Blog

Hip Flexors continued

Earlier we began to explore the incredible number of muscles that are involved in our hip flexors. As a quick review 10 muscles make up our entire hip flexor and they all have incredibly important jobs in moving our hips. This week we will talk about how to stretch and strengthen the remaining muscles in order to allow your core work.  Try to remember that when you are doing core work and if you feel it in your hip flexors it is your bodies way of telling you that your core is not strong enough for that movement yet, or it needs a break before going back into it. Listening to our bodies is the best way to get stronger and activate the appropriate muscle groups. We talked extensively about our psoas and iliacus in the last post and how these two muscles can be the beginning of a lot of our problems with our hip flexors.  Today we are going to tackle the remaining muscles and how to both stretch and strengthen them.
Pectineus is responsible for adduction and rotation of the thigh but its main function is in hip flection.  Rectus femoris this in one of the four quadriceps muscles and is to flex the hip joint and extend at the knee.  Adductors (brevis, longus, magnus) primary movement is to pull the thigh medially, thigh flexion, and laterally rotate the thigh.  Sartorius flexes and laterally rotates the hip and flexes the knee joint.

With all of these muscles working together we can see how it could be easy to have them take over when doing core work because as a group they out number  our core muscles.  We can start to decrease these muscles presence in our attempt at core work by stretching these muscles first. By elongating the muscle before we do core work it allows the muscles of the hip flexor to relax and not be so quick to take over for the core, giving the core an opportunity to gain strength. When doing the stretches try to hold the stretch for 60 seconds.

Runner stretch
butterfly

Plank position bring one foot to outside of arm. Maintain level hips and press hips towards the ground.

sitting down feet are as close to your hips as you can get them gently press down with elbows. 

Camel pose
side laying quad stretch

Place hands on lower back to support it while leaning  back. Be aware of over arching through back this is NOT a back bend. 

Grab foot with hand and pull back lining your knees up with each other. 

standing frog

Place hands or arms on knees and gently press back. 

Now that we have stretched the hip flexor let’s start to build strength. Over time  we will be able to focus more and more on our core and use less and less hip flexors. Remember that it takes time and patience each time you will gain more strength and will be able to do these movements with ease. 

 

leg hold
Lunge

Raise your leg off the ground and hold  for 60 seconds per side. Keep your other foot on the ground and repeat on other side. 

Hold the lunge for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times on each leg. 

Mountain climber
leg raise

Pull your leg into your chest and hold for 30 seconds on each side. 

Pull your knee up to your chest and hold for 30 seconds on each side.

Using your CORE not your hip flexors

Using your core instead of your hip flexors. We hear this so often from clients I feel this move in my hip flexors and not my core how do I get it to stop. First of all the hip flexor joint is  more then just one muscle and we need to look at the system as a whole to begin to answer this. The muscles that make up the hip flexor are: iliopsoas, tensor fasciae latae, pectineus, sartorius, adductors, gracilius, rectus femoris, and the gluteus. Each of these muscles plays an important part in what our hip flexor can do and we are going to break it down over the next few blog posts into groups of muscles.  We are going to tackle the iliopsoas first because this muscle is the biggest and usually the strongest muscle in our hip flexor and we want to work our way from largest to smaller. The psoas affects posture, helps stabilize the spine, and if out of balance can be a contributor to low back and pelvic pain. A tight psoas can cause serious problems when you stand the psoas pulls vertebrae forward and down toward the femur resulting in overarching through the lumbar spine. A weak and overstretched psoas can contribute to postural problems where the pelvis pushes forward of the chest and knees. This misalignment is characterized by tight hamstrings pulling down on the sit bones, a vertical sacrum (instead of its usual gentle forward tilt) and a flattened lumbar spine.

 

Anatomy-


The psoas originates from the lumbar and forms a strip of muscle about the size of your wrist along each side of the spine. As the psoas proceeds down it crosses the outer edge of each pubis and attaches to the lesser trochanter of the femur. Along the way the psoas meets with its synergist the iliacus which originates on the ilim of the pelvis and joins the attachment at the lesser trochanter of the femur these two muscles are so closely related they are often called the iliopsoas. They are responsible for flexion of the leg, hip and pelvis stabilization, and hip rotation. We should have a picture in our mind of where the psoas is and what it does lets try and feel the muscle at work. One of the best ways to feel the psoas and how it works is to lay flat on your back toes flexed to nose and then lift your leg toward your chest keeping your leg straight and toes flexed (If you can bring your leg past 90 degrees then the psoas is no longer engaged). The psoas works to lift the leg to about the 90 degree angle then the back of the leg begins to take over. Raising one leg at a time allows us to take it slow and feel the pull coming from the psoas by making the femur and spine move closer together causing hip flexion.

So now that we know the muscle we are working what should we do?

 

Routine stretching and strengthening of the psoas will become increasingly important to prevent low back pain and postural problems. Below we are going to give you a few ways to strengthen and stretch the psoas.

 

Strengthening the psoas should be done slow and for minimal amounts of time to start. As we build strength in the psoas we will in turn build more core strength and not allow the hip flexors to take over when doing core work.The first time your go through these start with a achievable amount of time like 10-20 seconds and repeat each exercise 2-3 times.

The first one is going to need a strap or a belt for some assistance we are going to lie flat on your back legs out in front of you. Wrapping the strap around one of your toes flex your feet and then lift the leg up to 90 degrees then back down to about 80 degrees and hold your leg there. Even though the strap is assisting you in this movement the psoas is contracting in this position. As you build strength reduce the tension on the strap until you no longer need it. Repeat this on both sides.

Sit on the floor with your knees bent feet flat on the ground wrap your hands around your shins and gently pull so your chest is up and then lean back until arms are straight and then let go of your shins and hold here with a tall flat back. As you build strength with this move gently start the movement by lifting your feet off of the ground. .

Stretching the psoas

 

Stretching one side at a time is one of the best ways to ensure a quality stretch of the psoas. So take your time and if possible hold each of these poses for 1-2 min on each side.

Using a pillar or a doorway is really helpful in this stretch placing one foot behind you and the other foot stepping in front of you. Keep the heel of the back foot off of the ground and bend the back knee while you bend the front knee and lean towards the object. The psoas is job is to pull your hips down and toward your femur your focus should be on fighting the psoas natural pull on your hips. You want to align your pubis, pelvis, naval and a chest on the object start by focusing on the pubis toward the pilar your pelvis and naval back away from the pilar this action tilts the pelvis posteriorly and lengthens the psoas.

Start by taking one knee to the ground and the other foot is flat on the floor in front of you. Gently place your hands on your hips and start the stretch by first tilting your pelvis back by pushing your pubis out and your pelvis back then gently lean forward and hold. Keeping your hands on your hips allows you to feel if the pelvis is being pulled forward by the psoas indicating a need for a break before continuing to hold the stretch.

Body Rolling

Rolling out our muscles is the one tool that every person has access to yet it remains the most under utilized and under valued tool in every persons routine. We move every day and when we move or we sit for long periods of time our bodies develop knots or tension if it is not treated we can put ourselves in a place that sets us up for an injury.

What does the knot feel like?

When we have a spot on our body that has a knot in it, it feels tight or restrictive. Most people carry tension in their shoulders and is the most common place that we can feel in everyday, we can feel pain in our neck or even headaches from these knots.  The other common place is in the quadriceps however we feel the pain in our knees when we have knots in our legs because the muscles are pulling up on our knee caps and surrounding tendons. 

How does this happen?

Think about your muscle fibers like a type writer (old school style with keys that lifted when you pressed them) when you contract your muscle a key reaches out and pulls back on your muscle to make it work. When we get tight or sore it’s from a series of the keys (they are called muscle filaments) reaching out pulling on our muscle and then not letting go. Our bodies don’t get stuck in this position because we have millions of these filaments helping each other out. However the more we workout without giving our bodies time to relax from the tension the higher potential for injury becomes because these filaments are pulling on our joints. 

How can I prevent it?

Well you can’t prevent this from happening because no matter what we are doing there is always going to be a contraction of muscles and therefore a potential for tightness. What you can do is stretch and roll.

What does stretching do?

When we think of these tight muscles we think of how inflexible we are it’s these filaments that are restricting our elongation of our muscles. So stretching elongates the muscles allowing some of the filaments to release and slowly allows the muscle to return to its natural position. The elongation of muscle is key to being able to reach and move without limitations. However stretching works on the elongation part of the muscle it does nothing for the knots. 

What does rolling do?

Rolling works on the knots or rather the large sections of our muscles that are being held by these muscle filaments. When we roll we force some of the muscle filaments to actually release there contraction. When we force the release of the muscle fibers we allow for greater elongation of the muscles. That being said rolling is probably one of the most painful things we do to our bodies. Taking the time to roll and allow for that elongation is hard to do because it is so often very painful think about why its painful though. We are literally pressing so hard into our muscle that the force makes the filaments release a hold that they might have had for days, weeks, or even years!! Just for fun kneel down then sit on your heels and sit here for 2-3 minutes when you stand back up do you feel that pain? That is similar to what is happening when we release the muscle filaments. They are letting go of something for the first time in a long time and it is not that easy to let go.  

When you take the time to roll you take the time to heal and restore your body back to a better place. In the end you also heal your body so that you can begin to make incredible gains while moving and working out because you are giving your body back more muscle filaments to help with the pull or contraction of your muscles. So take some time and roll even if it hurts your body will thank you later. 

Consistency

Consistency has been a big item on the resolution boards and we thought this is a great way to start the new year blog post off. Being consistent is not something that comes naturally to us, it can be burdensome especially at first and can also be very taxing both physically and mentally. We are going to give you a few ways to start to add more consistency in your commitment to working out and to your life.

Be Kind “I am my own worst critic”-Jeanie Cooper

When you are striving to add consistency to your life remember that being kind to yourself is the first thing you should do. Humans really are our own worst critic and its hard to stop the negative self talk, but think about it this way if all I do is beat myself up why would I want to continue? Wouldn’t it be easier and better if I just quit and so you quit and never begin to make the goal a habit and in turn become more consistent.

Let go of old self images

Sit with that one for a second. Thats a big one, right? We all have self images I’m fat, I’m lazy, I’m unhealthy and the list can go on and on but those negative self images have got to go. Believing that you are a healthy person who works out, and has good habits is a mindset that should be activated early in your process. Our minds are powerful tools and can be used for good or bad so use yours for your own good. Once you believe you are a healthy active person choosing to be health and active is no longer a though it’s an action, and you begin to live it everyday.

Focus on incremental improvements

Unfortunately you are not going to develop a positive worthwhile habit over night, it’s going to take time. Most research suggests that it takes months to develop a new habit yup that’s right months!! This means it’s going to take work and time so celebrate the small wins. Celebrating the small stuff keeps us motivated to move forward and stick with it.

Take time to Recharge

Consistency doesn’t mean you are working out all the time or what ever the life goal is. In fact, if you give yourself time off for recovery such as yoga, rolling, meditation, booking a recovery boot session you’ll improve your productivity (ability to do more reps or use more weight) and most importantly avoid burn out. As much as we love seeing you in the gym to get your sweat on we REALLY love seeing you in the gym recharging.

Focus on the process not the potential results

We find that when people come in with a result driven attitude like I’m going to loose 30lbs they quickly fall back into the negative self talk and in turn stop working out all together. When you focus on the process you become more relaxed and prone to continue rather than beating yourself up because the potential results never come as quick as you want. Focus on the process of setting a routine to go to the gym and enjoy the community, the workout, and even more importantly doing something for yourself.

Set boundaries

This applies to your actions to family, friends, and work. When setting boundaries establish first what you are willing and able to do and be realistic about what you can do. If you have committed to going to the gym twice in a week establish those days and times and set that boundary. That is your time for you, you are working on improving your life and in turn you will improve your relationships with others when you are taking the time to care for yourself.

We hope that using these tips helps you to become more consistent not only in your workouts but in other aspects of your life that you want consistency. If you are still having trouble being consistent in your workout routine then ask about our consistency membership.

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Committing to Your 2019 Fitness Goals

The new year is quickly approaching and with that 2019 resolutions are at the forefront of our mind. If this year your resolution is to get back in shape and start a workout program, start by asking yourself some questions. If you can answer these questions before signing up at a gym then you will have a higher chance of finding a facility that will help you become consistent and happy to workout.

How familiar are you with type of exercise you want?

This one is probably the most difficult one for us to answer. Some people have years of experience exercising and can come up with a workout routine in no time. For others, it might have been years since the last time they were in a gym, and others have never been in a gym in their entire life. If you have never been in a gym or it has been years you should look into personal training or into group fitness classes. In both these cases, you will be under supervision that will prevent you from injury.

After 5 years of Rebel classes, we have found that people come to us after they have been injured or just don’t know what to do when they go to a gym. Our small class sizes allow for our trainers to focus on proper body alignment and creating diverse workouts to prevent injury. Choose a gym that fits your level of familiarity of exercise to help you stay safe and feel comfortable hitting the gym!  

Are you self motivated?

Being self motivated is extremely important when signing up at a traditional gym. You have to be motivated to get to the gym, have a workout plan, execute that plan, do the exercises in correct form to prevent injury while navigating machines. Plus, with the new year crowds, be ready to change your workout plan when a machine is not available. If self motivation is tough for you, finding a class that is challenging and keeps you motivated is key to achieving your goals. Rebel’s group classes take the planning out of it for you! All you have to do is show up, the rest is up to us.

What’s your ideal workout environment?

This can have a huge impact on your motivation to workout. If you feel comfortable in a large environment with lots of people a gym with swimming pools, basketball courts and all the bells and whistles, then a traditional gym might be your cup of tea. These facilities are great for getting a bit of everything in and cater to a wide range of people. If you would prefer to be in a place that feels a little more like Cheers, where you walk in and people know your name, then seek out a non-traditional gym that offers that type of community. Rebel chooses to keep classes small to create a more welcoming environment to help you feel comfortable when powering through your workout!

What kind of program do you need?

After understanding your goals, decide on what do you need from a facility in terms of programming. Various programing can include competition training, full meal plan and workout regimens. While, others offer programming for functional fitness (meaning exercise for life). Knowing what you want is key and knowing if this is something you can do for the rest of your  life is the other key.

Answering the above three questions were extremely important to understand what you need and want from a facility. Now lets answer some questions about the facility themselves to discover what type of gym is best for you.

Location:

Where are they located? We have found that people will make the drive if they really love the facility but only for a short period of time. So consider, is this facility close to either your home or work? It is much easier to say I can swing to the gym on my way home before or after work if it is on the way. We have a much higher rate of members consistently showing up to workout if it is part of their normal routine so look for a facility that is close to work or home.

What type of programming is out there?

If you are seeking a traditional gym, make sure their hours work for you. Make sure that they have the equipment you want and will use regularly safely and effectively. If you are seeking a group fitness studio do they offer everything you want from cardio to weight training and how long have there instructors trained for. To get certified in many forms of group teaching, facilities can hire someone that is certified to teach after an 8 hour training session. Our recommendation is to make sure that instructors have at least 100 hours of training and certifications prior to teaching classes. This will help you stay safe and ensure you are being instructed by someone who can correct your form to prevent injury.  

What type of programming do they promote?

Traditional gyms are a little harder to pinpoint down in the programming that they promote. Typically, they are great place for the self motivated person that just needs a place to get in workout and get out. They usually offer a classes that appeal to and serve a wide variety of people. Smaller facilities usually promote their programming by targeting a more specific group.

The key question here is, what they promoting and offering? Is this something you can do for life? For a season? The hardest answer to find is, can you do this type of workout for life and be honest. There are some programs that are a great catalyst for weight loss but eventually will fail to keep us active for life. Knowing that when signing up can make all the difference between negative self talk and another year of feeling bad for “not going to the gym” and finding a place that becomes your gym for life and a place that you are happy to go to. 

In the end the gym should be a place that you feel comfortable going to even on days you just don’t want to. The workouts should challenge you and motivate you and you should know that the instructors are well trained and have your safety and health in mind. Have fun and enjoy this year as your year to get back into shape. We hope that you find gym that works for you!

NO MORE GOALS!!!

Give up the goal

Everyone, no matter where they are in their journey, is an athlete. Your journey has brought you here because you are ready to take the next step and find a gym that can help you with your journey. Everyday, athletes seek trainers and gyms to help find find a way to achieve their goal. Maybe that goal is a new edge, technique, or reaching a new level in their performance. Regardless of what you’re seeking, the first thing Rebel wants you to do is let go of your goal.

Strange right? But it’s important. Give it up! There is no magic number on the scale or race time that is going make your life feel more complete. If you become too focused on a number you will become overtrained which leads to injury and, for some people, emotional distress.

What happens when we give up the goal? We allow our workouts and our daily life to coexist in harmony. If we break away from a strict mindset and instead be open to having fun, we find that workouts become enjoyable. When we give up the goal, it’s found that we workout longer, and sometimes harder when we allow ourselves to enjoy the process. The process becomes apart of our life, we no longer think of it as “working out” rather we think of it as what we choose to do to.

We know that sounds crazy and maybe counteractive – like “if I don’t have a goal, I won’t do it I won’t train hard” or “I won’t push myself”.

But what actually happens when we approach training with the “goal in mind” attitude we can become overworked and critical of ourselves. We don’t allow for a rest day, we beat ourselves up for eating that piece of lasagna or not making it to the gym and it snowballs. We lose motivation, we lose the initial drive. We push so hard that we are constantly exhausted and the negative self talk takes over. We give up or we get injured.

Remember: Life doesn’t happen in a gym. Life is comprised of all the beautiful and wonderful adventures from enjoying an evening stroll with our loved ones to running our first race. Let go of the goal and embrace the process it’s not going to be easy, but in the end it’s going to life changing.

Up and Over Training!! Two week plan

Up and Over

-Equipment
Shoes-at least two pairs to rotate
Socks-good socks that wick moisture away darn tough and smart wool
Shirt-wear the same type of shirts to prevent chafing
Water-take water with you take small amount to start then build how much you carry Trekking poles-Incredible tools to help climbing and descending use throughout training

-Trail Etiquette
Yield-foot traffic yield to horses mountain bikers yield to foot traffic
find a safe place to step off trail and let them pass when safe for YOU.
Headphones-leave one ear in and one out so that you can hear surrounding

-Watch your step
Plant feet carefully, control, falling happens.

Building YOUR program

-Small increments
Running is hard impact on your body starting from your ankle through to your hip and back down. Every spot along that chain is vulnerable to breakdown through repetition stress injuries. Gradual introduction of the consistent stress of running so that your body can adapt to running without injury is the best place to start.

-Gradual improvement of aerobic capacity and endurance
When we start running (or do any aerobic exercise) our bodies starts to adapt and make you more aerobically efficient. Aerobic adaptations are one of the cornerstones of reaching your running potential. If you already have a strong aerobic system built up the challenge will be to not push too much at first since your aerobic system might be able to withstand the stress but your musculoskeletal system may not be ready to cash that check. Don’t go too hard!!

-Consistency in training
Both your musculoskeletal system and your aerobic adapt to bouts of stress. If you go too hard or too long the probability of injury or burnout increases, especially as you start out. Since burnout or injury can prevent the body from making the necessary adaptations it is essential to build your running base slowly and allow yourself to rest and take time off. Plan your runs to be easy and comfortable each week.
Sample running plan for the next two weeks. Use this as a guide to find what works for you! Remember small and incremental steps to build the strength to adapt to the impact of running.

Monday run for 10-20 min easy pace

Tuesday run for 30-45 min easy pace

Wednesday rest day

Thursday run for 10-20 min easy pace

Friday rest day

Saturday run for 45 min easy pace

Sunday rest day

Monday run for 10-20 sprint 20 sec 3 min easy pace repeat

Tuesday run 15-30 min constant fast maintainable pace

Wednesday rest day

Thursday run 10-20 sprint 10 sec 3 min easy pace

Friday rest day

Saturday-group run

Sunday rest day

Electrolyte Replacement

IMG_2260
Why drink Electrolyte replacements?

We sweat when we workout, but our sweat isn’t just water. Since our bodies our made up of 60-75% water when we sweat, we begin to lose water fast. To avoid getting cramps, nauseous, confused, and headaches we need to replace the water we lose. How ever just drinking water alone will not replace what we lose when we sweat. In addition to water, our sweat is made up of electrolytes that contain sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. All of these minerals are used by our bodies for every day function and if we do not replace them we might have larger problems. Potassium helps prevent post-exercise exhaustion, supports intense training (like a Rebel class) and helps replenish glycogen stores by aiding in the conversion from glucose to glycogen. Low on magnesium? If so you might experience inflammation, soreness, and sleep issues. We use calcium not just in our bones but it is used for vitally important tasks such as your heart beat. Sodium however makes up 90% of the electrolytes in our sweat and plays an important role in helping our bodies perform.

Science behind our Sweat

As you sweat you lose more water than you do sodium. On average people sweat approximately 1 liter of water for every 1-2 hours of endurance exercise they perform. In every liter of sweat is about ½ to 1 teaspoon of sodium. As you exercise, your sodium level begins to rise in your blood making you feel thirsty. This thirst can only be quenched when you consume enough water to bring the sodium concentration in your blood back down, and as crazy as it sounds sometimes we need to increase the amount of sodium we consume and not rely on water alone.

But why not water alone?

When we consume just water we are not replacing everything we lost when we are sweating and it is important to replace both the fluid and the electrolytes, specifically the sodium lost in sweat, otherwise we’re going to run the risk feeling terrible. If we were to drink enough water to quench our thirst and then continue to drink water we could become hyponatremic which means that we dilute the sodium levels so low in our blood stream that we can begin to feel like crap. Feeling like crap can take on many different forms but some of the most common are headaches, nausea, fatigue, and confusion. This is why we encourage you to find an electrolyte replacement mix or beverage that works for you and your body.

What we recommend:

We highly recommend Skratch not just because we sell it but because after years of trying lots of products this product is simple, Skratch has low sugar, high sodium and real fruit for flavor. We have found the simpler something is, the easier it is for you body to absorb and process. This means the faster you can get back to working out, riding bikes, running, or just enjoying your day.
Next time you join us for a class, ask your trainer about Skratch and how it might help you replenish your electrolytes!

Wine Night!!

Our First Wine Night!! With the cold days of winter upon us our beer runs are postponed until spring so why not have a wine night we say. Join us the Friday for the 5:30 express class to be followed by wine and a little wine education.

Closed for Veterans Day…going on a hike

10K Trail 

We will be going on a hike this Veterans day so please join us if you can. Meet at Rebel at 9am departing at 9:05 so we can carpool/caravan up to the 10K trail on the back side of the Sandias. This is an amazing hike, and in our back yard!!

The weather is supposed to be nice but we will be high in elevation and much cooler start. Expect temps to be in the 40s so bring layers better to have more then not enough. Also bring lots of water and a snack. We plan on hiking for about 3 hours with no real goal in mind just enjoying the wonderful fall air.

If you’d like to meet at the trail head please arrive by 9:40 directions below:

To reach the trailhead for this hike, head east from Albuquerque on I-40, north on NM 14 for 6 miles, and up the Crest Highway (NM 536) about 11 miles to the North 10K Trail parking lot on the right (north) side of the road. This is PAST the ski base.

n10k_oshaloop2008