Clapham Osteopathy and Functional Movement

Strength Training For Treating Depression And Optimizing Cognitive Performance

weightsAs this article details, strength training is not just for building bigger muscles. The author, a psychiatrist, demonstrates that strength training can help improve a variety of mood, pain. and cognitive issues. A 2010 study done in elderly women showed that once weekly and twice weekly resistance training, both improved cognitive function as shown by a cognitive test of selective attention, and resolution of the mental conflict between naming colors and reading words. A 2017 study done in men and women, ages 30–45, showed improvement in psychological health, as measured by a questionnaire after 12 weeks of resistance training. In another study on adults greater than 60 years old, 10 weeks of a supervised progressive resistance training program three times a week was shown to improve depression, as well as improve bodily pain, vitality, and social functioning. It was also shown to decrease limitations on routine activities from emotional problems.

At Backs Etc., strength training is one of the foundations that we work with our training clients on because of its tremendous benefits, both physical and mental. Get in touch with us to see how we can tailor a programme to fit your needs.

Read the full article, The Prescription of Strength Training For Treating Depression And Optimizing Cognitive Performance

Sleep vs. Exercise?

man sleepingIn this article, a reader poses the question to the experts: “Is it better for my overall health to get eight hours of sleep per night during the week but not have time to exercise, or to get six and a half to seven hours of sleep per night and fit in a morning workout?”

The bottom line is, if you sacrifice sleep to train, you’ll miss out on all the helpful recovery elements provided by sleep. In the words of the great Gray Cook: “Don’t rob health to pay fitness.”

Check out the article, Sleep vs. Exercise?

Release Your Inner Beast with Animal Flow

Sue animal flow

Recently, we spent a weekend in New York at the Animal Flow level 1 course. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Animal Flow is a fitness programme that combines quadrupedal and ground-based movement with elements from various bodyweight-training disciplines to create a fun, challenging workout emphasizing multi-planar, fluid movement. The primary movement patterns are based on animal movement, but in the programme, we recognised elements of parkour, yoga, breakdancing, and gymnastics.

We have decided to incorporate elements of Animal Flow into our training at Backs Etc. because we realise the value of a system requiring no equipment that can increase and/or improve:

  • Mobility
  • Flexibility
  • Stability
  • Power
  • Endurance
  • Skills
  • Neuromuscular development

In addition, Animal Flow can be fun. How many other workouts have you slinking along the floor like a hunting beast, scuttling like a crab, and bounding about like an ape? This aspect of the programme is an important part of our philosophy that we should all be incorporating more fun into our lives, especially in physical endeavours.

So how is Animal Flow beneficial to us?

It utilises closed-chain exercises

Most bodyweight training exercises, such as those in Animal Flow,  are closed-chain, which means that limbs connect to the ground or another immovable object in a constant fixed position, and resistance is created by pushing against it, moving the body rather than the object. For instance, a bicep curl or leg extension is open-chain, whereas a push-up or squat is closed-chain. Most fitness experts agree that closed-chain exercises are preferable because:

  1. Closed-chain exercises better mimic activities of daily living, which means they improve your “functional” fitness. They’re great for athletes, too, since sports require multiple joint and muscle movements to happen at once. Very few movements in real life or in athletics isolate joints and muscles like open-chain exercises do.
  2. Closed-chain exercises work many muscle groups at once. That’s great for the reasons above, but also because you can get more benefit in less time.
  3. Closed-chain exercises are safer for your joints—especially the knee joint, which is very vulnerable to stress and injury. The force involved in closed chain exercises like lunges and squats is compressive, meaning it actually stabilizes the joint and helps strengthen it. In contrast, open chain exercises, like knee extensions or hamstring curls produce shear force, which stresses the knee joint (and the ACL) and is more likely to result in injury.

It focuses on multi-planar movement

The benefits of multi-planar training are closely related to those described with closed-chain exercises. The goal of multi-planar training is to utilise the entire body to move and/or stabilise instead of working an isolated muscle. Most day-to-day activities and resistance training programmes are sagittal plane-dominant. The sagittal plane refers to front-to-back movement when looking at someone from the side. So, for instance, walking and bench pressing are taking place in the sagittal plane, and many exercise programmes over-emphasise these types of movement. Frontal plane exercises are those that go side-to-side. An example of this is a side lunge. Finally, there is the transverse plane, which involves rotational movements.

The beauty of Animal Flow is that, when putting together a flow of various patterns, you are training in all three planes of movement. By involving all of the major muscle groups, this provides a balanced training approach that helps increase overall function and decreases the risk of injury.  Most injuries occur in the frontal and rotational planes, so working these is essential to reduce risk.

It utilises slings and chains

You may think, “Whoa, this sounds a bit S&M!”, but slings are the kinetic chains that connect contralateral arms and legs on walking and running. The majority of the Animal Flow travelling forms fully activate these slings and chains, providing excellent benefits for improving the way we walk, run and move. When we load the slings with our body weight, and put them into motion, we further enhance the neural sequencing and conditioning of all the muscles.

It features quadrupedal movements

Crawling patterns are an important part of neural development stages. After all, babies need to learn to crawl before they can walk. We’ve always practised crawling patterns ourselves and trained clients to do so, but Animal Flow takes these movements to the next level. For example, the ‘Beast Crawl’ correlates to our normal walking and running gait patterns, using the same neural sequences, so an ability to crawl fluidly with control will translate into better walking and running form, thereby improving performance and reducing the risk for injury.

 

If you’re interested in exploring how Animal Flow techniques can help with your general fitness, athletic performance or rehab, drop us a line. We’re excited to have incorporated this methodology into our own workouts, and we’d love to share this knowledge with you!

Jack Sue animal flow

Why Saunas Can Build Muscle, Boost Endurance, and Increase Strength

Here at Backs Etc., we’re obsessed with saunas. But not just for the calming benefits a nice sauna session gives us. There are also a number of ways in which regular sauna sessions can help us physically, as well as mentally. These include boosting strength and endurance and even building muscle.

 

Read the full article, Why Saunas Can Build Muscle, Boost Endurance, and Increase Strength

Get a Grip! Why Your Hand Strength Matters

grip strengthThis concise article explains the importance of grip strength, including the somewhat frightening study which found that grip strength is closely correlated with all causes of mortality. On the positive side, it details a few resistance training exercises that are excellent for improving your grip strength. At Backs Etc., we work with many clients on improving their grip, through bodyweight, dumbbell and kettlebell exercises.

 

Read the full article, Get a Grip! Why Your Grip Strength Matters

Why do muscles feel tight?

tight musclesChronic feelings of tightness don’t necessarily mean that your muscles are tight and short, especially if you have tried stretching and it doesn’t change things. It is more likely an indication of an increased neurological sensitivity. Perhaps strengthening or improving the way you move may provide the solution. At Backs Etc we can help you with this.

 

Read the full article, Why Do Muscles Get Tight?

Doctors Tell Us How Hiking Can Change Our Brains

HikingWe at Backs Etc. love hiking! We find getting out in nature and getting from place to place under our own natural power immensely satisfying and cathartic. And now it seems that more and more doctors are actually writing ‘nature prescriptions’ or recommending ‘ecotherapy’ to reduce anxiety, improve stress levels, and to curb depression. Looks like it’s good for body, mind and soul, so what are you waiting for? Get out there and hit the trails!

 

Read the Full article, ‘Doctors Tell Us How Hiking Can Change Our Brains’

Why women should lift weights

women and weightsWomen of all ages should be doing some form of weight training. It is the most important type of exercise to do, coming in ahead of flexibility and cardio training. It will massively reduce your risk of osteoporosis, and is essential in weight control too. If you feel intimidated by weight training and don’t know where to start at, Backs Etc we specialise in giving you a program that will meet your health and fitness goals and is tailored to the equipment you have access to.

 

Read the full article ‘6 reasons why women should lift weights’

Crawling like a Baby: How to Break Records and Restore Your Body.

baby crawlingHere at Backs Etc we focus on building our clients’ true and dynamic core strength, initially by getting them to breathe abdominally. We then use primal movements such as rolling and crawling to enable them to integrate the breathing and improve their basic movement patterns, which will translate into improvements in more advanced movements such as running or weight lifting. Get in touch with us if you need some help finding your true dynamic core stability.

 

Read the article, Crawling like a Baby: How to Break Records and Restore Your Body.

How intense workouts (and overtraining) can ruin your results.

Are more and longer exercise sessions always a good thing? Exercise is a stressor. Usually a good one. But a stressor nonetheless.
If you exercise intensely and/or often, you add stress to a body that may already be overloaded from other life stuff like work, relationships, travel, late nights, etc. People often feel they need exercise to help relieve stress. But it is important to realise that this is physical demand, which you need to recover from and if there is a lot of other things going on, then more recovery time or less intense sessions are essential. Also if your form is poor when exercising this will increase the chance that your session is hindering rather than helping you. So if you’re not sure whether you’ve got the right program to support your fitness and health goals, come on in and get assessed.

 

Read the full article, How intense workouts (and overtraining) can ruin your results.