Ask the Physical Therapist

Denver • Lakewood 

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Healthy Running:
Running can be a healthy cardiovascular option for most of us.  If you are currently running and encountering increasing ached and pains, we suggest that you see a SymFit® Physical Therapy consult as the source of the problem is likely mechanical.  If you are not a runner and wish to begin we suggest you complete the SymFit® Healthy Fitness System to SymFit2 level and then begin the SymFit Healthy Running Conditioning Program.  Like any new sport or activity there is a conditioning phase to begin it a low level and a conditioning phase the allows you to progress safely.  Life is too short to not do the activities you want to do.

Postural Alignment:

1.       Stack your upper back

2.       Connect Rib Cage to Pelvis with pelvis slightly angled forward due to the nature of your body weight being in front of your center of gravity

3.       Head Nod

4.       Square off your hips in a forward direction and inward spiral your hips to allow for symmetrical loading through your hips, knees and ankles.

Efficient Running Mechanics:
There are many strategies for efficient running and this is likely due to there are individual issues for each type of runner that best meets their needs.  We are not attempting to fill a running coach role as a private consult is needed to provide individual recommendations.  However, we will share truisms that will allow most running styles to maximize efficiently by limiting asymmetrical loading.


1.       Maintain a “Stacked Upper Back”

2.       Maintain a “Vertical Pelvis”

3.       Transfer to the inside of the foot at toe off so that your inner thigh stabilizers are involved in push-off

When walking from neutral spine with the proper mechanics you should benefit from a slight propulsion at push off if you are able to maintain an inward spiral throughout the stance phase.  “Inward Spiral” is only accessible if your pelvis is maintained in a neutral (vertical position) which is only accessible neurologically if you maintain a “Stacked Upper Back”.  A “Head Nod” helps you maintain a Stacked Upper Back.

  • Strategies for maintaining a Stacked Upper Back: Chest Lift Series at SymFit3 level strengthens your lower traps sufficiently enough to allow you to keep your shoulder blades in their neutral position on the rib cage during running
  • Strategies for maintaining a Head Nod: Head Nod Series at SymFit3 level strengthens the muscles under the base of the neck that stabilize the skull in neutral during Running
  • Strategies for maintaining a Neutral Pelvis: Pelvic Curl Series at SymFit3 level strengthens the lower abdominals ability to maintain neutral pelvis positioning during Running.
  • Strategies for maintaining an Inward Spiral:  Lunge Series at SymFit3 level strengthens the abdominals ability to maintain neutral hip positioning during Running.


Healthy Overhead Sports
:

Sports like tennis, swimming, volleyball, basketball and baseball require strong shoulder mechanics for overhead lifting and throwing.  If you are currently playing overhead sports and encountering increasing ached and pains, we suggest you see a SymFit® Physical Therapy consult as the source of the problem is likely mechanical or postural.  If you wish to begin playing overhead sports we suggest you complete the SymFit® Healthy Fitness System to SymFit2 level and then begin the SymFit® Healthy Overhead Sports Conditioning Program.  Like any new sport or activity there is a conditioning phase to begin it a low level and a conditioning phase the allows you to progress safely.  Life is too short to not to do the activities you want to do.

Postural Alignment:

1. “Stack your Upper Back” ™ to establish the foundation for neutral spine alignment

2. Maintain a “Head Nod” ™ to unload your neck

3. “Connect Rib Cage to Pelvis” ™ to unload the low back

4. Maintain an “Inward Spiral” ™ of the hips to ensure symmetrical loading through the hips, knee and ankles

Efficient Overhead Sport Mechanics:
There are many different challenges presented by the varied types of overhead sports.  We cannot provide specific consultation on you should best perform your overhead sport activity of choice.  However, we will share truisms that will allow you to to maximize efficiently and safety during your overhead sport activities by limiting asymmetrical and faulty loading through neck and low back.


1. Maintain a “Stacked Upper Back” to keep the shoulder blade against the rib cage to ensure healthy shoulder mechanics

2. Maintain a “Vertical Pelvis” to keep the base of your spine stable and low back unloaded

3. Use upper back extension to look up more than neck extension.  As soon as you load C5/6 you lose lower trapezius control of the scapulae on the rib cage

We can provide a safe conditioning program for you to remain in the game or start such sport activities safely.

  • Strategies for maintaining a Stacked Upper Back: Chest Lift Series at SymFit3 level strengthens your lower traps sufficiently enough to allow you to keep your shoulder blades in their neutral position on the rib cage during running
  • Strategies for maintaining a Head Nod: Head Nod Series at SymFit3 level strengthens the muscles under the base of the neck that stabilize the skull in neutral during during overhead sport activities
  • Strategies for maintaining a proper Shoulder Mechanics: Shoulder Stability Program at SymFit3 level strengthens your rotator cuff sufficiently to maintain neutral humeral head positioning during overhead sport activities
  • Strategies for maintaining a Neutral Pelvis: Connecint Rib Cage to Pelvis Series at SymFit3 level strengthens the lower abdominals ability to maintain neutral pelvis positioning during overhead sport activities
  • Strategies for maintaining an Inward Spiral:  Overhead Lifting Series at SymFit3 level strengthens the abdominals ability to maintain neutral hip positioning during overhead sport activities


Healthy Lifting (Squatting)

The most common cause for non-traumatic low back injury seen in the clinic is picking up something from the floor with a forward bend technique.  Our spines are not designed to pick objects up off the floor.  They don’t mind getting us down but they are mechanically not designed to bring us back up.  The SymFit Squat® Series conditions you to pick objects off the floor with minimal low back and neck loading.


Starting Posture for Healthy Squatting:


1. Get into a wide based of support with feet

2. “Stack your Upper Back” ™ to establish the foundation for neutral spine alignment

3. Maintain a “Head Nod” ™ to unload your neck

4. “Connect Rib Cage to Pelvis” ™ to unload the low back

5. Maintain an “Inward Spiral” ™ of the hips to ensure symmetrical loading through the hips, knee and ankles

Healthy Squat Mechanics:

1. Bend at the knees while hip hinging with a 1:1 ratio

Note: at the bottom of a proper squat you should be looking about 5 feet in front of you without loss of neutral pelvis, rib cage and skull positioning.



Healthy Lunging:
Squatting is the healthiest way to get to the floor but you dont always have enough space to move your feet outside your shoulder girdle.  For this reason, ae have a Lunge Series within the SFHFS to provide you with alternate lifting strategies.  Lunging also addresses favoring patterns the develop through the hips, knees and ankles.  Single leg strengthening restores stability symmetry.

The SymFit Lunge® Series conditions you to pick objects off the floor with minimal low back and neck loading.


Starting Posture for Healthy Lunging:


1. Get into a forward split and make sure your rib cage is in alignment with your pelvis at about 25-30 degrees off vertical

2. “Stack your Upper Back” ™ to establish the foundation for neutral spine alignment

3. Maintain a “Head Nod” ™ to unload your neck

4. “Connect Rib Cage to Pelvis” ™ to unload the low back

5. Maintain an “Inward Spiral” ™ of the hips to ensure symmetrical loading through the hips, knee and ankles

Healthy Lunging Mechanics:

1.       Bend the back knee to load the front knee in such a way that you drop almost straight down with little forward movement.  Keep both hips inward spiraled.

Note: as you lunge down your pelvis has to rotate backward to accommodate the change in hip position so at the bottom of a lunge you are more vertical than at the top. 

 


 
Daily Wellness Routines:
You journey toward symmetrical fitness does not stop at your SymFit workout routine and hourly mobility program.  As you progress through the SymFit® Healthy Fitness System (SFHFS) your will likely identify that modified version of the program can help you start and end your day with minimal muscle tension and joint restrictions.  

The SymFit® Sunrise Routine:
1. Foam Roller Shoulder Mobility Program 
• Perform 8 Arm Floats
• Perform 8 Arm Circles
• Perform 8 Arm Overhead Presses
• Perform 4 back rolls followed by Back Stretch
2. Foam Roller Neck Mobility Program
• Perform 40 second Neck Stretch
• Perform 8 Pelvic Curls with Foam Roller Stretching out O-A Extensors (Neck Stretch)
3. Chest Lift Series 
• Perform 8 Hissing Cat/Boxer Pose's
• Perform 8 Alternating Arm Floats from Quadruped position
• Perform 3 Five Second Plank on Knees Holds

The SymFit® End-of-Day Routine:
1. Pelvis Self-correction
2. Lumbar Self-correction
3. Back Massage on Foam Roller
4. Perform 8 Hissing Cat/Boxer Pose's