Why is hip mobility important for squats and deadlifts?

Jun 13, 2022

Have you ever considered the importance of your hip movement when it comes to supporting you with squats and deadlifts? In the tutorial above I shine a light on exactly why it’s important to undertake some hip mobility exercises and some of the things you should be doing to get those hips in the best possible shape for squatting and deadlifting.

Why are hip mobility exercises important?

There are several reasons why it’s important to focus on hip mobility exercises if you want to improve your squats and deadlifts and reduce the risk of injury.

  1.  Hip mobility gives us a margin of error for pain and injury

When we move ineffectively, or put our joints into a sub-optimal position, we create stress, which can lead to stiffness, aches and even pain. It could be that we are unsure how to move safely in a particular way, or it might be we’re unable to move in a way that protects the joint due to tightness or lack of function.

If we’re trying to lift a...

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Core muscles vs the core: beginner to advanced core strength training

May 16, 2022

Ever wonder how you go from a beginner level up to an advanced level in core training?

Put simply it’s about understanding how the core is designed and built and using that knowledge to select exercises that work with rather than against it. That’s why in this tutorial I go through:

  • How the core is built
  • Exercises that work against that build and design
  • Exercises that work for that build and design

Once you understand this you can start to build dynamism, movement and extra weight into the exercises you are doing without risk of injury. And in doing so you can safely and effectively take your core strength training from a beginner to an advanced level.

Four things to understand about core muscles

  1. The core is not one muscle it is one ‘unit’ of muscles:

With rectus abdominus on the front, the obliques on the side, spinal erectors on the back, transverse abdominus deeper along with quadratus lumborum (QL) and some deep spinal erectors, the trunk of our body...

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How low back muscles help protect your spine

Apr 25, 2022

I often talk about the importance of building strong and healthy muscles to protect the lower back and avoid pain and injury. But just which muscles am I talking about here and how exactly do they do their job?

Which are the key lower back muscles?

In the tutorial above I focus on two muscles – or groups of muscles – longissimus and iliocostalis, part of the erector spinae muscles, which go all the way from the tail bone up to the back of the neck.

Longissimus – this originates down on the sacrum, iliac crest and the spinus and transverse processes of the lumbar spine. These are the bony projections that stick out diagonally from the back of the vertebrae. The longissimus travels all the way up into the thoracic spine and inserts onto the ribs.

Iliocostalis – this starts down in the same area, from the sacrum, iliac crest and also the thoracolumbar fascia, like longissimus it inserts up into the thoracic spine and out onto the ribs.

As I want to concentrate...

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You shouldn't bend flex or twist your spine with exercises, here's why!

Mar 14, 2022

To bend the spine or not to bend the spine…that is the question.

We hear people say it’s fine, because after all, we can. And we hear others say that bending the back during exercise is likely to damage the spine rather than develop performance.

So what’s the answer? Let’s dissect the arguments. 

Spine power – what is it and why is it relevant?

It goes without saying that the different exercises we do will exert different pressures on the spine. We feel it bending and twisting as we carry out different movements.

We might choose to move fast and repeatedly, or we might include weights to try to increase the impact of our stretches. But the faster we move or the more weight we carry, the more risk there is that the movements we’re doing will be detrimental to the spine.

When I talk about spine power, I’m talking about the relationship between these different elements of movement. And it’s best described in terms of force –...

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Don’t do sit-ups, side bends or back extensions, train your hips for core strength & stability

Jan 17, 2022

In this tutorial we examine the theory that if you want to strengthen your core you need to train your hips. This is something I talk to my private clients about as well as covering in depth in my beginner’s Core Strength & Stability 12-Week Program.

So often in core training programs we find lots of spine bending exercises like sit-ups, crunches or twists. But these are not the most effective exercises for training the core. In order to better understand why this is, let’s talk about the anatomy of the hips and spine. Then we’ll look at some more appropriate exercises you might want to consider instead.

Anatomy of the hips

The different joints in our body work in different ways. They are designed for the purpose they serve. The hip is a ball and socket joint. This allows for a wide range of movement – flexion, extension, both internal and external rotation, abduction and adduction. In fact, it’s classified as a freely moveable joint. Hence,...

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Beginners guide to Core Exercises: how your core muscles work

Dec 21, 2021

As a PT, I spend a lot of time talking about core muscles, it’s a subject that is far more important than a lot of people realise. Firstly, we’re talking about more than just your abs – a common misconception. Secondly, the core muscles are involved in some way in almost every movement you’ll do with your body. Whether it’s lifting, bending, picking something up or carrying something, understanding more about your core muscles and doing the work to strengthen and protect them will benefit you both inside and outside the gym.

So, let’s look at six things you may not know about core muscles and some of the most useful core exercises for beginners:

  1.  The core works as one unit

Which are the core muscles? You’ve got the abdominals to the front, obliques to the side, around the back the erector spinal muscles, a little bit deeper the QL muscles. Then there’s the TVAs and internal obliques as well.

That’s a lot of different...

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5 myths of low back pain rehabilitation

Nov 22, 2021

When it comes to rehabilitating the lower back, there’s a huge amount of information out there. Some of it is valuable, some should be used with caution, and some is just plain wrong. The problem is, that if you try something that’s not recommended for you, it might be that it just doesn’t work, or you could actually exacerbate the problem and make it worse.

That’s why I wanted to do a tutorial that busts some of those commonly held myths about treating low back pain.

MYTH 1: You have to strengthen the muscles of the torso

You might think this one is a slight technicality, but to me it’s important how we define ‘strengthen’ in this context.

If you’re struggling with lower back pain, the last thing you want to do is go to the gym and overwork or fatigue those back muscles by trying to build up the amount of weight you’re able to lift, push or pull. Instead you need to build up the endurance of those core muscles so they work to...

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How Sports Massage can help with ACL Rehab

Oct 19, 2021

One of the most common sports injuries is an anterior cruciate ligament sprain or tear. It’s the one you often see impact top level (or wannabe top level!) footballers or basketballers. And it’s one that can be difficult to recover from, often requiring surgery and subsequent physiotherapy to ensure it heals correctly.

If you are suffering with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, sports massage should definitely be on your list of options to consider. Whether you’ve had a reconstruction but not received the subsequent rehabilitation post-surgery, or you’ve been cleared by your surgeon and physio but your ACL is giving you issues again after a period of time, sports massage is the perfect way to work on the affected area and improve your quality of life and ability to exercise.

In this tutorial, I’m talking about the anatomy of the knee and how sports massage can work to improve ACL outcomes.

The anatomy of the knee

While you might think the knee...

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A case study: How did this client overcome their low back pain with one consultation?

Sep 16, 2021

Wondering about the process we’ll follow if you sign up for the How to Overcome Lower Back Pain consultation and the online course? Here I’ll go through the process in detail and explain how it worked for one recent client, Beth (not her real name.)

An overview

  1. Questionnaires are filled out so I can get an idea of what’s been going on.
  2. Consultation over Zoom or similar to allow me to find out more.
  3. Advice and recommendations to help overcome your lower back pain.
  4. Online support for 2 weeks to answer any questions or clarify understanding.
  5. Results and discussion about next steps if required.

Let’s take a look in more detail.

The initial questionnaires

Click through here, enter your email address and you’ll be sent an email with the initial and consultation questionnaires.  I’ll be in touch by email, within 24-hours, to book in your 45-minute online consultation.

The consultation questionnaire provides the information I need to know about...

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4 stages for greater core endurance, core stability, core strength, speed & power

Aug 16, 2021

If you’re looking to improve your core strength, you’ll find plenty of experts suggesting exercises you should try. You might be surprised, therefore, when after a little while you’re not getting the results you’re after.

In my Core Strength & Stability 12-week program I will support you through building the foundations of good movement and then developing the endurance and core skills you need before beginning to build up that speed, power and strength in your movements. It’s a much more effective and safer way to get to where you want to be and reduce your risk of injury.

Here I explore the 4 stages we’ll work through in order to effectively improve your core strength and why this really is the best way to approach things:

  1.  Fundamental movement and core skills

I often talk about eight fundamental movements:

  • Lifting
  • Carrying
  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Walking
  • Running
  • Getting up
  • Rotating

These are movements you do every day whether just...

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