Monday, October 25, 2010

Even the PT needs a PT

Who needs rotation when they swim bike and run? I do! And what happens when i dont rotate? I overuse things! Yup here comes a PT post:)
Below is an OLD picture of me, as a high school senior, serving a tennis ball.
Weight into the back leg, then spinal rotation Right, then forward motion ( Weight shift) into the front ( Left) leg and spinal rotation left ...along with a whole lot of funky shoulder ( gleno humeral) things that go on. That is the best and simplest way to show you the service motion and the fact that serving or any sort of proper ( notice i said proper, not good) tennis stroke...backhand, forehand and even volleys all depend on rotating your thorax/rib cage over a moving pelvis ( ie your lower body/legs)
Alas, this is somewhat easy to do when you have had the motor program and hand eye coordination hardwired since the age of 8.

Now fast forward to some random running ( court drills, time miles) that was short and fully anaerobic, and now fast forward even further to today. OR more specifically 2 years ago when i started training longer and harder and let go of the rotation that innately comes from moving to and setting up to smash a tennis ball. Or in some cases, just make contact:)

Believe it or not your thorax (ribs) must rotate over your pelvis when you run. And most importantly your pelvis must rotate over your femurs, hips as you run. The picture above shows this ever so slightly, but you can see as I weightshift Right my Left shoulder rotates forward just a bit and my Right adductor works to keep my pelvis and hips from falling out to the side ( Right) it truly is too hard to try to show this in a stagnant picture and even a video is hard unless you have slow motion. My point in even trying to show this is that I DO NOT ROTATE WELL to my left ! I have struggled in the last 2 years as my body wants my pelvis and my thorax ( think rib cage) to sit to the right. Likely due to dominance and a sport that wired me heavily to the right but when i get OFF...its like the car is sitting sideways on the chassis!

Here are some terms that may ( not ) interest you:

Sagittal plane motion would include forward and backward motions, like sit-ups, back extensions or biceps curls. The sagittal plane cuts through the center of the body, so the motion is front to back or back to front, including straight forward running. Squats involve flexion (forward motion) and extension (backwards on the way up), so would fit into the sagittal plane.

Frontal plane motion would include leaning from left to right as in sidebends and lateral raises, or perhaps you might picture jumping jacks for a good image of movement along the frontal plane.

Transverse plane motion is the hardest to picture because the plane is horizontal as it divides the top from the bottom, so it’s hard to get our heads around it being a rotating action. The main thing to remember is rotation. An example of a transverse plane exercise would be floor to overhead diagonals with a medicine ball, and a transverse activity might be swinging a golf club.

Human anatomy planes.svg
Most traditional strengthening, and running and biking are in the sagital and frontal planes.
Unless you are using pulleys or a free motion machine likely you arent working the transverse plane. And granted you can modify some of this and some of TRX in the all 4's can include some transverse plane movement engaging the core/obliques. I am thinking specifically of the side planks with the touch or dip. Also what i call the " helicopter" exercise where you are all fours and you swing, controlled, your legs /hips to the side while maintaining a neutral pushup hand position.
And all 4's means prone, hand on the ground, your hips and legs extended with feet in the straps, so technically you are not on all 4's.

So while some of you may pound yourself silly with traditional weights and strengthening i spend my strengthening hours doing things like this:

It kinda cracks me up, when I think about it. Today after swimming my friend Steve and I Walked up the stairs backwards. Shifting into our L hips, rounding our lower backs ( to engage the abs) and while the ladies tried to get down to their aqua class we looked like freaks who had too much chlorine for breakfast. But it works. And if i hadnt gone to PT School and worked for many years with my own issues and other athletes using a heavily weighted straight plane motion of thought, I may have found this avenue sooner. It's sad in someways, that when i go to Bikram yoga I have to modify poses so that i can END shifted LEFT and have to really use caution doing anything where my pelvis ( think "zipper") points Right. I have to keep that zipper pointed LEFT. Because for me, that zipper LEFT means neutral. Yup. Whacked out body.

TRX....The lastest and greatest...?? I already brought this up above but...

Now if only they could modify that so it had some sort of pulley. So as you did some of the standing exercises you could also work on rotation and weightshift.
TRX is fine, but its alot like pilates. Straight frontal and sagital plane work. Nothing into the transverse plane and no rotation with weightshift. That is a shame, bc it could help me alot more. As it is I am an accident waiting to happen if i do too many R one-legged standing poses.
And I love TRX, I think for most bodies it is great. No motive to rip on it, just food for thought.

***Now, for those of you that are seasoned TRX users it has been brought to my attention that the following exercises will get you some of the transverse plane movement. If you are just starting out or read the inserts you may not see these and i am working on clarifying what they are with those that are TRX veterans. I also highly recommend that before you start your own HEP ( home program) you consult a TRX trainer or take a class so you dont hurt yourself!
Here are some examples of transverse/rotational ex in TRX;
X-ing balance lunge
1 arm row
1 leg row
1 leg chest press
Kneeling Oblique Roll out
Woodchop Twist to arms OVH
1 Arm Power Row or Neo Row or Twisting/Squat/Row
TRX Knee Tuck Obliques
TRX Scorpion

If you are feeling stuck in an injury or like doing the same old same old stuff at the gym ( and you know what i mean...the squats, the bench, the leg press ) isnt doing it for you then think about seeing a PT that does Postural Restoration. You wont get a hotpack and a massage, actually you wont get any modality at all. You may have to drink the kool-aid for a bit till you are a believer but trust me, you will believe once you can run or swim or walk like you used to.


runningyankee said...

i cannot tell a lie. i didnt read this post :(

Running and living said...

This is interesting! I got all my strength stuff exercises (similar to what you show) from the website of the sports medicine hospital I work at. I used to have both runner's knee and ITB issues, and have had none of both (or any kind of injury) since I started doing those exercises. My routine is 20-30 min and I do it 2-3X week, even during high load training! Hope the butt feels better soon!

Kim said...

REALLY interesting post Julia! Really.. I'm really going to look into this (um.. once the season is over.. right now if I change even one thing - my body may just walk out on the whole training altogether!). Thanks though.. great food for thought!

GoBigGreen said...

Both of you two that read this ( hahaha, Kari you are so naughty) dont fix it if it isnt broken. But just know that there are other ways to get stronger out there. You can google Postural Restoration and see who practices in your area. Kim....You are fine! like i said, dont mess with what's working.
Butt is alot better, just sorta taking the break from running as a good thing, no rush other than momentary discontent but for the long run this is good.

Lindsay and James Cotter said...

Oh I love this post! So useful! We love our TRX, its a great use alternative conditioning.

Angela and David said...

You are too smart for me. Your post is why I will pay for people like you to tell me what to do. It all went right over my head.

However, I really want to work with a trainer or PT that focuses on runners so I can be proactive in fighting injuries. I'll likely be pestering you for recommendations soon.

Shannon said...

this is a great post! i finally realized that my hips are out of whack and probably causing issues for the past few years... since it was manifesting below the hips, no one ever connected the dots. going to someone to fix alignment/rotation now, hopefully it'll work and allow me some more intense training next season!

Michelle Simmons said...

I don't think there are any TRX Trainers in my area. And I highly doubt then that anyone does anything with Postural Restoration either. The perils of living on a small island. Maybe I should become my own TRX Trainer? ;)

Black Knight said...

I am wrong, I know, but I never do strength exercises, I am always in hurry.

Libby said...

never got to comment but I love this post :) agreed :) except I would argue that trx works transverse plane but more because transverse plan stabilizers will have to kick in (if you are doing the exercise right) due to the multiplanar/unstable surface nature of the exercises. great PT post :) dig it!!!! you WILL get better, we won't accept anything but 100%!