There's a lot you can do to sleep more deeply at night, helping to rejuvenate your body with each and every night. The following video shows one of the many techniques I'll be teaching at my 10/10 seminar: Sleep to Rejuvenate the Body. Click here for more details.
There's a lot you can do to make sitting more comfortable. The following video teaches you the Five Foot Postures, a simple way to enhance your sitting experience.
Neck rolls are one of the easiest and best exercises you can possibly do for your neck. Learn more by watching the video below.
[I'm teaching a seminar March 14th, 2018 entitled How to Rejuvenate the Body: Easy Exercises for a More Youthful Body which will cover this topic and much more related material. Register here.]
Most of us know that we should be doing some form of stability work for the spine so as to prevent low back pain, but stability work can be absolutely overwhelming. There are simply far too many exercises out there, and even if you do some of these exercises, you'll probably be told that you're doing them 'wrong.' For every exercise guru there is another (and absolutely critical) way that stability exercises are supposed to be done. "Flatten your stomach - but don't use your obliques!" "Breathe from the diaphragm - no, not that diaphragm, the other diaphragm!" "Don't let you pelvis move - but don't hold it rigid!" The list of commonly heard comments from exercise gurus could fill pages. It overwhelms anyone hoping to have better stability - no one except the gurus think they're doing it right.
In order to cut through the clutter, I ask people to focus almost exclusively on one stability exercise: planks. A plank is when you hold your trunk up and reasonably straight, while gravity is trying to pull it down. The standard plank is to assume the starting position for a push-up and to simply hold this position. Hold your trunk straight as you do this: don't lift your butt in the air.
A key thing to know about 'core' stability is the more you think about stability, the less you actually have it. There are two major modes for the brain: 1) sensorimotor processing (movement), and 2) reflective thought (thinking). These modes are mutually exclusive: they inhibit each other. The more you're thinking, the less well you will move, and the more challenging a movement is for you, the less clearly you can think. So if you're thinking about how to move, you really can't move well at all! Real 'core' stability is an automatic, unreflective process - there is no thinking involved. The body unconsciously stabilizes itself. This means that the best stability exercises are those that don't require you to think about them. Planks are one such exercise: as long as your butt isn't up in the air and as long as you aren't hurting while you do them, then they're making your 'core' stronger and more coordinated.
Another great thing about planks is that they are modifiable for everyone. If you aren't strong enough to do standard planks, then you can start with your hands on the wall and slowly work your way lower and lower. If you are too strong for standard planks, then you can elevate your feet. And everyone can slowly work their way from standard planks to doing one-legged, then one-armed, and finally one-legged, one-armed planks.
If you can do a 60-sec one-legged, one-armed plank (30-sec on each side), then you have excellent 'core' stability and really don't need to focus on stability anymore - just maintain your current abilities. That's yet another great thing about planks: they have a reasonable endpoint. Don't get caught in the trap of thinking that if a 60-sec plank is good, then a 5-min plank must be even better. Just get to the 60-sec plank and feel confident in your abilities. If your low back gets hurt, and you weren't doing something really crazy, then you didn't get hurt because you didn't have enough stability. Something else was the cause.
I encourage everyone to simplify spinal stability by focusing on planks. The following video walks you through my basic plan for planks. In my March 14th, 2018 seminar How to Rejuvenate the Body, I'll be covering planks and other key exercises that will simplify the world of exercise. Register here.
Dr. Jake Caldwell, DPT
I have a doctorate degree in physical therapy, an advanced certification in Functional Manual Therapy™, a bachelor’s degree in biology, a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and a bachelor’s degree in history. I draw from these diverse fields in my approach to working with the body.