Rick's Weekly Tips & Tricks

Foundational Movement Series: WALKING / RUNNING January 28, 2016 11:55

This week we explore the seventh and final foundational movement in the series, Walking/Running

Walking is one of the most functional movements we do everyday. It is a very complex and coordinated movement that most of us have been doing since we were 14-15 months of age.

Walking in predictable environments, without obstructions on an even surface is largely conducted automatically with little conscious control. The ability to perform automatic movements is an important aspect of movement control and increases functionality.

However, when clients perform walking under varied conditions such as in the water the predictability changes. Walking in the water is a great way to improve flexibility, strength, balance, coordination as well as motor patterning.

Teaching a client the walk in the water is relatively easy to instruct but can be somewhat frustrating for the client.

The client should keep a good upright posture and perform opposite arm and leg motions with a heel to toe pattern. The problem arises when the waters drag effects the arms and legs differently and requires increased effort to coordinate.

Common compensations are limited step length, uncoordinated arm swing and increase forward posture.

There are many variations of walking that can be performed in multiple directions with multiple types of devices at multiple speeds.

  • Teaching a client to properly walk backwards in the water is one of the most difficult exercises to teach from my standpoint. The client has to perform and activity that they are not accustom to and with the added resistance of the water it makes it even more challenging. When performed correctly, backward walking is a great exercise to open up the hip joint and to recruit the gluteals.

In my experience it will take a few sessions before the client is able to get the correct  walking pattern before increasing the amount of resistance.

Remember Pattern and Posture Before Intensity.

Walking Forward



Description:

Walking forward, maintain proper posture.Keep step length equal and opposite arm and leg motion.

Cueing:

  • Keep Core /Buttocks Muscles Tight
  • Keep Good Stride Length

Possible Compensations:

  • Forward Posture
  • Decreased Reciprocal Arm Swing Same Arm and Leg Swing Decreased Hip Separation/Extension





Foundational Movement Series: LUNGING January 21, 2016 07:08

This week we explore the sixth foundational movement in the series, Lunging

The lunge is one of the better exercises for incorporating a high level of muscle activity in the gluteal muscles,quadriceps and hamstrings. In addition to being highly effective, the lunge is also a great functional exercise. It helps to assist with our walking patterns while improving increased balance as well as core stabilization and posture.

It is an essential building block of many more complex movement sequences and is an essential component for most dynamic sports and activities.

Teaching a client the lunge in the water is much easier and safer than on land because of the supportive properties. Starting with stationary split lunges can assist with pattern and form and then the client can move to a more dynamic forward lunge.

Emphasize proper knee alignment throughout the movement. The knee should track over second toe without caving in or going out with each step. Make sure that the front knee does not move too far forward over the toes. The weight on the front foot should remain primarily on the heel. The back heel can move off the ground but make sure the back leg stays in alignment and does not rotate externally.

The client should demonstrate a good upright posture with good core stability.

Common compensations are increased forward knee flexion, increased medial knee collapse, increased external rotation of trailing leg as well as increased forward crouched posture.

In my experience it will take a few sessions before the client is able to get the correct pattern before increasing the amount of intensity.

Remember Pattern and Posture Before Intensity.

There are many variations of the traditional lunge and can be performed in multiple directions with multiple types of devices at multiple speeds.

Forward Lunge:

Description:

In standing position, Take a large step forward in lunge position. Keep pressure on heel and core and buttocks tight. Return to start position. Alternate legs.

Cueing:

  • Take Large Step Forward
  • Opposite Arm and Leg Motion
  • Back Leg Slightly Bent
  • Good Upright Posture

Possible Compensations:

  • Increased Knee Flexion
  • Knees Over Toes
  • Crouched Posture



Foundational Movement Series: TWISTING / ROTATING January 21, 2016 00:00

This week we explore the fifth foundational movement in the series, Twisting/Rotating

Rotation is the key for proper efficient human movement. This is your ability to twist in your core, from your pelvis to your ribcage. Whether you are rotating your torso during walking, running or simply raising your arms. There are no straight lines in the human body. All  the joints of the body articulate with some degree of rotation and your muscles are designed in a spiral/diagonal fashion.

Most fitness programs whether on land or in the water emphasize the same basic movement patterns such as pushing and pulling but there is little focus on rotary movements.

Teaching rotary movements are much more difficult than most exercises because of all the components needed for proper execution. The trainer has to watch out that the client is not really twisting/torquing their lumbar spine during rotational exercises. This is how injuries can occur, even in the water.

The thoracic spine, not the lumbar spine should be the site of greatest amount of rotation. When teaching rotational exercises the client should be cued that the movement should be occurring more from the chest area.The core must be held in a good amount of stiffness and a fair amount of motion will occur in the hips.

Common compensations are reduced range of motion and the inability of the client to incorporate their legs and core into the rotary motion. Watch for one or both shoulders to hike during movement instead of properly stabilizing. Watch for the dominant side being much stronger and easier. Lastly, watch for forward posture and rounded shoulders.

In my experience it will take a few sessions before the client is able to get the correct pattern before increasing the amount of intensity.

Remember Pattern and Posture Before Intensity.

Barbell Kayak Pulls

Description:

In open stance position with knees slightly bent holding barbell with wide grip. Dig bar bell through water bring past hip and then bring barbell into a high position and dig and pull barbell towards opposite side simulating kayak paddling motion.

Cueing:

  • Keep Core/Buttocks Tight
  • Dig and Pull Barbell Movement Primarily from Chest and Legs
  • Don’t Twist Low Back

Possible Compensations:

  • Decreased Stabilization/Alignment
  • Upper Body Compensation
  • Forward Posture
  • Twisting from Lumbar Spine



Foundational Movement Series: SQUAT January 15, 2016 14:13

This week we explore the fourth foundational movement in the series, the Squat

The squat is considered one of the best functional exercises out there. The squatting movement is performed in everyday life tasks such as picking up objects off the floor, lifting or moving objects and is the basis for many sports movements.

Its ability to target multiple muscle groups makes it a great multi-purpose exercise in any training/rehab program. Few exercises work as many muscles as the squat, whether stabilizing the core and gluteals or improving lower extremity mobility and strength. All of these benefits translate into your body moving more safely and efficiently.

Performing squats in the water has many advantages. Not only does the water assist with the reduced load but it also assists with increased proprioceptive feedback. This allows a much safer environment to challenge clients with balance issues.

When having your client perform a squat it is important to teach proper technique. Make sure you move around your client to view them from all angles to pick out common compensations.

I find if the client has their arms in front of them either holding the side of the pool or a device it is sometimes easier to feel and perform the exercise. This allows them to sit back and down without feeling like they are going to fall over.

Common compensations are for the knees to travel too far over the toes and or collapse medially and for uneven weight shift to occur.

People with limited mobility will tend to flex forward at the spine and not from hips as they squat. Make sure spine remains in lordosis and spinal angle and tibial angle remain parallel. Their shoulders,chest and head should also remain in good alignment and not round too far forward.

Frequent verbal cueing is needed for clients to perform this exercise appropriately before increasing the amount of exercise intensity. In my experience it will take a few sessions before the client is able to get the correct pattern before increasing the amount of intensity and/or resistance.

Remember Pattern and Posture Before Intensity.

Chest Press With Squats:

Description:

In open stance position with knees slightly bent  and feet shoulder width apart and barbell in towards chest. Squat with pressure on heels as push barbell out. Stand and return to start position. Repeat sequence.

Cueing:

  • Sit Back and Down Keeping Pressure on Heels
  • Keep Core/Buttocks Tight
  • Keep Chest High and Good Upright Posture

Possible Compensations:

  • Knees too Far Over Toes
  • Uneven Weight Shift
  • Forward/Rounded Posture
  • Not Coordinating Upper and Lower Body


Foundational Movement Series: HINGE December 30, 2015 00:00

This week we explore the third foundational movement in the series, the Hip Hinge

A hip hinge is movement (flexion and extension) through the hip joint, keeping a neutral spine and the knees slightly flexed.

The primary muscles involved in the hinge motion are the Gluteals, Hamstrings and Abdominals.

A common trend in both clients and athletes is quadriceps dominance. This can be caused by increased hip flexor tightness, gluteal inhibition from less than optimal running and/or lifting techniques. Also, many people spend a significant amount of time sitting, leading to tight hip flexors, triggering reciprocal inhibition, and ultimately gluteal inhibition, robbing us of strength. Reciprocal inhibition in simple terms means, if one muscle is overactive active the opposing muscle shuts down and does not pull appropriately.

When performing hip hinging motions with your client it is important they have good stabilization of the core musculature. Make sure you move around your client to view them from all angles to pick out common compensations.

Watch for spinal alignment above all else. Your client should be able to maintain a neutral spine throughout all exercises.

Watch for the head to push forward during movement due to poor upper body posture and rounded shoulders. You should be able to draw a straight line from the ear down to the shoulder and then down to the hip.


Frequent verbal cueing is needed for clients to stabilize appropriately before increasing the amount of exercise intensity. In my experience it will take 1-2 sessions before the client is able to get the correct pattern before increasing the amount of intensity and/or resistance.

Remember Pattern and Posture Before Intensity.

The exercise I like to use for hip hinging is the Bent Over Barbell Row. This is a great Stability exercise. Barbell rows performed in a hip hinge help teach proper hip-hinging mechanics and help protect the lower back.Keep your back straight and pull the bar towards chest keeping a straight bar path. You have to maintain a flat back position when you row, you'll need to brace the abs and hold that position while driving the elbows back and pulling the bar to your torso, building a resilient core in the process.

  

 

Description: In an Open Bent Over Stance, Perform Barbell Push/Pulls

Cueing:

Keep Knees Slightly Bent.

Hold Bar Shoulder Width Apart,

Hinge Forward at Hips Keeping Back Straight.

Keep core buttock engaged.

Possible Compensations:

Rounded Spine

Forward Posture

Rounded Shoulders

Knees Too Far Over Toes


Foundational Movement Series: PULL December 23, 2015 00:00

This week we explore the second foundational movement in the series, the Pull.

People perform numerous pulling activities during the day whether it be opening doors, getting objects off shelves or moving objects throughout the day.

The primary muscles involved in pulling motion are the Lats, Trapezius, Biceps, Forearms in the Upper Body and the Abdominals, Obliques and Hamstrings.

When looking at the comparison of pushing versus pulling daily activities, people tend to  push much more frequently during the day than they pull.This tends to create muscle imbalance and postural issues.

When performing upper body pulling motions with your client it is important they have good stabilization of the core musculature. Make sure you move around your client to view them from all angles to pick out common compensations.

Watch for the head to push forward during movement due to poor upper body posture and rounded shoulders. You should be able to draw a straight line from the ear down to the shoulder and then down to the hip.

Watch for one or both shoulders to move too far forward as they pull their elbows back. This is commonly due to tight pectoral muscles, weak mid-back muscles and/or the posterior shoulder capsule having restrictions which causes the shoulder mechanics to be altered.

Frequent verbal cueing is needed for clients to stabilize appropriately before increasing the amount of exercise intensity. In my experience it will take 1-2 sessions before the client is able to get the correct pattern before increasing the amount of intensity and/or resistance.

Remember Pattern and Posture Before Intensity.

Split Stance Straight Arm Pull Down:

 

Description:

In split stance position, push bells up and down. Repeat sequence.

Cueing:

Keep a Good Upright Posture/Don’t Rock Body Shoulder Blades Squeezed/Chest Up

Keep Core/Buttocks Tight

Pull Bells Straight Past Hips with Elbows Straight

Possible Compensations:

Crouched Posture

Decreased Stabilization

Shoulder Elevation

Increased Elbow Flexion

 

 


Aquastrength Foundational Movements: PUSH December 17, 2015 07:17

This week we explore the first foundational movement in the series, the "push"

People perform numerous pushing activities during the day whether it be mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, or just moving objects throughout the day.

The primary muscles involved in pushing are the Pectorals, Deltoids, Triceps in the Upper Body and the Gluteals, Quadriceps and Calves in the Lower Body.

When performing upper body pushing motions with your client, it is important they have good stabilization of the core musculature. Make sure you move around your client to view them from all angles to pick out common compensations.

Watch for the head pushing forward during movement due to poor upper body posture and rounded shoulders. You should be able to draw a straight line from the ear down to the shoulder and then down to the hip. Watch for one or both shoulders to hike up towards the ears when pushing due to tight upper traps and/or improper motor patterns where your shoulders are stabilizing improperly. Lastly, watch for shoulders to round forward and poor spinal posture (hunched forward) as you push due to weak extensor chain (back) muscles.

Frequent verbal cueing is needed for clients to stabilize appropriately before increasing the amount of exercise intensity. In my experience it will take 1-2 sessions before the client is able to get the correct pattern before increasing the amount of intensity and/or resistance.

Remember Pattern and Posture Before Intensity.

 

 

 

Split Stance Push/Pulls:

Description:

In split stance position, perform push/pull motions. Repeat sequence.

Cueing:

  • Keep a Good Upright Posture
  • Push & Pull Equally
  • Keep Core/Buttocks

Possible Compensations to look out for:

  • Crouched Posture
  • Decreased Stabilization
  • Shoulder Elevation
  • Reduced Pulling Motion

 


Foundational Movement Series: Part 1 December 09, 2015 07:16

For the next couple of weeks Dr Rick McAvoy will be discussing Foundational Movements Patterns.

These movement patterns are the basis of Aquastrength’s Training Philosophy.

Our bodies are a complex system that needs to work in harmony to create balanced, controlled motion.  A great way to improve this harmony is to incorporate foundational movements into our exercise programs. When developing our aquatic programs we should focus first on function. We should be using our time in the pool to make sure our clients bodies are 100% balanced and functional.

The 7 Foundational Movement Patterns are:

  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Hinging
  • Squatting
  • Twisting/Rotating
  • Lunging
  • Walking/Running

All of us should have general functionality in each one of these patterns just to get through normal daily life (lifting our children, shovelling snow, climbing stairs, mowing our lawn). Most of the time people will become dominant in one of these patterns.This will force our bodies to compensate within the remaining patterns leading to muscle imbalances and eventually injury.

By combining foundational movements with the waters unique properties and Aquastrength equipment, we can balance muscle groups and movement patterns much more efficiently.This will  ensure a fit and functional body that will be ready to meet all the rigors of life.

Stay tuned next week for the first Foundational Movement Installment


Deep Water Push/Pull with Aquastrength Barbell December 03, 2015 13:53

Taking your feet off the ground and performing an exercise in the deep end is a very different challenge than if you perform the same type of exercise in the shallow end.

In my experience both the shallow end and deep end of the pool offer many benefits and it is more of a matter of what type of pool you work in as well as what type of client you are training.

This deep water exercise challenges alignment, stabilization, endurance as well as overall body awareness.

The client begins with a flotation belt and establishes a vertical position by properly engaging the core musculature with particular emphasis on the gluteals. They then perform a push/pull motion with the Aquastrength Barbell keeping a loose grip on the bar to prevent forearm fatigue and to emphasize proper musculature.

Frequent cueing is needed with this exercise to maintain proper alignment and stabilization especially as the client moves quicker or begins to fatigue.

Incorporating lower body movements such as splits and/or spreads when performing upper body push/pulls are variations/progressions of this exercise.

Dr Rick McAvoy 

Deep Water Push/Pull with Aquastrength Barbell from Aquastrength on Vimeo.

 


Deep Water Multi-directional Running with 180 Turns November 25, 2015 14:46

This week in Dr Rick McAvoy's tips and tricks he is talking about deep water, multi-directional running with 180 degree turns. 

In my experience sometimes turning to the deep end of the pool with your client can really increase the challenge. By performing exercises in multiple directions as well as with multiple speeds it allows for less muscle adaptation to occur and can really help break through a plateau.

This deep water exercise helps improve dynamic flexibility, alignment, stabilization, coordination, endurance as well as overall body awareness.

The client begins with long stride running forward with opposite arm and leg motions for 3 strides and then turns 180 degrees and continues the same pattern in reverse but incorporates a reverse fly arm motion and then rotates again after 3 strides. This sequence is repeated. Emphasis needs to be placed on vertical alignment, proper hip extension as well as coordination.

Once the pattern is established then speed and resistance can be added.

Dr Rick McAvoy

Deep water multi-directional running with 180 degree turns from Aquastrength on Vimeo.

 


A Unique Dynamic Hip Flexibility Exercise November 17, 2015 06:45

This week, Dr Rick McAvoy's weekly tip is a unique method to improve hip flexibility: 

In my practice I tend to work with quite a few athletes and just like most of our clients they need increased hip flexibility. A challenging way that I find is very beneficial to achieve this is a long lever rotary type exercise.

The client starts with a straight leg raise kick forward then rotates their body 180 degrees in the opposite direction while now maintaining hip extension and then steps backward.

They then raise the opposite leg into hip extension, rotate 180 degrees forward  back into the straight leg raise position and then steps forward. This sequence is repeated.

I find this is a great exercise for hip flexibility but also for stability as well as for balance and coordination.

This exercise is difficult to master but I find that demonstrating from it from the deck and breaking down each component of the exercise tends to be very beneficial. Once the client gets the pattern down then increased speed as well as resistive equipment can be incorporated.

Dr. Rick McAvoy

A Unique Dynamic Hip Flexibility Exercise from Aquastrength on Vimeo.

 


Single Leg Squat with Dumbbell Push Pull November 11, 2015 12:31

Looking for a new exercise to try? The Single Leg Squat with Dumbbell Push Pull is a great functional exercise that incorporates balance, coordination, flexibility, stability, endurance and motor control.

The client begins with balancing on one leg with the knee slightly bent. The open chain leg is locked into 90 degrees of hip and knee flexion. A resistive dumbbell is held in at the chest with the shoulder blade retracted.

The client pushes the bell forward while the open chain hip and knee moves into extension while performing a single leg squat. The client then returns to the starting position.

This exercise also emphasizes proper hip separation which is a very important component in sport.  Functional activities such as lunging, walking and stairs also use this principal.

This exercise can be broken down and progressed making it appropriate for all age/fitness levels.

Yours in Health & Fitness,

Dr Rick McAvoy

Single Leg Squat with Dumbbell Push Pull from Aquastrength on Vimeo.