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Train Your Way Out Of Pain

When is a muscle REALLY weak? #Physiorant

It's been a while - sorry - big plans with seminars and mentoring so I apologise...but I had to wrote about something today because I am fed up with this problem. If i had hair, it would be pulled out by now!! Just because a clinical/muscle test shows something is "weak" doesn't mean that it really is weak... e.g. a glute can test weak on hip extension isometric muscle testing in different positions...fine. but if I ask the patient to think about something different or a different cue, and THEN the muscle tests normally or performs better, is it REALLY weak? Far too often I hear my patients tell me they have a weak this or a tight that...it might FEEL weak, it might LOOK underactive, it might PERFORM weakly, but it might actually be because you have poor coordination! This is not an easy concept for some health professionals, fitness professionals and the public to understand...I know that...so I will say it again S L O W L Y Just because a test result is poor DOES NOT MEAN your muscles are weak. For example, I had a guy who can squat 150+kg tell me he has weak glutes. Wha!!?? he had a rounded bum. He had obvious tone in the muscles. He can squat and deadlift. He can do weighted lunges and step ups...but someone told him he has weak glutes. So he showed me how his one leg bridge was "weak"...I then showed him how to set... Read More

Why the love affair with resistance bands?

I am going to do something serious and disrespectful to resistance bands in the mobility world... I am going to call them out! Resistance bands are a distraction at best and counterproductive and dangerous at worst. Don't get me wrong, they are useful...for resistance! When used properly, they are very useful. They provide graded resistance and have been used in the powerlifting world to good effect. What have resistance bands been used for in mobility and flexibility? To distract joints? To pull on muscles? To provide resistance? Just to stretch? But why? Is it all bad? Is it all good? Of course not. But at least know why you are doing something. It is fine to have a good reason given to you by someone of authority but does that reason apply to you? Know that reason! Test/retest is used to show whether things have improved. This is good. But if it is only good for a short time, the resistance bands can become a ball and chain, tying you down to a long and frustrating routine of stretching and pulling and distracting joints and muscles. I have heard the stories and seen people spend a long time with all sorts of mobility aids...it is painful to watch! So what do I recommend instead? I have always maintained that you need to learn why your body doesn't want to let that tension go. Your brain is actually quite smart and will unconsciously try to protect you from whatever it perceives... Read More

Static Holds DECREASE Mobility. Move More To Move Well

So, I am going to challenge the orthodoxy here...it is what I do best 😉 Everyone talks about improving their mobility but what exactly do they mean? Do they mean they want to have more range-of-motion? Do they mean they want to move more freely? Do they mean they want less muscle tension? Or do they mean less pain? OK, try this. Sit in the bottom of a squat for 5mins....if you are brave, do it for 10 mins. This is a great exercise for mobility isn't it? Or is it? How many of you have done a sustained squat and get up feeling like you can't walk properly? Are you game enough to stand up after that and go for a 1RM? I know I wouldn't be! You see mobility for me is how well you move with what you have. Flexibility is the amount of range-of-motion you have available to you. A sustained squat improves your flexibility (and should be done with good form). But the sustained position compresses your joints and can make them "dry" - that is why you feel stiff afterwards...your soft tissues have been stretched (that's good) but your joints are not evenly lubricated...that's why you walk around shaking your legs and slowly do a few air squats to get the movement back into your legs (improving your mobility). So static holds at end-of-range will improve your flexibility but decreases your mobility. Moving around a lot spreads the joint fluid around and improves your... Read More

The Body Loves Variety – Do Many Things In Many Ways To Avoid Injury

Yesterday, we looked at rope pull ups as another version of the pullup. But this principle can apply to many exercises. That is why we do front squats, back squats and overhead squats...but you can add Bulgarian Split Squats, Lunges, Cleans, Snatches, Thrusters as other variations. Most repetitive strain injuries occur when you do the one thing in one way over and over again. Weightlifters know this - they cycle through different exercises and work on their accessory exercises. Bodybuilders know this - they go through different cycles and exercises to ensure the whole body is balanced. As a CrossFitter, you should know this as well - in a week where you might have done 100 pullups the day before, it might be worthwhile doing ring pulls or ring pullups or rope pullups just to vary the loading. Even changing it to chin ups can help. The beauty of CrossFit is that it is infinitely scalable and there are so many exercise choices. So to avoid injury, try moving your hands around into different positions during push ups. Learn how to do muscles ups with a neutral AND a false grip. Work on strict, kipping and butterfly pullups. Variety is the spice of life...it is also a valuable injury prevention tool!

The CrossFit Open Workout that will be repeated in 2014 – Analysis

That is one of the topic Brent Fikowski (finished 6th in the Australian Regionals in 2013 and now lives in the Canada West region) and I have been discussing. This post is a combination of our discussions on the topic so it is essentially co-written by Brent. Brent's pick? 13.2...here's why. (And he wants to say, it is not just because he had success in this WOD!) For those that don't know, last year's 13.2 Open Workout was particularly interesting for two main reasons. The first reason is that some high scorers on this WOD were given the infamous "No-Rep" and were disqualified from The Open, thereby crushing their goals of Regionals and The Games. The second reason was that the opinion of many (including myself) is that multiple rebounding box jumps is an unsafe exercise to program. Repeating 13.2 would allow those disqualified athletes an opportunity at redemption, and a way for CrossFit Headquarters to say we don't care what you think, when we say jump you say how high. CFHQ, for better or for worse (IMHO) loves online hype, conversation, and controversy. I can't think of a better way to stir the pot than to have that workout back in it. What would be great is if those disqualified athletes were on the live Open show. And then it would be even better if they all got no-repped heaps...[which they won't because they will have learned from last year!] But still, that would be an incredibly entertaining viewing experience... Read More

Mid-Back Stability – Get It Right For Great Results

Restricted shoulders? Failing your cleans and front squats because your can't support the weight in the front rack position? Have back pain? Are your muscles refusing to relax despite being pounded by rollers and lacrosse balls? Most people think that if you have sore shoulders, you should work your shoulders and the pain will improve. This is true sometimes but more often than not,the area is sore because something else is pulling on that sore part. This week alone, I reckon I have addressed the same general problem of mid-back stability daily in sedentary desk jockeys to elite athletes. When I teach people how to stabilize the mid back, I show them how it improves their tests and their movements. If stability in the mid-back is a problem, then a small test will find the problem area in the mid back and then you can retest all the other symptoms like restricted shoulders etc. An example for you is someone I saw recently. Her coach didn't like the way she set up at the barbell for her snatch. the first thing I did was look at what that looked like. Next, I got her to remember what it felt like to snatch grip deadlift the bar. The she set up as she usually did and then I had her let go of the bar and did an isometric muscle test in that position - it was really "weak". I gave her 2 simple cues and retested the isometric muscle test... Read More