Wendy has 30+ years in the fitness industry, co-owning Body Dynamics for 18 years. She was named on the "Top 100 Trainers in the Country" list by Men's Journal (2004 & 2005). She holds a MS in Exercise Physiology and is certified by ACSM, Bosu & TRX (Sports Medicine Level). She specializes in "hunting down" movement patterns that need help, and has consulted with the US Ski Team as a core rehab specialist for 10 years. She assists all levels of fitness from wheelchairs to Olympic athletes. Wendy has written articles for many fitness magazines.
This is a good exercise for swimmers with instability in the scapulas. Start on your knees and reach out, drag back in with one arm. You can also do this exercise with both arms and circles to add complexity. To add stability and more load, you can also do this on a Bosu with someone sitting on you. Transcript: "Hello, Brett. This is my favorite exercise I have found for swimmers. It might not be one with super load, but particularly swimmers who are experiencing instability in the scapulas or have some winging in the scapulas, I find that this exercise helps them connect core to scapulas to arm strength and keeping everything somewhat organized. You can start on the floor in a neat position, kind of like the knee position because it just doesn't allow you to over stabilize with the legs, that's just my opinion. And I'm coming off of a shoulder surgery from a random pickleball injury overzealous while I'm learning, but I think I can do this. So we're on our knees here. I like the fingertips turned out slightly so that we can drop down into the shoulder blades. You have a chin tuck for optimal head position. We're going to reach out here. The opposite elbow bends and drag back in, and this is my shoulder that I'm working on. Reach out, drag back in. So that's one version. And you want to really allow them-- I tend to palpate here at the lats and the low traps to get them to keep that organized and recruited as they reach. Another one is for both arms to come out. I'm going to go only a little ways here, draw the belly in, drag it back. You can also do some circles. And we want to-- I don't know if I was planking. I really don't want to be planking, we want to be in a neutral spying posture. The other thing you can do to add complexity and stability, more load is to do that same exercise on the Bosu, reaching out. Knees are up, heels are up towards the buttock to help neutralize the spine here, we tend to see a little arching going on. So you reach and drag in. You can also have someone sit on you if you'd like, added load. Enjoy."
Rolling the feet, using a foot waker hair, standing on a bow matt and calf raises can all help to alleviate plantar fasciitis. Strengthening the peroneal muscle is also important and can be done with band exercises or heel clicks. Transcript: "Hi Madeline, good question. Are there exercises? We can do to alleviate plantar fasciitis? That's a very ouchy, chronic situation for many people and it's kind of a, since our feet are connected to our hips, connected to our head. It's kind of a chicken or the egg kind of a question as to what is creating that plantar fasciitis. However, your foot is the one signal at the moment, that is feeling, it's Tightest and creating most of its ill-will. So one of the things I recommend it first and you probably are already doing this in some sort of way, but I'm going to show you a number of different tools that I use. And my clients love is rolling the feet rolling the fee or hitting the trigger points of the feet. There is a number of props milk method. Sue hit smin. She's developed a rolling method and this is her foot for chart that uses all different. Sizes of balls, depending on the tenderness of your foot and has a rolling methodology and a trigger point methodology to release your feet. Yamuna has what we call a foot Waker hair, which is textured that she has a methodology of releasing feet that you could look up as well. My favorite is from then toboso technology. I am standing on in a bow. So Matt It looks like any other map, but I can explain it and using her neuro ball. And this texture that they've designed is a 2.1 discrimination texture, which matches the essay superficial nerves of the feet that tend to Dole out over time. Particularly. If you're over 40, however, just from wearing cushioned shoes. So matches and releases, not only the nerves of the feet but releases the fashion of the feet, so they have a map. That I work on Barefoot, that stimulates the feet and also this ball. They also have splay correcto kind of situation to help you spread the toes when you're working. So you can use these balls simply to roll that fascia in all sorts of ways. Stretching the calf, Etc. Along that line. Just a quick share. I just finished a educational workshop on plantar, fasciitis, and the Pelvic connection and true causes of plantar fasciitis. According to Sullivan at all, is our chai has no connection weakness of the intrinsic, Arch muscles do. So when we're, when we're planting, we want to be able to spread that Arch and lengthen, that Arch, and really support the arch. So if we have plantar fasciitis, that's a tough thing to do. And as a result, there's going to be all kinds of compensatory patterns up your chain. Peroneal. Weakness was the strongest predictor of the development of plantar fasciitis, which I find very intriguing. So we can isolate that muscle and work that through. We version if you're sitting down and you have a band, you can simply put wrap the band around and push that foot out to the side with resistance. You can also do some calf raises. With, I like to stand on the bow. So Matt, if you want an apostle products, you can plug in body Dynamics and gets a little bit of a discount there. So a calf raise heel click out slowly descend, but all of this before, all of this after you roll your feet. The fourth item was for plantar. Fasciitis was calf in full in flexibility. So according to some latest, Search intrinsic muscles of the feet learning to lift the toes independently pressing. The big toes down having a good plant spreading the arch and strengthening the peroneal."
To deal with tight hip flexors it is important to open up the anterior chain and work on the posterior chain of the body. Static stretching for 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off for three sets, five times a week can help to relax the muscle. Additionally, standing desks and barefoot training when doing exercises such as squats or upright workouts can help strengthen the core muscles and create a better connection between the feet and the core. Stretching on a roller with elevated hips or over a ball are also good alternatives. Transcript: "Any advice for dealing with tight hip flexors. This is a million-dollar question and and thank you for asking this. As I think this is such a dominant syndrome that we see in training particularly with athletes. But also now with so many people sitting, as we know that hip flexor is a really long muscle and it tends to get tight and shortened from cycling from hiking, from skiing and most importantly, from sitting And so a lot of people are dealing with this and so knowing those reasons we want to open up the anterior chain of the body and work more on the posterior chain of the body. There's controversy with experts about stretching, I just finished a podcast from Doctor huberman. Reviewing, all of the stretch research and one takeaway is static stretching of 30 seconds on 30 seconds, off three sets, 30 On 32nd off five times a week did elicit a more relaxed muscle doing it five times a week. So that is a little bit of a tidbit as far as stretching while we're working on why those imbalances happen. Also a standing desk may help when I worked with the US ski team, they are in a forward, flexed position all the time, resisting gravity, forces, Etc. And the another thing we found doing some ultrasound testing. Was that their transverse abdominus pelvic floor was very subpar in assisting, in core stability. Therefore, they were relying on their hip flexors for stabilization way more than they should have. So, a little bit of re-education there. And with current research, telling us that the feet are very much connected to the core and getting, you know, some Barefoot training when you're doing your squats or your upright workouts can certainly help in getting you that connection. So that you feel that when you're doing your activities or sitting I hope that's a good start. I'm sure you'll get a lot more responses. I like the support of stretches on a roller with your hips elevated or also a back bend over the ball. Those are other two good things to look at. Thank you for the question."
There are many exercises to strengthen your ankles. First, check your feet to make sure your toes are spread and your big toe is planted. Some simple exercises include single leg balance with a hip hinge and calf raises with a ball between your heels and heel raises with a heel click. You can also stand on an unstable surface to work on responding to an unsteady surface. For more information, look up Dr. Courtney's Gate Happens educational clinic. Transcript: "Good morning, Melanie. Sorry for the delayed response. Are there exercises to strengthen your ankles? Yes, indeed. There are many. Many, many. However, I think one thing we need to look at first and foremost is the foot foot being connected to the ankle of the foot being the system stabilizer for the ankle and many times. We Overlook that especially if we are wrapped up in shoes. Excuse me. So one thing to look at is let's check out your feet. And see if you can when you place your feet down in your natural position, if those toes are spread, there's a lot of connection to the ability to spread the toes to connect to the pelvic floor, core up above the the same neural intervention is S1, S2. So that's one thing. Look, get your really solid platform. If the toes are curled, we are going to be tipsy the ankles going to be required to stabilize more. So it's not going to have as much of a stable platform to work. Work from. So strong feet spread toes. You can also use correct toes. If you're having problems with that, and that will assist in getting those toes spread. Secondly, is to get be sure that the big toes are being planted and used in your gate, particularly. As far as exercises go. If some very simple things is just your single leg balance Dan, with a hip hinge. So if you get that optimal foot position, And just work that hip hinge and up and watch that that foot knee, hip connection is working. And we're not falling out with that hip excetera. If the ankle is shaking more. So, or that foot is moving back and forth. That's your cue. That those are the areas that we need to work on most all foot people podiatrist chiropractors trainers. Love calf. Raises. One of my favorites is with the ball between your heels. The toes come up tighten and then make sure you go nice and slow as you lower. It's nice to do the standing because there is a lot of research about how the feet and the muscles in the feet are connected to the core. So you want to train them accordingly. Another one of my favorites is a heel raise. With a heel, click. That allows the toes to really spread teaching the toes to really press down getting some strength. They're back to neutral and slow lower. Then of course, there's an unstable surface which you can balance stand on. You've seen that, it could be a pillow. It doesn't have to be one of the gyms props or modalities here and just working on that ankle responding to an unstable surface. Surface if you want more information about the foot, I follow dr. Courtney on gate happens. I'm currently in one of her educational clinics called for decor and I hope that's at least to start looking at the feet and how it relates to your ankles. Thank you for the question."
To train her core in a sport specific manner, Melanie can start by lying on a roller with her hips off the roller and her spine in a neutral position. She can practice a chin tuck to strengthen her neck muscles and then use gliders or towels to pull her legs out to the side to challenge her core muscles and keep them in an unstable environment. Transcript: "Hi Melanie, good question. So many people overuse their hip flexors instead of their core and many times. We want to train the core in a very sport specific manner. However, sometimes we have to get back to real isolation and Basics to get some things turned back on in the core has. So I would suspect you have a significant amount of strength currently. So normally I would maybe put someone on a stable surface The floor to start. But this is a recommendation. I was thinking about for you was to get you on a roller and your hips would be off the roller so that you have to defy gravity here. Your spine is going to be neutral here, instead of a forward flexed. So you're opening up through the hip flexors. So you can't use them too much. And before we get going, you can wrap your shoulder blades around the roller, get a nice posture. And we Can work a little bit of next strength. First you can gather a chin tuck. This is from dr. Cobb Z Health. If you want to look him up, he's awesome. And we're just going to hover the head. Just slightly hair with off the roller. Ideally you're working on length in this direction. So you can do that. Hold those lips. Maybe 10 seconds at a time to start and progress that. And then, secondly, I have my feet on gliders, which you can go to gliding pro or I Also has gliders are you can use towels, if you're on a wood floor your hips are off here. And instead of being in sagittal, when working here, when we run in cyclic cetera. We're going to challenge the core in a more unstable environment by pulling the legs out to the side and pull it. Back in hips are up pulling back in. You can add challenge by not using your arms so much and you may find that you have a little bit less. Recruitment smooth pattern drawing in on one side versus the other but you've got to use your glutes. You got to use your low back you, soak or here, Asis PSIs. So you've got all of these areas being recruited in concert here as you work. It seems very subtle. It is very just this little little bit of contraction going on on a constant basis. So you might try that. If you need further instructions, feel free to ask me, but that's one suggestion."
To assess imbalances, you can do a simple exercise at home using a towel on a wood floor. Lunge with your foot planted and observe the hip, knee, and foot stability. If you're unable to maintain neutrality in a single leg motion, then there may be something going on. Transcript: "Hi Greg, that's a good question. And quite a complex question, assessing imbalances can happen through big full screens that many practitioners do. Or you can go to a PT Cairo physio that may assess in isolated, forms in my practice. One of the things that I like to do just very simple is to see how people work from their foot up. Kill early. We're finding there's a lot going on in the foot that we're not paying attention to, and that's a whole nother question, screen, Etc. But what I like to do, if you get someone on a fairly secure surface, get their foot planted Barefoot so that I can see what's going on foot ankle Etc. And we get into a lunge position, a reverse lunge more of a posterior lunge with a, you know, a good significant hip hinge. CH, I'm looking for stability. Foot to knee to hip neutral tracking. And as we circle around and add challenge out here, away from midline, what we tend to see is many times. We'll see this hip drive out the knee drives in and there's instability here as we work around. There's also this shaking of the foot instability. The toes rise up excetera. So the hips being the epicenter of stability. Or possibly, the epicenter of chaos, we can kind of assess what is going on in the hips. What is my relationship to foot knee hip and the foot to the core in my side bending in my compensating to get a movement happening and we kind of go from there and up opens up a Pandora's Box, and it's also fun. Anyway, that's a good first, start something simple that someone could do at home. If you don't have a glider, you can use just Towel on a wood floor and just see what's going on with you. You can also add load to that exercise. If you find that it is something where you're not able to maintain neutrality. Then something's going on as you're loading in heavier forms, if you're not able to stabilize in a single leg motion. Hope that helps. Thank you."