Tag Archives: strength

Mel Collie | Necking It

Heres what I used to do for my tight neck muscles – get them stretched…

Did they need stretching often ? yes…were they always tight? yes…

Why? Computer..stress..anxiety…forward head posture, clenched jaw..all that stuff means tight upper neck muscles.

Was I fed up with it..not really, after all it was my own fault right?   I knew what to stretch though, so I stretched them, I just told myself off for spending too much time on that computer

Is that you too? Hell yes I bet it is!

Years and years later…still stretching?

Here we go – the tight muscles are telling you a story, and you’ve just read it in a different language.

For all that time…

Remember the yellow fish in Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy?

I got me one of those fish when I started to understand the WHY

I began to understand the language

I stopped chasing the pain and looked elsewhere

What was that pain telling me? Tight muscles, overworking, tired, fed up, pissed off neck muscles.

Why?

Switched off core muscles…even though I’m a Pilates instructor, my abs were NOT working in a correct pattern.

When tested using NKT (www.neurokinetictherapy.com) my Psoas (hip flexor) TA (Transversus Abs) and Rectus Abs were unorganised…thats my polite way of saying they were inhibited. Their pattern of working was all jumbled up.

My left shoulder hikes up when I’m stressed, its been like that forever, it gets tight, I’m aware of it but I wasn’t aware those muscles were working to stabilise my core as well.

As soon as they were released and my Psoas and TA strengthened, stuff changed.

As soon as my Scalenes were released after testing to find they were facilitated (left more than right) and the left ones released (ouch! ) my diaphragm went whooosshhh…and my breathing was lighter.

Oh yes, the diaphragm is a commonly facilitated muscle too, you can practice deep breathing , but for some of us, it wont “let go” if its compensating.

I love testing core muscles when a client compensates by clinching jaw or breath holding, its a common cheat, and tells a story – do you do core work at the gym or in your Pilates class with a clenched jaw and no breathing for those tricky repetitions?

Want to stop that and do the same exercises with good form (check your neck position, if you need a towel under your head to keep it neutral, then use one or you are using your neck to stabilise , not your core)and breathe out with your mouth open, and eyes open, don’t close those eyes, that just means you are searching the brain for answers when it cant find your core muscles to do the work. Bet you are clenching the jaw and toes too …

Get yourself assessed to find out whats inhibited and facilitated, what patterns are unorganised , you will get homework to do thats specific for your unique patterning, which will involve a stretch or a massage with a ball in a tender/tight area, but what you do that follows that release is crucial to allow that “stretch” to hold, for the brain to relearn the new pattern.

It can take up to 3,000 reps for the brain to cement a new pattern of learning…thats a LOT of reps.

Its a lot of wrong reps if you are treating the wrong pattern. Guys thats why I was stretching for years and nothing changed. I was stretching the tight and not strengthening the weak. I didn’t know my patterns were unorganised.

So yes, there you go, get assessed, you can search NKT on You Tube too, to get an idea of how it works..

You will save a lot of years of stretching and chasing pain, you are unique, find out whats working..and whats not.

Phew…

Mel

www.melcollie.com

Mel Collie | Abdominal Strength – How Is Yours?

Mel Collie | Abdominal Strength – How Is Yours?

As part of being a pattern detective, I’ve been practicing abdominal reaction , abdominal strength.

The tests – theres 5 of them I have practiced – test the deep transversus abs and the more superficial rectus abs (the 6 pack!) as well as 3 other pattern tests.

Even someone with a 6 pack can have abs that don’t meet the core test protocol, which is fascinating right?

We are so conditioned to work on core strength yet we seem to be missing it completely.

Instead, our brain compensates and uses other stuff to get its stabilisation – the neck is a good one, as is the jaw.

Get your core assessed if you find you have neck tightness, back pain or even knee pain.

Assessment by a NKT specialist is kind of like a shortcut to delving into your body without being sliced open to reveal the workings , your patterns, of movement.

Injuries, scar tissue, compensations – can equal pain, dysfunction in the system, and it may not be as text book as it makes out to be. There are many pattern compensations, a pattern detective tests, assesses and gives homework for the findings from your unique body and its story. What works for you may not work for another.

So next time in your core workout session,, remember, ribs to hips if yours are flexible enough to allow this movement.

Lie on your back, bend the knees, feet on the floor, place a small towel under your lower ribs, keep the lower ribs into the towel so it cant be pulled away as you take the arms up to the ceiling and overhead, maintain the towel and rib connection.

Increasing core stability for your shoulder mobility is priceless. It decreases tension in your lower back and increases shoulder mobility and core stability.

When you try to reach for stuff on the top shelf you can do it by using your thoracic extension, not your lower back.

More functional than doing 100’s of sit ups for a better body for the future of your movement quality…

if thats what you are investing in…

Mel Collie

www.melcollie.com

Pattern Detective in Training in Snowdonia

Find a therapist here: http://neurokinetictherapy.com

 

Mel Collie | How To Do The Plank

Mel Collie | How To Do The Plank

Years ago I went to a Pilates class run by someone who wanted you to hold the plank for 8 minutes…and there was one person in the class who could do this..at the expense of their back though, because I knew that person, and they had back pain.

The plank is a common strength position in classes. Its ok to practice it, but only if you can maintain alignment.

Most cannot maintain alignment for more than a few seconds.

When the abs aren’t working correctly, the neck takes over.
When that happens the shoulder blades usually lift.
When that happens, the jaw clenches, if it hasn’t already…
When that happens the breathing changes, or you forget to breathe
When that happens the lower back drops.
When that happens you get back pain..
When that happens…you’ve already done too much, but if theres people around you in the class and your instructor tells you to keep going, you clench even harder and keep going.
When that happens you probably aren’t getting any strength gains where you want them – your core..

Theres so many other moves you can do for your core.

Theres so many other ways to help your inner self gain strength

Start with your breath. Its the most repeated movement you will do all day, all of your life, but most of us don’t even bother with it, as its automatic, it just happens, we don’t take a moment to consider that the way we breathe is relevant to posture, strength, awareness, reduction in pain. Surely it has to be harder than that?

Well, no not really…

Start here, and that will give you massive gains.

Then go onto your vision and balance. Both connect to the spinal cord. Massive gains here in mobility, flexibility and reduction of pain. Just with simple vision and vestibular drills.

Surely it must be more complicated than that..?

..well, no not really…

Then, proprioception and spatial awareness, improve those, your movement, flexibility, strength, power, jumps, lifts, every day life will be awesome.

Really? Surely..

Well, yes, really…

It can be that simple.

 

Mel Collie

www.posturegeek.co.uk

Want to have your posture checked over? Book your place here

I will contact you to once you’ve booked, to get a time and day you can come to my treatment room and posture studio in Llanberis, North Wales.

Mel Collie | Hurt Your Back?

Mel Collie | Hurt Your Back?

Sometimes, doing the most simple thing like bending down to pick up a pen from the floor, can do your back in..

Why is that?

Well, its not the task that did it, its whats going on in your nervous system, all the build up, past injuries, lack of movement, lack of supporting gut health in the form of nutrients and hydration, reduced eyesight(spending more time on Facebook/emails/Twitter/websites/editing) reduced balance, reduced input from the world around us.

In a nutshell, your brain only asks one thing – can I survive this?

If it thinks you cannot, it will send you enough pain to ensure you don’t over reach/bend/play

You feel pain, you slow down, thats just what your nervous system wants, it doesn’t care you have work to do, a job to complete , a marathon to run, dinner to cook, a house to clean.

It just goes by the feedback you are giving it.

If thats crappy(just like a GPS, functioning as a GPS, your brain locates you in space utilising vision, vestibular,proprioception like 3 satellite signals), then your responses will be too.

You can’t have it all..you have to do some work to keep a healthy foundation, and thats down to you, no one else.

Heres some help though. Poor function in one of more of those satellite signals results in  malfunction.Its hard to find your way when the satellite signal isn’t working..

Pain is a signal for danger – an action that makes the central nervous system feel threatened, pain does not always = injury.

Anyhooo..heres some little tips for you

  1. The most repetitive thing your body will do today is breathe. Get that wrong and the whole cascade of satellite breakdown emergency signals will begin. Pain is the end result. You are reading this, so you are alive, that means you are breathing, however, your body, a master of compensation, will get energy from anywhere at your own expense. This means that if you aren’t taking in enough oxygen, your brain will have to ensure that in order to survive, you will have to therefore have a less efficient outcome – less mobility, flexibility, strength, energy. You aren’t giving it the fuel it needs, it has to respond.
  2. Your eyes aren’t getting any better are they? When was the last time you took a day off Facebook and looked at the world around you instead? Allowing a focus away from the screen, every day for a few minutes every half hour, allows your eyes to send better signals back to your brain. A reduced signal means a  reduced output via pain, less movement, less range and reach, pain when your brain think you are reaching too far or bending in a way that means it hasn’t got the support to allow you to do that, it has to stop you, how can it do that? Pain signals.
  3. It may not sound very nice, but pain is a way of your brain telling you that it needs some help from you, some input please, some support. Simple breathing deep into the lower belly 10 times  (repeat 5 times a day) helps enormously, your brain loves to feel that. Give it the fuel it needs and it will respond, much like a car. That goes for nutrition and hydration too. Lack of nutrients means a weakened gut , your gut is at the area of your lower back..makes sense? More green veggies, less gluten, more water, less caffeine, more fruit, less fake sugar.

You’ve only got one spine.

Look after it.

Mel

x

That was a lot of helpful tips there, needs some accountability?

www.posturegeek.co.uk

Book your GPS assessment, and follow on treatment. Find out why many others are recommending a neurological way of treating pain.

 

 

 

Mel Collie | An easy way to stop being clumsy

Mel Collie | An easy way to stop being clumsy

I used to be so clumsy, always had bruises on my legs from bumping into things it became so common that it was unusual if I didn’t have any bruises, so in a sense, I got used to it, does that ring a bell with you? You got used to something so much you didn’t think about changing it?

I discovered my clumsy antidote by accident on a course for corrective exercise using your brain rather than stretching muscles.

One of those tests that worked for me, I now do in my posture assessments, and it is for Spatial Awareness. What is spatial awareness and how does it affect your balance?

 

mel collie | spatial awareness
spatial awareness

A healthy spatial awareness allows us to understand our location, our surroundings, in relation to our bodies. This can be affected when we have a shock or an accident or trauma, affecting our ability to judge distances, for example, when we cross the road , we may not be sure how far away an approaching vehicle is, so we hesitate on the curb, not sure if we should cross or wait.

Poor spatial awareness can appear as being clumsy, bumping into things, standing too close to objects or people , than usual. You may also find it tricky to catch a ball, affecting sports, which may mean you’ve hated exercise since school because you have felt useless , less than able, find it tricky to differentiate from the words over, under, left and right.

Try this simple thing to help your spatial awareness improve: Grab a ball like a tennis ball, and throw and catch it with one hand, 5 times, then the other hand, 5 times, then from hand to hand, start low, increasing the height of the throw as you get more confident. Then throw it against a wall.  Try it with one hand, then with the other. Then move from side to side to side as you throw the ball at different parts of the wall, making it a little bit more challenging.

However…

Try this a few times a week, but watch your breathing, try not to hold your breath as this can affect your results , in some people, in a very noticeable way, as inhibiting your oxygen tells your brain it is under threat, and all its interested in is keeping you alive, so reduced oxygen levels will slow you down and reduce your performance.

You can assess your nervous system response by doing a test before and after, like bending forward to touch the floor or a simple rotation movement, see how far you can go, and if your range increases or decreases after the tennis ball activity. ( if it has decreased, take a minute to relax and do some deep slow belly breathing , then retest your forward bend)

Make sense doesnt it, we just havent thought of it this way before.

Mel Collie

www.posturegeek.co.uk