Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tricks of the Trade

Eating chicken breast every day gets old real fast—especially if you’re eating it more than once too.  Keeping your go-to staples delicious and appetizing goes a long way towards helping you stick to a stricter intake.  Here are my favorite ways to dress up plain ol’ chicken and rice.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Reconditioning Part II

For my previous injury-related post regarding knees, shoulders, and hips, read this.

When initiating a back rehabilitation routine, it is important to remember a few key spinal qualities.  Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, the spinal extensors are static muscles.  Unlike other skeletal muscles, which stretch and contract in order to facilitate movement, these extensors are only meant to hold a static, stable position with a (relatively speaking) very limited range of motion.  To perform this function, the spine is held in place not by one or two pairs of extensors, but by many overlapping pairs of varying lengths.  This network stabilizes and supports the spine, while myriad other skeletal muscles use this layered foundation to rotate, extend, lift, and lower the shoulders, arms, neck, and legs--there are almost no activities which do not affect the back.  This means that this musculature can both withstand and exert an extreme amount of force, making it highly resilient but also highly susceptible to injury--especially if the spine is not supported properly.  And in spite of this strength and resilience, the back is still fairly delicate, so working around an injury involving the back may contraindicate lots of exercises, even for non-affected areas.  Sharp pain is usually a good indicator that an exercise or stretch should not be performed—this is not to be confused with muscular “discomfort” that needs to be explored and pushed!