Yoga for runners! New class starting Wednesday 7th January 2015 plus breakfast offer!


January is the month of fresh starts, new training programmes and setting goals!

It is also the month where is dawns on us that we signed up to or a got a place in a big marathon this year!

For runners, training re-starts after the Christmas and new year break. I see a lot of very new and very experienced runners coming in to Physio with niggles after getting back on the road or treadmill. Often one of the causes of ankle, knee hip and lower back pain is a lack of flexibility.

Run fast ( know this and have started a ‘yoga for runners’ class at their store right in the City of london ( with Katrina Kurdy (

Classes are well-rounded, with modifications given to make postures more accessible for beginners or more challenging for the experienced.  You’ll build strength, increase flexibility and there will always be a light-hearted inversion or hand-balance to keep it challenging and fun. This class is specifically tailored for runners so you can expect lots of core exercises, glutes work, stability and proprioception work.

Classes are £15 which includes a free coffee and breakfast! Can’t say fairer than that!

Please contact: to book your place!

For more info:


Yoga for Runners

7:00-8:00 AM

The Running Works

28-30 Houndsditch



Food! Preparation is the key…

Happy new year everyone! Hope you had a great Christmas holiday and have had a good start to the new year!

noun: preparation
the action or process of preparing or being prepared for use or consideration.
“the preparation of a draft contract”
a substance that is specially made up, especially a medicine or food.
“there are several effective preparations you can buy over the counter”

So Sunday I finally did what I have been thinking about for a while and actually prepared my food for the week (with the help of my lovely wife)!

Two and a half hours, three options, and twelve full meals later I have food for the next four days!


1. Mexican free-range chicken, spicy black beans, roasted cauliflower and brocolli and mexican rice

2. Mixed protein and brown pasta, free-range chicken and lean bacon, mixed peppers, plum tomatoes and pine nuts

3. Chili Salmon with stir-fried vegetables

All this came to around £40. So £3.30 per meal (plus that was our dinner on the day).

It was a bit of an experiment but the plan is to do this once a week!

Now I just need to get my training back on track…


Rolling, rolling, rolling… why are we foam rolling?

Keep rolling, rolling, rolling…

They are in every box, gym, yoga studio, and sports club in all shapes and sizes, textures and densities! I get a lot of questions about foam rollers!

How often? How hard? How long? Before or after exercise? Which muscles?

Chris Beardsley, a well-known sports science writer, wrote an informative article in 2013 looking at some of the evidence around foam rolling:

The article is well worth a read! It got me thinking so here is my take on things…

What tissues are we actually affecting?

Fascia – mainly. Fascia is an uninterrupted viscoelastic tissue, which forms a functional 3-dimensional collagen matrix. Basically, fascia surrounds and penetrates every structure in the body, head to toe. It is an innervated, continuous, functional organ of stability and motion. And it is tough!

What is foam rolling?

Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release. What is myofascial release? That is another well-debated subject! It has been suggested that applying pressures to tissues can:

1) Rehydrate tissues

2) Reduce pain (a neural response?)

3) Improve vascular function

4) Release trigger points and break up adhesions

5) Reduce the effects of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

6) Improve tissue range of motion (ROM).

What is the evidence?

There is limited, good quality evidence; however, Chris Beardsley has summarised the findings so far:

1. Foam rolling may reduce arterial stiffness, improve arterial function and improve vascular endothelial function – therefore potentially increase blood flow.

2. Foam rolling may have no detrimental effects on athletic performance pre-workout – therefore no effect.

3. Foam rolling may increase joint ROM while not impeding the production of muscular force or rate of force development – pre workout mobility could increase range. It is at least as effective as static stretching however does not reduce performance which static stretching has been shown to do (

4. Foam rolling does not acutely affect counter-movement, squat or depth jump performance. A dynamic warm-up is better.

5. There is mixed evidence on whether foam rolling increases flexibility long term.

6. Foam rolling reduces muscle soreness. A more recent study concluded that the reduced feeling of fatigue may allow participants to extend acute workout time and volume, which can lead to chronic performance enhancements (

When should you foam roll?


Based on the evidence and also clinical experience these are the recommendations:


–       Foam roll myofascial structures to increase joint ROM pre-workout. Be specific – work on the areas that you have problems with and be specific to the exercise you are about to perform. Don’t replace a dynamic warm-up – supplement it.


–       Use foam rolling post-workout for quicker short-term recovery.


–       Regular use may help longer-term recovery and sustained performance.


–       Make it functional – get into end of range or dynamic positions to mimic what you are going to exercise.


–       It doesn’t work for everything – use other tools and types of mobility drills too!


How should I foam roll?


I work on trigger points. These have been well mapped out by Travell and Simon’s ( Find a ‘tender’ or ‘tight’ spot, and then apply pressure with the roller for up to 20 seconds. IF it has started to ease, stay on it for another ten seconds then release. 30 seconds maximum – you don’t want an ischemic response, which will just be painful and may actually start to damage the tissue. Try to work through a few specific trigger points along the structure you are working on. Spend 60-90 seconds rolling out the area, then move on! This shouldn’t take you more than five minutes to be effective – even when looking at a large area like the lateral thigh / Illiotibial band (ITB).


I also really like it for thoracic extension – more of a joint mobilisation. Great pre-Olympic lifting and for any overhead movements where extension is key:

Other resources:


Not a bad video demonstrating basic positions for foam rolling:


So there you have it! As always, if you have any questions please feel free to grab me or contact me!






Complimentary Marathon Preparation Evening with Complete Health and Wellbeing!

Hi all! If you are running any marathon distances this year, well worth popping along…

Following the success of last January’s Pre-Marathon event, Complete Health and Wellbeing are hosting another free information evening to prepare your body and mind for the gruelling 26.2 miles.

Join Sports Physio, Chris Myers and the Complete Physio Team for an evening of Marathon Preparation. The evening will be packed with insight, experience and education which will aid novice runners through to regular Marathon competitors.

The topics being discussed are:

  • Injury Prevention with Physiotherapist Chris Myers
  • Marathon Training Plans with Personal Trainer Ben Leach
  • Optimum Nutrition with Nutritionist Marc Adams
  • How to Train Your Brain for Success with Hypnotherapist Phil Dobson
  • How to Use Mental Rehearsals to Improve Performance with Hypnotherapist Phil Dobson

The event is totally free and will be held on Wednesday 15th January 2015 at 6pm on the 28th Floor of The CityPoint building.

Places are very limited and can be reserved by contacting:

Any questions, please ask!



Squat, squat, squat, squat… ouch.


I’ve been doing regular CrossFit-type training for about six months now and have done A LOT of squats! Stiff, tired legs and DOMS are not on my Christmas card list! This seems like a good junction to talk a little bit about knee pain and one of the most common over-use type injuries, namely cartilage and meniscal issues!

Cartilage is a thin, elastic tissue that protects the bone and helps joint surfaces slide easily over each other. There are two types of cartilage in the knee: articular (joint) cartilage, which covers the surfaces of the knee joints (patello-femoral and tibio-femoral); and hyaline (meniscus) cartilage, which sits in two distinct thickened, disc-like shapes within the tibio-femoral joint and essentially acts as a shock absorber providing structural integrity and spreading load. In addition the menisci have an important proprioceptive role, providing lots of functional joint stability feedback.

Have a look at this 3D representation of how the menisci function:

Various factors affect how well the meniscus and cartilage function: foot/knee/hip position, stance and posture; work/sport; flexibility of the great toe; muscle imbalances; gluteal control; age; weight; other joint problems; previous injury…the list goes on.

CrossFitters are generally not spring chickens and often carry previous injuries–so it is quite possible that you may have damaged your cartilage in a past knee injury from playing sports or tripping whilst drunk or maybe even dancing badly then waking up with odd bruises and swelling that you have little recollection of. These can be fairly insignificant and heal quickly. Larger trauma like fractures and tendon or ligament injuries often come with a serving of meniscal damage but may be a less significant problem at the time.  However minor these injuries may seem, they add up over time.

Unfortunately like any other machine, the joints of the human body are subject to wear and tear simply through the numbers of repetitions performed, and this is the main point I want to make in this blog!

Just like a mechanical component, let’s say the tracking alignment of a car chassis and the effect it has on tire tread, if something is off line it will cause an unequal pattern or wear. So poor technique when doing squats, lunges, jumps, deadlifts, pistols, etc. can create that same wear on the meniscus. Over time this leads to a learned dysfunction and then inevitably to pain!

StreTch, Josh, Geoff, Tom and all the other trainers consistently drill us about technique when performing complex movement. Their aim (apart from building fear and denting our pride) is that we carry on this correct form into our capacity work, strength training and most importantly into the WODs and competitions. Unfortunately when I see people with injuries, usually they can pin point the start of their problem back to an intense training session or WOD.

When we fatigue, form lapses and injuries can happen. Continued poor mechanics and pain lead to further ‘shearing’ of the articular surfaces (this can go down to the bone) and meniscal tears.

The menisci are relatively avascular therefore it is thought that menisci don’t repair and regenerate very well (with the exception of the outer rim) – another reason why careful attention to pain and symptoms is recommended!

Do you have a cartilage or meniscal problem?

Well, you may if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Locking or popping of the knee
  • Instability of the knee
  • Persistent swelling-exercise or activity related
  • Pain or inability to fully squat (sit on heels)
  • Pain/pinching with your leg fully extended
  • Pain on twisting, turning or change of direction

What can you do?

  • Work out what movements/exercises cause problems. Try to correct faults and work through the full range. Talk to the coaches and get others to watch you perform movements.
  • Don’t ‘bounce’ on your knees during movements or reps! We are all looking for a nice deep squat below 90 degrees but you must maintain muscular control through the full range. Otherwise you are just relying on recoil and momentum to bounce you back up from your heels putting extreme pressure on the ligaments and posterior horns of the menisci. These forces are magnified exponentially when you add weight!
  • Look at your alignment with all knee movements-is left the same as right? If not, why?
  • Wear the correct footwear! There are so many trainers out there! Do you over pronate or under pronate, and does it worsen when you squat or lunge? If you can’t correct it then consider an orthotic.
  • Check the mobility of you hip, ankle and big toe–is there a restriction on the problem side?
  • Check the flexibility of the main muscle groups on the affected leg – hams, quads, glutes, gastroc. and soleus. Fix this with stretches and foam rolling!
  • If the knee is swollen, rest it. You don’t have to stop training! There are hundreds of exercises for you to do, so be smart and work around the knee.
  • Don’t ignore it! Most musculoskeletal problems can be fixed if you get at them early – the right advice and management can save you a lot of pain, money, missed training and a meeting with an Orthopaedic Surgeon!

Hopefully this post gives you some things to think about whether you have knee pain or not! If you want any further information or want to talk about your knee or any other niggles, feel free to grab me down at the arches or send me an email:

Happy Xmas and New Year!

Cheers, Emerson