Makes me laugh every time I walk past this…
(obviously not a funny condition though).
Bethnal green random Street art!
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: http://www.strengthandconditioningresearch.com/2013/10/01/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 (http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/publishahead/Differential_effects_of_30_s_vs__60_s_static.97324.aspx)
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 (http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2014/01000/The_Effects_of_Myofascial_Release_With_Foam.8.aspx).
Not a bad video demonstrating basic positions for foam rolling:
Because after the party there’s an after party!
Please contact me for VIP and tables 🙂
See you all there!
StReSS!!! Food for thought… have a read.
Great article in the Independent this week by one of my CrossFit Hackney buddies Alice Klein!
Nice personal take on things!
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:
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: email@example.com
Any questions, please ask!
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: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/7914506/knee_meniscus_meniscal_anatomy/
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:
What can you do?
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy Xmas and New Year!
We can’t all be angels when it comes to posture!
Far too many of us have poor posture and our desk based lifestyles cause an imbalance between the anterior and posterior muscles on the shoulder. There are many different exercises we can do in the gym to help improve this structural balance issue, but each individual athlete needs to make the effort to improve their posture outside of the gym.
Awareness is key and understanding your posture and what you can do about it is a good place to start. I was asked to write something for Crossfit Hackney (http://www.momentum-training.com/) about posture and common shoulder issues:
CrossFitters, like all other athletes can pick up niggles and injuries. It’s inevitable! The three common types of shoulder pathologies I see, associated with training, are:
– Rotator cuff (Bursitis, impingements, sprains and tears)
– Acromioclavicular joint problems (sprains, degeneration)
– Postural dysfunctions (structural, instability, postural)
… and then of course there are issues in the neck, which can present themselves as shoulder pain.
Our shoulder is a ball and socket joint that allows for almost 360 degrees of movement. Many different muscles are involved in the movements and stability of the shoulder joint. Tightness and/or weakness of the muscles around the shoulder can soon cause a restricted range of motion, shoulder impingement, pain and discomfort. If you are very protracted (shoulders forward) you will inevitably be tight in you pec-minor, have over-active upper traps, and put unnecessary stress on the posterior shoulder and rotator cuff. This ultimately causes compression of the sub-acromial space, acromioclavicular joint, wear and tear and leads to restriction and pain.
When I start treating people with shoulder issues, the first port of call is to address posture and start to gain an awareness of how you sit, stand and move. A lot of problems are due to our modern day activities on phones, iPads, laptops, being sat at a desk, driving and cycling to name just a few. Remember you may train or exercise for maybe one or two hours a day but sit at a desk for over eight hours!
So here are some tips to help improve your posture.
Desk ergonomics – three easy things to look at:
1. Make sure your chair allows your knees to be at a 90 degree angle
2. Make sure the middle of your screen is at eye level when you sit tall. If you work from a laptop, get a stand and mobile keyboard.
3. When sitting tall, do a sweep with the arm extended (semi-circle) and everything you use (phone, pens, paper, mouse, etc) should be within that arc.
And try this exercise:
1. In sitting, start slumped
2. Tilt your pelvis forwards, so you are sitting tall (in extension)
3. Ease off slightly, so you are neutral (in the Lumbar spine). You should feel your deep abdominals kicking in to brace you and not feel much tension in the lower back.
4. Draw your shoulder blades back, down and together – gently squeeze
5. Retract your chin slightly (double chin)
6. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat ten times, hourly!
7. Set a reminder on your watch, phone or put a post-it in corner of your screen!
To check you are doing this correctly, get a friend to see how much tension you have in your upper traps in slumped sitting and then again in this improved postural position (it should be a lot less).
There’s a very informative video to watch:
Try this for a week at work and see how you feel!
Also have a look at StreTch’s ideas on shoulder mobility in CrossFit and some excellent descriptions from Kelly Starett: