Glute bridges are a great compliment to the exercise in our last post. I know you're thinking, how is this specifically a core exercise? The hips and glute muscles are part of the 'core engines' mentioned in a previous episode, so activating the glutes in combination with your spine is key to a core foundation. Bridges are a versatile movement that combines:
Make sure you maintain core activation through the movement. Keep a neutral lumbar-pelvic alignment at the top of the bridge. You should only feel hip extension NOT back extension.
You might think when doing hamstring curls at the gym you're working 1 muscle. In reality the hamstrings are a group of 3 to 4 muscles that function more than just bending the knee.
Why else does knowing placement matter? Because these muscles have LONG levers and cross both the hip and the knee, there's a lot of demand on them in situations with quick movements (e.g. sprinting, kicking). The most often strained is biceps femurs, you can see why in the picture (it has the longest path).
Anatomy also affects how you train them: for example you can strengthen the hamstrings by just flexing the knee (ex. hamstring curl). But you can also strengthen them doing a Romanian Deadlift (extending at the hip with knees relatively straight). Next week we'll go into hamstring self assessment:
Dead Bug Exercises For Core Control
Ok let's be honest, there are a thousand ways to train your abs and mid-section. But building off our most 2 weeks ago, we need to build a foundation of control for our low back and pelvis before progressing to dynamic movements.
'Dead Bug' exercises are an absolute staple of improving core control. It ensures proper activation of the local muscles like Multifidi and TrA (pictured above). This stabilizes each spinal segment so that when huge movements occur, shearing forces to the low back are limited.
Shown below is a basic dead bug exercise:
Notice my legs and arms move independently of my pelvis. Your back should not change position and your pelvis should not tilt when you move your limbs. It needs to be done SLOWLY to get the benefit. You can also use a rolled up towel or band behind your back to tell if your spine changes position.
These become pretty easy with practice, so there are countless variations (ex. perform with both arms extended). Driving home the point, this does not give you jacked abs, it is to retrain the brain to get co-ordination of the spine and pelvis when doing other movements.
MOST COMMON FOOTBALL INJURIES - Because of the super bowl this weekend, the theme of this week's blog is football injuries. Luckily there were no major injuries in the big game, but it doesn't hide the fact that there are a lot of injuries over an NFL season. Here is a list of the most common:
1. Knee Injuries - The most common at around 22%, these are mostly traumatic injuries from cutting, running and the impact of the game. Ligament and meniscus tears are very common and often end careers.
2. Ankle Injuries - These can range from minor sprains to major fractures. They make up 15% of injuries
3. Upper Leg - a combination of strains and impact injuries. Of course hamstring strains make up a majority of these (almost 100 per year)
4. Shoulder - common at 8%, they happen a lot from quarterbacks being driven into the ground by pass rushers, resulting in separated or dislocated shoulders.
5. Head Injuries - the most infamous at around 7% because of their long term neurological effects.
Overall, football players have to withstand huge forces during a season, hence the recovery time of 1 week between games so that tissues can heal for the next game. These are tough athletes!
Milner Chiropractic and Sports Injury Clinic