In the fitness industry there are many different opinions of what are the best exercise to do. On the other hand the anatomy of the body tell a different story. Many people use a deadlift as a back exercise but if you understand the anatomy of that area of the body you'll begin to understand that there is one way of training.

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 17.46.491. All Deadlifts always includes hip extension 

Hip extension maintaining the natural curves of the spine in a bent over posture and then standing up straight like in the picture to the left. Although the exercise will activate the spinal erectors they aren't main muscle working. They are a much smaller and weaker muscle than the muscle of the hip, all lifting should be left to the big muscles of the hip.

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 17.57.52

2. Gluteus maximus is the hip extension muscle

Leonardo Da Vinci knew this in the 14th and 15th century when he said "The principal and the greatest and most powerful muscle in man are his buttocks - these are of marvellous strength, is dominated by the force exerted by a man when lifting weights." Nothing has changed in 600 years and we will increase the performance of our whole body if we use the deadlift as hip and hamstring exercise.

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 17.59.143. Spinal erectors are used for posture not movement

Spinal erector run the length of spine and do cross onto the pelvis, this means they will be active as you go from a bent over posture to an erect one. Although they are only assisting in the movement and not primary movement creator. The erector spinae muscles primary role is to maintain the correct posture of the spine not move anything.


4. The core work better as a whole than as parts

Any good performance coach know that the core muscles work best together, if you split them up and do exercises that work them individually you in fact diminish their performance. Exercises like back extensions, sit ups, crunches, side bends or twists don't help your core. They might make the individual muscles for tolerant of fatigue but that doesn't mean your whole core will benefit.

Use the Deadlift as a hip and hamstring exercise 

Office lower back pain is one biggest reason are off work in the UK and we all know it's due to sitting for long periods of time. Our body is built to move and if we don't treat it that way it'll give us pain and sitting for long periods is obviously a problem. Ideally it would be great to have more breaks but I don't see the workplace adding these anytime soon. If more breaks aren't an option right now, the goal now is to move more as you sit. This seems a strange thing to ask but there are lots of different positions and postures you use in order move as you sit.

If you are unfortunate enough the experience lower back pain there are different ways to treat it but the most important aspect is to listen your body and go with your intuition. The normal advice from doctors is to stay active but sometimes this doesn't feel right because the pain is so high. This is where your intuition comes in, you know what your ready to do and a professional should understand this to. Take time to rest it you feel you need to, keep active when you feel ready and last resort take some medication to mask the pain.

The final way to reduce office lower back pain is finding out what's caused the pain? Maybe it was sciatic pain? What's caused the sciatic pain? Was it a disc bulge? What caused the disc bulge? Disc bulges happen because we don't use our spine how it is built to be used, we sit for too long, don't lift objects correctly, don't carry object correctly and many more. Improve how well you move and you'll go a long to reduce office lower back pain.

Watch the follow videos to gain more insight. (They are a playlist and will play one after the other)

17. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Back Spasm

A major part of my personal training is helping people overcome a back spasm. This is a typical example of how people feel and what people go through when they hurt their back. As you read on you'll get an idea of how to over a overcome a back spasm.

"I injured my back lifting a cooker awkwardly in March last year. It was a fairly serious injury that left me in a lot of pain and unable to move around easily. I certainly couldn't do any of the training I was used to. About 4 months after the event when I could walk normally again and was almost pain free, I decided it was time to start the journey back to fitness and a friend referred me to Chris knowing that he is an expert in this field. 

We started really slowly and I realised how weak I was after the injury. I was pretty deflated at how far I had to go to get back to my usual 4 times a week running and other training. I was also very nervous that it wouldn't be possible or that I would injure myself again.

Chris's approach really put me at ease, mainly due to his knowledge about what needed to be done to build up my strength so that I was able to train again. He helped me to understand the importance of not rushing my recovery and reassured me when I got frustrated. He also taught me how to focus on getting the specialised exercises right, what those exercises were doing in terms of my recovery and why they were so important.

It's really been worth it. After 24 weeks I've seen change from being able to do only a few simple stretches and not a single push up to running 3 or 4 times a week again and in the gym doing strength workouts. I'm still under Chris's supervision as I know he can help me to achieve the strength goals that I want to safely. My strength and fitness wouldn't be where it is today or anywhere near as stable without his help."

A big part of the programme to overcome a back spasm is to first put you at ease and make sure you understand that with the right programme you will get better.

If you have experienced a back spasm and would like a programme to overcome it, I am able to offer you...

  • Downloadable 12-week programme
  • Face to face 1-to-1 training at the gym in Bristol

Please fill out the contact box below to find out more about how to overcome a back spasm in 24-weeks

16. March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Blog, Low Back Pain

The technical term for joint pain is musculoskeletal disorder, it means injuries to ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves. Areas of the body it affects could be neck, shoulder, spine, hips, knees, ankle and feet. Many of these are known as non-specific injuries, which means they have no direct cause. However there are factors that can effect joint pain such as;

  1. Age
  2. Occupation
  3. Activity levels
  4. lifestyle

These cause a low grade wear and tear that at the time doesn't feel painful at the time but over time your joints pain gets worse. Common symptoms you may experience could be, the pain comes and goes, joints get stiff, less flexible and dull aches.

Prevention is the ideal remedy for any joint pain but it not normally the way it's treated. Regular strengthening exercise in combination with stretching and correct joint mechanics are the best way to prevent it in the first place.

The normal routine is to feel pain and begin treating it after you experience pain. If this is the case you may need to dose up on certain exercises, like you might take high doses of vitamin C for a common cold.

Yolanda Presswood is a full time stay at home/homeschool mama with a preteen daughter and a teenage son. An ISSA certified personal trainer, R.I.P.P.E.D certified instructor, holistic living enthusiast, Children’s story writer, wife, daughter, and friend. She has a passion for educating on a plant based health/fitness lifestyle as well as living naturally and compassionately. She enjoy sharing her love for sports science with those who want to learn, weight lifting, bodybuilding, and aerobic fitness.

At 32 she found what she was born to do. In the summer of 2012 is when she honed in and went full speed with it. She saw some friends competing and thought..if they can do it.. so can I! Now she's a Clark’s Nutritional Centers and Natural Foods Market sponsored athlete and she's been in FitnessX Magazine

In these two interviews we follow Yolanda's journey and progress. We find out how she trains and what she eats.

Interview One

2013 Part 1

2013 Part 2

2013 Click Here for the Full Interview


Interview Two

Parts 1-7 2014 are in a playlist, the videos play automatically one after another

Dean Howell is an ex-professional football player in the UK, he's been a vegan since the age of 24. Dean now runs a nutrition food company.

Revolution foods was created out of the passion of three close friends to create an ethical business that could deliver the finest super foods products at competitive prices.

Corporated in 2011, Revolution foods continues to thrive and promises to establish many more innovative products to our customers in the future.

Our background stems from careers in sports and studying nutritional therapy. Our dedication and passion for healthy nutrition has given us the knowledge to produce a company that can help others reach their nutritional goals.

Dean Howell Vegan Diet & Sport Part 3

Dean Howell Vegan Diet & Sport Part 4

Dean Howell Vegan Diet & Sport Part 5

Dean Howell Vegan Diet & Sport Part 6

Charlie Weingroff in a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He was most recently the Director of Physical Performance and Resiliency and Lead Physical Therapist for the United States Marines Corps Special Operations Command in Camp Lejeune, NC.  He is also Director of Clinical Education for the Vibraflex Whole-Body Vibration and Andante Medical, the makers of the SmartStep, mobile force plate.

Prior to returning to his home state of New Jersey in the Fall of 2006 after 12 seasons of professional basketball, he was the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach and Assistant Athletic Trainer for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA.   Among the highlights of his tenure in Philadelphia was being part of the medical staff that ranked 1st in the NBA in Player Missed Games in the 2005-06 season.

In the Interview Charlie and I talk about Low-back pain, mobility, fitness and weight lifting. The 2 videos are the first 10 minutes and the full interview in below.

Charlie Weingroof Full Interview

Plantar fasciitis is a condition of the foot; the plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that joins your heel bone to the knuckles of your toes. You get plantar fasciitis when this fascia becomes inflamed.

It gets this way by overuse or misuse of your feet. If you’re doing too much running or if you’ve increased intensity suddenly will affect your plantar fascia. Or if you have poor mechanics that put extra stress on your feet.

The plantar fascia doesn’t have a great blood supply and this will make it take longer to recover than your muscles. The first essential step to treat plantar fasciitis is rest; this will take the stress away and allow the tissue to repair.

This is only an initial step as too much rest can be detrimental. As you are resting you also need to bring a greater blood supply to the fascia. Rolling your foot on a tennis ball can do this but it shouldn’t be painful.

As pain reduces and you can begin doing feet exercises, this is to begin strengthen the muscles of the foot that support the plantar fascia. Depending where you are holding your tightness you can also begin stretching the muscles of you feet and ankles.

The muscles and plantar fascia will begin to strengthen from the exercises and stretches, now is the time to gently begin running again. As you begin you have judge how to progress based on how your feet feel. Always air on the side of caution but always progress, slower progress will benefit you in the long run.

For this whole process aim to take a minimum of 12-weeks, this gives your feet and ankles plenty of time to adapt. To treat plantar fasciitis follow these simple steps

    1. Rest
    2. Roll/self massage to bring a better blood supply
    3. Exercise and stretch your feet and ankles
    4. Slow progress
    5. Minimum of 12-weeks

If you get shin pain there is a good chance it will be shin splints. If you have read part 1 of this series you’ll also know that there are two types. If you haven’t read part one I’ll summaries it and you can read it after this one.

As mentioned there are two types of shin splints, they both cause shin pain but in different place and in different ways. The first type of shin splints is called Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), which causes shin pain on the inside of your shinbone. The second is Lateral Shin Splints, which causes shin pain on the outside of your shinbone.

MTSS is associated with the bone of the lower leg and lateral shin splints are associated with the muscle and fascia of the lower leg. Both cause shin pain but need to be treated in slightly different ways.

In the 12-week programme that you can download below you will receive exercises and stretches for both types. All you need to do is understand which one you have and use the necessary programme.

The 12-week programme is the minimum time frame to give to your initial treatment. Sometimes you may need to give more time and you may find that your shin pain comes and goes. This is where the 12-week programme comes into its own.

You can use the short stretch and exercise workouts over and over again and they are not stand allow workouts they are additional workout that you can include in your current training..

Step 1: Watch these two videos and understand which type of shin splint you may have.

Step 2: Download the shin splints programme

Steps 3: Include these short exercise and stretching workouts into your current training.

Shin splints are the most prevalent condition of the lower leg. There are two types and they both cause pain and discomfort along the shinbone. The first I’ll talk to you about is Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS).

Medial means towards the midline or it can be more simply understood in this case as inside and your tibia is your shinbone. This means, this first type of shin splints occurs on the inside of your shinbone.

In the second video I’ll explain the other type of shin splints called lateral shin splints, lateral meaning away from the midline or outside. Not only are lateral shin splints different because it’s on the outside of your shin but it also involves different tissues of the lower leg.

A tissue would be bone, muscle, tendon, ligament or fascia. In MTSS the tissue involved is the bone and lateral shin splints involves muscle and fascia. If you are able to understand which type of shin splints you have the easier and more straightforward your recovery can be.

In the 12-week programme you can download at the bottom of this page you’ll find the relevant exercises and stretches for both MTSS and lateral shin splints. 12-weeks is the minimum time I would like you to give to your recovery.

The programme is in addition to the training you are currently doing, your goal is to add these short stretching workouts to the start and end of you current workouts. The exercises and stretches can be added to the workouts you do already.

Due to the nature of shin splint being they come and go, you can use these workouts if your shin splints come back in the future.

Step 1: Watch these two videos and understand which type of shin splint you may have.

Step 2: Download the shin splints programme

Steps 3: Include these short exercise and stretching workouts into your current training.

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