Are You Ready for Your Workout?

Have you heard the discussion around warming up, static stretching, dynamic stretching and unsure what this means to you?

Recent research recommends the use of a dynamic active warm-up prior to exercise. Studies have found that dynamic stretching before exercise helps to increase performance and decrease the potential for injury.

What is Dynamic Stretching?

Dynamic stretching involves a more active warm-up. During the warm-up, joints are taken through their full functional range of motion. These movements are initially performed slowly with a gradual speed increase, and with an arc of motion which mimics that of the sporting activity you are about to perform. Dynamic stretching is an exaggerated but controlled movement where the muscle remains active while it is being lengthened.

It is important that dynamic stretching not be confused with ballistic stretching. Ballistic stretching involves trying to force a part of the body beyond its available range of motion in a bouncing or jerking movement. Dynamic stretching however involves much more controlled movements that are limited to the current range of motion of that particular joint.

How does it work?

Dynamic stretching has been found to provide a positive response to the neuromuscular system. This results in enhancing performance related to force and power production.

What about static stretching?

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that warm-up static stretching can actually be detrimental to performance.

Studies have found that static stretching can actually cause reduced muscle activation, depressed reflex activity, and a diminished maximal force production. When compared to dynamic stretching, static stretching had a negative influence on vertical jump performance.

It is therefore recommended that dynamic stretching and warm-up is to be used immediately before play, whereas static stretching is used as a cool down after exercise.

Tips to get the best out of your exercise session

  • Perform an overall aerobic warm-up prior to any dynamic stretching (get that heart pumping!)
  • Practice dynamic movements with one body part moving in relation to another
  • Apply sport specific movement patterns (ie. if your about to kick the football do some dynamic leg kicks, if you’re about to run, do some dynamic ‘butt kicks’)
  • Don’t forget about rotation! Rotation of the trunk and torso is a movement that is integral in connecting the lower limb with the upper limb.  Good trunk rotation will allow force to transmit from the lower limb to the upper limb and vice versa; thereby helping reduce the risk of injury and improve overall force production.

Try these exercises below!

Please note that this method of stretching does require increased control and coordination when compared with static stretching. It is therefore important that you set aside some time to do these movements correctly. Start with a smaller range of movement and slowly increase your movement range.

Leg Swings/Kicks

Aim: To warm up the legs and elongate the hamstrings

Movement:

  • While standing, bring one leg forward in a kicking motion.
  • Return and begin again.
  • Be careful not to bounce or over-extend your back. Once warm, you can also try this in a walk.

Butt Kicks

Aim: To warm up the legs and elongate the quadriceps

Movement:

  • While standing, bring the foot of one leg towards the bottom.
  • Return and begin again.
  • Be careful not to bounce.

Walking Lunge with Rotation

Aim: To coordinate the leg and trunk movement and maximize trunk rotation. Great for any sport such as golf and tennis involving transferring of force from lower limb to upper limb

Movement:

  • Drop into a lunge and rotate the trunk over the forward leg.
  • For more support, you can have your back knee resting on the ground.

Push Up to Walk

Aim: To warm up the chest, wrist, hand and elbows while also elongating and warming up the hamstrings

Movement:

  • Start in the push-up position.
  • Then walk the feet toward the hands until you feel a stretch in the hamstrings.

Call us today and discuss your warm up routine with one of our experts. We can personalize a program for all body types, sports and activities.

Home Office Ergonomics

The Importance of Home Ergonomics

Evidence supports that proper workplace ergonomics including correct chair height, adequate equipment spacing and good desk posture, are necessary to help you stay comfortable while working from home. It is important to follow the correct workstation set-up recommendations to help avoid potential musculoskeletal disorders from arising. Proper workplace ergonomics will result in improved health, a decreased risk of musculoskeletal disorders, and improved work satisfaction from home.

Solutions to Prevent Remote Workplace Injury

Employers play a critical role in helping their employees adjust to the work-from-home lifestyle that has become prevalent in recent times. Listed below are 3 strategies you can use to help support your own workspace:

Solution # 1: Gather information to help build awareness. Monitor your comfort level and move away from your workspace regularly. Set reminders to move every hour. Drink water to stay hydrated and to naturally remind yourself to take breaks.

Solution # 2: Outline duties, expectations, and deadlines you may have. Ensure these discussions are agreed upon by your employer and coworkers so that you are accountable and are careful to not overwork.

Solution # 3: Print off a checklist of neutral workspace postures for review. Provide special attention to the neck, head, spine, arms, wrists, hips, thighs and feet. Refer to the photos below for proper workspace postures.

A) Desktop (Seated)
B) Laptop (Seated)
C) Standing Desk

Sources: Internal and external sources include but are not limited to the Government of Canada – Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety; Workplace Safety & Prevention Services; scholarly academic research articles.

Consider Workspace Equipment Funding Options

Strategy # 1: Complete the “Office Workstation Checklist” (attached via PDF), provided by the Workplace Safety & Prevention Services. Once completed, you will have a better understanding of your current workspace needs and requirements.

Strategy # 2: Purchase portable ergonomic laptop stands for working if you do not have a desktop computer: https://matias.ca/irizer/laptops/

Additional Resources

1. Information on Major Work-Related Risk Factors:https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/office/risk_factors.html

2. Personal/Individual Risk Factors: https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/office/risk_individual.html

3. Information on The Selection of Your Ergonomic Chair:https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/office/chair.html

Create a great home workstation that is comfortable and safe for you!

Written by: Oksana Wankiewicz, Registered Kinesiologist at Ace Sports Clinic

Three Simple Tools to Support the Immune System

The immune system is comprised of many interconnected biological structures and processes that help to protect the body against infection. Below are three simple factors to incorporate into your lifestyle to help improve the functioning of your immune system.

1. Hydrate

Drinking enough clean water to fulfill your minimum daily requirements is imperative for proper immune system functioning. The daily requirement is equal to half your bodyweight in ounces. For example, someone who weighs 160lbs would need to drink 80 ounces of water, or 10 cups. It is important to not guzzle the water down in one sitting, but to frequently sip throughout the day well before bedtime.

Examples of the Benefits of Hydration:

  • Helps to keep our mouth, nose, eyes and sinuses moist. The protection of these areas is essential for oral and respiratory health.
    • The mouth and saliva are the first step of the digestive process.
    • As part of the upper respiratory system, the nose and sinus filter and moisten air as it travels down the airway.
    • Symptoms of allergies and asthma can worsen with dehydration.
  • Lubricates the joints: Joint cartilage and disks between the vertebrae are made up of approximately 80% water and help with shock absorption, which can prevent pain.
  • Removes waste from the body through sweat, urine and feces.
  • Blood is made up of more than 90% water and carries oxygen – which is picked up in the lungs – to the rest of the body. If enough water is not present, the blood can thicken and result in the increase of blood pressure.
  • Protects the brain and spinal cord: Dehydration in these areas can affect both their structure and the functioning, resulting in issues with thinking and reasoning.

2. Sleep

Getting adequate sleep promotes healing through hormonal and immune responses, and is vital for proper immune system functioning. Ask any of our experts about alignment, pillows, and manual and alternative treatments to help improve your sleep.

Tips for Improving Your Sleep

  • Make small changes where you can.
  • Too much blue/junk light can disrupt melatonin production and circadian rhythm.
    • If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), try to get 30 minutes outside or with a blue-light lamp early in the morning to tell your body to wake up.
    • Dim the lights at night, and shut off screens, such as phones, computers and TVs 1-2 hours before bedtime.
    • Blue-light blocking glasses help to facilitate an ideal environment for melatonin production.
  • Make sure your room is DARK, even an alarm clock light can affect your sleep quality.
  • If you snore, ask your doctor about getting tested for sleep apnea. Apnea is a temporary cessation of breathing and it can occur during sleep.
    • Alcohol consumption can worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.
      • The muscular relaxation that occurs with alcohol consumption also affects the muscles of the throat, thus increasing the risk of snoring and apnea.
      • While alcohol consumption may help you to fall asleep, it blocks restorative and rejuvenating REM sleep.
      • It is a diuretic so instead of sleeping, you may be up urinating.
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach as it can contribute to the pain in your lower back, your neck and your jaw.


3. Manage Stress

Excessive and chronic stress can persuade the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) to stay on like a light switch. This stress response (fight or flight response), can suppress the immune system.

Tips to Manage Stress

  • Controlled breathing: You can use your breathing to reduce SNS activation and to balance the autonomic system, lower cortisol, blood pressure, and improve blood and lymph flow.
    • Controlled rhythmic breathing helps to increase the prevalence of Natural Killer cells (cells part of the immune system that help to fight infection).
    • Take time out in your day to stop and just breathe.
  • Use a journal to get busy thoughts and triggers out onto paper.
  • Spend some time focusing on gratitude and love for the people, animals, nature, and experiences you come across daily.
  • Something as simple as going for a walk in a forest aka forest bathing, can be incorporated.
    • Interacting with nature has shown to increase the production of Natural Killer cells, reduce blood pressure and pulse, have mood boosting effects, and reduce inflammation through terpenes in the air.
    • We are constantly bombarded by invasive electromotive forces (EMF) from wireless devices, cell phone towers, Wi-Fi, cars and more. You can reset your own natural electromagnetic field by physically touching the earth and nature.
    • Take a break from it all. If you cannot get out of the city, head to one of Toronto’s forest saturated parks or find a quite spot on the shores of Lake Ontario while maintaining social distance.
  • Massage therapy not only feels amazing for your muscles and fascia, but has shown to increase the number of lymphocytes and to lower cytokines which play a role in inflammation after only 45 minutes. It also reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and vasopressin which plays a role in aggressive behaviour. Incorporate a regular monthly massage as maintenance for your muscles, fascia, mind and immune system.
  • Exercise, Yoga, Pilates, ELDOATM and meditation are all excellent outlets, just ask our expert team!
  • Aim to cultivate a lifestyle that incorporates stress management naturally.

Written by: Ashly Metcalf, Registered Massage Therapist at Ace Sports Clinic

How Exercise Affects the Immune System!

To operate at a high level, the immune system requires balance and harmony across a multitude of functions within the body. Lifestyle factors and general healthy living strategies are an excellent way to support your immune system and allowing it to fight off illness (1)

Some of the lifestyle factors that can lead to a strong immune system include:

  • Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
    • Deficiencies of micro-nutrients such as zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E may alter immune function.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation.
  • Getting adequate sleep (7-9 hours a night).
  • Taking steps to avoid infection.
    • Washing your hands frequently.
  • Trying to minimize stress.
    • Meditating
    • Self-care routines
    • Mindfulness journaling
  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining a healthy bodyweight

For our purposes, our focus will be on how exercise and maintaining a healthy bodyweight affect the immune system. 

Benefits of Exercise: 

  • Improving cardiovascular health
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Helping control bodyweight
  • Protecting against a variety of diseases

Communicable Disease (Viral & Bacterial Infections)

Regular physical activity and structured exercise have been shown to reduce the incidence of chronic diseases (4), including communicable diseases like viral and bacterial infections. The benefits of leading an active lifestyle include enhancing immune competency and regulation (2)

Mechanism of Reduced Rates of Communicable Disease

Chronic Exercise

Exercise has been shown to contribute to general health and a healthy immune system, including improved cardiovascular health, reduced blood pressure, healthy controlled bodyweight, and protection from a variety of diseases (4). In addition to general well-being, exercise provides the compounding benefit of improved circulation, which allows the cells of the immune system to move around the body to do their jobs (1). The literature supports a clear inverse relationship between moderate exercise training and illness risk (3).

Acute Exercise:

Acute exercise acts as an immune system modifier by improving defense activity and metabolic health (3). An acute bout of exercise has been shown to create a 1 to 2 hour period post-exercise where lymphocytes (white blood cells, which help to fight illness and disease) are redistributed to peripheral tissues. This redistribution results in a heightened state of immune surveillance and immune regulation (2). Research has also indicated that acute bouts of exercise result in a heightened response to bacterial and viral antigens, and chronic exercise may limit or delay the aging of the immune system (2)(3)

Bodyweight & the Immune System 

Excess bodyweight has been shown to impair the immune system. Some of the impairments seen with excess bodyweight include decreased cytokine production (immune system proteins that mediate immunity and inflammation), altered lymphocyte function, and decreased immune response to bacteria (5). Exercise and physical activity are major lifestyle factors that contribute to maintaining a healthy bodyweight (4), and thus a healthy immune system.

Recommendations:

The ACSM’s guidelines provide a great starting point to incorporate exercise and physical activity into your life to manage bodyweight, improve general health, and optimize your immune system (4). These guidelines are simple and general enough that even without access to a gym or workout equipment, you can incorporate physical activity and exercise into your daily life to help support your immune system.  

  1. Participate in moderate to vigorous intensity exercise 3-5 days a week.
    1. 20-30 Minutes of aerobic activity (there are many ways to get aerobic activity that are not the standard “cardio” equipment at your local gym).
      1. You can accumulate this activity in bouts of 10 or more minutes spread throughout the day if necessary.
  2. Perform muscular strength and endurance activities at least 2 days a week.

For more specific guidance on how to incorporate exercise and physical activity into your life, please contact info@acesportsclinic.com to set up an appointment (virtual sessions via Ace Virtual Care are available!).

Written by: Josh Downer, Strength & Conditioning Specialist at Ace Sports Clinic

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(1) “How to boost your immune system” (2014). Harvard School of Medicine, Harvard Health Publishing; https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

(2) “Debunking the Myth of Exercise-Induced Immune Suppression: Redefining the Impact of Exercise on Immunological Health Across the Lifespan” (2018). John P. Campbell & James E. Turner. Frontiers in Immunology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5911985/

(3) “The compelling link between physical activity and the body’s defense system” (2019). David C. Nieman & Laurel M. Wents. Journal of Sport and Health Science. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254618301005

(4) “ACMS’s Guidelines for exercise testing and prescription 10th Ed.” (2018). American College of Sports Medicine. Wolters Kluwer

(5) “Obesity and the Immune system” (2013). Dr. Mildred K. Fleetwood. PhD & Stephanie F. Deivert. RD. Obesity Action Community. https://www.obesityaction.org/community/article-library/obesity-and  

Exercising from Home: Optimize Exercising Using Bodyweight & Limited Equipment

Stay Active: Not having access to a gym is not the end.

With many gyms temporarily closed and an explosion of bodyweight workout routines popping up on social media, we want to help you figure out what you should be doing. Keeping active is important during this time for many reasons including for physical health and mental health (1), and to make sure you can stay on track with your fitness goals. If you are uninjured and otherwise healthy, and want to keep active and busy, do whatever is fun and enjoyable to you. However, if you have specific goals you want to stay on track with, here are some guidelines to help you continue to reach your goals without being able to get to a gym.

If you have chronic or acute injuries that require special consideration for the exercises, or if you cannot find a way to exercise without pain, please contact info@acesportsclinic.com to set up a training session (virtual sessions via Ace Virtual Care are available!).

DO NOT DO ANY EXERCISE THAT CAUSES PAIN.

Why are you working out?

It is first important to understand why you are working out so that you can make sure you are exercising in a manner that is appropriate for your goals. It is also important to understand the restrictions of working out with limited equipment and/or bodyweight only. The old adage of “if you don’t use it you lose it” is quite appropriate for these circumstances. Your body develops fitness specific to the format in which you exercise. Therefore, while random workouts you see on Instagram are potentially great ways to keep active and healthy, they may not help you continue progressing towards YOUR fitness goals.

General Health & Fitness

If your health and fitness goals are non-specific, and instead are to reap the general benefits of physical activity, then here are some guidelines for how you can maintain cardiovascular health and develop muscular strength-endurance for healthy living and aging.

1. Cardiovascular Health Workout

Accumulate at least 30 minutes of steady state activity with an HR of 135-155 BPM 3x a week. These 30 minutes can be accumulated in either 3x 10-minute or 2x 15-minute bouts.

  • Run or power walk on a treadmill
  • Use a stationary or recumbent bike
  • Climb the stairs continuously
  • Use workout rubber bands for tempo runs

2. Muscle Strength & Endurance for “Functional Tasks”

Perform muscle strengthening exercises at least 2x per week (1). Use weights or resistance bands if you have access to them. Try to incorporate all of the fundamental movement patterns;

  • Squat
  • Hip Hinge
  • Push
  • Pull
  • Carry

Try the workout format outlined in the “Weight loss Workout” section.

Weight Loss – Don’t Lose Momentum

Key considerations for staying on track for weight loss goals without being able to get to a gym include: maintaining/increasing lean muscle mass and exercising to increase caloric expenditure.

Maintain Lean Mass & Exercise to Increase Caloric Expenditure

Strength training exercises that create a high-tension stimulus are required to maximize muscle mass retention (2). This means that you must find a way to increase external load creatively or modify the tempo of the exercises you are doing.

  • See muscle gain section for ways to increase tension during the strength exercise circuit listed below.

We also want to stimulate protein synthesis and elevate it as high as possible to increase or at the very least, maximize muscle mass retention. The circuit training format outlined below will work both to maximize caloric expenditure through short rest periods, and to drive protein synthesis via metabolic pathways (5).

Circuit Training:

  • Choose 6-10 Exercises.
    • Alternate between 1 lower body and 2 upper body exercises.
  • Set a repeating timer for 30s.
  • Try to do 15 reps with full range of motion in the 30s.
  • The next 30s are a rest period to get ready for the next exercise.
  • Do 15 reps in 30s of each exercise.
  • Repeat this circuit 3-6 times without resting between rounds.
  • Do this type of circuit 3-4x a week.

Aerobic Exercise:

Do some form of aerobic exercise at least 2x per week; see cardiovascular health workout guidelines above.

Muscle Gain & Building Strength

To grow muscles, we need to recruit/stimulate as many muscle fibres as possible AND fatigue those fibres (2)(5). To fatigue as many fibres as possible with bodyweight exercises, exercise as close to muscular failure as possible (4). To simply maintain muscle you have developed, continue exercising with approximately 30% of the volume (weight*reps*sets) you were using (3). You must be realistic with what you can accomplish from training at home. To give yourself the best chance to continue building muscle, you must work very close to muscular failure. This is difficult and uncomfortable and can take a lot more reps than you think. When working towards or close to failure, technique also starts to break down, making it important to be cognizant of your posture and positioning to avoid injury. If you are newer to exercise, working to failure may not be safe or necessary.

Beginner & Intermediate Exercisers

If you are a beginner or intermediate exerciser, you will likely be able maintain muscle that you have gained for up to 32 weeks if you just keep exercising (3). You may even be able to make progress in muscle mass if you are now doing unfamiliar exercises consistently, (exercises you have not done before, but repeating them over the next few weeks) and working hard (probably close to muscular failure) (4).

Advanced Exercisers

If you are an advanced lifter (>3 years training), there is a good chance you will lose some muscle mass and that strength will regress. This is simply because the more trained you are, the more tension and volume is required for further muscle growth. However, that muscle will come back relatively quickly when you begin retraining (3). In order to maximize increases and retention of muscular strength and mass, you will need to present a high-tension stimulus to the muscles (5). Simply working to failure is likely insufficient at bodyweight due to the amount of volume and muscular tension required for advanced adaptations.

Maximize Muscular Tension:

There are a few things you can do to influence muscular tension, and to present some external load to maximize your ability to retain muscle mass. 1) Emphasize working close to failure, 2) exercise your full range of motion, 3) modify tempo, 4) lift heavy objects around the house, 5) emphasize technique to increase muscular tension. These strategies may help to increase muscular work through higher tension and muscular recruitment.

Increase External Load:

  • Spare tire – hold a squat or lunge, press it overhead.
  • Bag of garden soil/pet food/bag of sand – hold and squat or lunge.
  • Find random heavy objects or weights around the house that you can lift and hold during exercises to add external load.
  • Use isometrics (muscular contraction without muscle length change) during warm up/muscle prep to increase muscular recruitment.
  • Use slow, controlled eccentrics (muscular contraction while the muscle is being lengthened, loaded stretching) to increase muscle tension during working sets.
  • Work close to failure when it is safe.

Circuit Training:

  • Choose 6-10 Exercises.
    • Alternate between 1 lower body and 2 upper body exercises.
  • Do all 6-10 exercises for 10 reps with a tempo of 4.0.4.0 or slower.
  • Repeat this circuit 3-6 times.
  • Do this type of circuit 3-4x a week.
  • Use methods listed in the “Maximize muscle tension” section for exercises where you can.

Just like in the “weight loss” workout format, we are going to take advantage of circuit training. Use weighted objects from around the house to increase muscular tension and stimulate muscle retention and growth (4). We will also use metabolic stimulus of the circuit format to drive protein synthesis for growth (5).

If you experience any pain during exercising, do not continue without consulting a professional. If you have exercise equipment at home and would like a more personalized program, please contact info@acesportsclinic.com to set up a virtual training session so we can help you.

DO NOT DO ANY EXERCISE THAT CAUSES PAIN.

Written by: Josh Downer, Strength & Conditioning Specialist at Ace Sports Clinic

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(1) “ACMS’s Guidelines for exercise testing and prescription 10th Ed.” (2018). American College of Sports Medicine. Wolters Kluwer

(2) “Scientific Principles of Strength Training” (2016). Dr. Mike Israetel, PhD., Dr. James Hoffmann, PhD., & Chad Wesley Smith.

(3) “Exercise dosing to retain resistance training adaptations in young and older adults” (2011). Bickel CS., Cross JM., & Bamman MM. Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21131862

(4) “Muscular adaptation in low- versus high-load resistance training: A meta analysis.” (2016). Schhoenfeld BJ., Wilson JM., Lowery RP., & Krieger JW. European Journal of Sports Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25530577

(5) “Mass 2” (2017). Dr. Pat Davidson PhD & Dr. Ben House PhD.

Have you heard of ELDOA™?

ELDOA™ is a French acronym that stands for Etirements Longitudinaux Decoaptation Osteo-Articulaire. It is an exercise approach that combines the philosophy of osteopathy and movement. The term is complicated, but the postures are very simple. The objective is to contract in depth the muscles around the different segments of the spine to create a decompression effect and restore space between the bones or the joints. And, ultimately, relieve pain and improve posture.

Regulars of Yoga or Pilates will not be confused with these stretches. It is very similar in that it is a postural technique where you go pose to pose. It is grounded in controlled movements and incorporates low-impact postures designed to decompress the discs in the spine and stretch the suspensory muscles and connective tissue for organs. We work sitting cross-legged, or lying on the back, then we contract certain muscles in depth by performing different stretches that are held for 1 minute. We aim for precision and posture maintenance rather than high intensity effort.

History of ELDOA™:

Created by world-renowned Osteopath, Guy VOYER, DO, the ELDOA™ method has been around for more than 30 years, but it is a newcomer in the regeneration scene. He was looking for a tangible solution to the recurring pains of his clients. Obsessed with diagnosing the causes of the problem, he developed the ELDOA™ method of teaching movement and exercises which “normalizes” bodily and vertebral tensions in connection with myofascial chains. Mr. VOYER, DO is internationally known for his osteopathic expertise and his extensive background in the field of sports, manual therapy and medicine, which includes degrees in physical education, physiotherapy, sports medicine and traumatology.

Benefits of ELDOA™:

  • Spinal Strength and Mobility 
  • Improved Muscle Performance and Tone
  • Improved Athletic Performance and Recovery time
  • Injury Recovery and Prevention
  • Relief of Back, Neck, and Shoulder Tension
  • Reduced Joint Inflammation
  • Improved Posture and Increased Flexibility

What to Expect:

Every session is designed to alleviate physical pain and improve overall posture through intelligent sequencing, cueing, and hands-on adjustments. No two bodies are alike; therefore, we adapt the ELDOA™ exercises to work within a person’s limitations so that over time those limitations become strengths. Our tailored approach allows us to observe and monitor your movement as you progress.

Kick start your new year by adding an ELDOA™ into your schedule to maintain your body’s youthfulness and relieve stress.

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Ace Sports Clinic is excited to introduce you to our new team member Ashley Frejlich, a certified yoga instructor and ELDOA™ practitioner. It is a perfect session for before or after your treatment with us to enhance and gel results and put a new tool in your toolbox!

CLICK HERE to book your private ELDOA™ session today.

Blood Flow Restriction Training

What is blood flow restriction (BFR) training?

BFR training uses FDA approved cuffs that are applied to your arms or legs.  These cuffs are inflated to control the amount of blood and oxygen being delivered to your muscles.  With the use of these cuffs, you can exercise at a low intensity but still experience the gains of a high intensity work out. 

What is the difference between a low intensity work out and a high intensity work out?

During a low intensity work out, you are training at 20-35% of your one rep maximum.  During a high intensity work out, you are training at 65-90% of your one rep maximum.  For example, the maximum weight you can squat is 100 lbs.  BFR training allows you to exercise at a low intensity (i.e. squatting 30 lbs; 30% of your one rep maximum) to have similar gains of a high intensity work out (i.e. squatting 70 lbs; 70% of your one rep maximum).

What are the benefits?

There are over 820 research articles published on BFR training.  BFR training has been shown to increase strength, prevent muscle wasting, increase muscle size, improve cardiovascular function and supports soft tissue repair by indirectly triggering the release of Human Growth Hormone and IGF-1.

How is this helpful for my pre-habilitation / rehabilitation?

BFR training is effective for situations when you are unable to exercise at a high intensity and are restricted to a low intensity work out.  This can include several situations such as being in a cast due to a bone fracture, restricted to a partial weight bearing status, limitations due to pain, pre and post joint replacement surgery, strains, sprains, chronic concussion symptoms, osteoporosis, muscle deconditioning & many more.

How is this different than wrapping Voodoo floss bands or exercise bands around my arms or legs?

There is more consistency with amount of blood being delivered to your limbs.  Voodoo floss bands or excise bands are wrapped around the limb without knowing the actual amount of blood being occluded to the limb.  With BFR training, a cuff pressure is calculated specifically for you and is based upon the optimal occlusion rate determined by research studies.  This will ensure that the amount of blood being delivered to your arms or legs will mimic a high intensity work out.

Optimize your training and rehabilitation through purposeful movements

Maybe you’ve heard about this concept as “Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization” (DNS). The basis of DNS is on developmental kinesiology; early in childhood your movement patterns are automatic and predictable and are formed as your nervous system matures.

This article will show you how we can take advantage of the pre-programmed postures we possess to improve your quality of movement patterns.

DNS is necessary to optimize the movement system for both pre-habilitation and rehabilitation of athletic injuries and performance. This is not achieved by having strong abdominals, spinal extensors, gluteals or any other musculature; rather, it’s accomplished through the precise coordination of these muscles and intra-abdominal pressure regulation by the central nervous system.

Supine 90/90 position (4.5 month old)

If we fail to activate our deep core muscles before movement, our body will compensate by typically overloading superficial muscle groups, this can cause excessive loading of spinal joints, discs, and muscles.

In this developmental kinesiology exercise, I’m focusing on maintaining control through my deep core muscles. The ball is used as a cue to make it easier to recruit your core muscles. The second example is a progression using a resistance band to challenge your core even further.

High oblique sitting (7.5 month old)

Oblique sitting occurs when the shoulder joint is strong enough to support this position, this occurs to children who are 7.5 months of age.

In this video, I demonstrate a high oblique sitting followed by its progression. This exercise will improve scapular stability, core strength, hip abduction, and work on your hip external rotation mobility.

Supine to low oblique sit

In this exercise you will work your shoulder stability, hip abduction, and core strength. Make sure you’re keeping your chin tucked to help improve your cervical spine stability!

Once you achieve low oblique sitting, you can try the following variations:

In this video I’m reaching out with my arms and continue to reach further and further away from me. To challenge your core, hips, and shoulders even more, lift the leg up and continue to reach as far as you can.

Bear crawl (14 month old)

The bear crawl corresponds to a 14-month-old child.

A key prerequisite to lifting heavy in a safe and effective style, as well as helping you excel in your sport, is having great core stability. Core stability is your ability to control your torso to prevent excessive movement of your spine.

In the first part of the video, I begin with 4 points of contact (both hands and feet). I then progress to 3 points of contact by elevating 1 hand or 1 leg. Once you feel comfortable with this, you can progress into a 2-point contact bear crawl. Hold this position isometrically first and once you have that under control you can begin to crawl. The main thing you want to consider is to maintain a neutral spine, try and resist rotation, flexion and extension.

Conclusion

These exercises will help strengthen and optimize your movement patterns through purposeful movement. If you feel limited while doing any of these exercises, don’t be too worried, the exercise is just demonstrating the weak link in the kinetic chain.

If you want a more comprehensive approach to improve your movement patterns, get rid of pain, prevent injury, and optimize athletic performance, come see one of our Registered Kinesiologists!

Written by: Franco Floris, Registered Kinesiologist

References:

5 Tips to Help Prevent Running Injuries

  1. Progressive load tolerance: the majority of running injuries occur from doing too much too soon! Whether a tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis, patellofemoral syndrome, IT band syndrome, stress fracture, muscle strain, you name it, your body needs to learn to accept load gradually over a period of time so you don’t exceed the tissue’s capacity to adapt. Gradual progressions are important whether you are learning to run, returning to run after some time off, after a rest period following a race, or coming off of another injury. This will likely look like some form of run-walk progression – for best results, speak to your healthcare practitioner! (And a word to the wise runner, ALWAYS consult a healthcare practitioner who is also a runner themselves).
  2. Cadence of 180 steps per minute: research has shown that running with a cadence of 180 steps per minute (range from 170-190), regardless of pace or speed, is beneficial in terms of injury prevention. A slightly faster cadence than perhaps you are used to will be helpful in reducing the amount of contact time with the ground while taking a step, which reduces the amount of force transmitted through your foot, knee, hip and into your body. Transitioning to a different cadence than usual should also be done gradually!
  3. Run lighter: Perhaps this one seems over-simplified, but by taking quieter steps, you are also reducing the amount of force transferred through your body. You want to hear as little sound as possible when your foot contacts the ground.
  4. Run a minimum of 4 days/week: your body needs to learn to adapt to the stimulus of running, and will only do so if running occurs with enough frequency. Running only a couple of times per week will not allow for the appropriate adaptations in your muscles, bones, tendons and other tissues, thus resulting in a greater likelihood of injury. This does NOT mean that every run has to be fast or long! How frequently you run is the important factor here. Including speed and longer runs will vary depending on your running goals.
  5. Appropriate footwear: make sure to consult your healthcare provider on this one, but research has shown that running in shoes with a lot of cushioning and arch support can actually reduce your body’s capacity to regulate how much force is being transferred from the ground to your foot, ankle, knee, hip, lower back, etc. Ensure you have the right pair of shoes specifically for you!

For more advice on running injury prevention, treatment and return to run, consult one of our healthcare providers at Ace Sports Clinic.

Check out our Ace Running Programs here.

Written by: Hilary Mallinger, Registered Physiotherapist

Sports Physiotherapy

We bring our health, high performance knowledge & experience and personalize it to your needs when recovering from a sports injury.

What is a Sport Physiotherapist?


A Sport Physiotherapist has a background in orthopaedics and has skills like advanced athletic taping, emergency first response, return to play protocols, assessment of protective equipment and footwear, in addition to manual therapy and exercise rehabilitation.  Sport Physiotherapists also have a thorough understanding of the signs and symptoms of concussion and post concussion syndrome, and are educated in up-to-date research in return to play or return to life protocols following a head injury, thus reducing risk of further injury.  The use of athletic taping can be applied not only court or field side, but additionally in the clinical setting.  A sprained ankle, whether occurring on the soccer pitch or while walking the dog, will feel better after treatment with supportive athletic taping!  The training for a Sport Physiotherapist involves over 1600 hours of on-field or on-court medical care in a variety of sports.


How is a Sport Physiotherapist regulated?

Sport Physiotherapy Canada (SPC) – a Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association – oversees and regulates the education and on-field experience of a Sport Physiotherapist.  The education system of SPC allows the graduate physiotherapist to gain experience and education through a variety of specialized courses. Through a mentorship program with current Sport Diploma holders, graduate physiotherapists gain valuable on-field experience.  The Sport Physiotherapist Diploma holder is qualified to work with Canada’s High Performance athletes in all International settings including daily training and competitions such as world championships and the Olympic Games, while the Certificate holder is qualified to work at the National level with High Performance athletes. 

Common Sports Injuries we can treat

Some of the most common sports injuries include ankle sprains, muscle strains, shin splints, tennis or golfer’s elbow, knee and shoulder injuries.  If you or someone you know is injured, schedule an evaluation with one of our team today.

Book today at acesportsclinic.com