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  • Writer's pictureChris Kelly

I love me some hip shift, but we can take things too far. We talk a lot about the need to optimally shift over a stance leg (Figure 1) but remember that everything exists in a pendulum.

While failure to fully shift (figure 2) over a side can excessively load the medial portion of the lower extremity and result in knee pain.

OVER shifting (figure 3) increases bending strain placed on the femur and predisposes the femoral neck to stress fracture and hip pain.

I find an underappreciated skill is simply asking the client where they experience discomfort. This gives us a better idea of where to begin and what to expect.

  • Writer's pictureChris Kelly

For many years, I have had an inferiority complex about coaching breathing. I assumed that people would find it boring and thus tried to fit it into the margins of my programming.

I've read and heard many people I respect on this area say they try to get people off their back and off the ground as quickly as possible for these same reasons.

These statements are not wrong in their logic, but they are absolutely wrong in their presentation. I now believe that we can and should encourage our clients to return to the ground as often as possible to reestablish sensory competence and motor control. We just call it something else (Core circuit anyone?)

If, for example, I explain to a client the importance of tucking the pelvis in a 90/90 position to obtain a stacked position, I immediately lose at least 50% due to confusion.

However If I explain the same exercise will give them more ab and hamstring engagement AND improve their ability to squat, we suddenly have something very different. Context is an such an important element of coaching and the more our client can relate to our rationale, the more likely they are to buy in to our methods.

In today's example, I am attempting to engage the transverse abdominus by distinguishing pressure between lower and upper abs as I breath (exercise 1).

An easier way to say this to my client is that, because the TVA's fibers are hoop like, one of it's functions is abdominal compression (aka a smaller waistline). While this may not be completely accurate, it absolutely makes this more relevant.

I can then relate it to exercises 2-4 in which I am cueing my client to hold on to these muscles as we breath and move her limbs throughout her "Lower ab circuit".

  • Writer's pictureChris Kelly

Neck pain is a multi-factoral issue influenced by much more than the neck.

If the thoracic spine and ribcage do not move well, our neck has no base to move from.

You ALWAYS wanted to ensure your upper back is able to expand with air and compress or your neck will literally be shoved in front of your body!

Try these two upper back exercises FIRST before moving on to the last drill which restores direct neck movement.

𝟭. 𝗙𝗿𝗼𝗻𝘁 𝗳𝗼𝗼𝘁 𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗻𝗲𝗰𝗸 𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗻- Come in to a split stance with target side leg forward. Reach forward with target side elbow and and rotate head in that direction. Inhale and exhale 8-12 times.

𝟮. 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗽 𝗯𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗲𝘀- Step forward and reach with targeted side while looking in that direction. Inhale and exhale before changing sides and repeating. Continue to alternate between sides for 8-12 reps.

𝟯. 𝗦𝘂𝗽𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗡𝗲𝗰𝗸 𝗻𝗼𝗱𝘀- Lie on your back and place feet up on a box, a yoga block under the tailbone and a towel behind the neck.

Inhale while nodding chin up and lifting tailbone slightly off the block. Exhale and nod chin down. Repeat for 8-12 breaths.

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