Lower back pain: One essential exercise to help heal a disc bulge

Dec 16, 2020

 Have you ever thought about how hard your spine has to work? It allows you to stand and bend. It enables you to walk and move around. In fact, it’s integral to almost every movement you do. And if you suffer with any degree of pain in your spine, you’ll know it can be really quite debilitating, impacting on large parts of everyday life.

Unfortunately, as we age, our spine starts to degenerate and weaken, leading to ‘wear and tear’ of its various parts. In today’s tutorial I want to talk about one such issue that can crop up, the bulging or herniated disc, as well as exercises I advise (and don’t advise!) you to do to aid recovery.

What are spinal discs?

Your spine is made up of 33 vertebrae which are split into five different categories, or types, depending on where they sit and how they behave. The lowest nine, around the tailbone or sacrum, are fused together, however the remainder, from the lumbar region upwards are separated by spinal...

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Scoliosis: 5 Fundamentals of Scoliosis Treatment

Nov 16, 2020

The first step in learning how to stretch out or rehabilitate a specific condition is to understand what’s happening anatomically. Without that detailed knowledge, it’s difficult to understand the reasons behind particular movements and techniques. Which means it’s hard to stay motivated.

If you can see how or why something works, you’re much more likely to stick to it and therefore more likely to see results.

That’s why in this tutorial I want to talk about the way I approach scoliosis treatment and how and why this can help improve associated back pain and discomfort.

What impact does scoliosis have on the body?

Scoliosis causes curvature of the spine. It can be present from birth, or more usually appears during adolescence. Sometimes this may be as part of a condition such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy, but often the cause is unknown. Depending on where on the spine the curve occurs, and how severe it is, this may be visible, affecting a...

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Core Stability: How to Train Your Small Stabilising Muscles

Oct 15, 2020

I fundamentally believe that one of the best ways to succeed in core training is to understand, anatomically, what it is doing for you and how your body is benefiting from the exercises you choose to do. That’s why I almost always stray into the biology when I’m presenting these concepts in my YouTube tutorials.

And this one is no exception. Here we look at core stability and how and why you can take it to the next level by focusing in on the bodily systems that work so closely together to keep us balanced and moving smoothly.

What is core stability?

As we often discuss, core stability is different to core strength. Core strength is your ability to hold a posture. Whereas core stability is about the timing of muscle movements. It’s about the small adjustments our body makes almost all of the time to improve our balance and keep us moving smoothly and efficiently.

We’re not talking about the big global force-production muscles that give us the strength and...

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Exercise for low back pain: Why you should stop doing back extensions

Sep 15, 2020

Back extensions are popular with people looking to target and rehabilitate their lower back. But if you’re in that position or these have been suggested by your trainer, there are a few reasons you should think twice before giving them a place in your exercise regime. 

In this blog we’ll look at some of the anatomical reasons you should think about your approach to low back rehabilitation differently. We refer to the book, Low Back Disorder by internationally recognised low back specialist, Dr Stuart McGill, and we look at an alternative exercise that could work to help improve your low back pain.

First, some anatomy to help us understand the back muscles at play

When we’re talking about the lower back and lumbar region, we often talk about groups of muscles called extensors, flexors and iliopsoas. These attach to the spine via soft tissues or tendons. And if injured or weakened can cause pain in this tendinous lower back area. 

This time though,...

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Low Back Pain Treatment: I get low back pain while I walk

Aug 16, 2020

Do you get low back pain while you walk? It's an essential everyday task and it could be due to some simple posture faults that can be easily corrected. This isn't a magic pill that will correct your pain overnight, it's a slow and steady process that gets your body working correctly and reduces your lower back pain over time.

Some of the key learning points you'll cover in this blog

  1. What is poor walking posture/technique?
  2. The impact of poor walking on the spine
  3. What is better walking posture/technique?
  4. The impact of better walking on the spine

What is poor walking posture/technique?

During walking the compressive load on the lumbar spine is approximately 2.5 times your bodyweight, along with very modest shear forces. These forces can slowly wear down your body and eventually you'll experience pain. Over time this pain can come on earlier and earlier and you need to reverse this trend.

What is poor walking posture/technique?

  • Slower pace, little to no arm swing and hunched posture...
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Core Strength: The 2 fundamentals of core training

Jul 15, 2020

Core training isn't doing sit ups, crunches and other spine bending exercises because these movements are done at the expense of your spine. Overtime, as these exercises damage the spine your core strength and stability will reduce. Core training means following two fundamentals;

  1. The torso is designed to prevent movement
  2. The limbs are designed to produce movement

Why Sit Ups & Crunches are not core training

These two exercises violate the first fundamental because they bend the spine. Side bends, back extensions and twists are the same, they produce movement of the spine rather than prevent it. These exercise slowly diminish the structures of the spine that lead to injury. This doesn't mean your spine cannot or should not bend, twist or extend but under the load of an exercise it increases the risk of injury. 

The 2 fundamentals are based on how your body is built

I have pulled these fundamentals from thin air, if you look to your anatomy it begins to paint a picture...

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A practical guide for treating Lordosis

Jun 18, 2020

In order to improve your Lordosis you need to do more than a few token stretches. Your body need to learn better posture because if it can learn bad posture it can learn good posture. This is quick to say but takes longer to do and it happens small increments.

How do you learn good posture?

As I've mentioned it takes time and different pieces to the puzzle.

  • Massage
  • Stretch
  • Move


This doesn't have to mean seeing a massage therapist every day or week, you can self-massage with a foam roller for example. The key is to reduce the rigidity to tight muscles ready for stretching. I find the chewing gum metaphor to describes it best, if you take a stick of chewing gum and pull it apart it'll snap in two. If you chew it first and the pull it apart it'll stretch. Massage for the muscles is like chewing is for the gum, it brings suppleness to the muscles so stretching is more effective.


Now that you have supple muscles you can stretch them and this sets you up for the...

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How did I help Jacky overcome her low back pain

May 19, 2020

Jacky Farrell, 41, a software consultant, Redfield, Bristol.

Jacky used to work out regularly until she injured her back in 2008. Left in agony, she was unable to move or work for a time, and feared she would never regain her previous fitness level.

But within six months of working with Chris, she was able to exercise regularly and safely. 

The workout sessions were tailored to her needs and Jacky believes she is even stronger now because of it. She credits Chris with helping her to get fit and healthy. 

Most of all, she has had no back pain since she enlisted his help. 


Why did you decide you wanted to work with a personal trainer?

I used to train regularly until I got injured and became completely out of action.

I used to run and do body pump four to five times a week. Then one day, when I was helping somebody to move a cooker, I felt a ripping sensation. I was left unable to get out of bed or work for over a week. I was put on heavy pain killers.

I saw a...

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How to build greater core stability

Apr 15, 2020

Core stability is different to core strength and in the tutorial above I'm going to use one exercise to help you understand how building core stability is done. It's not just about the exercise in this tutorial as there are many exercises you can use. I'm going to focus on the how to do the exercise so you can take that into other exercises.

What is core strength?

Core strength is your ability to hold a posture while resisting fatigue. The longer your can hold the posture the better your core strength. Exercises you can use to improve this could be planks and side planks.

What is core stability?

Core stability is about muscle activation and your ability to remain stable in an unstable posture. The less you wobble in this unstable posture the better your core stability. The exercise I'm using in this tutorial to demonstrate core stability is the bird dog. It's a perfect exercise for core stability because it integrates the shoulder, spine and hip.

Does standing on one leg help core...

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5 mistakes people make treating Lordosis

Apr 02, 2020

Lordosis is a condition that affects the lower back, exaggerating the curve of the spine and causing the abdomen and buttocks to protrude. It may also cause the knees and toes to point inwards and even cause rounding of the upper back. With lumbar Lordosis you may not see all these symptoms, but they very often happen in combination.


We’ve discussed Exercises for Lumbar Lordosis on the blog a number of times previously, but even when you know which exercises or stretches you should be doing it’s possible that you’re not getting the most out of them.  


In this tutorial I’m covering some of the most common mistakes people make when they’re treating Lordosis:


  1. You don’t continue the good work during your daily activities


If you work out and do the correct stretches for 30-60 mins per day that’s a great start for improving your Lordosis symptoms. The problem is there are 23+ hours during the remainder of...

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