When it comes to the consideration of alignment, the fitness world tends to be divided.
Some professionals are concerned with the act of getting people to move more, while others believe that you can't really get the benefit of moving without being in or close to ideal alignment.
So how much does alignment really matter?
In this episode, Janet and Nikki discuss how to find a balance between training for good alignment and function and moving for recreation and fun.
They cover how load affects how much alignment maters (higher load = a higher risk of injury, so alignment matters more) as well as what do you if you have any underlying structural issue that stops you from being able to access that ideal alignment.
They also discuss Dr. Jonathan Hoffman's model of how to create balanced movement (fit, foundation and fun) from his book Being Fit: A collection of essays on achieving a healthy, active lifestyle in the modern world.
The phrase "No pain. No gain" has been around since the 80's, but is it true?
In this episode, Janet and Nikki discuss the science and myths of DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness.
Looking at the data, they cover:
- The definition of DOMS
- Common causes of DOMS (surprisingly, it's not necessarily caused by working hard)
- How DOMS affects performance in the areas of strength, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility
- The relationship between DOMS and sport/fitness related injury
Episode Length: 25 minutes
In this episode, Janet, Nikki & Rebecca discuss the ins and outs of diastasis recti or the separation of the abdominal wall that is often associated with pregnancy, but can occur as a result of other things. They cover:
Also covered in this episode is the topic of waist trainers and corsets and if there are any physical benefits to using them as well as the difference between a medically recommended corset and one that is used for cosmetic purposes.
In this episode, Janet and Nikki discuss why recovery is a key component of a well rounded and effective fitness program and how overtraining or not taking enough recovery can decrease your fitness.
- Signs of overtraining
- Options for active recovery
- The science of recovery and hypertrophy
- What actually makes you sore + the science of DOMS
- The effect of stress on the nervous system and what that means for your workout
In this episode, Janet and Nikki discuss how to maintain and create effortless, easeful posture.
You’ll learn how to define good posture, what is a neutral pelvis and neutral spine and how to find good standing and seated posture.
You’ll also gain some insight on how furniture can influence your posture and pain patterns and what you can do to modify your environment to support better posture and alignment.
Janet and Nikki also discuss common culprits in postural deviations and exercises that you can to do improve posture and mobility.
In this podcast, Janet and Nikki discuss if it’s okay to butt wink and the difference between training for a functional movement squat and a loaded squat.
They answer common squatting questions like if you should squat past 90 degrees and if it’s okay for the knees to go over the toes.
Causes of restricted range of motion and pain during squats:
- Lack of dorsiflexion/tight ankles
- Tight hips
Corrective to improve squatting mechanics:
- Foam rolling calves and shins
- Calf stretching - Hand knee rocking
- Figure 4 stretch (both neutral and tucked pelvis)
- Core Strength
In this podcast, Janet, Nikki and Rebecca of Soma Pilates talk about how can you measure your fitness beyond the number on the scale and or what you look like.
They discuss major fitness benchmarks, fitness guidelines and how much you should really workout.
The 5 components of fitness
- Body composition
- Muscular strength
- Muscular endurance
- Cardiovascular endurance
The difference between muscular strength and muscular fitness
Muscular strength is the amount of force a muscle can produce to lift a weight one time. Muscular endurance is the amount of force you can produce over a period of time.
You typically train for muscular force by using heavier weights and lower reps (usually under 6 reps.
Conversely, you’d train for muscular endurance with lighter weight and higher reps. However, any strength training will affect both muscular strength and endurance.
How to train for each component of fitness (based on ACSM)
Cardio: 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise or 3 times a week for 20 minutes a session for more intense cardio
Muscular strength & endurance: Lift 2-3 times a week, focusing on all muscle groups
Flexibility: Can be used as dynamic stretching or movement throughout a workout or can be used as static stretching (30 seconds or more) preferably at the end of a workout to preserve power.
Oftentimes, new moms hear about all the things they can’t do once they find out they’re pregnant or with a new baby at home. In this episode, Nikki Naab-Levy talks with prenatal and postpartum fitness expert Rebecca Crouse-Roman about the things you should work on when you’re pregnant. 3 things to focus on during and after your pregnancy 1) Shoulder stability and strength After you’ve had your baby, your going to use your arms. A lot. You’ll be holding him or her while breast feeding, pushing strollers, lifting bulky bags and transferring car seats. Talking the time to create strong stable shoulders during pregnancy will decrease your risk of shoulder injury and pain and help prepare you for the new loads your arms will experience after you’ve had your baby. Some examples of good arm exercises include targeting the rotator cuff and doing bicep curls and rows with an emphasis on good shoulder alignment, over load. 2) Walking Walking is one of the best exercises you can do when you’re pregnant, because it’s low impact and incredibly functional. Also, after you’ve had your baby, you’re going to spend a lot of time chasing your kiddo and he or she starts crawling and walking. 3) Squatting Squatting is one of the most functional ways to build lower body strength and as your pregnancy progresses it is going to be more challenging to move around. Additionally, after you’ve had your baby, you will oftentimes have to get out of chairs while holding your child, so it’s ideal to have the leg strength to be able to do this unassisted. Links mentioned: Rotator cuff exercises Pelvic/hip stability exercises Pelvic floor podcast with Nikki & Janet Book a session with Rebecca
Listen on iTunes Listen on Stitcher What is the pelvic floor? The pelvic floor is a hammock of muscles at the bottom of our pelvis that is responsible for keeping our organs from falling out. Both men and women have one. Signs of pelvic floor dysfunction… - incontinence (peeing when you workout) - lack of sexual satisfaction - pelvic organ prolapse Causes of pelvic floor dysfunction… - Childbirth - Muscle imbalance (too much or too little tone) The pelvic floor, breath and core… On the inhale, the diaphragm contracts decreasing pressure in the abdominal area and the pelvic floor relaxes. On the exhale, the diaphragm relaxes increasing pressure in the abdominal area and the pelvic floor and abdominals (TVA) contract. When this doesn’t happen we’re more prone to getting core dysfunction, back pain and pelvic floor problems. How to train the pelvic floor and should we do Kegels? There was a Cochran review (read gold standard, evidence based) study about Kegels that found that Kegels are effective to for training the pelvic floor. Doing a Kegel with other exercises could potentially yield an even better result, but this hasn’t been studied yet. Cuing for a Kegel:
This can be done lying on your back or sitting. If you’re having prolapse or a lot of pelvic floor dysfunction, it may be easier to do while lying down. If you have a hyperonic pelvic floor focus on letting it turn off. If you have a hypotonic pelvic floor, you want to focus on turning it on. How to do a Kegel in a squat: The highest pelvic floor activation is at the bottom of the squat, so you can think about engaging your pelvic floor as you go down and releasing it as you stand up out of the squat. Links Mentioned: Dr. Bruce Crawford Pfilates Method Judith Aston Pelvic Floor Blog Janet’s studio for pelvic floor training (ask for Angela or Janet)
Running has many health benefits such as increased stamina and metabolism. However, it is also associated with a high rate of injuries. In this episode, Janet and Nikki discuss: - The common causes of running injuries like IT band syndrome and plantar fasciitis. - Training strategies for both new and advanced runners that can be used to avoid injury, including the 10% rule, cross training and active recovery - Specific exercises and stretches that you can do to improve hip and upper back mobility, alignment and performance. Links Mentioned Running Resources: Couch to 5k Jeff Galloway - Run Walk Method John “The Penguin” Bingham Stability & Mobility Exercises for Runners: Hip stability exercises Bird dog, book openers & bridges Hip flexor stretches