One of the keys to core stability, minimizing low back pain, and powerful walking is being able to maintain a neutral pelvis throughout the day. If you're dealing with tight and/or weak hamstrings though, it's impossible to get yourself into a neutral pelvis position.
Due to excessive time spent in chairs, most of us have developed BOTH tight and weak hamstrings. The hamstrings are a large muscle group that runs up the back of the thigh, attaching just below the knee and to the base of the pelvis. This tightness of the hamstrings pulls your pelvis into a tucked position, rendering your core useless and putting excessive compression on your low back. Not a happy situation for your back or pelvic floor!
Our favorite way to lengthen the hamstrings is to do a standing forward bend. This is a stretch we've all seen before, but also has a lot of potential for some compensations we want to avoid. Most mistakenly believe the goal of this stretch is to touch the toes... However, as we...
Intimidated by the thought of exercise? Not sure how you’ll find the time, or even how to get started?
In my work as a physical therapist, I help clients explore their movement on a daily basis. Most people end up in our clinic because they’ve always struggled to form an “exercise” habit.
But what if we framed the conversation around movement instead of exercise? How much does that change the conversation?
A shift in perspective might be all you need to meet your health goals. If you get enough movement in your day, there would be less of a need for a formal exercise program.
There are an infinite number of ways you can alter your home environment to facilitate more movement. And better yet, this can happen with little to no investment in time or equipment. All it takes is a little thinking outside the box. Below is a list of suggestions to get you started.
I have yet to see anyone carry their laundry basket using...
One of the first exercises we teach our new clients is the calf stretch. And for good reason!
We've written blog posts in the past about the importance of taking care of the health of your feet (which you can find here, here, and here). But long story short, your feet are your foundation. Improving your foot mobility is a great first step (pun intended) toward better health.
Watch the video above to learn how to do the calf stretch.
To set up: In this exercise, we use a half foam roll. But if you don't have a half foam roll a rolled up towel will work great!
Take your shoes off, this exercise is best performed barefoot. Stand in front of your half foam roll (or towel) with your feet spaced pelvis width apart. Make sure your feet are aligned straight, like the cars on a tire. Look down and if they are angled outward take a minute to straighten them. Focus on maintaining this alignment throughout the exercise.
If you aren't sure about your balance, position...
Think you can’t find enough time in your day to exercise? You’re likely just missing out on opportunities to move more throughout your day without changing much.
Try out any one of these movement tips to get more action out of your day!
Let’s talk about hamstring stretching...
The hamstrings are a large muscle group running up the back of the thigh that attach below the knee and to the base of the pelvis. Hamstring mobility is so important because walking, core stability, and the ability to get on and off the floor all depend on the positioning of the pelvis. Tight hamstrings (caused by lots of time spent sitting) keep the pelvis in a tucked position that is not great for optimal pelvic and core health.
There are several different ways in which the hamstrings can be stretched. The most common one we see is the forward bend.
There is more than one way to perform a forward bend, however the point of a hamstring stretch is to change the length of the hamstrings. Therefore movement should be from the pelvis and not the spine.
A compensation we commonly see for tight hamstrings is an excessive rounding of the spine (picture 1). In this scenario, the spine is being over-stretched while there is not much...