Physiotherapy Burlington Ontario and Exercise Technique
With the new year upon us it’s time for some healthy resolutions. Since many of you will be ramping up your exercise programs, this blog is going to address some of the common training errors that bring injuries to our clinic.
Proper Squat Technique
Physical Therapist for Back Pain
Squats are a great exercise, but need to be practiced before weight is added. If done incorrectly they can easily cause knee injury or lower back injury. As a general rule, keep your knees from passing over your toes, keep your spine fairly rigid and exercise in a controlled, pain-free range of motion. If you’re unsure of your technique it may be wise to consult with a personal trainer who can give you the appropriate guidance.
Deadlifts and Back Pain
Deadlifts can be a great exercise for power and strength athletes. Since I’ve examined several patients who attribute their chronic back pain to this exercise, I sometimes wonder how necessary it is for the average person given the multitude of alternatives. From my experience, it seems that many people use too much weight or do not have the motor control to consistently perform this exercise safely.
Crunches for Back Pain
As mentioned in previous blogs, it is advised that you perform your sit-ups with a neutral spine. This means that you shouldn’t round out or flatten your back during abdominal exercises. Hold a weight on your chest and rotate at the top of the exercise and you could be playing with fire!
Neck Pain and Weight Lifting
This may be fairly obvious but worth mentioning; bringing a bar behind your neck can be linked to sprain/strain injuries in the neck. In most situations it’s a better option to keep the resistance at a comfortable position in front of you. For example, the shoulder press and lat-pulldown; moving the bar behind your neck is not a good idea.
Knee Extensions and Knee Pain
You’ll probably see that knee extension machines have been removed from many gyms due to its potentially harmful affect on the patellofemoral joint of the knee. An exercise such as a squat or a lunge is usually a better way to go.
On a regular basis I hear that “tight” muscles are bad and “loose” muscles are healthy. I also hear that a person’s “tightness” caused their injury or painful condition and they need to stretch it out to make it healthy again. In general, for most conditions, this view is not really supported by peer reviewed published research. Surprising to some, stretching can actually cause certain injuries! To avoid this, consult with a suitable healthcare provider for your injuries instead of taking matters into your own hands!
Back Pain and Weight-Lifting
When doing an exercise like the seated leg press, avoid holding your breath, rounding out your lower back and pushing your back against the back rest. This is a quick way to injure your lower back. As mentioned earlier, you are probably better off with a closed-kinetic exercise like a squat, lunge or step-up.
Many patients continue to exercise despite persistent pain in a certain area. In some situations this is acceptable, but for most, it only prolongs the injury or turns a small problem into a large one. Choose exercises that don’t aggravate your injury. Unsure? Pick the brain of a knowledgeable personal trainer who can suggest ways to work around your injury.
Our Physiotherapy and Chiropractic Clinic in Burlington is affiliated with lots of great personal trainers. If you’re unsure of your exercise program or your technique, consider consulting with a good trainer who can ensure that you’re on the right path. If you have an injury, are in pain or are at risk of injury, our physiotherapist can help give you guidance.