaping the mini meatloaves
1 Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with coconut oil. Fill muffins cups with meatloaf mixture. Pat firmly down with a spatula and fill to the top.
2 Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Flip cookie sheet over so that it is directly on top of the filled meatloaf muffin pan. The parchment paper still being held to the cookie sheet, should be in the middle between the muffin pan and cookie sheet.
3 Hold both pans firmly together, flip them over, so that the filled meatloaf muffin pan is now directly on top of the cookie sheet.
4 Lift muffin pan slowly off of the parchment paper/cookie sheet. You should have 12 neatly arranged lines of mini meatloaves! ?
Cooking the meatloaves
1 Place cookie sheet with meatloaves in preheated oven. Cook for 40 minutes.
1 In a small bowl, stir together mustard, ketchup and 2 tbsp brown sugar.
2 Brush/pour on top of the meat loaf within the last 20 minutes of cooking.
Love this recipe? Enjoy more of Darcie’s kitchen adventures at www.naturbaker.com
Exercise Video of the Month – Prone Pressouts
Community Events – Learn by Doing Workshops w/ Chris Litten
September 29th’s Event was a great success! Please mark your calendars with these upcoming dates and topics. Space is limited to a max of 12 people for these events also so once you decide to come, please call us to sign up or do so the next time you’re in the studio. The sign up sheet is at the front desk.
October 27th 1-2 p.m. Topic: Breathing: How to Use it as a Tool For Improving Your Health & Fitness
November 17th 1-2 p.m. Topic: Keep Back Pain at Bay! 3 Exercises Everyone Should Be Doing
December 15th 1-2 p.m. Topic: The Hip Hinge: What It Is and How to Implement It Into Your Exercise Program
Chris, Kris, Kristian, Lance, Amanda, Dustin, Chelsea and Xavier