Savin’ the world from Solomon Grundy

I’m probably guilty of it just as much as anyone else. I try to incorporate exercises that work parts of our body that we neglect but I too sometimes forget about the lower back. I’d think it’s a safe bet to say most of us don’t exercise our lower back. When was the last time you did supermans? That long ago eh.

To carry on, …, and keep goin’

 

I’m probably guilty of it just as much as anyone else. I try to incorporate exercises that work parts of our body that we neglect but I too sometimes forget about the lower back. I’d think it’s a safe bet to say most of us don’t exercise our lower back. When was the last time you did supermans? That long ago eh.

And I’m also going to say if you did them you probably did them incorrectly. Some of us when we exercise want to go full in, are not happy with small subtle movements. That’s primarily the problem when people do supermans, they want to put too much into it that they end up not even building the muscles they are trying to build. Let me explain.

What

Supermans is an exercise that everyone should be doing. Supermans targets the erector spinae, a group of muscles that extend from the base of the skull to the sacrum. Sitting a lot? Having back issues once in a while? Posture not that great? Been neglecting the lower back? Then supermans is what you need. A strong core is not only the abs, but also the back.

How

I think we know the exercise supermans. It’s done how it sounds. Lay on the floor and project your body just like superman flying about, arms, legs out like you are flying ready to save the world! Right? Not really. It’s more sublime than that unless you have been doing them for a long time and have mastered not letting your body engage your glutes because that’s what the body wants to do. That’s the hard part, easing into it so the glutes don’t end up taking over.

Easy

But who doesn’t want to look cool, arms out in front, legs up off of the ground. The problem is when you put your core into a situation where there is a large load, muscles kick in to help you support that load. Muscles such as the glutes, and abdominals. But we want to work the lower back, not these muscles. And being honest with you, the way I want you to do them actually looks quite silly. But, it’s a great way to learn how to engage your lower back and not the glutes.

Here we go. Laying on your stomach, I want you to put your hands under your chin. Now, staying really relaxed, concentrating on your lower back, with your hands under you chin, touching your chin, raise your head up from the floor about 2 to 4 inches. Do it slowly constantly thinking of your lower back doing the work, not your glutes. Hold for about 30 seconds to a minute. Relax for about a minute then repeat, relax again and repeat again. Did it work? Did your lower back do the work and told your glutes to eff off? No? Then try again. Actively think of the lower back engaging and actively think of the glutes staying relaxed. It takes time so keep trying and don’t give up. You will get there.

That’s it! It’s that simple!

Ok, not really. It’s hard to get your lower back to do the work and stop your stupid glutes from wanting to take over. But doing it this way keeps the load light and makes it easier to do the exercise properly. Once you get really good at this you can then actually do the exercise while looking like a proper superman, or superwoman, superman’s cousin.

Finally

You’ll hate doing it this way, looking all silly and stuff. I know, believe me. Whenever I have my class do this exercise I have to tell them over and over to keep their feet on the ground, and the looks I get, man lasers burning holes in me. Everyone wants to jut their arms out in front, get their feet up off of the ground but you can’t do it this way. When I see this I know everyone just engaged their glutes and their lower backs aren’t doing anything.

So don’t do that. You’re not benefiting by doing the exercise incorrectly.

Be a real superman, or superwoman and build that lower back properly!

Yours in health,

Darryl

There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill


who disappeared into those shadows

We all have voices. Some tend to be very vocal quite often and some of us tend to not use our voice. Of course we all speak but I’m referring to the voice that advocates for ourselves.

It’s  a tough thing to do. Often we don’t advocate for ourselves for a number of reasons. We may have been brought up where you were never aloud to be heard. Often told to shush, be quiet. We can be raised to always respect and not question authority which extends to the people we deal with in health care. Your personality might be that of a quiet person, someone who is more introverted than extroverted. On the extreme side of things a traumatic event could have happened that makes it very difficult to speak up for yourself. And if you won’t speak up for yourself, who will?

I think also many times we don’t speak up for ourselves in fear of the consequences. But the consequences of not speaking up can directly affect you but in the short term and long term.

Why does it matter?

What does this have to do with a health and fitness blog? A lot. All of us have been injured at some point, or if not a physical injury we may have something going on with our body such as nagging pains, or generally not feeling well. What do we do? We usually visit our doctor. Hopefully it’s a successful visit and whatever was ailing you is resolved. But that’s not always the case.

Does he have your best intentions in mind and is he highly competent?

How many of us go to our doctor and then leave feeling that it was a waste of time? How may of us visit our doctor and end up still dealing with the same issue months later? 

Who cares more than you do

I’ve been there. And I’m sure a lot of you have too. I know I feel guilty if I start to question my doctor. And honestly how many of us know what the next step is if we don’t agree with our doctor? It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine is sitting in the doctor’s office while the nurse gets the doctor. She happens to glance at her medical file the nurse left behind and sees a note left by a doctor that she’s difficult. The doctor walks in catching Elaine reading her file. He’s not pleased that the ‘confidentiality’ of the medical file on her has been broken. She is quickly dismissed without him even looking at her issue she came in for. She then sees another doctor hoping to leave all that stuff behind. Elaine is surprised to see he has her file in his hand and after looking at her file quickly dismisses her too having read the entry from her last doctor.

It shouldn’t be that way. We shouldn’t feel that there are negative repercussions speaking up for ourselves when we see any health care professional. People in the medical profession are just like anyone else in any other profession. Lousy mechanics, lousy lawyers, lousy customer service representatives, etc. We tend to hold these people in high esteem but really they are no different then us. Just like any profession, there are competent people and there are the other ones.


You

Take charge of you health and wellness. If after a visit with a health care professional you feel that the issue hasn’t been taken care of, go back and explain this. I always believe in giving that person a chance to hear you out. Then, if you make no progress, ask to see another professional. We have all seen stories of people, or know people who have been misdiagnosed and have suffered for months, or years, or in the worse case, have died. When I broke my foot and went to the hospital the nurse told me I was lucky that an orthopedic surgeon happened to look at my x-ray because the first doctor who saw it did not see the break. It’s not always an issue of competency either. The health care system is overtaxed and health care professionals have less time to spend with their patients. People can make mistakes when they are rushed.

If you don’t speak up for yourself, who will?

Be your own ombudsman. Advocate for yourself. And keep advocating for yourself until you feel better, are better. Ask if there is a specialist you can see regarding the issue. Don’t be that person who a year later is still dealing with the same issue. That’s not fair to you!

Be persistent and never give up. Never forget you are worth it.

Yours in health,

Darryl