I’ve spend over 20 years in competitive sports and the last decade coaching athletes to reach their true potential. During that time I’ve seen my fare share of injuries. But lets stop for a second and define an injury. This term is to often just thrown around to describe any kind of pain that seems to slow us down form our normal routine. When we do this we lump real injuries like broken bones into the same category as an over use impairment or muscles imbalances. Why is this important? It’s important because how we fix the problem is usually very different or at least it should be!! Unfortunately we tend to use the same protocol to fix both. Just RICE it right? Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevate. This can be a good place to start, but 9 times out of 10 this is where we start and stop. We might get a little relief from some ice and rest but as soon as we feel that relief we go right back to doing the same thing we always have been. Which leads us right back to pain. If we have a real injury like a broken bone, rest is how we fix it, followed by possibly rehabbing around that broke bone after it is healed. But if the problem isn’t so clear cut like a broken bone, torn muscles or tendon, then rest is not going to fix the problem long term. And that is what led me to create this E-Book. The pain that I see on a daily basis in athletes as well as non-athletes is normally generated by an imbalances in the way we use our muscles. Each muscle has a job to do. But the body is extremely good at bypassing muscles that we don’t keep condition correctly in order to keep some normalcy in efficient movement. It’s so good that most of us, even extremely competitive athletes, don’t even realize we aren’t using our muscles correctly. It can sometimes take years before we really realize we have an imbalance. What happens when some muscles stop working and others start working double time? Like anything that works twice as much as it should, it becomes overwork after awhile. Once overworked pain takes place or as we so easily like to call it, we get injured. Sometimes this could be a full blow injury like a stress fracture, in which case we are back to rest to fix it. But after that we need to go back and figure out why it happened in the first place? Most likely you had an imbalance that cause the over use and then injury. Have chronic pain? Guess what? You most likely have an over use issue. A handful of muscles are working way to hard and are tight, while another handful are super week or inactive.
Do any of these definitions sound like you?
Lower back pain: You’ve seen doctors and they can’t find anything broken or dysfunction like a bulging disc. They send you to a chiropractor or physical therapist. You get loosened up and feel better for a short time but then your right back to chronic back pain.
Tight hip flexors: Tightness or pain in the front of you hips or thighs. You’ve probably been told to stretch your hip flexors or your friend showed you how to foam roll them. You get some relief but nothing long lasting.
Can’t get the abs you want? You try to do all the “best ab workouts” but find you causes back pain and your stomach seems to round up like a turtle shell?
Are you a runner? Ever been told you heal stride? Have knee (IT Band or runners knee), hip or back pain? Time to learn how to fix the imbalances that are causing you pain and even more important, holding you back from running to your true potential with powerful mechanics.
This E-Book has been specifically designed for those who don’t have time to read through hours of literature or pictures to find answers. Each segment will utilize videos showing your step by step how to do each test, stretch or exercise. You’ll be able watch them as much as you need to in order to get it right. While some literature is used for explanation, you’ll be set to breeze through the process of healing yourself and putting the power back into your own hands. After all, who knows your body better then you?!
Now, before we go on it’s important that we don’t think just because we don’t have a "real injury" our pain is not important. If you are clearly injured, whether in pain or not, seeing a health professional is always recommended.
“Pain is your brain’s best guess at whether or not something is dangerous, for the purpose of protecting you from actual or potential damage. Pain is like an alarm, and it wouldn’t be very useful if it only happened when damage was already occurring!” Ingram, T.: Pain Overview (2011)
You should not rely on the information in this article as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information in this article.
The material presented in this article is intended for informational purposes. The information represents the opinion of the author, and does not constitute medical advice. This article is not intended to replace medical advice. The author expressly disclaims liability for any adverse effects that may result from the use, application or interpretation of the material in this article.
Lets dive in and determine what pain your having so you can take the steps to fix it. It’s very possible that you have several underlining causes to your pain. With that in mind you might want to review each segment and not just the ones you think pertain to you.
Chapter 1: Lower Back Pain & Hip Flexors
In the first chapter we are going to hit the most likely reason for your chronic lower back pain. Watch the videos carefully to determine what is causing your pain, and then learn how to fix it.
Chapter 2: Strengthening the Glutes
This chapter will each you the corrective exercise for you glutes, a key ingredient in fixing your back pain, knee and or hip pain. Don’t skip chapter!
Chapter 3: Where are my Abs?
Time to learn how to really strengthen the abs that matter. If you want to be pain free, having a 6 pack isn’t going to help you. We have to target the underlining powerhouse muscles called your transverse abdomens which stabilizing your pelvis and spine. Only then can you really get the 6 pack you want.
Chapter 4: Self Relief
Sometimes as we work to correct imbalance we get some tight trigger points within those muscles. This chapter will walk you through how to release those properly on your own so you can continue on in your progress without having to spend more money seeing a doctor!
Chapter 5: Runners Listen up!
Are you a runner or triathlete? This video chapter is just for you. We’ve talked a lot about fixing imbalances to rid our bodies of pain. But now we talk about how doing this is going to also change your running forever. You’ll finally be able to run to your true potential.
Chapter 1: Lower Back Pain & Hip Flexors
Back Pain is routinely linked to our inability to properly use our glute muscles (your butt) as well as your deep abdominal muscles to properly support your pelvis. If the pelvis is not supported it causes extras stress and compression on your lower spine. The vertebra and surrounding back muscles are compromised and your lose some functionality as well as have pain. Below is the #1 reason I find that most people are in pain. That’s for athletes and non-athletes alike.
Lower Crossed Syndrome (LCS)
LCS’s technical name ‘Unterkreuz syndrome’ is the result of muscle strength imbalances in the lower segment. These imbalances can occur when muscles are constantly shortened or lengthened in relation to each other. The lower crossed syndrome is characterized by specific patterns of muscle weakness and tightness that cross between the dorsal and the ventral sides of the body. In LCS there is overactivity and hence tightness of hip flexors and lumbar extensors. Along with this there is underactivity and weakness of the deep abdominal muscles on the ventral side and of the gluteus maximus and medius on the dorsal side. The hamstrings are frequently found to be tight in this syndrome as well. This imbalance results in an anterior tilt of the pelvis, increased flexion of the hips, and a compensatory hyperlordosis in the lumbar spine. (1)
Causes or Contributors to this problem
Prolonged sitting, particularly with bad posture. (Inactivity of the glutes)
Regular performance of sports and activities that involve an uneven stimulation of the muscles that are involved in LCS.
Cycling is a big contributor especially in the time trial position. It continues to strengthen the quads and shortens the flexors muscles that are already the problem issue.
Imbalanced strength training (e.g., a lot more lower back and/or hip flexor training than glute and/or abdominal training)
Incorrect posture or exercise technique is another big reason that LCS continues. If we are unaware of the problem or not actively trying to correct it we will go into more lumbar hyperextension and compound the problem. The old saying lift with your legs, not your back is still true! But we need to take it a step further and lift with engaged core, and active glutes to stablize the spine.
Injury or a genetic predispositions to the lower lumbar spine. Sometimes we start with a small injury that when not treated correctly forces the body to over compensation and then continue to over compensate which can lead to LCS.
Physical inactivity can easily lead to LCS especially if you sit a lot. Hip Flexors are shorten and there is never a chance to strengthen or activate the glutes. This is why complete rest is almost never the answer to back pain unless we are dealing with a brand new injury.
Now that we know what is potentially causing your imbalance and therefore pain, lets try to determine exactly what you need to work on to fix it.
Most of you probably found you have tight hip flexors or tight quads. If so continue on here. If your confident you have weak hip flexors then contact me directly to discuss what to work on.
Now we know that your hip flexors are tight, lets get to work on lengthening them. Whether or not you have a quad tightness or Psoas tightness I recommend you do both of the following stretches. Certainly target the one that seems to be more restricting, but don’t’ forsake the other as they work together.
Important! The goal is to actually lengthen the tissue during these stretches. Research is showing that in order to do that we need to be holding stretching for 3 minutes. That’s right! Your gym teacher, coach, personal training who have always said 30 seconds didn’t set you up for success. Here’s the other key. We need to only stretch what is actually too short for optimal function. Don’t just stretch everything all the time. When it comes to fixing imbalances we need to deliberately focus on the issues at hand.