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Fitness, with a Side of Dysfunction?

This time of year, many people are focused on fitness so it’s worth taking a look at what fitness really means. The dictionary defines fit as “sound physically and mentally, healthy.” Using that definition, many “fitness” routines fall short of the goal. If you don’t enjoy running and dread every workout, you’re probably falling short of the “sound mentally” portion. Exercise should be enjoyable, reduce stress, and leave you feeling better, not worse.

NO PAIN NO GAIN?
Exercise should also leave you feeling better physically. If you can run a good time in a 5k, but have aches and pains for days after, you’re not “sound physically.” If you are increasing your PR in the squat rack, but your joint pain is increasing right along with it, you’re not “sound physically” either. Sure, some muscle soreness and fatigue after a hard workout is normal. But if you’re having pain that doesn’t go away, sore joints, or trouble moving after exercise, you’re probably developing movement dysfunction along with your fitness.

MOVEMENT DYSFUNCTION
Go back to the dictionary and you’ll find that dysfunction is “impaired or abnormal functioning.” So movement dysfunction is impaired or abnormal movement. When someone has a movement problem like a sore joint, limited range of motion, or strength loss, the brain finds a way to get the body to do what it wants. That usually means moving in a way that is less than optimal. For a while, it works. But eventually it leads to injury. As a concrete example, think of someone who has trouble bending one knee doing squats. When one knee bends further than the other, it will cause one side of the pelvis to drop lower than the other. Now that the pelvis isn’t level, the spine bends towards the high side to stay balanced. When that one side of the pelvis drops lower than the other one, it also usually rotates. Now the spine has to bend to the side and twist to keep you upright. This works for a while, but as weight gets added to the squat, and the repetitions add up so does the risk for a back injury.

PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE
Pain during workouts, or pain and soreness that don’t go away after can be warning signs of a movement dysfunction. If you’re experiencing any of these, your physical therapist is a movement expert who can help. PTs are trained to analyze movement, and figure out the root cause of problems. They can then design a program to treat the cause and correct the abnormal pattern. There is no need to wait until you’re injured to see your physical therapist. In fact, it’s preferable not to. Getting minor problems fixed early means fewer visits to the PT, less pain, and not having your workouts put on hold by injury.

Your Physical Therapist Can Help You Keep Your Resolution

As one year comes to a close and another begins, people begin to set goals and make
resolutions. Losing weight, getting to the gym more often or getting into “better shape” are all
common. These all require increasing your amount of physical activity. More activity is great for
your health, energy levels, sleep, and mood. However, ramping up your activity level too quickly
after a holiday season of eating, drinking and being merry can lead to pain, injury and
disappointment if your body isn’t ready for it.

Your physical therapist is an expert in human movement, and can help you safely reach your
fitness goals. People think of PTs as the person to see after an injury, but a visit before you
change your activity level could prevent injury in the first place. An evaluation by your PT will
include assessment of your strength, range of motion, and functional movement patterns – think
jumping, running, squatting, carrying. Some PTs even like to use a standardized assessment,
such as the Functional Movement Screen.

Most common injuries from new fitness routines are caused by underlying weakness, range of
motion deficits, or compensatory movement patterns. Your PT will find these during your
assessment. They can then prescribe exercises or movements to address the issues found and
get you safely moving into the new year!

The other common way people get injured working towards their resolution is with over-training,
or doing too much too soon. Physical therapists are also experts in exercise prescription and
program design. Your PT can help you create a routine specific to your needs and goals that will
progress appropriately and keep you out of trouble.

So stop only thinking of your PT after you’re injured. In this case, it’s true that an ounce of
prevention is worth a pound of cure. Seeing your physical therapist before you start on your
resolution can keep you on track, injury free, and help you reach your goals for the new year!

Cyber Monday Sale

 

Burn Calories, without burning a hole in your wallet!

 

25% Off Training & Class Packages!

Use BTBeliever2019 at Checkout

 

 

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Purchase the gift of a BREAKTHRU today!

 

*Some terms and conditions may apply.  Please see store for details.

 

Black Friday Fitness Sale

 

Burn Calories, without burning a hole in your wallet!

 

 

25% Off Training & Class Packages!

Use BTBeliever2019 at Checkout

 

 

PRIVATE PERSONAL TRAINING PACKAGES

[table id=6 /]

 

SEMI-PRIVATE PERSONAL TRAINING PACKAGES

[table id=9 /]

 

GROUP EXERCISE CLASS PACKAGES

[table id=10 /]

 

 

15% Off Prepaid Memberships!

Use BTBeliever15 at Checkout

 

 

PREPAID MEMBERSHIPS

[table id=11 /]

 

Purchase the gift of a BREAKTHRU today!

 

*Some terms and conditions may apply.  Please see store for details.

 

NATIONAL WOMEN’S HEALTH AND FITNESS DAY

Developing our physical strength along with mental confidence goes a long way to keeping our bodies healthy. So many of us overlook the rest we need and the healthy foods our bodies need to fuel our days. When we take a few moments to learn the best ways to care for ourselves, we often take better care of others, too.

So in honor of a healthier you, check out these 5 tips to help you celebrate your body, mind, and well-being––and get the journey to a stronger you started!

  1. Take time for yourself. If possible, find some quiet time away from any distractions. Do something you love to do, be it shopping, reading a good book, coffee with a good friend, or simply watching a favorite movie.
  2. Surround yourself with positivity. Find some positive quotes that speak to you and read them often. It’s amazing how a happy perspective can change your mood.
  3. Exercise. Sometimes it’s the last thing we want to do, but exercise truly has medicinal properties! Getting more exercise doesn’t have to be a hard-core sweat session. A brisk 15-30 minute walk a day is enough to improve cardiovascular health, mood, and sleep. Strengthening muscles is also important and can help with aches and pains or joint issues. If you haven’t exercised in a long time or have health issues, make sure to consult a doctor before beginning an exercise regimen.
  4. Eat well. Make sure you’re getting ample fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein while trying to limit processed food. Our bodies function so much better (and we feel better) when we feed it clean, healthy food!
  5. Practice mindfulness. There are plenty of free apps that offer guided meditation, inspirational quotes, soothing sounds, or breathing exercises. Find a few that work for you and use them! Some suggestions are the Mindful, HelloMind, Mindfulness, and Stress Relief apps.

2019 Be Fearless Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to the Class of 2019 🎓
We would like to give a special round of applause to our “Be Fearless” Scholarship Winners — Cherokee Soccer Player, Lauren Gravlin and Lenape Cross Country Athlete, Zaven Kazandjian 👏🏼👏🏼

Breakthru’s scholarship is in remembrance of our friend, ETA Coach, Jason Kilderry. Jason lived life fearlessly and to the fullest every single day! We appreciate his dedication and the high standards he demonstrated within his coaching. Breakthru is hoping to continue to impact future clinicians to ensure Jason’s legacy lives on! ETA Coach Open Water Swims: Camp Ockanickon

Shoulder Stability in the Overhead Athlete

The shoulder is one of the most complex parts the body. It consists of four separate joints that are linked together by multiple muscles, tendons, and ligaments that provide both mobility and stability to the shoulder. The shoulder is a “ball and socket” joint with the socket portion being shallow and therefore providing very little stability via the bony anatomy. As a result, you have to rely on other structures to keep your arm securely inside the shoulder blade. When your arm is at rest your shoulder is primarily stabilized by the joint capsule that fully encloses both the ball and the socket. During arm movement the stabilization process is much more complex and requires the four muscles of your rotator cuff to fire to maintain proper positioning of your shoulder joint. 

The action of lifting your arm up above your head requires movement from both your shoulder blade and your arm in order to reach your full range of motion. For this movement to be performed correctly, it requires the proper muscle firing patterns in the shoulder complex. Athletes tend to forget about the small stabilizing muscles of the rotator cuff during their workouts and instead focus on the larger muscle groups, i.e. the pecs, deltoids, lats, etc. These big muscle groups, especially the “pushing” muscles which are used frequently in sports, can become overdeveloped in comparison to the small stabilizing muscles and result in injuries from this muscle imbalance. One of the most common issues from a muscle imbalance like this is that the small rotator cuff cannot compete with the larger muscles and is unable to perform its job of providing small rotational movements to the ball part of the joint to prevent it from hitting into the socket during arm movements. 

It is important to remember that the rotator cuff is not only firing during athletic activities, it is also responsible for proper positioning of your arm and shoulder blade while you sit with good posture. Since these muscles are required to fire constantly throughout the day it is important that they are trained in very high repetitions to increase endurance. Increasing the endurance of the rotator cuff during the offseason will also assist in maintaining the integrity of the muscles throughout the season of an overhead athlete. During the season, the rotator cuff experiences plenty of stress through the deceleration portion of throwing or shooting. This repetitive stress causes the rotator cuff to “stretch out” and lose the ability to function at 100%. This is why it is important to remember that overhead sports require full kinetic chain movements for maximum power.  It is vital to keep the core and hips strong and mobile as well in order to decrease the stress placed across the shoulder during the throwing or shooting motion. 

A proper off season strengthening program is necessary to minimize an athlete’s risk of injury and to maximize his or her success during the season. There are various “prehab” shoulder programs available for athletes to follow online, but it is important to remember that not all shoulders are created equally and different sports place different demands on the body. The shoulder must be managed differently while the athlete is in season and after the season to allow for proper recovery of the muscles in the joint. In conclusion, each and every shoulder is created differently and must be managed following specific guidelines catered to each individual. It is crucial to find the correct balance of mobility and stability for the overhead athlete to be able to reach his or her peak performance.

Click HERE to check out a short video of exercises that you can do at home to help improve your shoulder stability!

  • Use a light weight and keep your elbow tight in against your side as you rotate your arm until your palm is parallel to the ground.
  • If you want to challenge your athlete and add core strengthening into the exercise; have them perform this exercise in a side-plank position to increase the difficulty of the exercise by incorporating oblique and glute activation.

By: Dr. Abigail Dingle, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, CSCS

Getting ‘Back’ to Spring Sports

With warmer weather right around the corner, spring sport athletes are gearing up for their seasons.  The majority of spring sports consist of overhead movement patterns, which require a series of complex movements throughout the body. Thoracic spine, or upper back, rotation is one of the most important components for maintaining a healthy lower back and shoulder throughout the season.

Proper mobility through your thoracic spine allows for the transfer of power from your legs and core. It is easy to compensate for rotational range of motion through your lumbar spine, or lower back. However, if the middle of your back isn’t moving properly it is easy to lose the majority of your strength and power generated by your hips and core for your throwing or shooting motion before it ever reaches your shoulder. If you want to obtain the maximum speed out of your throw or shot, it is vital that you have full rotation through your thoracic spine. 

 

If an athlete is lacking proper rotation through his or her thoracic spine the body will have to find a way to make up for that missing motion somewhere else. Most often the body will “make up” this range of motion in the shoulder. The front of the shoulder is stabilized by a group of ligaments that help to keep the head of the humerus in its proper position against the shoulder blade, or the ball in the socket. These soft tissue structures are prone to stretching out if repeatedly stressed from excessive external rotation of the shoulder. If the ligaments in the front of the shoulder become too loose, additional stress can be placed on the biceps tendon and nerve structures causing irritation or injury for the athlete. 

 

 

 

There are various exercises to address limited rotation through your thoracic spine that can easily be added into your daily routine. One of the most common is called an “Open Book”. To perform this exercise begin by laying on your side with your bottom leg straight, your top leg bent to 90 degrees through your hip and knee, and your arms straight out in front of you. Begin by slowly lifting your top arm and rotating your trunk to bring it towards the floor on the other side of your body. If you have limited motion, you should feel a stretch in the middle of your back. Only go as far as you can without lifting your top knee or arching your back! 

5 Simple Habits to Help Improve Nutrition

March is National Nutrition Month, a campaign created to promote healthy eating and exercise habits. With the advent of spring, March is also a time of renewed energy and life, making it fitting that we use this month to reevaluate our eating habits and discover what changes we can make to improve our health.    

There are many ways in which we can optimize our nutrition choices such as choosing whole grains, eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, and substituting healthy fats for unhealthy saturated or trans-fats. But actually putting these into practice can be daunting, especially with busy schedules or simply not knowing what exactly constitutes a whole grain or healthy fat. Utilizing the internet for information or guidance doesn’t help much because of all the conflicting information and diet fads that make you think that you have to give up entire food groups to be healthy.

Fortunately, improving your nutritional health can be done by adopting just a few simple habits. Nutrition coach and exercise physiologist Dr. John Berardi suggests the following for maximizing your nutrition and working towards your health goals:

 

 

 

  1. Eat slowly and stop when you’re 80% full. Eating quickly causes us to eat more than we really need. It takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it’s full. When we eat quickly, we’re likely to eat far too much before our brain tells us we’re full.

 

2. Eat protein dense foods with each meal. In healthy individuals, a higher-protein diet is safe and promotes optimal health, body composition, and performance. Protein also helps with satiety, or the feeling of fullness, in between meals.

 

3. Eat vegetables with each meal. Veggies are loaded with vitamins and minerals as well as plant chemicals that reduce disease risk help the body function optimally. Plus, filling up on nutrition-packed vegetables will help prevent overeating less optimal starchy or refined carbohydrates. Build up to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

4. For fat loss, eat a majority of other carbohydrates after exercise. In other words, you’ve got to earn the higher-carbohydrate meals by exercising first. The trick, here, is focusing on unprocessed, high-fiber carbohydrates over refined or high-sugar carbohydrates. Limit or avoid sweetened drinks and sodas.

5. Eat healthy fats daily. The body needs dietary fat in order to function optimally. On average, about 30% of the diet should come from fat. Focus on adding healthy monounsaturated fats (extra virgin olive oil, some nuts, avocados) and polyunsaturated fats (some nuts, some vegetable oils, and fish oil supplements) to balance out fat intake.

 

Use the Superfoods Checklist to help you determine what are the best options for protein, carbohydrates, and fats. CLICK HERE.

One more habit I will add is to drink lots of water throughout the day, especially before, during, and after exercise! Invest in a good water bottle and carry it with you everywhere to help remind you to drink often.

Adopting these 5 habits over time can greatly improve your nutritional health, reach your weight-loss goals, and help you feel better too!  

Breakthru fitness coaches can help answer any questions you have about general nutrition and putting these habits into practice! Breakthru YOUR goals, schedule your FREE Fitness Screen with one of our Fitness Coaches today!  

Source: Berardi, John. (2013) The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition. Toronto, Canada: Precision Nutrition, Inc.

2019 Be Fearless Scholarship

In Honor Of Our Friend, Jason Kilderry

Jason lived life fearlessly and to the fullest every single day. 

 

Breakthru has worked closely with Jason for  over 10 years. He was our go to coach for all of our runners and participated with us for several events and seminars. His passion for evidence based practice matched well with our desire to  treat based on the most up to date research. Jason was a good friend of Breakthru and his loss was devastating.  We appreciate his dedication and the high standards he demonstrated within his coaching.  Breakthru is hoping to continue to impact future clinicians to ensure Jason’s legacy lives on. We have developed this scholarship for upcoming high school graduates in remembrance of our dear friend, Jason. 

 


Application Requirements:

** High School Senior athlete from Burlington or Camden County 

** 300 word essay on how your Coach inspired you throughout your athletic career OR a 30 second video

** A $250 Scholarship will be awarded to one male and one female applicant that meets the criteria stated above

** The Coach’s TEAM that inspired YOU will receive FREE Functional Movement Screens to help his or her athletes stay in the game!

Submit to Melanie: mmclaughlin@breakthrupt.com 

Application Deadline: 4/30/2019