Unlock Your Ankle's Potential: Drills for Better Mobility

Unlock Your Ankle's Potential: Drills for Better Mobility

The ankle is one of our most important and often overlooked joints. Poor movement patterns and pain "up the chain" (i.e. in your knees, hips and even lower back) can often be traced back to issues at the ankle joint. Think of how often and how many ways we use our ankles: walking, running, biking, squatting, yoga, balancing, dancing (you get the idea). If the muscles acting on your ankle are chronically tight or if the joint itself is jammed or lacks proper mobility the impact can be painful and damaging as the body will compensate at other joints to accommodate movement. Try these drills that could lead to reduced pain and improved performance.

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What's the Best Position for Sleeping?

What's the Best Position for Sleeping?

Most people know that muscle and joint pain, particularly in the lower back, can be linked to chronic sitting, a weak core, lazy glutes and poor form in the gym. But the very thing that is supposed to restore and regenerate our bodies (sleep) can also contribute to pain and injury. Poor positioning of the legs can further compress already tight hip muscles. Twisting of the spin or pelvis can cause fussy muscles like the quadratus lumborum to become hypertonic. And acrobatic-like arm contortions can cause nerve pain. I asked my physical therapist and friend what the "best" position is for sleeping for most people.  

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Three Drills for Improved Shoulder Mobility

Three Drills for Improved Shoulder Mobility

The shoulder is (or should be) the most mobile joint in your body. It's comprised of a complex system of big muscles (including the lats and pec major), smaller muscles (like the subscapularisinfraspinatus and deltoids), bones (humerusclavicle and scapula) and loads of ligaments, tendons, fascia and other connective material. It's a highway for many important nerves (such as the Brachial Plexus), arteries and veins. The shoulder is awesome. And odds are if you work at a desk and have a mobile device you treat your shoulders like crap.

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Versa Climber: One of the Best and Least Used Assets in the Gym

Versa Climber: One of the Best and Least Used Assets in the Gym

I like to think of the Versa Climber as the Regina George of cardio equipment. She's fabulous but she's evil. Just ask my clients TrishDubJasonSarah or Tom. In all seriousness, the Versa Climber is one of the best and often most underused assets in the gym. It's an amazing tool for low impact, total body high intensity intervals that help burn fat, build strength and improve movement patterns. It's scalable to your fitness level, can be appropriate even for those with many common joint problems/injuries and is extremely efficient. So if the Versa Climber in your gym is collecting dust, give it a shot and get your quadruped swagger on

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3 Dynamic Hip Warm Ups You Can Do Anywhere

3 Dynamic Hip Warm Ups You Can Do Anywhere

If you're reading this, you probably have tight hips. You're in good company. Most people in our technology-centric world could use some mobility work in this area, including yours truly. The hip is a synovial joint that is meant to be super mobile. But because many of us sit all day and only move in what's called the sagittal plane of motion we lose mobility.  Rather than traditional static stretching, I usually recommend dynamic warm ups (after foam rolling) that not only work to lengthen the tight muscles but also gently move the joint through its range of motion. Here are three of my favorites.

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#FirstWorldProblems... Is Your Tech-centric Lifestyle Ruining Your Health? These Tips Can Help.

#FirstWorldProblems... Is Your Tech-centric Lifestyle Ruining Your Health? These Tips Can Help.

Most of us got the memo that “sitting is the new smoking”. Chronic sitting, especially with poor posture, slumped over a laptop, iPhone or other piece of posture-wrecking technology, causes tightness in the hips, pectorals and several muscles that internally rotate the shoulders. Those tight muscles can pull joints out of alignment and cause pain and stiffness in the back, neck and legs and give you that oh so chic Hunchback of Notre Dame look. Not healthy. Not cute. But you can make some simple yet impactful lifestyle changes that will have you looking and feeling healthy and confident. 

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My Favorite Hamstring Stretch

My Favorite Hamstring Stretch

A lot of folks, including myself, have tight hamstrings that foam rolling, static stretching and basic dynamic stretches can’t seem to tackle. Chronically tight hamstrings can lead to compensations in movement patterns, pain behind the knees and lower back and other nasty injuries and problems. For the past few months I’ve practiced a basic move using a monster band and have noticed a difference in my hamstring flexibility and overall mobility including the absence of lower back ache. I’ve used this technique with about a dozen clients so far and those who have done it consistently have seen solid results.

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If This Busy Law Firm Partner and Husband Learned to Make His Health a Priority, You Can Too!

If This Busy Law Firm Partner and Husband Learned to Make His Health a Priority, You Can Too!

I started training Tom Gaynor about two years ago. And looking back at how far he’s come I can barely remember some of the challenges we used to face. If I squint my eyes and think back really hard I can vaguely remember a heavier guy with an inhaler in one hand and a Blackberry in another frequently complaining about how his back hurt. Now when I see Tom, I see a man with a body that moves pain free, is 25# lighter and has greater capacity lungs. And he still gets to enjoy the occasional steak frites and martini. Tom is the kind of client that inspires me with his genuine commitment to his health while still successfully managing a thriving law practice, clamoring clients and a family (husband - who I now also train - and dog, Louis) in Marin. If you don’t think small changes over time can really add up, then you have to read his story below.

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Read. This. Book. Now! Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World

Read. This. Book. Now! Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World

Dr. Kelly Starrett, author of the New York Times Bestseller Becoming a Supple Leopard and creator of MobilityWOD, released this week what I think will be the most important health book in years. I received my copy of Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World yesterday and I cannot put it down. If you sit more than two hours per day (who doesn't?!), use handheld devices or have children in school you simply must read this book. It's filled with loads of critical and practical info that could save your joints and your lives. Pick up a copy, read it and learn how to protect your body and improve your quality of life. STAND UP! 

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Two Go-To Dynamic Warm Ups for Any Workout

Two Go-To Dynamic Warm Ups for Any Workout

Rather than passively forcing our muscles into painful, temporary and ineffective lengthening which can (in some cases) reduce your performance it's generally advisable to take your muscles and joints through a dynamic warm up to prep the body. And even if static stretching is part of your program it's still a good idea to perform a dynamic warm up before a cardio or resistance training workout (especially for those who work all day at a desk, in a car or regularly use computers and mobile devices). Here are two of my favorite dynamic warm ups that I give clients to do before workouts and even throughout the day at work or on rest days. 

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How to Focus Your Yoga Practice: Foundations for Beginner and Advanced Students

How to Focus Your Yoga Practice: Foundations for Beginner and Advanced Students

Yoga means to yoke or to union. It’s a practice meant to connect us with ourselves and to put us at harmony with the world around us. But we live in fast-paced, technology-driven times and many of us demand perfection of ourselves at work, at home and even on the mat. Whether you’re contemplating taking your first yoga class or you’re a yoga veteran struggling to find that union during your Asanas practice, watch this two minute video of the lovely and amazing Morgan McEvilly. Morgan then demonstrates and cues three foundational poses you can use both at home on your own and in practically any typical yoga class.

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How to Use a Standing Desk the RIGHT Way

How to Use a Standing Desk the RIGHT Way

So you got a standing desk. WIN! But you're standing wrong. FAIL! Here's a quick and easy video of my pal and physical therapist Dr. AshleyRose Costello of SF Sport and Spine explaining how to use a standing desk the RIGHT way and basically how to stand to reduce pain, improve posture and improve your mobility.

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Travel Can Be a Pain in the Neck: Mobility Tips from Dr. Adam Jacobs

Travel Can Be a Pain in the Neck: Mobility Tips from Dr. Adam Jacobs

According to AAA nearly 42 million Americans will take a holiday road trip this Thanksgiving and 3.6 million Americans will fly to their holiday destinations. That’s a lot of stiff joints and sore muscles! You wouldn’t run a marathon without training and warming up, right? (RIGHT?!) So put a little forethought into how you’ll take care of your body if you have a long trip ahead of you. For this post I enlisted the help of the Bay Area’s best chiropractor Dr. Adam Jacobs from SF Custom Chiropractic to share some practical tips, breathing drills and stretches you can do while traveling on a plane or in a car to stay limber and avoid common aches and pains.

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Unjam Your Body’s Highway from the Foot Up

Unjam Your Body’s Highway from the Foot Up

Some of the brain’s most important sensory input comes from our feet. When the joints of our feet get jammed (from wearing the wrong shoe, having unstable arches or any number of other issues) the information flow from our surroundings to our bodies to our brains (and from our brains to our bodies in response) gets jammed. It’s like we’re stuck in traffic and the brain looks for whatever detour it can take to make movement happen. Until we unjam these joints and free up that highway we’re stuck with poor movement that can lead to pain, injury and less than optimal performance. Read on for a video of a simple drill that might help you move better!

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