Join me for a great 20 minute video where we will explore several different ways to rehab your wrists, strengthen them and also a few times on proper wrist placement in your yoga practice! A little goes a long way, an area of the body we just daily don't let it be one you over look and one that keeps you from feeling your best!
by Hope Zvara
Plank is a hot core move in the fitness industry and yoga is no exception, but regardless of this hot move, it appears that there are many, many accidental variations that could be jeopardizing your core benefits in more ways than one.
1. Your plank is a bit saggy. Well to be a bit blunter your plank is hanging in all the wrong places. Just because your knees and belly aren’t on the floor hardly qualifies Plank as working your core. A saggy middle and saggy head not only put your lower back at serious risk for damage (an area most are already having pain) but a saggy head only creates more pressure on our poor wrists, another area many complain about in this trendy pose. Lift your middle without hinging at the hips, when you hang you put too much stress on the lower back and psoas, imagine floating above a campfire and remember to lift your head and look straight down, rather than forward.
2. You suffer from gluteuspoofus. Yep you heard me correctly; gluteuspoofus is a serious syndrome that many suffer from which entails you (the student) to push your booty to the sky creating a tip in the pelvis (pubis bone tipping upwards and ASIS down, fancy term for front hip bones). This tilt takes the entire core load into the hip hinge no longer making it a core pose. Make sure to align your pelvis in neutral (pubis bone and hip bones parallel with the floor, and ever slightly tip the hip bones into your core). You should feel the difference.
3. Your upper body looks like the incredible hulk. Now don’t get me wrong you are using your upper body in Plank but, everything is an extension of your core and your arms should not be doing all the work. When the folds of your elbows turn inward and your chest hallows out, it leaves your upper back looking like a berm and you have just cheated yourself again from a stellar core pose! Your upper back should be broad but not hunched, scapulae stabilization at its finest.
4. Your hands are cupping on the floor to hide your reward afterwards. Ok maybe not, but I see this all the time, all the load in the wrist and then people complain that their not strong enough for Plank yet. No, you probably are, you just haven’t had the proper instruction. Take just an extra few seconds to ensure that your wrists are directly under your shoulders, turn the folds of the elbows forward (watch hyperextension) and then lean just a hair further forward to bring more weight into the line of the fingers, making sure to spread the hands wide. And yes, Plank does strengthen the forearms and wrists so be ready for a little work in that area.
5. You are acting like you have two legs. The line of our core starts at the inner arches of our feet and runs up our inner thighs and feeds directly into the pelvic floor; two separate legs for someone who can’t quite say they truly understand the core will leave them with any one of the above and maybe something even fancier than that. Draw your legs and ankles together and zip the line of the inner thighs, this will at least allow your pelvic floor and transversus abdominus a fighting chance to turn on.
So what’s the skinny on plank then?
Plank is one-third core, one-third legs and one-third arms. When one area of the body is not up to par we compensate, for many it being the core. Start from the ground up and set up your hands and arms, consider placing a mini ball or foam block between the inner thighs and squeeze, this will allow a more effective core onset until you can feel those deep inner muscles without. Remember to practice neutral and Plank is no different. Don't forget to lean slightly forward (no hunching) over the fingers and push away to broaden the back. Think about how your arms and legs plug into your core (torso), not the other way around.
Modifications as always can be on the knees, and I look at modifications as ways to be more effective in the right muscle groups, and a second being on the forearms; but make sure to place a yoga block between the forearms and turn the palms inward, now press the forearms into the floor to shift your core load.
I have had a few requests for more details on my one-armed side push-up that I feature in my Core Functional Fitness (TM) Pilates Style DVD. This video is in tribute to this move. Here I'm offering some warm-up moves to help you cultivate the proper balance of muscles along side our kicker move at the end.
We all have 5 minutes right? I know I do, and this core video is 5 minutes well spent! What would happen if you spent 5 minutes like this every day?
Love your core, abdominal's, obliques, back and smoken mid-section!
Join Hope Zvara for a great 15 min Plank-it series focusing on 360 degrees core based moves and toned arms. Hope focuses on functional movement and is known for her detail guided instruction for a sure kick butt practice no matter what!
You’ve probably felt crippling pain in your heel or arch and a common culprit is plantar fasciitis (PLAN-ter fash-ee-EYE-tus). It's an irritation of the plantar tendon, a clustering of microscopic tears at the cellular level causing tenderness and discomfort when you walk or strike your foot or heel to the ground.
It's estimated that this condition affects over 2 million Americans every year and 10% of Americans will experience plantar fasciitis at some point in their lives.
Where is the plantar tendon?
The plantar tendon is located on the center of the bottom of the foot, attaching the heel to the toes, and the plantar fascia covers the bottom of the foot. Fascia is the netting that covers every muscle and every fiber of every muscle, and can often restrict proper muscle, ligament, tendon or connective tissue function.
What causes this kind of foot pain?
More common causes are:
So what I'm saying is: if your hips are tight, your feet will react, and if your feet are tight, your hips will react, and in the middle are our poor knees ... do you see where I’m going with this?
How foot pain can cause neck pain:
To continue reading this article visit MindBodyGreen (<- Click) where Hope had this article originally published
Many of us have a large stability ball at home and have no clue what to do with it. Enjoy just 10 minutes with me and your stability and I know you and your stability ball will develop a whole new relationship together. 10 minutes of core, this video will leave you quivering, feeling like you've done your body good in 10 minutes flat!
Everyone is busy, and not everyone has time for double workouts, join me for this sweaty class featuring the best of yoga combine with light hand weights. Do you think you have what it takes to follow through the entire 75 min class? Lets find out. Get ready to burn calories, build lean muscle, cultivate core strength, gain flexibility and enrich your mind-body connection. Enjoy!
A Little-Known Core Concern that Warrants Recognition
Most people would love to have a killer core—that is, a waistline to die for—but at what cost? Diastasis recti is a splitting of the fascia of the rectus abdominis down the linia alba, or midline, that separates it into left and right halves. The condition occurs primarily in infants and pregnant women, but can also be the result of obesity, particularly when excessive fat surrounds the abdomen. Diastasis recti can also be cause by certain abdominal exercises and heavy weightlifting— which is a common cause of the problem among men. In women, diastasis recti can occur during pregnancy, when the pressure of the uterus against the abdominal wall causes a widening and thinning of the midline tissue. However, women can live with diastasis recti for several years after pregnancy, especially if they do not perform the proper exercises to fix the issue or if they worsen the separation by exercising incorrectly. Having several consecutive pregnancies can prevent the uterus from returning to its normal size and interfere with the body’s healing.
A split that creates a gap wider than two-and-a-half fingers’ width may be considered a medical issue and should be dealt with immediately. Even at two fingers widths, sufferers may notice back pain, the sagging “mama belly” or a coning or V-shape at the line of the linia alba, where the abdominals should be connected. At any gap size, diastasis recti is a concern that can create issues if left unaddressed as the core muscles develop improperly. When something in our bodies is not working correctly, something else compensates, and that compensation eventually catches up with us.
What to Avoid Exercise classes and boot camps that are focused on weight loss and strength training usually do not provide students with an understanding of transversus abdominis and pelvic support, so it is important for anyone that suffers from diastasis, especially new mothers, to understand the problem and how to properly heal from it. Because pregnancy stretches and thins the abdominal walls rapidly, the muscles afterward are vulnerable to injury. Like a balloon that is inflated and deflated several times consecutively, the abs can become distorted and saggy unless the proper care is taken to heal them from being stretched thin.
The abdominal exercises known as crunches can create a pressure down the midline of the belly that can cause the split. The source of problematic weightlifting is incorrect form; either sucking in or pushing out the belly prevents building true transversus abdominis strength.
Women should avoid wearing a support girdle or other tummy-trimming undergarments unless the split is two or more fingers width apart. The girdle’s support prevents sufferers from working the core muscles, leading to an issue that is much worse than a simple tummy bulge.
How to Strengthen and Heal Learning proper pelvic floor exercises will give the core the support it needs and build the base from which to mend the issue. The pelvic floor is the bottom of the body; with strengthening, this foundation can lighten the load on the rectus abdominis and help remedy urinary incontinence.
Due to pregnancy, excessive abdominal weight or improper core work, many women that have diastasis recti also have lordosis, an exaggerated forward curvature of the lumbar and cervical regions of the spinal column. Intentionally bringing the spine into a neutral position helps retrain the muscles into their proper position.
Choose exercises that facilitate using the transversus abdominis properly, working in three dimensions, or planes of motion, rather than simply along one plane (for example, with crunches, the movement is just rounding forward). Learn core exercises that require work in the transverse (horizontal) plane, rather than in the sagittal (or vertical) plan, as traditional sit-ups do.
Practice breathwork that will encourage a co-contraction effect on the entire pelvic core, from the pelvic floor to the entire torso. When exhaling, instead of sucking in our pushing out, make a small deflation of the belly, but more distinctly, a firm contraction of the entire core to feel a bracing effect.
Finally, become educated and ask questions. Not all workouts are equal and unfortunately, not all instructors are aware of the effects of their workouts on all parts of the body.
Three Moves to Rehabilitate Diastasis Recti by Hope Zvara
Forearm Plank Twist
Come onto the forearms in a forearm plank position, actively pressing forearms into the floor, keeping head in line with the body parallel to the ground. From the natural waistline, twist your lower body to the left, rotating your pelvis and feet to point in the same direction onto the side of the left foot, so that the left hip points toward the ground and right side faces the ceiling. Lift your hips actively away from the floor to feel the oblique and transversus abdominis turn on. Remain here for five to 10 breaths. Pause in plank and take a short break, and then repeat the opposite side, twisting the lower body to the right. After completing both sides, decide which side needs more work and repeat that side a second time.
Mini-ball Extension with a Twist Sitting tall with a nine-inch, core-training mini-ball gently tucked behind your sacrum, sit tall on your sit bones and on an exhale using your transversus abdominis, press only your sacrum barely into the ball without rounding your spine. Inhale and extend your body back to make a 45-degree angle with the floor, watching not to arch the back and keeping a maintained focus on the linea alba. Keep the intention of exhaling and connecting both sides of the belly together. Place the fingers of one hand on one side of the rectus break and the thumb on the other. Upon exhaling, use the fingers and thumb to merge the split muscle. Do not extend too far back and remember to keep the pelvic floor active; a mini-ball or block can be placed between the inner thighs to assist. On the next inhale, take a gentle twist to the right and rotate only the torso, taking care to not move on the mini-ball, and with a strong exhale, focus on using your corset core, the area between the hips and the ribs, to rotate you back to center. Repeat each side five times and then work the weaker side again another five times.
Lying on the floor in a supine position, place a mini-ball underneath the sacrum with the pelvis in a neutral position. Exhale and actively contract the anal sphincter, vaginal passageway (for women) and urethra. Keeping this support, lift one leg up so that the shin is parallel to the ceiling, with the knee aligned over the hip. Keep steady and extend your opposite arm towards the lifted leg, palm to thigh. Now without moving the pelvis or spine, press leg and palm towards each other, creating resistance, for 10 to 20 seconds. Release the leg and arm and then repeat on the opposite side. Notice which side is weaker and repeat that side a second time. What you should notice is the entire core activating without you needing to do much of anything. This way to effectively use the core and support the spine is called bracing, or co-contracting.
Join Hope Zvara for a great 15 minute yoga session incorporating the principles of functionality in combination with light hand weights and cues to help you get the most out of your core! A great workout can really happen in just 15 minutes!