Hip Flexor  & Quadriceps Stretches 

An essential stretch for good hip muscle length and balance between thigh flexor and extensors.
1. Use the arm rest of a couch and bring your heel to your butt. Rest your ankle on the top of the couch as seen here.

2. Keep the knee pointing towards the floor. Relax and hold for 15-20 seconds.

3. Breathe deeply, in through your nose and out through your mouth.

4. Repeat for both legs.

If you need something higher, try the couch back  to rest your ankle on and follow the process above.

Give it a try.

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Neck Stretching for Better Posture – Part 1

Now that we’ve been using Smartphones for at least the past decade, it’s no surprise to me that this essential device is now reaking havoc on our bodies, or at least my body.

Just last night, I sat in my living room catching up on the latest motorcycle news and it dawned on me just how much my posture sufferers, head down neck jutting out and turned to the left side of my body, while using my phone.

I really need to change the habits created when using my phone.
So here’s an  stretch to offset poor smartphone posture.

1. Behind your back, hold the right wrist with your left hand. This anchors your right shoulder in place.

2. Laterally bend your neck toward the left shoulder (ear to shoulder).

3. Close your eyes, relax, breathe and hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

4. Repeat on the other side (clearly I should practice what I preach more often)!

Go ahead,  give it try and incorporate it into your daily stretching routine.

Forearm Soreness and Pain?

Are you in an occupation or career that constantly requires using a keyboard and mouse?  Or are you working in trades that are hard on your hands and forearms from doing manual labour? Well here’s a self help tip to start off 2017. It’s called a Cold Arm Bath.

  • fill the kitchen sink with 6-8″ of cold tap water;
  • immerse your forearms completely;
  • keep immersed for a minimum of 30 seconds;
  • towel dry and let your body rewarm the tissue gradually.

If you have a higher tolerance for cold add ice and keep your arms in the water for a minimum of 2 minutes.

The benefits from doing this is increased circulation to your forearms. Cold water sends blood away from the tissue towards your core, a lot like a hypothermic reaction to being out in extreme cold. Once you remove your forearms, your body sends blood back to your forearms to rewarm the tissue. Repeat daily or as you feel fatigued in your forearms or wrists.

Give it a try!

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Lazy Calf Stretches

It’s interesting that many people often overlook doing this simple stretch. Whether it’s because our gastrocnemius and soleus, often referred to as our calf muscles, are so powerful or that they don’t often give people pain similar to back and neck muscles. I believe it’s the latter and thus they are a neglected muscle group that rarely get stretched.

I’ve seen many ways to stretch calves – passively where someone else tries to push the foot into dorsiflexion…that’s not very effective in my opinion mostly due to the strength of both muscles combined. Remember that you can do single leg calf raises which means that these muscles can lift your entire body weight and yes, that’s what I mean by how strong they are. I’ve also seen individuals go into a stretch position where they lean into a wall while keeping their foot flat on the ground. I’ve done that before and it isn’t very effective at all and feels like way more work than I want to do when I stretch. So that takes us to my favourite way to stretch, lazy calf stretches.


This is how lazy calf stretching is done:


Using stairs, align the balls of your feet with the edge of the stair. The opposite leg is the support leg and needs to be on the stair too. Drop your heel off the edge with a bend in the knee (stretches the soleus muscle). Relax, breathe and hold between 15 and 30 seconds. Transfer weight from your support leg to the stretching leg to intensify the stretch or reduce the amount of stretch. Progress to placing all of your weight on the stretch leg to maximize the stretch. Use the handrail for balance.

Dare I state the obvious, stretch on the bottom stair because if you have a problem such as losing your balance, it won’t be far to fall.

Follow the same procedure as above. Notice the knee is relatively straight. This will stretch the gastrocnemius muscle.

Follow the same procedure as above.
Notice the knee is relatively straight. This will stretch the gastrocnemius muscle.

The pictures show stretching in bare feet but I often prefer to stretch with shoes or Crocs on! No kidding! Give it a try!

Lazy Groin Stretch #2 for Hip Flexor Pain

Being a RMT, I often get asked for advice by my teaching colleagues about how to solve soft tissue problems, most specifically muscle pain. Recently I was approached by Melissa inquiring about hip flexor pain and tightness that she had been receiving treatment for with little resolve. Her left hip flexor, primarily her tensor fascia lata (TFL) was the muscle that she was having treated. She had numerous visits with her physiotherapist and couldn’t shake the muscle spasm. Recognizing that other muscles may be contributing to the problem we had a brief conversation about stretching and what other muscles she could work on to help give her some relief. Naturally, the conversation started with “Lazy Stretching” as I call it. I showed her how to stretch her quadriceps (thighs), hamstrings and adductor (groin) muscles. Interestingly enough, they all benefited her.

Basically, what we talked about was looking at the balance of hip flexion with hip extension and the muscles that could be contributing to her tight hip flexors. What I also shared with Melissa is that another muscle called adductor magnus can often be problematic for people. The adductor magnus performs adduction as its name implies but some fibres perform hip flexion and hip extension. Because it performs so many different movements it is important to stretch opposing muscle groups when looking at a hip problem such as hers.  So one thing led to another and I showed her my Lazy Hamstring #2 stretch as seen below.

Try this:


groing stretching 1

Lie flat on your back, tuck your butt up against the wall, placing the soles of your feet together. Place your hand on your knees and push towards the wall. This will stretch your groin (adductor) muscles with a focus on the upper attachment on the pubic bone.

groing stretching 2

Remember to breathe by slowly inhaling through your nose and exhaling out your mouth. Hold for 20-30 seconds or until you feel your groin muscles relaxing.

groin stretching 3

A birds eye view.

Add this Lazy Groin Stretch to your repertoire and let me know if it helped.

Breakfast Protein Shake

Almost all of my blogs have mostly been focused on self-help strategies to deal with pain and dysfunction so I thought I’d change it up a bit. I’ve been practicing some solid nutrition habits most of the time in my life but often overlook sharing them because I assume others already know about them. What’s interesting is that when I ask my clients about this they often tell me that they haven’t tried one.

To achieve a healthy body everyone needs to practice good wholesome nutrition and that starts with breakfast. Did you know what breakfast actually means? Well, it means “breaking the fast” that naturally occurs due to getting a good nights sleep. Think about it, how often do you go for 6-8 hours without eating? I know, I know…call me “Captain Obvious!”

Here’s my take on some solid nutritional habits that I have been using for over a decade now. It simple to make, requires no cooking ability and is full of nutrients to get each day started.

I like to use frozen strawberries, mango and bananas to keep my shake chilled. The rest of my fruit is fresh. All ingredients are from Costco because they have some of the best prices around. Use this instead of skipping breakfast or rushing out the door each morning to grab a breakfast sandwich at Starbucks, Tim’s or McDonald’s. We all know that they aren’t the healthiest and are loaded full of fat and sodium.

1 serving:

1 kiwi peeled

1 banana

1/3 cup of mango

1/3 cup of strawberries

1/3 cup of raspberries

1 scoop of protein

splash of flax oil

1 single serve of yogurt (100 gm)

1/2 cup of milk

Shake ingredients: banana, kiwi, frozen raspberries, strawberries and mango, milk, whey protein, milk, yogurt.

Shake ingredients: banana, kiwi, frozen raspberries, strawberries and mango, milk, whey protein, milk, yogurt. flax oil.

Place all ingredients in a blender, blend until pureed and there are no chunks of fruit. The milk or yogurt or protein based beverage is a must to make sure your protein powder is complete (has all the essential amino acids).  Makes about 500-600 ml. Add or takeaway fruit to suit your tastes.

Pour into a travel mug and enjoy on the commute to work!