Warmup for runners – 8 dynamic stretches

exercise physiology BOSIC

By Physiotherapist, Paulina Backiel

Why do we warm-up?

Remember when you wake up in the morning, getting out of bed is always so hard because your body feels stiff. So you raise your arms to the sky for a stretch, and you immediately feel like your body can move more.

Running is a very large movement for our bodies and requires many muscles to stimulate and work with each other. Warm-ups are exercises created to wake up the muscles you are trying to target, initiating stimulation by movement. This will increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscle allowing it to “wake up.”

 

What kind of warm-up do we do? What kinds of stretches are good?

You will often hear “dynamic stretches” for warm-ups. This means that you do not hold them for a long time like “static stretches.” In a dynamic stretch, as mentioned above, you just want to stimulate the muscle, not lengthen the muscle like you would for a static stretch. Below are examples of a dynamic vs. static stretch:

Dynamic = For example, when you do a quad stretch pulse, you do not hold it in a stretched position but move your foot towards and away from your bum.

Static = For example, when you do a regular quad stretch you try to bring your foot as close as you can to your bum and hold it there.

Here are 8 dynamic stretches for warm-up:

Lateral leg swings

Front and back leg swings

High knees with calf raise

Quad stretch pulse

Glute stretch pulse

Pulse lunge

Pulse squat

Hamstring and calf stretch – toe swipes

Watch the video below for a demonstration!

 

Happy running!!

Your Running Physio,
Paulina

 

How to deepen your squat – Part 2

BOSIC sports medicine

By Physiotherapist, Nate Chan

How to Deepen Your Squat – Increasing Ankle Mobility 

For those following here is Part 2 of the ankle series to improve your squat depth. If you’re like me and find it hard to perform deep squats or go as low as you would like, whether it be for Olympic lifting, powerlifting, running and cutting, or to jump higher, then I have a few tips for you to implement in your program. My second round of ankle tips revolve around strength and mobility. 

Firstly, let’s address the unknown and neglected muscle, the tibialis anterior. 

Over the years I have found the tibialis anterior muscle important in improving ankle dorsiflexion. The main function of this muscle is to dorsiflex and stabilise the foot and ankle. When this muscle contracts, it pulls the foot upwards to the shin. If you don’t have enough of this movement, generally you either begin to lift the heels off the ground as you deepen the squat or lose stability in the foot and ankle. This changes the tracking of the knees, generally leading to knee valgus (knees caving in) and reduces the hip/glute power to push out and down into the platform. Effectively, losing your squat form or leading to issue up the kinetic chain (mainly knee and hip injuries). 

Here is an exercise to help strengthen this muscle and allow it to do its job. 

  • STANDING HIP FLEXION AND TIB ANTERIOR STRENGTHENING

 

 

  • THERABAND ANKLE INVERSION STRENGTHENING

Another muscle often forgotten is the tibialis posterior. Yes, it sounds very similar to the first muscle I named, tibialis anterior. Except this muscle sits further back in relation to the foot and ankle, hence posterior. This muscle is designed to keep your foot strong and stable during the squatting movement. 

The function of the tibialis posterior during a squat is to maintain an arch on the inside of the foot. The moment you lose the arch, you lose foot and ankle stability and squat technique. Once again this muscle can contribute to injuries up or down the kinetic chain. A loss of stability in the foot may lead to knees caving in the lower half of the squat placing further stress on the hips, glutes and low back.

Here is an example of some exercises to strengthen this muscle:

 

 

Today’s keynote: Strong and stable foundation! 

 

If that has helped you and your squats, then stay tuned for more blogs and exercises to improve your squat performance. If you have questions, give us a call at 8599 9811, or book in for an appointment here.

Top 3 Glute Med Exercises

By Physiotherapist, Vanessa Boon

TOP 3 GLUTEUS MEDIUS EXERCISES

 

CLAMSHELLS

This exercise, if done properly, targets your glute med and focuses on the activation of the muscle. 

 

 

How to:

  1. Lay on your side with your legs stacked and your hips and knees bent 45 degrees.
  2. Rest your head on your arm and your other palm on the floor in front of your chest while lightly pressing your heels together. 
  3. Keeping the light pressure in heels, lift the top knee while keeping your core engaged. 
  4. Repeat this movement for 15-20 repetitions really focusing on the activation in your glutes. 

 

CRAB WALKS

This exercise targets your glute med in weight bearing, lower limbs as well as your core! This is one of my favourite exercises. 

 

 

How to: 

  1. Place your loop band around your mid foot to start. 
  2. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, hips, knees and ankle in one line (keeping this line throughout the movement). 
  3. Hinge at your hips and sit your bum back until you feel a mid – strong contraction. 
  4. Step one foot out to the side and step the other in the same direction while keeping tension in the band. 
  5. Keep alternating steps side to side, repeat this 15-20 repetitions per side. 

 

FIRE HYDRANTS

This exercise focuses on the concentric and eccentric control of your glute med, core and shoulders. This is one exercise that pretty much targets your entire body and works both glute meds at the same time. 

 

 

How to:

  1. Start in a 4 point kneeling position with hands under shoulders and knees under hips, core engaged. Your knees should be at a 90 degree angle. 
  2. While keeping your hips stable, squeeze your glutes and raise one knee out to the side aiming to get it parallel to the ground. 
  3. Making sure you are not leaning away from the lifted leg, keep your core engaged.
  4. Repeat and aim to do 15-20 repetitions on each side. 

 

Your glute med is one of 3 gluteal muscles. It is one of the main hip stabiliser muscles especially during single leg stance (e.g walking, running). This is a very important muscle to keep strong whether you play sports or not. Here is a video demonstration for how to do these 3 exercises.

 

 

For more information or if you would like a personalised program give us a call at 8599 9811 or book in here.

Top 3 Glute Max Exercises

By Physiotherapist, Vanessa Boon

Top 3 Exercises for the Gluteus Maximus

 

4-point kneeling hip extension

 

This exercise targets your glutes, core (including your lower back), hamstrings and shoulders. 

 

 

How to: 

  1. Start in 4-point kneeling with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. 
  2. Keep your back neutral and engage your core. 
  3. Lift one leg up behind you, keep your knee at 90 degrees. 
  4. Think about pushing the heel of your elevated foot up towards the ceiling while keeping your hips stable.
  5. Control the movement as you bring your knee back down towards the floor and repeat.

 

Single leg hip hinge 

 

This exercise targets your glutes but also trains your lower limb stability as well as balance. 

 

 

How to: 

  1. Start with your hands across your chest or holding a weight, feet hip width apart.
  2. Bend one leg to 90 degrees and place your foot on the wall behind you. 
  3. Engage your core and glutes as you hinge forward at the waist and push your buttock towards the wall behind you. 
  4. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, and pointing forwards and repeat.

 

Glute bridge pulses 

 

This exercise targets your glutes but also your core (including your lower back), your hamstrings and quadriceps. 

 

 

How to: 

  1. Start laying down on your back, keeping it neutral. 
  2. Feet should be hip width apart, engage your glutes and core. 
  3. Lift your hips up into the bridge position until you have a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. 
  4. Control the movement as you lower your hips back down without your buttocks touching the ground and repeat.

 

 

These are my top 3 picks! But remember that what works best for one person may not for others. If you would like a more specific program or exercises tailored to your sport, give us a call at 8599 9811 or book in here to talk to one of our physiotherapists today! 

 

Strong glutes – do they make a difference?

BOSIC sports medicine

By Physiotherapist, Vanessa Boon

The Benefits of Strong Glutes

 

Your gluteals are the largest and strongest muscles in your body. They are made up of the 3 muscles: gluteus maximus (glute max), gluteus medius (glute med), gluteus minimus (glute min). 

 

 

 

Your glute max, as the name suggests, is the biggest of the 3. Its main role is not only to extend and rotate the hip but also to drive explosive movements like sprinting and jumping (it is also the muscle that gives your bum its shape)

 

Your glute med is one of the muscles you would hear your physiotherapist harp on about. It is the main stabiliser muscle of your hip. This muscle keeps your pelvis and lower limbs stable during “single-leg movements” such as walking and running.

 

Your glute min is the deepest of the 3 glutes. It is the main internal rotator of your hip and also helps with other movements such as abduction. 

 

As a whole, they work to optimise proper hip and lower limb function along with stabilsing your pelvis. Besides that, here are 2 main benefits that come along with strengthening your glutes!

Decreased back pain

Your glutes are partly responsible for both pelvic and trunk movements. They act to stabilise, distribute and absorb load. A stable pelvis = stable/supported lower back. With load, your glutes help to distribute load to your lower limbs and absorb any excess through your lower back.

Decreased knee pain

This is mainly because your glutes keep your pelvis stable. Unstable pelvis = increased load to knees. Besides that, to be more specific, weak hip stabilisers (glute med) can cause non-optimal positioning for your femur which affects the position of your kneecap. This can cause the most common form of knee pain, known as PFPS (patellofemoral pain syndrome).

Conclusion

Whether you are trying to get that Kim K look, get more explosive power in your runs/jumps, or prevent back and knee pain, strengthening your glutes can be as easy as adding squats/bridges/lunges into your exercise routine.  When exercising the lower body, be more specific with which muscle you are trying to target. Whatever your goal, we can help you with that! To find out more about how we can help, give us a call at 8599 9811 or book in here to talk to one of our physiotherapists, and let’s get started towards your goals! 

How to Deepen Your Squat – Part 1

BOSIC sports medicine

By Physiotherapist, Nate Chan

How to deepen your squat  –  Ankle Series, Part 1 

 

If you’re like me and find it hard to perform deep squats or go as low as you would like, whether it be for Olympic lifting, powerlifting, running and cutting, or to jump higher, then I have a few tips for you to implement in your program. My ankle mobility tips vary from a few quick and simple wins to long-lasting effects. 

The first key area I would explore is the ankle region and its mobility. This is a common problem encountered by many athletes including myself. 

The deeper you squat the more knee range of motion is required as your knee travels forward. Mobility in your ankle joint allows your knees to travel forward and over your toes. Thus, ankle mobility is important and could be a limiting factor. 

If you have noticed your heels lifting or wanting to lift off the ground the lower you squat, then an ankle mobility limitation is most likely your problem. 

A quick test to know if your calves are tight and limiting your ankle mobility is a knee to wall test. This test aims to test your calf and ankle flexibility. The general aim is to achieve greater than 10-12cm away from the wall. 

Testing Mobility: 

  • Stand facing a wall
  • Place a ruler or measuring tape on the ground
  • Place one leg forward and one leg back
  • Keeping your feet flat on the ground push your knees forwards and over your toes to touch the wall. Ensuring your hips are facing forwards.
  • If you’re able to do this easily, move your foot away from the wall 1-2cm and repeat trying to touch the knee to the wall
  • Repeat until you’re unable to touch the wall with your knee.
  • Record the maximum distance you are able to achieve without raising your heel, knee caving inwards (ideally only travelling forward) or a pinch/excessive stretch in the calves.
  • Repeat on the other leg

Aim:  > 10-12cm from the wall

 

If you are standing 10-12cm away from the wall and you can’t touch your knees to the wall then you have less than ideal calf and ankle mobility. This would be a target area to optimise and deepen your squat. 

To target the calves, you can stretch them before your squat session. However, it won’t be enough because you need to stretch them under load frequently and consistently to hit your ideal squat depth. You can use a trigger point ball or simply stretch them underload. Personally, I find stretching underload more useful. 

 

If you have been doing that with little or no change, then perhaps trying an ankle mobilisation technique to allow the ankle joint to glide smoothly forwards and backward will have a better effect. 

 

 

Final step:

Practice, practice, practice, and practice consistently. Here is a drill I use to hone in on my ankle mobility which will transfer to my squats.

 

 

Conclusion

Remember: Consistency is key! If that has helped you and your squats. Stay tuned for Part 2 where we will discuss the importance of hip mobility. If you have additional questions, give us a call at 8599 9811 to speak with one of our physios. 

Your Physio,
Nate