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Simple changes to your posture and technique can make running fitness dramatically increase. In general you are designed to run a certain way, matching this posture will save you energy, help you run faster and put less pressure on your joints. From the bottom to the top, here are some simple things you can do to increase your running fitness.

1) Your feet could be the most important part of your body when it comes to running. They are the part that makes contact with the ground and has to deal with the most shock. Overtime your foot hits the ground it can create forces 3 times your body weight. These forces can be used for you or against you and it all depends how your foot hits the floor.

In the video below I explain the different techniques and how to make them work in your favour.

2) Your knees and hips are the next joint you come to, they are they joints that create most of the power because they are covered in big powerful muscles. Making sure these joints are in the right position are the key to build better running fitness and leg strength.

Lift your knees as your leg comes forward, this does 2 things. The first things it does is makes the muscles at the front of your hip work and gives you better momentum. Secondly it brings your knees apart, if your knees are close together as you run they will probably be on the inside of your foot. If this is the case your knee will damage quickly.

3) The shoulders and upper back work together, they act like a pendulum for your legs. Your arms should swing forwards and back so your momentum stay centred. If your arms come across your body your momentum goes from side to side.

Twist gently at your upper back, this helps your arms. You can find that many people get this the wrong way around and  twist their back with little arm swing.

4) Upper back and head; this can determine the posture of the rest of your body as much as anything else. Your head position needs to up and centred. With your head up you’ll tend to extend your upper back and have a straight line between your ear shoulders and hips. Relax your shoulders, if you are tense in your neck and shoulders your arms will not move as much. If your arms don’t move as much you’ll energy and make another part of your body pick up the slack.

Use these 4 simple techniques to help you stay injury free and build better running fitness. If you’re unsure how to make this happen in your own programme book a free consultation and we can discuss running training packages.

Back spasms is a sharp pain in your back and are incredibly unpleasant. They are painful and can stop you in your tracks immediately. They are hard to predict when they are going to happen but you can certainly reduce your risk. If you are unlucky enough to have a back spasm….

Here are 5 top tips to help you recover from one

1. Lie down

When you first experience a back spasm lie down (preferably on the floor or firm surface), this takes pressure away from your back muscles. If it is still giving you pain use pillows to change your posture on the floor. The goal immediately after a muscle spasm in the lower back is to relieve the pain (without medication) and reduce the pressure. The normal recommendation is to keep moving but at this point that could make your injury worse.

Here’s a short video about medication and low back pain

2. Listen to your body

Lying down will ease the pressure, as you do this for a period of time the pain will reduce. As this starts to happen, change your position and see if your back twinges. If it does your know you aren’t ready to get up, use this twinges as a feedback to let you know what your can and cannot do. The muscle spasm in your lower back has happened for a reason and your body will let you know when it’s getting better.

3. Take your time

Lying down can be a very frustrating part of a back spasm, the more time you take the better it will be in the long run. As you begin to change your position and body allows you to do more keep progressing until you can move about. To get to this point take your time muscle spasms in your lower back don’t like to be rushed and if they are it can set you back.

4. Gently stretch

The muscles of your lower back become tight during spasm, so as you become better at moving about without pain begin to stretch those muscles. The muscles became tight to protect your lower back, as it get better these muscles need to learn its ok to loosen again. They won’t do this fully on their own, they need some help from you and this is where stretching helps.

5. Learn movement

Finally learn to move better in everyday life, muscle spasms in your lower back are normally the straw that broke the camels back. As you begin to lift and bend better use your hips the pressure will reduce on your lower back. This in turn will reduce your risk of muscle spasms in the future. This whole process takes time, let your body heal and use it correctly and it will give you all the strength, endurance and longevity you need.

Vegan fitness can be the healthiest way to get fit if you get it right. I had the pleasure to chat to Samantha Shorkey a vegan bodybuilding pro and she was able to share her wisdom on vegan training and nutrition.

It can be thought that vegans are unhealthy and can’t train as hard as a meat-eater but Sam is bucking this apparent trend. She trains hard and eats well, in these few videos we talk about what she eats, how she trains and how she prepares for her events.

The power of the mind is becoming more and more well known. Although it’s power to heal the body could still be seen as mystical. With growing evidence of the placebo effect and spontaneous remission, the world is becoming more open to these ‘mystical’ ideas.

Firstly lets have a look back at what you’ve read in the first 3 secrets. You know the whole universe is balanced with equal positive and negative particles and mind is balanced with equal emotions, known as actuality.

However your perceptions filter actuality to give the illusion that the universe is imbalanced between good and bad or positive and negative and the more the imbalance the more the symptom.

Secondly, imagine a seesaw. Your perceptions that are a part of the human condition swing from positive to negative. Instead of the emotional seesaw swinging violently from up to down, we want them to gently or moderately move up and down.

SeeSaw-657x245

Finally you need to be consistent in this moderate swing. This leads nicely into the 4th secret and the state of mind is that creates this consistent, moderate balance to our mind and body.

You’ve heard of it before it’s the “attitude of gratitude”. The attitude I am referring to is a state of poise; it’s a state where the seesaw stops swinging for a moment and balances perfectly horizontal. This is only a moment of poise and then the imbalances of the emotion continue. In that moment of poise your body transcends time and becomes ageless. It also initiates the healing process and allows your body to heal itself.

I want to make it clear this attitude of gratitude is not a happy or sad state, they are states that on either end of our seesaw. It’s a centred state; that could be called the centre of centres.

This centred state is to perfectly balance your mind. It’s not an easy task, if it was everyone would do it. It takes both logical and creative thinking. An easy way to get started is to take 6 or 7 people you don’t like and list what it is you don’t like about them. Next find out what you like about them and list that. Of all the things you don’t like ask, how is that helping me in life? For all of the things you like ask, how is that hindering me in life?

This develops an attitude of gratitude because it begins to treat the person, as they are, which is perfectly balanced with all good and bad. Not as a good or bad person, which is imbalanced.

As you begin to see people as they are, this matches the universal actuality and your body begins to heal itself. The universe is whole, you are whole and every person, event and situation is whole.

Here are 5 cycling fitness tips, cycling a great way to get fit, many think just getting on a bike will make you fitter and to a certain degree it will. What most people don’t realise is that becoming fitter and doing lots of exercise can also increase injuries.

These 5 cycling fitness tips can help you improve your fitness and prevent injury.

1) Progress slowly, most people just jump on a bike and off they go but this can make your joints tight. Tight joints mean injury and also that you’re legs aren’t as strong as they could be. Whether you are starting out or coming back from an injury your body needs time to adjust to being in the saddle.

2) Breathe, a simple and essential task but rarely done right. There are 2 types of breathing, one is chest breathing and the other is abdomen breathing. Chest breathing is shallow and doesn’t bring in a lot of air, on the other hand abdomen breathing is much deeper. A part of your endurance, fatigue and recovery is how well you breathe, here’s a quick video to help.

3) Use your hips, when most people cycle they think they need strong legs, this true up to a point. You need strong hips and legs. Your hips are arguably the strongest and most powerful muscles in the body, use them and your cycling fitness will sky-rocket. Here’s a blog and video that can help

4) Stretch, just as important as getting stronger is staying supple. Cycling is a very bad posture to be in for a long period of time and your muscles can become very tight. You hip flexors especially, these are the muscle at the front of your hip, here’s a great stretch you can do.

5) Get a cycling strength training programmeas I mentioned before most people jump on a bike and off they go. Where this is good initially it can leave your joints tight. A cycling strength training programme is designed for you and your fitness level. You’ll get all the right exercises and stretches to help improve your fitness, keep your joints supple and prevent injury.

Building your cycling fitness means building up your lower body. When most cyclist do this they focus on their legs but the real power and strength lies in your hips. Your hips muscles are arguably the strongest muscles of the body.

Leonardo Da Vinci knew this when he wrote “The principal and the greatest and the most powerful muscles in man are his buttocks, these are of marvellous strength, as is demonstrated by the force exerted by a man when lifting weights”.

When your sat in your saddle your hip muscles move your knee downwards and your quads straighten your leg. Making these muscles work together will provide you with better power and strength. This will also help your endurance as well, when your muscles get more powerful and stronger each time you pedal you become more efficient.

This also so won’t affect your cycling fitness in a negative way. “A recent study that specifically looked at cross-country skiers found that maximum strength training alone not only improved maximum strength and the rate of force development of skiers but also a positive transfer to work economy” .

Cycling fitness is more than just getting on a bike and cycling, if you know what muscles are working you can take it to the next level. If you mix your training with strength, power and endurance it’ll go through the roof.

If you want to take your cycling fitness to the next level a strength training programme in the gym is the way to go. Doing the right exercises and stretches, in the right way, with the right amount of weight can activate these muscles.

Throughout the year I run 1-to-1 12 & 24-week cycling strength training programmes. You can learn all the best exercises and stretches that will make your muscles become more powerful, stronger without affecting your endurance. All training programmes start with a free session, to take advantage of this fill out the contact form below and mention you’d like yon’d like to book a free cycling fitness session.

 

Kelly Starrett is a coach, physical therapist, author, speaker, and creator of MobilityWOD.com, which is revolutionising how athletes think about human movement and athletic performance. In this 60-min podcast we talk about how to prevent injury and enhance performance.

In biomechanics (movement), the ground reaction force is the force exerted by the ground on a body in contact with it. Whenever your foot hits the floor is creates a ground reaction force that is 2.5 to 3 time your body weight.

This is a lot of force going through your body multiple times every second and it can increase your risk of low-back and joint pain. Changing how you run is simple way to reduce these forces. In the short video below you’ll learn about 2 different types of running, one that can increase your chances of injury and another that can reduce it.

To learn more about how to reduce low-back and joint pain you can register for the Back to Basics Workshop

A back spasm happens mostly when you lift something from the floor but it can happen by reaching, carrying, getting up or any movement. So why does a back spasm happen? In general terms they happen because your body isn’t being used correctly. You might not have been lifting correctly, you may have poor posture or you core muscles aren’t strong enough to cope with the task at hand.

Whatever the cause, a back spasm typically happens because you’ve done something incorrectly. This doesn’t mean that you’ve done something incorrectly once or twice, back problems happen because the straw that broke the camels back. You might have been lifting incorrectly for months or even years, sat down for long periods of time or been over stressing your body with too much exercise. Any of these can eventually end with a back spasm.

The treatment to back spasms are in their prevention, as you start using your body correctly and making your core muscle work better you spasms will become less. This will allow you to enjoy life more and keep your body pain free.

In these 3 short videos I’d like to help you learn a little more about how reduce back spasms and how you can build a stronger back. After you’ve watched these videos you’ll be ready to download a 12-week program, click here to find out more about it

Your body is very clever when it gets injured, all of the pain and tight muscles you feel are there on purpose and your body created it. It’s there to help you understand a deeper lying problem, pain and tight muscles are not a problem.

The problem lies in why your body creates this is the first place. One of the major causes of back spasms are the overuse and misuse of your back and your body creates tightness and pain to let you know this. If incorrect lifting or too much lifting is the cause of your back spasm the only way to correct it is to address how you lift and not the pain or tight muscle..

Saying that you may have other damage that requires massage, chiropractic or physio, it then needs to lifting technique to be changed so it doesn’t come back again.

If you only have treatment like these and don’t address the lifting movement the pain will come back. Learn how to correct your movement at the Back to Basics Workshop. It’s the last link in the chain to help you overcome back injury

Get in touch to find out more




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