Taurean Wellman, Owner/Operator of Wellman Wellness Training
Corrective exercise/injury rehabilitation expert.
Is the office job killing you? Sitting seems harmless, but it’s a silent killer. Obviously, you gain weight. What’s even worse: your body gets tight. Tightness travels from our hips to the back, and then, the neck, which blocks blood flow, oxygen, water, and nutrients through our entire body. When you go from doing nothing to something suddenly, like boot camps, or fitness classes, etc. It’s dramatic.
The results can be impactful, but not in a positive way. You’re at risk of developing nagging pains, strains, or even worse, debilitating injuries. For most of us, we’ll carry tightness, and adhesions in under-used areas of the body: hamstrings, glutes, back, neck, shoulders. Chronic tightness causes the following symptoms:
- Lack of energy and focus
- Tight, or sore low back
- Breathing issues or constant sinus problems
- Vision issues
- Memory, or brain fog
- Lack of sharp motor skills or coordination
Symptoms indicate a weakened immune system, which make you more susceptible to flus, and colds, as well as, making you vulnerable to the injuries.
What can be done?
Start warming up properly, son! An effective, efficient warm-up will take you to the next level in your work out. The best of best athletes do this, so why would you to start differently? If you don’t, your range of motion becomes limited. You become vulnerable to shear torsion limbs and their muscle attachments. You’ll soon become familiar with some of the afflictions below, if you haven’t already:
- Sprained ankles
- Shin splints
- Sore, or weak knees
- Sprained knee ligaments or torn knee ligaments
- Cramping calves
- Pulled groins
- Lower back injuries
- Neck pulls
- Shoulder pulls and strains
- Weak grip, or forearm pain
- Sinus issues, or colds
Most of the time, you can’t shake them. Why is that? You may seek out other answers: chiropractic treatments, physiotherapy, massage therapy, or bandaged the issue with orthotics, specific running shoes, tensor bandages, and braces.
Sometimes, they can work, but only for the short term. It doesn’t actually solve the problem. There’s a pattern that needs to be addressed. The process of recovering from the injury can take its toll on you, physical and mentally, while draining your bank account for treatments. But, again, the pattern isn’t broken.
You can re-injure yourself, which can bring you back to the beginning.
A smart start is to work with restorative exercises daily that can be done anywhere, or anytime! Breaking the pattern involves performing a cycle of exercises, with specific goals:
- Repair tight, inflamed body parts from lack of repetitive movements, such as, sitting, standing, lifting the same way, etc.
- Help to restore FULL mobility of your major joints (ankles, hip, shoulders) by FIRST releasing tension through rollout exercises and SECONDLY performing dynamic mobility exercises that improve end range motion (increase flexibility).
- Improve posture through core strengthening exercises.
STEP 1: RELEASE THE TISSUES WITH ISSUES
First step to this restorative cycle is to prepare your body for activity with some self-myofascial massage to “release the tissues with issues.” The most time-efficient technique with the best chance for recovery is a trigger-point rollout. You can hover over the specific body parts for hyperlinks:
Legs & Hips Trigger points
Back (T-spine) & neck area Trigger points
Spending time before exercising on each trigger point is a worthwhile investment for your well-being. It stimulates and releases the muscles at the origin of development, and likely the surrounding muscles significantly, for example, front/back ankle and front/side knee triggers will release calf faster when combined with a mobilization technique.
Traditional rollout techniques take time for the muscle to relax, and fully recover from stress. You also only address the tightness in a vertical plane of motion, when the tissues are all intertwined. This is the major reason the issue comes back almost immediately. You shouldn’t spend any longer than two minutes in each area, with a total of seven to 10 minutes devoted to the entire trigger point releasing throughout the body.
When you take a break from the activity, and go back to the office; you’re repeating the same dangerous pattern. Be proactive on your rest day: roll out the trigger points, the muscles, and add mobility to flush the soreness you may experience from the body. You’ll feel rested, and increase your weight loss! It’s an easy.
STEP 2: MOBILITY FOR EFFICIENT WORKOUTS
Now that you have spent a short time releasing the “tissues with issues!” It’s time to warm-up your major joints and body parts that are responsible for movement. The major points of focus are:
- Hips & groin area
- Spinal column
The approach we are going to take is to mobilize the tissues rather than stretching them. This means instead of holding a lengthy, extended position (static stretching), we will continuously try to improve the range of motion with a number of repetitions that respects the integrity of all our tissues responsible for movement, those being the fascia, muscles, ligaments and connective nerves that allows your body to be favorable postures and positions. The layered fascia that is coiled on top and in between the muscles is a hard, fibrous tissue, and when overstretched suddenly, it loses its integrity. When it loses its integral stability and strength, you strain, sprain, pull, or tear your body. Repetitions prepare the tissues for the dynamic lengthening and contraction necessary for vigorous exercise. Below are a few samples of exercises that mobilize the body for exercises and sport.
- Foot & ankle dorsiflexion exercise. This will improve “spring” in your step and toe activation in lunges, changing direction, jumping etc.
- Standing O/H arm reach with step forward and back foot dorsiflexion. This will help open up tightness in the core, lungs, neck, shoulders and reverse the effects of sitting. The hip joint gets comfortably lengthened, while you prepare the feet for lunges, jumping, changing direction etc.
- Elbow to knee lunge. This mobility drill greatly improves the mobility of your hips, groin, and spinal column and prepares you for transitional, lengthy moves like lunges and throws, hops etc.
- O/H side bend arm extension. This will lengthen the tissues down the side of the hip and ribs to allow for better rotation, improved endurance and breathing, and reducing low back tightness.
- Cobra to cat. In all fours you will bend your back into a position that mimics a “cobra” (low back dips in, push butt up to ceiling, shoulder blades pinch towards centre of spine, head tilts up to ceiling) and then slowly roll your body into a “cat” (head rolls into chest, upper back rounds in towards groin, pelvis tucks under and butt tucks under) to help align the spine, warm-up the contraction/expansion of the core, warm-up the shoulder joint.
There are plenty more mobility drills you can apply for your specific needs, but this is a great start. You’re now ready for the final step, strengthening our posture with some core stability exercises!
STEP 3: POSTURAL EXERCISES FOR CORE STRENGTH & POSTURAL ALIGNMENT
Now that you have released tension and increased your mobility, it’s time to fix dysfunction within your body that leads to muscle imbalances, and subsequent injury. Working on the following few exercises is a great start to activate, and strengthen the posterior chain of muscles that are atrophied from our constant sitting.
Lower body (Glutes, hamstrings, obliques)
- The global hip bridge is a great exercise to not only strengthen the glutes, hamstrings, low back, but also helps lengthen the “sling” system that sits from the opposing hip to shoulder complex (right hip to left shoulder and vice versa) which can get tacked down and tight. When chronic tightness occurs in this region, it pulls on the front part of shoulder, hip, low back, and chest. Your breathing and endurance will suffer as well as it brings forth the onset of the tight neck/back symptoms. It also promotes more rotation in the body, a constant variable in sports and multi-angled exercise like boot camp or aerobic classes.
- The hip press with alternating leg liftsis a great exercise to fix any strength discrepancies you may have from one leg to the next. The goal here is to stop the deviation of hip positioning when you lift the leg. You can best control this by using the planted legs’ internal hamstrings and squeezing the glute. This exercise will strengthen the hips to not overload rotation when you walk, run, lunge etc. A serious strength and stability imbalance will leave you more susceptible to knee and groin injuries so an exercise which targets these muscle groups is crucial to stay injury free.
Upper Body (shoulder blades, back, core)
- A Scapular push-up works wonders on activating the parts of the shoulder girdle (scapula, deltoids, upper back) responsible for mobility through aggressive movements, but stability from overextending and pulling, straining or tearing the parts of the shoulder. Exercises such as throwing, pushing, pulling, pushing overhead are reliant on a mobile, strong posterior chain of the shoulder girdle, with proper hip/back positions during those aggressive movements. The scapular push-up addresses all the properties of low back/hip stability, shoulder blade mobility, and head to toe postural alignment necessary to “whip” our body into end range of those movements mentioned above. Once you master the position on all fours, try the more challenging full push-up position scapular push-up
- With the scapular push-up, you learn how to understand shoulder blade control with core stability. The postural banded extensions now helps you expand your length, with the same goals in mind: core stability, limiting compensation (over-extension) through the lower back, and strengthens the activation of the posterior muscles responsible for healthy shoulder & back movements.
These 3 steps are a great start towards properly preparing the body for exercise, and eliminating risk for potential injury. “Practice makes perfect.” These techniques will take time to be more fluid, and natural. It’s easy to warm-up the old way with only cardio, but the needs of your body require a different approach. Applying these steps will empower you with more physical confidence and control, which improves your health today, tomorrow, and in the future.
Taurean Wellman, Owner/Operator of Wellman Wellness Training focuses on your health first before beauty, so his approach is holistic. Having suffered injuries throughout his collegiate, athletic career, and later, in recreational sports, Taurean knows what it’s like when you lose your health. Through his methods, he has been able to heal himself and so many countless clients throughout his professional training career. He has spent over eight years learning techniques on recovery/body maintenance which has helped him develop his own therapeutic and restorative method for his clients for a balanced and effective workout. Focusing on “listening to your body” and integrating a full body training experience, Taurean’s specific warm-ups will enable you to increase your heart rate, fix your pains, strains, and tightness, and allow you to move comfortably during the workouts. Those workouts are geared to unleash all the qualities of an elite level athlete: great body awareness and balance, speed, agility, core strength, endurance and a ripped physique that can be admired visually!
“Before you work out, you need to set your body up for success,” is Taurean’s motto. With this in mind, he has successfully trained over 400 clients from various fitness backgrounds with varying fitness goals and health concerns. Some have been injured, some overweight, some unsure how to get over a “plateau” with their training, but regardless of the challenge, Taurean is able to find a specific solution for each specific case he has faced. Adopting an “ownership” approach with his self-empowering, body postural awareness techniques, clients can expect a thorough learning experience and a complete body transformation, with little to no chances of regression.