Align Your Pelvis for Powerful Movement Mojo and Injury Prevention

I remember the first time I went trail running and experienced the majority of my forward momentum and power coming from my core.

For as long as I can remember prior to this, my power as a runner came from my strong and always ready to work hard gymnasts legs, with some help from my pumping arms. This new feeling (like I was floating, effortless!) was a revelation.

Since that first time running from my core I’ve experienced more and more ‘ahas’ about how to harness the power of my core for everything from overhead presses (and activities like rock climbing), to sitting, to the work I do everyday to yoga, gym workouts and even walking.

Let me clarify something right away: by “core” I don’t mean my abs, though they are involved. I’m talking about harnessing the power of our entire pelvic complex, which utilizes our deep core muscles and our glutes (acting together as a team) to create a rooted center from which to power everything we do as movers in the world.

For a simple deep core activation series, click here.

This concept is impossible to describe in words, so scroll back up and watch the video for demonstrations of how to implement this pelvic alignment fix through a squat, a push up and walking.

Then – give it a try. You can do this wherever you are right this minute, even if you’re sitting at a desk.

When you learn this postural correction and make it habitual throughout your life and activities, you’ll start noticing your legs and arms won’t get as sore as before during workouts, you may have less aches and pains while sitting at the computer, and – when implemented through a diverse range of activities, you may notice certain injuries or nagging pains like constantly tweaking your back or mid back pain go away.

With proper pelvic alignment we can start to reverse and prevent injuries during our activities while also growing our effortlessness and power as movers.

 

I believe everyone has near limitless potential for physical, psychological and emotional vitality. We all have what I call an “aliveness potential” unique to us. The hard part is understanding how all the pieces fit together: fascia, muscles, bones, neurobiology, mobility, movement, psychology, nutrition and that most tricky trickster of all: our subconscious! That’s why I work one on one with my clients to develop a cohesive plan that takes you from knowing you have near limitless potential to actualizing it. When I’m not helping people get out of pain and unlock their potential you’ll find me climbing mountains, trail running or nerding out on consciousness, evolution, neuroscience, physiology and psychology.

Are you ready to find out what YOUR limitlessness feels like? Get $15 off your first Skype session with me when you sign up for my free newsletter. You’ll hear stories I don’t share anywhere else, and new episodes will be emailed directly to you every Monday.

How Our Daily Habits Shape Our Fascia and Make us Prone to Certain Injuries

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What we do with the majority of our days has the greatest impact on the SHAPE and QUALITY of our fascia.

Fascia is meant to be nearly impervious to change. We have more fascia in our bodies than anything else, and it’s the tissue that both separates and connects every separate substance inside of us. If fascia were easily changeable we’d be in big trouble!

This is both good and bad news for us.

It means we can rest assured we won’t bruise like crazy or fall apart if we merely bump into things, and whatever we do with our days will have only minimal impact in small doses.

It also means that fascia will only change dramatically through habitual repetition/correction of certain movements and positions, OR by applying enough compression to the fascial system and asking the fascia to change itself (this is what I do in my private practice).

The seemingly insignificant everyday movements and positions we take as we sit, stand, sleep, play sports etc have the greatest effect on the shape of our fascia because we do these things for decades.

These are the things I’m always looking for in my private practice when working with clients to figure out exactly what may be causing whatever pain they’re experiencing; and YOU can do the same type of detective work for yourself.

For example:

If someone comes in with low back pain, it’s not enough (long term) to simply release key areas of fascia if they are partially or wholly creating their low back pain pattern with their habits (unless they want to become a weekly client of mine, which some do). In order to permanently reverse the pattern some of these habits need to be corrected.

Much of the time with people who come to me for low back pain relief there are anywhere from one to five or more daily habits that are contributing, such as leaning on one leg (say the left), holding their kids on that hip, a habit of sitting with that leg bent and it’s summer and during every mountainous hike they use that leg to step up onto rocks since it’s the strong one.

This is a common pattern I see in many of my clients, and all of this left leg dominance (or RIGHT leg) can lead to low back pain, knee pain, hip issues, foot issues and more.

There are TONS of these tiny habits to consider, and I’m not going to name them all or we’d be here all day. Please watch the video for specific examples of what to watch out for in YOUR life!

This post and video are meant to spark your curiosity about YOUR daily habits in life and activities.

The more you pay attention, the wiser you’ll be when it comes to whatever pain you may be prone to and how to reverse or prevent it.

Some of these habits are easier to change than others.

GREAT news for athletes:

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How to Hike to Prevent Pain and Preserve Energy

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This is a post for my fellow hikers, backpackers and mountaineers.

Best explained in the video, but here is a little bit of additional information:

Body mechanics through any sport are important, and hiking is no exception. Most of us don’t pay attention to our form or body mechanics while hiking because it’s not typically a “sport” where we’re competing or going for time or distance; most of the time we’re just out there to enjoy nature, summit a mountain or successfully complete a backpacking trip.

I started hiking the way I demonstrate in the video 4 years ago because of what I know about fascia, what causes my knee pain and because it just made sense to me anatomically as a way to prevent pain. I didn’t realize until a year or so later that I was doing something already in use with hikers and mountaineers, known as the “rest step.”

The rest step is used predominantly to help high altitude mountaineers maintain their energy and oxygen levels during sustained upward movement.

You can use the rest step for the above purpose, but I promote it mostly to prevent injury and muscle fatigue/soreness, whether you’re at high altitude or not.

When I make a conscious effort to hike this way I have little to no pain. I don’t even get SORE from a big mountain climb! And my energy levels are sustained throughout a trek.

Using the “rest step” for injury prevention:

The why and how:

This is a method of UPHILL HIKING. With each step uphill you allow your back leg to extend FULLY from your hip through your heel, while pausing for a moment, before continuing with the other leg stretching fully next time.

When you allow your back leg to extend fully and your body weight rests on that part of your skeleton for a moment, ALL the muscle fibers and fascia in your back leg – the Achilles, calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus), popliteal fascia (back of your knee) and hamstrings – get an active stretch while the front leg gets to rest.

Doing this in a continuous manner up a hill or mountain is a lot like a dynamic stretch routine (my favorite way to stretch), and though you’re certainly “working” your body, your fascia gets to lengthen while the muscles are allowed to rest.

At the same time, if you STAND TALL and USE YOUR GLUTES to power you uphill instead of your quads, you will be using the largest muscle in your body (the gluteus maximus), which will SAVE your quads and hip flexors from overuse. AND: you’ll sculpt a better booty, and who doesn’t want that?!

The science behind this method:

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