7 Reservoir Road, Beverly, MA 01915 - Inside the Beverly Athletic Club - Phone: 978-524-0333 Fax: 978-524-0334

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Crossfit Open Prep
by soulpt on 
The 2019 Crossfit Open is less than a month away and with five weeks worth of grueling workouts ahead, there is no time for aches and pains to be limiting your performance or keeping you off the leaderboard. A great way to prepare is to make sure you are moving well and have the requisite mobility requirements to execute major lifts.

We will tackle the highest and lowest joints in the chain: shoulders and ankles. If you lack mobility in either of these joints, it is likely that you will have to compensate somewhere to get the most out of your pull, get under the bar or deep into your squat. We have provided a few self-assessment tests and options for movement prep if you are limited.

Overhead Shoulder Mobility: Important for the OH squat, jerks/snatch, handstand PU, etc.

Test – Seated Overhead Reach
  • Arm should pass ears
  • No space between lower back and wall
  • Can vary arm/leg position



Movement Prep (if limited with testing)

1. Tall Kneeling Lat Stretch
  • Stretch felt under arm and mid-back area
  • Do not lose hand contact and let hands cave in



2. Yoga Push-up
  • Push through the floor and away
  • Keep knees soft to avoid excessive hamstring tension or low back pain



3. Hollow Body Hang/Eccentric pull-up
  • Avoid excessive arching of low back
  • Keep abdominals contracted base of ribcage pulled down



Shoulder Internal Rotation: Important for any pull from the floor to a front rack or overhead position (clean, clean and jerk, snatch), muscle ups

Test – Shoulder IR stabilized on wall
  • Range should be comparable to reps 1-2 the video or close to being in line with belly to keep the bar close to your body during a pull
  • Pain-free
  • No compensatory shoulder ROM (coming off wall or popping forward) as demonstrated after reps 1-2



1. Cross body IR (two options)
  • Stretch is felt in the back of the shoulder and upper arm
  • Side lying - Elbow pushes down into table with shoulder tucked back as you reach across body



  • Doorframe - Stabilize side of shoulder blade on the doorframe so that it does not move as you pull arm across body



2. Thoracic whips
  • Fast, repetitive movement to the side of the limited shoulder can rapidly “unlock” range of motion



Ankle Dorsiflexion Mobility:  Important for any lift where your feet are in contact with the floor, running, etc. to decrease anterior knee stress during front loaded exercises, maximize squat depth, improve bar path

Test – Half Kneeling Ankle Rock
  • Should reach knee to wall with foot at distance of YOUR fist width away
  • Knee should track towards middle to baby toe
  • Compensation with knee twisting inwards shown in video



1. Half Kneeling Ankle Rocks
  • Utilize half kneeling position or foot elevated on a bench to rock weight into front of ankle
  • Knee should track forward and out



2. Lateral Ankle Rocks
  • Stabilize inside of foot as you stretch knee outwards
  • May improve ability to rock weight into front of ankle without knee caving in



Jenna Mattera DPT, CSCS,  jenna@soulpt.com

Soul Physical Therapy is a patient centered outpatient orthopedic physical therapy practice located in Beverly, MA. Our evidence-informed philosophy drives our physical therapists to improve the lives of patients through education, manual therapy and exercise.


Soul Physical Therapy was the #1 Choice for Physical Therapy in the 2018 Wicked Local Readers Choice Awards for Beverly and was named the 2018 Small Business of the Year by the Greater Beverly Chamber of Commerce. To set up a complimentary screening email getwell@soulpt.com or call (978) 524-0333.


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Back to Basics: Assessing Common Upper Extremity Lifting Mistakes
by soulpt on 
In a previous blog post, we discussed the potential problems that can be created from overarching in our low back during resting postures if and how to achieve a “neutral spine” or flat back through activation of our core.

As human beings, we are not constantly sitting in one position (even if sometimes we would like to be). We are constantly walking, lifting, turning, and twisting, which all create new challenges to keeping our backs safe. A place we often see poor movement mechanics is in the gym and this is when it is most crucial to perform exercises with proper form as you are adding extra loads to your spine through weights and resistance.

While it is great to push yourself to improve in the gym, it is crucial to make sure that it is being done safely. We want to train hard but smart and inside our capacity. In this post, we are going to look at some common gym exercises can cause you to arch your low back through compensation or improper form/core activation.



Push Up:  We can see the patient arch his low back due to poor core activation with each rep. You should feel that your core was worked after a set of push-ups, as a push up is essentially a plank with motion.



In the second video, we see the patient actively brace his core with each push-up, ensuring that he is keeping a neutral spine throughout the exercise.



Bicep Curl: In this video, the patient is trying to lift a little more weight than he should be. Because of this, he is using momentum to get the weight up. This increases the amount of compression through his low back as he arches. If you finish a bicep curl feeling it more in your low back than your arms, you are not doing it right.



The patient maintains a neutral spine throughout the activity. There is no swinging going on. Each rep is slow and controlled, which more effectively targets and isolates his biceps.



Shoulder Press: In this video, we see the patient arch backwards towards the top of the motion. This is in an attempt to use accessory muscles to complete the motion. Not only are we putting our spine in a hazardous position here, but now we are further compressing it with added weight. Yikes!



In this video, he does not arch his back at any point in the motion. Not only does he keep a neutral spine (flat back), but also ensures that he is targeting his shoulders with each repetition.



Row: In this video, the weight is too heavy, as we can see in this video, the patient attempts to use momentum to lift the weight and arches his back. There is also no control during the motion, decreasing the amount of time under tension of the intended muscle group.



In this video, the patient maintains a neutral spine throughout the activity. He also demonstrates slow controlled repetitions, which increases proper muscle activation throughout his back.

Did anyone else notice a pattern here? Not bracing our core or using too much weight can put our backs in harm’s way, but also results in decreased isolated muscle activation. If we aren’t using the right muscles, why are we even doing the exercise? While it may not feel as glorious to curl 20’s instead of 40’s, finding the correct weight that allows for proper form will result in more effective long term strength gains and decrease stress through unnecessary areas.

Disclaimer: there are other ways to compensate with these exercises (focus on extension in low back in this blog) but the concepts remain the same: lift inside your capacity,  ensure proper spinal position and isolate muscles when you are trying to isolate.

By Sam Frommelt, sam@soulpt.com and Nolan Rothwell, SPT

Soul Physical Therapy is a patient centered outpatient orthopedic physical therapy practice located in Beverly, MA. Our evidence-informed philosophy drives our physical therapists to improve the lives of patients through education, manual therapy and exercise.


Soul Physical Therapy was the #1 Choice for Physical Therapy in the 2018 Wicked Local Readers Choice Awards for Beverly and was named the 2018 Small Business of the Year by the Greater Beverly Chamber of Commerce. To set up a complimentary screening email getwell@soulpt.com or call (978) 524-0333.

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Rowing - Erg Basics
by soulpt on 

Rowing is a fun and effective way to train your aerobic system. Rowing is a natural motion and can be used indoors with a rowing machine.

Below are two videos focusing on the set up position and a drill to hone in your rowing technique.

Set up is crucial when beginning to use the Concept 2 Rower as it sets the foundation for your pulling motion. A simple checklist to think of when setting up are:
  • Feet placement: Make sure your feet are at the correct level of foot placement and the strap is tight across your foot.
  • Damper Setting: The damper is the lever on the side of the flywheel housing, or fan cage, that controls how much air flows into the cage. A higher damper settings allow more air into the flywheel housing creating more work it takes to spin the flywheel against the air. A lower damper settings allow less air into the flywheel housing, making it easier to spin the flywheel. Think of a gear setting on a bicycle. It is recommended to train at a lower damper setting until you master your technique.
  • Posture: Upright posture with shoulder and back musculature engaged



Legs, Hips and Arms Drill

Common mistakes in the rower include rowing with just your arms, rounding your back, setting the damper too high and having a poor sequence of body movements when rowing. The following drill is used to improve the sequence of your rowing.



Dan Griffin SPT, CSCS, CFL2 is currently a clinical student at Soul Physical Therapy. He is a strength coach and CrossFit Level 2 instructor. He will be opening up his own physical therapy practice called Resilience PT and Wellness in Agawam. 


Soul Physical Therapy is a patient centered outpatient orthopedic physical therapy practice located in Beverly, MA. Our evidence-informed philosophy drives our physical therapists to improve the lives of patients through education, manual therapy and exercise.


Soul Physical Therapy was the #1 Choice for Physical Therapy in the 2018 Wicked Local Readers Choice Awards for Beverly and was named the 2018 Small Business of the Year by the Greater Beverly Chamber of Commerce. To set up a complimentary screening email getwell@soulpt.com or call (978) 524-0333.

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Back to Basics: Decreasing Low Back Stress
by soulpt on 

A big problem that we see in our patient populations and in the community are
misconceptions about proper rib, pelvic, and back positioning during functional
movements and prolonged postures. A common complaint we often get from
patients at Soul Physical Therapy is pain localized to the center of their low back or on the sides. Often but not always, the culprit is over arching in our low back (lumbar extension) without proper rib and pelvic position. Correct rib and pelvic position is achieved with activation of the transverse abdominus, a muscle that lies beneath our “6 pack abs”. If unable to activate this muscle appropriately, we can get too much compression in our spine, which can result in muscle tightness and pain.

These extension or “arching” positions do not need to be avoided or feared, but we do need to be mindful of what positions we are in for too long. These more extreme positions into extension (arching) put more compressive forces through our spine compared to a neutral or “straighter” spine and are more likely to lead to pain over time if they are sustained or if they are loaded with strength training/lifting. Cortisone shots, heat, electric stimulation, etc. can make this pain feel better temporarily, but in order to rid this pain long term we must clean up our movement patterns to clear up the source of the problem.

In this post, we will focus on how to achieve this position and what the differences in these postures look like.



In this video, the subject shows how to achieve that ribs down, neutral spine/pelvis position. If we look at his ribs, we can see how they are pulled down when he activates his transverse abdominus as opposed to the initial rib flare position where his back is more arched and pelvis is rotated forward. This muscle acts to give stability through the spine to help accept the forces that on our body while we are sitting, standing, and moving.


This picture shows the subject in a position where his ribs are flared out, his pelvis rotated forward, and is putting more compression through his low back.


This picture shows the subject with his ribs down, pelvis in a neutral position with less compression through his lower back.

Stay tuned for future blog posts on using these principles in the gym and exercises on how to strengthen these postures!


Soul Physical Therapy is a patient centered outpatient orthopedic physical therapy practice located in Beverly, MA. Our evidence-informed philosophy drives our physical therapists to improve the lives of patients through education, manual therapy and exercise. 


Soul Physical Therapy was the #1 Choice for Physical Therapy in the 2018 Wicked Local Readers Choice Awards for Beverly and was named the 2018 Small Business of the Year by the Greater Beverly Chamber of Commerce. To set up a complimentary screening email getwell@soulpt.com or call (978) 524-0333.

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Movement Variability at Work
by soulpt on 

Posture vs Sustained posture

Perfect posture is really a myth and super hard to maintain.  Think of more sustained postures as being problematic at work and in life.

When we sustain postures for too long we can put undue strain on certain areas of the body.

The best way to combat sustained postures are through movement "resets".  The allow one to maintain movement variability and can also decrease pain.

Sustained forward head and rounded shoulder posturing is something we consistently see in our corporate wellness work.

Balance things out...

Three common exercises we program are chin tucks, shoulder blade squeezes and a towel technique to maintain your ability to turn your head.

To combat forward head posturing we program in chin tucks:



To combat forward rounded shoulders:



To maintain neck turning we use this towel technique:



Did you know that Soul PT offers Corporate Wellness Projects that have saved companies hundreds of thousands of dollars? Check out our case study on our website to learn more:

Soul Physical Therapy is a patient centered outpatient orthopedic physical therapy practice located in Beverly, MA. Our evidence-informed philosophy drives our physical therapists to improve the lives of patients through education, manual therapy and exercise. 


Soul Physical Therapy was the #1 Choice for Physical Therapy in the 2018 Wicked Local Readers Choice Awards for Beverly and was named the 2018 Small Business of the Year by the Greater Beverly Chamber of Commerce. To set up a complimentary screening email getwell@soulpt.com or call (978) 524-0333.

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Single Leg Deadlift Variations
by soulpt on 
All promote weight acceptance and stability in the stance leg or forward leg.


No weight

  • Greater focus on balance because there’s no weight to counterbalance the movement.
  • If unsteady - foam roller or resistance band in the opposite hand is helpful or  lateralizing the movement to a kickstand RDL.


Weighted split stance

  • Helpful if balance is unstable, still able to effectively strengthen the posterior chain of the front leg.
  • Still can target one leg greater than the other which oftentimes is a target of rehab.



Weighted & resistance band; resistance band - no weight; foam roller

  • Resistance band or foam roller increase tension in your anterior core and lat.
  • The resistance band also encourages keeping the weight close to the body that translates to traditional RDLs and improves overall lifting mechanics.



Weight

  • Useful if PT is able to maintain proper upper body posture during the movement.
  • Can increase load to continually achieve strength gains.
  • May actually decrease the balance challenge due to counter balance effect.




    Soul Physical Therapy is a patient centered outpatient orthopedic physical therapy practice located in Beverly, MA. Our evidence-informed philosophy drives our physical therapists to improve the lives of patients through education, manual therapy and exercise. 


    Soul Physical Therapy was the #1 Choice for Physical Therapy in the 2018 Wicked Local Readers Choice Awards for Beverly and was named the 2018 Small Business of the Year by the Greater Beverly Chamber of Commerce. To set up a complimentary screening email getwell@soulpt.com or call (978) 524-0333.

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    How to Manage "Mom Posture"
    by soulpt on 

    Being a mom is tough work. Feeding, holding, carrying and cleaning your new little one is the hardest, best job you will ever have. Once you get a minute to catch your breath you may begin noticing new aches and pains. “Mom Posture” is a term used to describe the cause of some of these pains- rounded shoulders, forward head posture and an anterior pelvic tilt are some of them. Here are a few tips and stretches to aid in reducing those symptoms and to help improve your posture.


    Tip 1:

    Switch sides when holding your baby. We become accustomed to holding our kids on one side causing unilateral back, hip, neck, and shoulder pain. By alternating sides, we can help equal that repetitive weight shift.



    Tip 2:

    Use pillows to help support you and baby when nursing or bottle feeding. This can help to decrease the amount you will round your shoulders and neck, and let you relax!


    Tip 3:

    Utilize a small seat or stool when bathing your baby in the bathtub. It is easy to just kneel down and lean over the tub, however, a simple step or stool can allow you to maintain a straight back during bath time.


    Tip 4:

    Try this alternative position for carrying a car seat. This position can help keep you upright while carrying your little one around. (picture)


    Stretches:


    1.     Doorway Pec Stretch


    2.     Chin Tuck


    3.     Side Lying Rotations


    4.     Scapular Squeezes


    If you have questions or want to set up a free screening with our resident mom Kara Jesi DPT, call Soul PT (978) 524-0333 or Kara@SoulPT.com.


    Soul Physical Therapy is a patient centered outpatient orthopedic physical therapy practice located in Beverly, MA. Our evidence-informed philosophy drives our physical therapists to improve the lives of patients through education, manual therapy and exercise. 


    Soul Physical Therapy was the #1 Choice for Physical Therapy in the 2018 Wicked Local Readers Choice Awards for Beverly and was named the 2018 Small Business of the Year by the Greater Beverly Chamber of Commerce. To set up a complimentary screening email getwell@soulpt.com or call (978) 524-0333.


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    Bridge Progression
    by soulpt on 

    The bridge is my go-to exercise for developing baseline anterior core stiffness, glute activation, and terminal hip extension.  If you can't bridge correctly is unlikely that you can execute a proper squat, deadlift or many other lower body and core exercises effectively.  You will need to master the rib position and core stabilization foundation in the first video prior to advancing to the next progressions.

    1. Diaphragm breathing / rib depression with body weight bridge
    Breathe in through your nose while allowing your belly to fill with air. Use purse lips and forcefully, but slowly exhale allowing your rib cage to drop down and abdominals to tighten.  This creates helpful stiffness stabilizing your lower back. Tighten your glutes and bridge up without losing core stiffness - your body should be in a straight line, without an arch or pressure in your low back



    2. Single leg glute bridge (floor and elevated)
    Bend one leg up to maximize glute contraction on the opposite side. Keep pelvis level (not allowing it to drop on one side) as you bridge up. Elevating the working leg will increase range of motion and difficulty



    3. Band resisted bridges
    Working against the resistance of the band requires you to create more tension and help build more adaptation. Stay tight in your abs with your ribs down to prevent arching in your lower back.



    Stay tuned as we load the bridge up with 135 lb.

    If you have any questions about the exercises or want to learn how to apply them into your training. Schedule a complimentary screening with Jenna Mattera DPT, CSCS.

    Soul Physical Therapy is a patient centered outpatient orthopedic physical therapy practice located in Beverly, MA. Our evidence-informed philosophy drives our physical therapists to improve the lives of patients through education, manual therapy and exercise. 


    Soul Physical Therapy was the #1 Choice for Physical Therapy in the 2018 Wicked Local Readers Choice Awards for Beverly and was named the 2018 Small Business of the Year by the Greater Beverly Chamber of Commerce. To set up a complimentary screening email getwell@soulpt.com or call (978) 524-0333.

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    Mindset and the Healing Process — Do you Know your Why?
    by soulpt on 

    The healing process can feel like a roller coaster ride — one day we’re feeling pretty good, the next we’re in pain and unable to do what we did the day before. You might feel limited by pain, or are going through a rehab process and focusing on not only decreasing pain, but also restoring mobility, strength, and function so that you can get back into doing what you love to do.

    Our ability to ride these roller coaster waves with some modicum of grace greatly influences the healing process. Healing is not linear and looks a bit like this:


    Goiun and Kiecolt-Glaser state “psychological stress and other behavioral factors can affect wound healing. The relationship between stress and wound repair is not only statistically significant, but also clinically relevant.”¹

    What type of psychological stresses slow the healing process?
    • Fear pre and post-op, as well as fear avoidance
    • Optimism, or lack thereof
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Pain
    • Interpersonal conflicts/disagreements
    • Anger
    • Apathy

    Over the next few blog posts, I will be sharing with you some of the key factors towards managing and reducing stress, that you can immediately implement, in order to optimize your healing process and help you to get back into doing what you do.

    In today’s blog, we’ll dive into discovering what I like to call “your why.”

    Why is it important to discover your why?
    Your why will be one of the key motivators that keeps you going when you experience challenging days.

    Grab a piece of paper and write down these questions. Then, write down your answers to the questions.
    • Why do you want to get better?
    • What do you want to be able to do?
    • Why do you want to do that?
    • How will you feel once you are able to reach your rehabilitative goals?

    There are no right or wrong answers. The answers will be unique to you, your lifestyle, and your process. Perhaps you want to be able to pick up your kids again, be able to walk without fear of falling over, or return to playing sports. Close your eyes and picture yourself doing whatever it is your particular goal is, your why is. Allow yourself to see yourself doing it in action and notice how you feel.

    This is the place where visualization meets manifestation, meets action, and in this case, meets healing. It’s a technique used by actors, sports players, millionaires, etc to bring what they want into the NOW.

    Before doing your home exercise program, envision yourself where you want to be, feel yourself there, then take action and do your program.

    Anytime you start to feel stress-inducing emotions, or reactions, breathe and revisit your why.

    About Amanda Leigh Patti:
    Amanda is a High Performance Mentor and Mindset Coach. As a single mother of two amazing young men and an entrepreneur, she understands the unique demands and stressors that balancing business and personal life entails. She has used a variety of holistic modalities to move through pain, stress, and fear after leaving an emotionally abusive marriage, recover from physical injury after a car accident and debilitating yoga injury, and become a powerful advocate for her children. She excels at helping high performers reduce stress and overwhelm, increase their intrinsic happiness, and develop more intimate relationships.

    Amanda has been studying and practicing the art of personal growth, movement, and relationships for the past 23 years. In 2014, she became a Certified Holistic Lifestyle Coach with the CHEK Institute. She is also a Certified Yoga Teacher, movement teacher, and humanitarian. At the heart of her work, Amanda has a desire to connect people to the core of who they are through a multi-dimensional approach to healing, rooted in traditional wisdom and modern arts. Find out more about Amanda here: http://amandaleighpatti.com 



    References:
    ¹Goiun, Jean-Phillipe and Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser.
    The Impact of Psychological Stress on Wound Healing: Methods and Mechanisms.
    Immunol Allergy Clin North Am 2011 Feb: 31(1): 81-93.
    Image: allennance.com

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    Three Reasons to do Single Leg Work
    by soulpt on 

    Picture this, you are standing in line at the bank, it's a busy day so you are there for a while. Initially, you have relatively good posture. After some time you take out your phone start playing with it and before you know it you find yourself shifting all of your weight onto one leg, the back is rounded down looking at your phone and that nagging ache in your lower back starts saying "Hi! remember me?".

    Chances are you favor that same leg most of the time.  This is natural, we tend to have one limb stronger than the other, after all we are asymmetrical beings.

    The issue is not of one leg being stronger than the other as much as it is an issue of loading avoidance of the weaker limb.

    When this is the case there should be a graded exposure approach to regaining stability, strength, functionality and more importantly confidence in a single limb stance position.

    Which takes us into the 1st reason:

    Movement Variability

    Exploring movement breeds confidence!

    Many times the reason why we feel a sense of doubt before setting out on a new adventure is due to the element of the unknown. We have not experienced it before, hence we are uncertain of the outcome. The same concept applies to the body. If we don't put ourselves in these positions our body does not recognize them and consequently we lack control.

    Exploring movement in a graded manner sets up a platform where you progress through variations of a movement with each variation setting the foundation for the next one.

    This is crucial when our perception of a specific movement is "threatening".  By regressing it to a less threatening movement we increase our time in that position boosting our confidence and setting a solid foundation from where to build upon.

    Example: If Single Leg Deadlifts (SLDL) are iffy try single leg weight passes become comfortable on one leg and then progress to the SLDL.





    When becoming familiar with a new movement initial focus should be on control.

    It's a core workout! Control vs. Load

    While you stand on one leg your body is fighting the urge to side bend and collapse.

    How does it do this? Core engagement!

    Yes, step ups are a core exercise...when performed properly.  Focus should be on an upright posture resisting the pull towards the unstable side. This added core engagement promotes proper posture and grooves a more efficient action.

    The body should feel comfortable in these single leg positions. This way, if it ever finds itself in an unstable situation it is more likely to recognize and react accordingly.

    Even for advanced lifters becoming efficient at controlling a movement should come before implementing load.  This emphasis on proper form enhances the efficiency of movements, which takes us into the next benefit.

    Avoiding Energy Leaks

    This added focus on core engagement might demand more energy in the initial stages of training but, by developing sound movement energy leaks are avoided when they really count.

    Owning a single leg stance wether it be through a weight pass or marching drills translates well into sport performance. The key here is to load properly without compromising structural integrity of the movement.

    Think about it...

    Running is a continuous controlled fall where you are always on one leg. For this reason by increasing the time spent on each leg individually will be beneficial towards performance.

    By Angel Lopez CSCS


    Soul Physical Therapy is a patient centered outpatient orthopedic physical therapy practice located in Beverly, MA. Our evidence-informed philosophy drives our physical therapists to improve the lives of patients through education, manual therapy and exercise. 


    Soul Physical Therapy was the #1 Choice for Physical Therapy in the 2018 Wicked Local Readers Choice Awards for Beverly and was named the 2018 Small Business of the Year by the Greater Beverly Chamber of Commerce. To set up a complimentary screening email getwell@soulpt.com or call (978) 524-0333.

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