Which Exercises Help You Improve Muscle Strength and Overall Fitness
If you’re looking to improve your muscle strength and overall fitness, you may be focusing on popular exercises like bicep curls and squats. However, there are a few overlooked muscle groups that are equally important to target in your workouts.
First, let’s talk about the transverse abdominis. This muscle, located in the lower abdomen, helps support your spine and keep your core stable. To exercise the transverse abdominis, try the plank exercise. Start in a push-up position with your arms straight and hands shoulder-width apart. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds and repeat. You can also try the bicycle exercise, which involves alternating between lifting your right elbow to your left knee and your left elbow to your right knee while lying on your back.
Next, we have the rotator cuff muscles. These muscles, located in the shoulder, help with shoulder rotation and stability. To exercise the rotator cuff muscles, try using a resistance band. Sit on a chair and hold the resistance band in both hands, with your arms extended straight out to the sides. Slowly rotate your arms inward, then outward, against the resistance of the band. You can also try the side-lying external rotation exercise, which involves lying on your side with a weight or resistance band in your top hand and your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle. Slowly lift the weight or resistance band up, keeping your elbow pressed against your side.
Finally, don’t forget about the gluteus medius muscles. These muscles, located in the hips, help with lateral movement and stability. To exercise the gluteus medius muscles, try the side-lying hip abduction exercise. Lie on your side with your legs stacked on top of each other. Lift the top leg up, then lower it back down. You can also try the side-step exercise, which involves using a resistance band or mini-band around your legs just above your knees. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and step to the side, keeping your feet together as you move.
Incorporating exercises for these overlooked muscle groups into your routine can help improve your overall muscle strength and stability. Always be sure to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program.
Find out more about key exercises to improve your overall fitness by contacting our Foothill Ranch Physical Therapy, Placentia Physical Therapy, Mission Viejo Physical Therapy, or Lake Forest Physical Therapy locations.Read More
Maximizing Your Physical Therapy Sessions: Tips and Tricks for Faster Progress
If you’re currently undergoing physical therapy, you’re likely eager to make progress and see improvement as quickly as possible. While the rate of progress can vary depending on a number of factors, there are some things you can do to maximize your physical therapy sessions and potentially speed up the healing process.
First and foremost, it’s important to follow your physical therapist’s recommendations and instructions. This includes doing any prescribed exercises or stretches at home, as well as any other self-care techniques they may have recommended. Adhering to the treatment plan can help ensure that you’re making the most of each physical therapy session.
In addition to following your treatment plan, there are a few other things you can do to maximize your physical therapy sessions:
- Communicate openly with your physical therapist: Let your therapist know about any pain or discomfort you’re experiencing, as well as any changes you’ve noticed in your condition. This can help them adjust your treatment plan as needed and ensure that you’re getting the most out of each session.
- Stay hydrated: Proper hydration is important for overall health, and it can also help with physical therapy. Make sure to drink plenty of water before and after your sessions to help flush out toxins and reduce muscle soreness.
- Wear comfortable clothing: Wear clothes that are comfortable and easy to move in to your physical therapy sessions. This can help you feel more at ease and allow you to focus on your therapy.
- Stretch before and after sessions: Stretching before and after physical therapy sessions can help improve flexibility and reduce muscle soreness. Talk to your therapist about which stretches would be most beneficial for you.
- Stay positive: It’s normal to have ups and downs during the physical therapy process, but it’s important to stay positive and keep a good attitude. This can help you stay motivated and focused on your progress.
By following these tips and tricks, you can make the most of your physical therapy services and potentially speed up the healing process. Remember to always listen to your therapist’s recommendations and trust in the process – with time and dedication, you’ll be on your way to reaching your therapy goals.Read More
5 Causes of TMJ Discomfort or TMD
The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, joins your skull to one side of your mandible (lower jaw). The general term for what occurs when the joint and/or muscles used for chewing become inflamed, stuck, or painful is temporomandibular disorder (TMD).
TMD typically affects people between the ages of 20 and 40 who have a history of clenching and grinding their teeth (bruxism), dental work, trauma to the jaw or face, increased anxiety or stress, or poor posture. TMD affects more women than men and is more common in women than in men.
Pain in the jaw, ears, face, neck, and upper back are among the symptoms. When yawning, talking, or eating, some patients may experience difficulty opening or closing their mouths, abnormal jaw movement, or popping, clicking, or grinding sounds in the joint.
Daily, social, or occupational activities might be restricted by a symptomatic TMJ. Following are some examples of lifestyle choices that may be linked to TMD or TMJ discomfort:
- Increased anxiety and stress – One of the main causes of TMD pain is increased stress, which frequently results in jaw clenching or teeth grinding. You might want to think about getting more sleep, practicing diaphragmatic breathing for 5 to 10 minutes several times a day, working out, taking a yoga class, or just taking a brief break to walk around the office and write down your stress-inducing situations.
- Slouched posture – Because the neck and jaw are closely related, slouching while working at a desk or using a mobile device can put undue strain on the neck’s musculature and cervical spine, which in turn can change how the mandible sits. The condyles of the jaw bone may sink deeper into their joint sockets when the shoulders are rounded, which is frequently the case when the head is positioned forward. The masticatory muscles that help open and close the mouth may have a different length-tension relationship as a result of poor posture. Muscle imbalances and joint misalignment may cause increased joint compression, which could be the cause of pain. Placing a beach towel or handkerchief in the small of your back while you drive or sit at a desk is one way to improve posture. You should take this as a cue to sit up straight and adjust your neck and shoulder alignment.
- Oral habits – A few habits that can cause the TMJ muscles to be overworked and cause microtrauma to the joint or the soft tissues (such as the ligaments, tendons, and muscles) that surround and support the joint include chewing on gum or writing implements, biting nails and lips, and clenching and grinding teeth. Try using a mouth guard at night if you grind your teeth, or try sucking on candy mints instead of chewing gum.
- Diet – Optimal TMJ function depends on healthy eating habits in addition to weight management and proper nutrition. Steak, nuts, stringy vegetables (like celery), and some breads are examples of foods that, despite being healthy, may overstrain or exert excessive compression forces on the TMJ. Large bites that require a wide opening of the mouth can also add strain. Smaller bites or softer food portions may help to lessen discomfort from TMJ overuse.
- Excessive mouth opening – Your mouth should be able to open at least 40 centimeters, or three finger widths. However, yawning, singing, or even laughing can cause excessive mouth opening. Use three fingers’ worth of space or put your fist between your chin and breastbone before opening your mouth to help lessen excessive mouth movement.
OC Sports and Therapy are TMJ Treatment specialists treating patients at our Foothill Ranch, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, or Placential locations. Give us a call 949.716.5050 to learn more!Read More
How Physical Therapy Can Help You with Your Ankle Injury
No matter the type of injury, there are two main goals of physical therapy: restoring mobility and restoring strength.
Some fundamental exercises a physical therapist will probably have the patient perform in order to restore mobility include:
“Ankle Alphabet” – The patient reads the alphabet while forming each letter with their foot in “Ankle Alphabet.” This not only keeps the ankle mobile and reduces swelling, but it also helps the physical therapist identify the specific areas of the foot or ankle that are painful or stiff. The therapist will note which letters the patient finds difficult and which muscles were employed to produce those movements.
Ankle Pumps and Ankle Circles – Simple strengthening exercises called “ankle pumps” and “ankle circles” involve the patient pointing and flexing their toes while moving their ankle in a circular motion.
4-Way Theraband Ankle Movements – The patient moves their ankles in all four directions while wearing a resistance band called a Theraband (pointing toes, flexing toes, moving toes to the right, and moving toes to the left).
After an ankle injury, and particularly after an Achilles tendon rupture, patients frequently experience muscle loss in their calf muscles and decreased strength throughout the entire back side of the leg. A physical therapist may perform the following fundamental exercises to regain strength, particularly in the lower leg’s back:
Seated Calf Raises – Raising your legs while seated will work your soleus muscle. The patient can begin without a kettlebell and progress to using one once their strength starts to increase so they can add more weighted resistance.
Rocker-board or “BAPs Board” – The patient must adjust their stance depending on the position because the bottom of this wooden or plastic board has an uneven surface. This makes the muscles that move the ankle more powerful (pointing toes, flexing toes, inversion, and eversion). It can be done with two legs or, for a greater challenge, standing on one leg. As the patient improves, different difficulty levels can be introduced.
Leg Press – The patient will perform either a single or double leg press, concentrating on flexing the toes and maintaining a static hold at the motion’s extremes.
Heel Raises/Toe Raises – Heel raises and toe raises will be performed by the patient to strengthen the muscles that cause the toes to point and flex, respectively.
TRX Single Leg Squats – With the aid of the TRX, a patient will perform single leg squats that will aid in the restoration of single leg strength and balance, which are essential for running and walking as well as for future injury prevention.
To learn more visit our ankle physical therapy videos page or contact one of our expert Orange County physical therapists.Read More