Neutral Spine Stretching Routine
This 11 minute stretching routine can be a nice way to end a workout. Make sure you check with your PT if you have any musculoskeletal issues before you stretch. We cover the majority of the two joint muscle of the lower limbs: the hamstrings, gluteals, quadriceps, gastrocnemius, and also the posterior capsule of the shoulder.
Lower Extremity Foam Rolling
Join me as I review the basics of using the foam roller to mobilize the tissue of your legs including: the gastrocnemius/ soleus (calf muscles), the hamstrings, quadriceps, the dreaded iliotibial band and gluteals. For more information on using your foam roller, check out our foam roller workshop recording available for download.
Spine Foam Rolling Basics
The foam roller is one of my favorite tools for working with tissue mobility. In this video we go over lying on the roller to help mobilize your mid back, rib cage and musculature. I mention the legs, just click on the "lower extremity foam roller" video for leg work.
Noticing Neutral Spine
The body's most natural position is with a neutral spine. This is when when all three curves of the spine—cervical (neck), thoracic (middle), and lumbar (lower)—are present and in proper alignment. This is the strongest position for the spine when we are standing, sitting, and everything else. Thus, when we build strength, stretch, and even do cardio, we want to keep our spine in a neutral position along with the abdominal brace engaged.
Every session we end with some form of balance challenge. As we age, incorporating balance into our workouts is beyond critical when it comes to injury prevention and overall trust in the body. I love to work with the pillow (as pictured here) to modify somatosensory information — but you do not have to. This is a quick balance challenge to engage the somatosensory, visual, and vestibular senses.
Foundational Shoulder Series to Relieve Neck and Shoulder Pain
Correct a forward-leaning head and release overactive neck and trapezius muscles with this foundational shoulder series. When the musculature surrounding your shoulder blades, especially in between the shoulder blades are not utilized and therefore weak, the trapezius and neck muscles become painfully overworked. These exercises lay the groundwork for neck stability and future arm and shoulder strengthening. Do this series before any upper body strength training. It will wake up the shoulder musculature which is what should be working, and help trapezius and neck muscles stay in the periphery.