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Bending

A good strength training program is predicated on balance. Every push should accompany a pull and every squat (knee-dominant exercise) should accompany a bend (hip-dominant exercise).
At Core Fitness, we sometimes break these rules though. If someone has shoulder pain we may not have them press (at least for a short-time). If someone has back pain, we may not have them bend. However, with that being said, it is vitally important to learn out to stick bend and then, single leg reach with those who have back pain (those with back pain should probably learn to one-legged squat before learning to bend).
A good bending pattern (either stick bend or single leg reach) should be characterized by softness in the knees, but no movement at the knees. The hips should continuously move backwards during the bend. This is key, so that the hips do the majority of the work.

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21. Psychology of Training

Jon chats about how to convince people to exercise.

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Traditional Footwear

Traditional footwear can impede the natural function of the foot.
A thick, rigid sole, or an elevated heel can…
I probably lost you already. Wellness can be a funny thing. We hear what we want to hear. When I talk about core training people’s ears generally perk up, but when I start talking about shoes it’s like I’ve insulted someone’s mother. I don’t quite get it. Is traditional footwear that embedded in our society?
Let me tell you a quick story: We got about 2 feet of snow the other day. I shoveled at both my house and the gym in a pair of
duck shoes (water-proof work boots) because my feet stay bone dry in them. These duck shoes are wide in the toe box (which is good) and they have little if no heel lift (however, my feet are a good 1/4 inch away from the ground). With that being said, after I was done shoveling the bottom of my feet hurt (plantar fasciitus?) Now the thing is, I am a pretty healthy guy. My glutes are sore after working out and I have pretty good posture. If someone like me has foot pain after wearing shoes (shoes that aren’t 100% terrible for you), then how is someone with bad posture and no glutes going to react to wearing narrow shoes with a heel lift and rigid sole?

20. Advanced Strength Training Exericses

Jon chats about advancing the two-legged squat, two-legged band, seated row, and dumbbell press.

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3 Things You Need To Know If You Want Me As Your Trainer

3 Things to Know if You Want to Hire Me as Your Trainer
by Drew Seaver, NASM

My intention here is not to offend, insult, hurt feelings, but to help you train and exercise better and ultimately feel better. That being said, I have to speak my truth: most people who exercise think they are experts when they usually know next to nothing. Read More...

Psoas Stretching

Being in a seated position for long periods of time may cause the hips to chronically shorten, which can effect gluteal health (the three most important areas to be targeted in an exercise program is (1) posture, (2) feet, and (3) gluteal strength). The interwebs teach us several ways to “stretch out” the hips, and my current favorite is the 1/2 kneeling position (I would argue this is the safest way to stretch the hip capsule).
HOWEVER, this exercise is totally worthless without doing A LOT of core exercises (bracing, bridging, etc.) Gluteal strength is the most important factor when it comes to anterior hip health. I used to suffer with anterior hip pain (
anterior femoral glide syndrome?) and it wasn’t until my glutes started to “work” (they got sore!) that my hip pain vanished.



19. Advanced Core Exercises

Jon chats about how to advance core training. WARNING: This should only be done if (a) you don't have pain and (b) your glutes are sore everyday.

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Jogging Doesn't Do What You Think It Does

Jogging Doesn't Do What You Think It Does
by Jon Messner

You wake up at the crack of dawn to get a jog in. You are proactive about your health and you feel great! …Only your knee has been bugging you and it’s not getting any better. I hate to tell you, but your morning jogging routine may not do what you think it does.
Read More...

Quadruped Brace

Bracing on the back (supine) is one of the first exercises we teach at Core Fitness. If the client is unable to brace, we digress to belly breathing and the draw-in maneuver.
One of the progressions from bracing is bridging. This is fairly obvious. Another progression is going on hands and knees. It is far more difficult to brace the abs and glutes on hands and knees than on one's back, especially if the individual suffers from poor posture.
The cues on hands and knees are mostly the same as in supine, with some stark differences. "Squeeze the abs without sucking in or pushing out, squeeze the glutes." When on hands and knees we also add "Pull the shoulders back and lock the elbows." This is super important, especially when it comes to upper body health. If the individual is unable to straighten their arms, we then have them perform the exercise on their elbows.

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18. Comfortable Sitting

Jon chats about getting comfortable sitting in a chair. In short, it can't really be done and you should get yourself an adjustable height work surface.

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Neck Pain

We talk about the importance of posture a lot because practicing good posture can help alleviate many upper body musculoskeletal symptoms (neck pain, shoulder pain, etc.) and because standing tall is more natural to the human structure than slouching.
The vertebrae are healthiest when each segment has “room to breathe”. Slouching can compress disc space which leads to a whole host of issues.
To visualize; imagine a ten pound weight (the head) on top of a thin pole (the vertebrae). The pole is strongest when it is straight up and down. When the pole starts to flex and bow is when you run into problems.
Neck pain can be attributed to poor posture but also inappropriate exercise in the gym. What we have found is that those who have neck pain have really tight chest muscles (pectorals) and that a good pec massage along with upper body exercises (rows!) that help relax the chest muscles can go a long way in helping the client feel better.

17. Knee Pain

Jon chats about the cause of 99.9% cases of knee pain, and what to do about it!

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Benefits of Pressing

I think it’s no big secret that one of my favorite exercises is the row. I think when performed properly, it does great things for shoulders, the elbows, the neck, and the upper body in general. The obvious counter to the row is a pushup or dumbbell press. Even though these movements look different than the row, they are surprisingly similar. What’s more is that both the pull and the push should be performed with the same exact technique (big chest and relaxed shoulders). This is key. For the push (dumbbell press or pushups) to work properly (and not injure the user) both the scapula (shoulder blades) and glenohumeral joint (shoulder joint) should be stabile which is only possible if it is performed with a big chest and relaxed shoulders.

16. Pushing and Pulling

Jon chats about strength training fundamentals and how to push and pull with perfect technique, and why perfect technique is important for feeling better.

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Seated Positioning

Sitting too much is bad for you. But, in the unfortunate case where you have to sit for long periods of time and are unable to acquire an adjustable height work surface, there are a few things you can do.
Let’s start by addressing posture. It is great to sit tall, but to think that you can sit tall for hours on end is a farce. (Not to mention that sitting tall for long periods of time while your hips are in a flexed position may not be the best thing for your low back or your hips.) The body will start to slouch, probably after a minute or so (which is why adjustable height work surfaces are so important). The trick when sitting is to set a timer every 30-minutes or so to change the way in which you are sitting. Make the chair a little higher. Make the chair a little lower. Put your feet up on your desk (assuming that is OK with your boss). The point is that you want to keep altering the position you are in because it is the chronic-hunched-over position that is the primary agitator of back pain.
Or, you could just get an adjustable height work surface. Do I sound like a broken record?

15. Core Exercises in Quadruped

Jon chats about the challenges and rewards of doing core exercise on hands and knees and elbows and knees.

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Person of Interest - Drew Seaver

Drew has been a friend of mine ever since he reached out to me to help him several years ago.
I get asked about running injuries often, and to be quite honest, rarely do runners heed my advice, which usually is this; stop running and do core exercises until your glutes are sore.
Drew was and still is, very different. He sees the big picture, and he did exactly what I asked him to do. Not only is he currently running competitively injury free, but he is passing on what he knows to others. He is a personal trainer and a high school track coach, and he trains individuals almost exactly the same way in which I train individuals (great minds think alike!)
Drew will soon be the first official hire of the gym, which will be great for me because I need someone to coach me when I do core exercises!

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Corporate Wellness in 3 Easy Steps

Corporate Wellness in 3 Easy Steps
By Jon Messner

Corporate wellness is misunderstood. Corporate wellness is not offering employees exercise classes, Yoga classes, Pilates classes, Kickboxing classes or Bootcamp classes because often times these classes lead to back pain, knee pain, and/or shoulder pain. If an employee is unable to work (or work efficiently) because of injury, then this will cost both the employee and employer financially.
Read More...

14. Natural Positions and Movement

Jon chats about the importance of standing and walking for health, wellness, and longevity.

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Pectoral Stretching

Seated pec stretch might be my favorite stretch.
It should be noted that even if done correctly, it might not be felt in the pecs, but rather the entire front-side of the body.
Correct movement of the exercise is a “lifting” of the chest muscles WITHOUT moving the shoulders. Many people struggle with this; they feel as though they need to backwards shrug and this is incorrect (and I would argue may lead to shoulder/neck/elbow pain). Also, the elbows need to touch the sides of the body. Many people also struggle with this and allow their elbows to slightly drift away from the body.
Learning the seated pec stretch prior to learning to lift with the upper body is paramount because it is this position that should be emulated when pulling and pushing.

13. You Pain in the Neck! And Shoulder...

Jon chats about neck pain and shoulder pain and possible solutions.

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Bridging

Learning to bridge is the next logical progression after learning to brace. Bridging is bracing in an “up” position.
(Rewind) The brace is the first exercise we teach to people and it is is an isometric contraction of the abdominals and gluteals. Even though this might sound simple, you would be surprised by how many people struggle with doing this correctly.
The bridge then takes this learned position and moves it into a “hips-up” position.
Common mistakes are an inability to get the shoulders up off the ground and lifting the hips too high (with subsequent movement from the low back).
The goal is to feel the exercise in the gluteals. This is done by moving from the hips while stabilizing the lumbar spine. This is key to ALL core exercises.

12. Strength Fundamentals: Squatting and Bending

Jon chats about the foundation of a good lower body strength training program.

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Newsletter

Jon's Rules

Rule #1: Where you hurt and where you are injured are not the same. A good example that illustrates this is knee pain. In most "younger" individuals (under the age of 60 or so), knee pain is largely a result of dysfunction at the hip and the foot. Faulty hip mechanics and faulty feet mechanics cause stress on ALL the joints, and some may happen to feel that pain in the knees (others may feel it in the hips or low back).
Therefore, in order to cure knee pain, one must fix the hips and/or the feet.
How do you fix the hips? Core exercises and adjustable height work surfaces.
How do you fix the feet? Natural-foot-strike shoes and strength training barefoot.
Once the healing process has started, it can take months to start to feel better. This is
Rule #2: Even though pain might still be felt, as long as the mechanism of injury is not repeated, the pain will eventually subside.

To summarize:
Rule #1: Site of the pain and site of they injury are usually different.
Rule #2: Pain may continue after the injury has been remedied.

11. Core Fundamentals: Bracing and Bridging

Jon chats about two really important (and overlooked) exercises and common mistakes when performing them.

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The Beautiful Seated Row

A strength training program is comprised of squatting, bending, pushing, pulling (and sometimes rotating).
Even though the goal of a strength training program is balance (for every squat there is a bend, for every push there is a pull), pain can change the equation.
For example, if someone has back pain, we probably won’t bend (at least not for a long time). The same thing can be said for shoulder/neck/elbow pain. If someone has pain in the shoulder/neck/elbow area, we probably won’t push for a while. We will try to perfect the pull first.
The most basic “pull” we teach is the seated row, which is coincidentally one of my favorite exercises.
The beauty of doing a seated row is that if done properly, it reinforces good posture (poor posture is the cause of most upper extremity pain) and good scapulo-gleno-humeral mechanics (the way in which the shoulder and the shoulder blade move).
For many of our clients, we teach pulling exercises (seated row, standing row, suspension row) prior to any pushing exercises (pushups, chest press) because it creates a safer training environment for the individual.

10. Cardio

Jon chats about fake-cardio and cardio that actually gets results.

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Sitting is Bad for Your Back

Sitting for long periods of time is horrendously bad for you.
It’s bad for your back.
It’s bad for your hips.
It’s bad for your posture.
I've been talking about how detrimental sitting for long periods of time is for years and it seems like people are finally starting to listen.
The solution is the adjustable height work surface. (If you don’t feel like buying anything, just put your computer on top of a stack of boxes on your desk.)
I recently started driving a lot more (to the university and back) and I can tell you with 99% certainty that if I didn’t have an adjustable height work surface my back and/or shoulders would be bothering me. I went from spending about an hour a day in the car to two hours. That is a 100% increase in the amount of time spent in a car seat.
And the thing is you don’t necessarily have to stand 8-hours a day, but you absolutely should NOT be sitting 8-hours a day.

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9. The Cause of Back Pain

Jon chats about the cause of and solution to back pain.

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Foam Rolling the Glutes

Gluteal health impacts the entire system, especially when it comes to common musculoskeletal pain (back pain, knee pain, hip pain, etc.) Sitting for long periods of time (more than 1-hour a day) and wearing shoes that alter normal gait negatively impact optimal motion of the hips. This in turn causes muscle deformity which can further impact knee-joint motion, hip-joint motion, and spinal motion.
Getting the gluteal muscles to relax can help the other joints (knee, hip, spine) relax, and can go a long way towards recovery.

8. Strength Training Fundamentals

Jon chats about the fundamentals of a good strength training program.

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The Broken Record

The Borken Record
By Jon Messner

I see it time and time again. People always want
more. A bigger house. A faster car. More exercise. Yet, when it comes to exercise, less is more. Jogging less is better for the knees, the hips and metabolism. Swimming less is better for the shoulders and the neck. Eating less food is better for gut health and the digestive track. Read More...

Person of Interest - Mike Boyle

I suffered with knee pain for several years. One day while perusing the fitness aisle at Barnes and Noble I came across a book called Functional Training for Sport by Mike Boyle. I adopted the strength training program outlined in Functional Training for Sport and after 3-months of training, I no longer had any knee pain.
Coach Boyle has written several books and he moderates the popular website
strengthcoach.com. Coach Boyle is also the founder of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning (and its several locations) in Massachusetts. Also he was a guest on episode 20 of The Core Training for Distance Runners podcast!
Coach Boyle has brought strength and conditioning and rehabilitation training to the forefront of the fitness realm, and his influence can be felt in almost every professional sport. More importantly, he has helped regular people get stronger and feel better AT THE SAME TIME, a feat not common in the world of the internet-trainer and the quick fix.

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7. Core Exercise Science

Jon talks about the science behind the core exercises.

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Low Back Stretching

I love exercise. I really do.
However, I feel as though often times I come off as the trainer who says things like “don’t do ((insert name of exercise here))”.
I don’t want to be that guy. I really don’t.
But I am. And here I go.
Let’s talk about the stretch commonly known as “
The Superman Stretch”.
There are several reasons this exercise is not good for your body.
First of all, most individuals who suffer with back pain do so because their backs are TOO FLEXIBLE. A common misconception of those who have back pain is that their backs’ are tight, however this is NOT TRUE. Their backs are in-fact, hyper-mobile.
Which leads to my second point. Those who suffer with back pain love to do exercises that they feel in their back (where the "pain" or "tightness" is located), essentially, in their own minds, treating the direct source of their back pain! However, this is NOT the cause of the back pain (back pain is 99.99% of the time caused by weak/tight hips) and what they are now doing is treating the symptom (the pain itself) which will only exacerbate symptoms further as well as inflame the ego, making the exercise they are doing more addictive!
So yea, don’t do it.
Brace instead.

6. Food

Jon chats about the tough decisions people need to make when choosing the right foods to eat for their bodies.

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

Over the past 10-years, I have attempted to publish quality information based on my experiences in the world of personal training and more recently, college coaching. To be honest, my foray into the world of the interweb was only intended to be a place for me to journal my experiences which would help me to become a better trainer!

However, I never expected both sites (CTFDR.com and JonMessner.com) to grow in popularity as much as they did! I am so very grateful for all the readers, listeners, and of course, Drew and Maxine!

There will be some changes moving forward. These changes are based on my desire to keep publishing quality information on a consistent basis.

1. CTFDR.com (Core Training for Distance Runners) will be merging with JonMessner.com. What we've found is that some people go to one site and are totally oblivious to the other site and all its great content! By merging the two sites, we are hoping to provide all this great information in one place!
2. The gang is taking a break from podcasting. How long this break is has yet to be determined. It may be temporary. It might be permanent. Both Drew, Maxine, and myself are super busy with work, coaching and personal training, and we feel as though we were letting our crazy schedules get in the way of providing you with great, consistent podcasting!

I want to assure you that I have some things in the works, and even though it might seem that content production has been sparse, it will pick back up again. In the meantime, feel free to browse through our more than
60 articles and 30 podcasts.
Thank you again for your loyalty and patience, and don't forget to do your glute exercises today!

The Most Important Exercise You Aren't Doing

The supine brace is the first exercise that should be mastered in an exercise program. The ability to “brace” or stabilize the spine is of paramount importance, and learning to do so allows subsequent movements such as bridging, squatting and walking to better utilize the glutes.
An unstable spine will neurologically shut-off the gluteal musculature. This can further cause hip pain and more prominently, back pain.
We live in a world that constantly tries to destabilize our spine. Look around! Most everyone has small and weak glutes (pan-ass syndrome) and has either has back pain or hip pain.
Bracing is an action that should be nurtured time and time again. At Core Fitness, everyone braces in every single workout, regardless of age.



Selling Exercise

Selling Exercise
By Jon Messner

In high school I was hit by a car. Not long thereafter I developed knee pain, which over the course of several years, got
progressively worse. One day, while working as a personal trainer, I had a revelation that exercise might be able to help me feel better. Read More...

5. Creating a Demand for Core Training

Jon chats about how he was able to create interest in core training (bracing, bridging, etc.) in his gym.

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Back Pain is an Epidemic

Don’t you find it strange that almost everyone you know has some level of back pain or back tightness? It’s an epidemic!
Is this just happenstance or is their a cause behind 80% of the U.S. population suffering with back pain?!
I feel as though the biggest contributor to back pain is the amount of time we spend sitting. Sitting is not a natural position for the human body to be in (especially over long periods of time). Sitting places the muscles of the low back in a perpetually-stretched position and the muscles of the anterior (front-side) hip in a shortened position.
This alters movement (walking, going up and down stairs, etc.) and places stress on the low back and on the hip. The resulting fix is two fold: 1. Get an adjustable height work surface for work so that you aren’t locked into a seated position throughout the course of the day.
2. Begin a core training routine with the goal of getting the gluteal muscles stronger.

4. Maintenance and Moderation

Jon chats about the importance of exercise-moderation and what to do after you start feeling better.

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Not Everyone Should Squat

In the exercise realm, we seem to think that everyone should be able to squat. Bootcamp classes and Crossfit classes have heavily perpetuated this notion.
However, most individuals over the age of 35 are anatomically unable to squat because of too much time in the seated position and too much inappropriate exercise. If you have knee pain, back pain, or hip pain, then you should not squat in the gym. Even body-weight squatting can exacerbate symptoms.
This isn’t to say that they won’t be able to get back to squatting, and in fact, that is what we strive for with our clients at Core Fitness.
If (a) you have been doing core exercises for at least a month and (b) have no pain, then it is probably OK to dabble with double leg squatting.
The goal of double leg squatting is to feel the exercise in the glutes and to progress to one-leg squatting without pain.


3. The 4 Basic Core Exercises

Jon chats about the 4 basic core exercises that everyone should be doing; supine brace, supine bridge, quadruped brace, and quadruped hip extension.

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Walking is Great Exercise

We’ve been told that exercise is important our entire lives, but what is exercise really? Is exercise going for a 1-mile run? Is exercise going for a 10-mile run? Is exercise performing 100 squats until your legs buckle or is exercise performing 500 sit-ups until you’ve given yourself a hernia?
I think exercise should be something we do to feel better physically. However, I feel like a lot of the things we do in the name of exercise and “feeling better physically” actually hurt our bodies!
What is good exercise, then? Walking!
Walking is great for the cardiac system, the muscular system, the skeletal system, etc. Walking is also easy on the joints.
If we are to use our critical-thinking skills, this makes sense. Human beings are meant to walk! Human beings are bi-pedal creatures and the structure (muscles, skeleton, ligaments, etc.) is built to utilize this type of movement.
Walking is also something we have done since the beginning of time. Furthermore, we learn to walk as an infant and it is crucial to health and long term development of more advanced motor patterns such as running.
Walking is great exercise, and it can be done in the company of others, which makes it the best kind of exercise.

2. The Difference Between Exercise and Recreational Activity

Jon chats about the difference between recreational activity and exercise. Many people don't realize there is a difference, and understanding the differences between the two is key to feeling better.

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1. New Beginnings

The podcast redone! Jon revamps the podcast to encompass more of an audience. Jon discusses the new setup of the podcast and what is to come in the future. Hint: He is going to sound like a broken record...

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The car seat is the worst...

I’ve worked with a lot of people who have back pain. Based on my experience, back pain is caused by too much sitting or inappropriate exercise. Furthermore, I know several people who have really long computes and really messed up backs. In my opinion, it seems as though the car seat causes more damage to the spine than other forms of sitting.
Maybe it's because of the shape of the car seat?
Maybe it's the repetitive motion of the right foot on the gas pedal?
There are several factors involved in acute low back pain. If you are driving a lot and have back pain or back tightness, then this might help!


The squat can be a very difficult exercise to understand...

The squat can be a very difficult exercise to understand.
In youth athletes, it can be taught immediately. However, in those over the age of 30 with no lifting experience, it should be taught after (a) bracing, (b) bridging, (c) quadruped bracing, and (d) quadruped hip extension are learned.
Squatting is innate in all of us. Just watch the way infants get up and down off the floor! With that being said, many of us suffer from really tight hips and poor posture because of too much sitting.
If the glutes are working, and squatting is felt in the glutes, then it can be an incredible exercise both for health and athletic development.
Experience has taught me to be wary with squatting with the general population or endurance athletes. Both populations seem to get much more out of the big 4 core exercises (bracing, bridging, quadruped bracing, quadruped hip extension).


The Inconvenient Truth About Exercise

The Inconvenient Truth About Exercise
By Jon Messner

I worked at a big box gym for 10-years and can’t begin to tell you how often members came to me after they hurt their backs after using the
rotary torso.
You know and I know the rotary torso damages the lumbar vertebrae, but is it our job to inform the rest of the world that the rotary torso is hazardous?
You may say
obviously yes! We know something they don’t know! However, it seems every time I give programming advice to those who don't ask for it, I am brushed off and ignored.
Read More...

Person of Interest - Dr. Stuart McGill

A lot of the studies that are conducted in health and wellness are performed in artificial environments. These research methods seem to measure the tiniest of details without taking into account the rest of the system.
However, with that being said, Dr. Stuart McGill has been researching spinal health for more than 2-decades, so when he talks about back health, even someone as stubborn is I am shuts his mouth to listen!
Dr. McGill has pioneered the concept that we at JMP Fitness live by; that is spinal stability in conjunction with hip mobility.
Really, if you only follow one researcher, this should be the one.


Only One Body

Only One Body
By Mike Boyle

Imagine you are sixteen years old and your parents give you your first car. They also give you simple instructions. There is one small hitch, you only get one car, you can never get another. Never. No trade-ins, no trade-ups. Nothing.
Read More...

Real Core Training 2

Real Core Training 2
By Jon Messner

What does “core training” really mean? I think when people talk about training their core, what they mean is training their abs. I would somewhat agree with this. I also think a lot of people feel as though core training can prevent back pain. I would also agree with this.
Read More...

Our tier-2  glute activation/awareness exercise is bridging...

A few emails back I mentioned the importance of learning to brace. Bracing is our tier-1 glute activation (or glute awareness) exercise.
Our tier-2  glute activation/awareness exercise is bridging. Bridging brings the very basic concepts of bracing (squeezing the abdominals without sucking in or pushing out while squeezing the glutes) to a little bit more of a challenging setting.
When I am running a lot, I am also doing upwards of 6 to 10 sets (5 reps per set) of bridging a day. For those with back pain or hip pain, the trick is to learn to bridge without exasperating symptoms.


4 Things I Learned Coaching Track

4 Things I Learned Coaching Track
By Jon Messner

I recently returned to college track coaching after a 10-year hiatus.
10-years ago, my coaching was influenced by how I was coached when I was an athlete. Now, my coaching is influenced by functional anatomy and exercise physiology.
Read More...

How to properly stretch the pectoral muscles...

I see a lot of pec stretches on the internet that I don’t necessarily agree with for a few reasons. The traditional pec stretch (the sleeper stretch) may or may not stretch out the pec, but what it definitely does that you don’t want to do is stretch out the anterior capsule of the shoulder. In my opinion, you need to promote stability at she shoulder joint. However, too many people overstretch their shoulder capsule because it feels good.
“Feeling good” is not what stretching is about. Improving function of joints is what stretching is about.
So let’s bring this back to the pecs. How do you get a pec stretch without damaging the anterior capsule? In the video below, we describe how we do this at JMP Fitness. This stretch is very difficult to do correctly, and it is also my favorite stretch! Enjoy!


Tight quads may cause back pain...

Tight (weak, dysfunctional, whatever term you want to use) quads can really exasperate back pain. We’ve done a lot of work on people’s hips at JMP Fitness, and a great indicator of hip health (function?) is quadriceps tissue-quality. Tight quads not only will inhibit proper core function, but can also cause low back pain itself.


5 Questions to Ask Yourself If You Have Pain

5 Questions to Ask Yourself if you have Musculoskeletal Pain
By Jon Messner

Are you ready for the meaning of life?
If you have musculoskeletal pain, it is because of something that
you are doing to yourself.
I know, big let down. You were probably thinking I was going to say something like “love your family”.
Read More...

Too much sitting and back pain...

I hate to brag but I have really made a name for myself  helping people with back pain feel better. Usually all that is needed is some foam rolling, learning to brace, and standing up a just a bit more.
What causes back pain? Weak glutes.
What causes weak glutes? Too much sitting. Too much sitting in flexion (hunched over).
Standing up and moving about more can be challenge especially if you have a sit down job. All too often we can get lost in the day and next thing you know, you have been sitting for 5-straight hours!
I’m not saying you need to be standing 3, 4, or 8-hours a day but what I am saying is that you should not be sitting 3, 4, or 8-hours a day.
I have included some links for adjustable height work surfaces below.

http://www.amazon.com/Adjustable-Stand-Up-Desk-Shelves/dp/B00LNCDGKU
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GRB6JKG?psc=1
http://workriteergo.com

The seated row may be my favorite strength training exercise...

The seated row may be my favorite strength training exercise.
When we talk about poor posture we are sort of talking about two separate things: (1) bad habits and (2) musculoskeletal changes.
What I mean; When someone (particularly the younger they are) appears to have bad posture, it can actually be corrected quite easily by nagging them endlessly to  straighten up!
However, the older they become, the more apparent it is their body is going through physical changes that prevent them from straightening up. These changes include a shortening of the pectorals, a weakening of the lower trapezius muscles, shortening of the abdominals, and bony changes to the vertebrae and skeleton, just to name a few. In a way, the body is fighting against the mind.
What the seated row does so well is that it (a) teaches good habits and (b) strengthens and lengthen the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc.) that have been affected by prolong poor posture.


We talk about hip health but what about foot health?...

We talk about proper hip health ALOT. I feel as though sometimes we gloss over foot health. Wearing the right type of shoes for your body is crucial! Let me clarify “right type of shoes for your body”: What I mean is that EVERYONE should wear shoes that are least destructive to the natural workings of the foot. Some of the things we look for are (1) a toe box that allows the toes to spread out, (2) zero arch support and (3) zero heel lift.


Striking Out Part 2

Striking Out 2
By Max Prokopy, M.Ed., FMS, TPI-2, CSCS

Note that you can land with your foot underneath yourself regardless of heel, midfoot, or forefoot. That’s often a convention due to particulars with foot and ankle mechanics, limb proportions, or simple stylistic comfort. Foot strike pattern is not common to all elite runners. Foot placement is common to elite runners, regardless of pace. Posture sets the table for everything.
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I am a big glute guy...

If you know me, then you know I am a big glute guy. “Big glute guy” as in, if your back hurts, you need to strengthen your glutes. Your hip hurts? Yup, you guessed it, you need to strengthen your glutes. Knee pain? ‘Kneed’ stronger glutes!!!
Our level 1 glute awareness, or glute activation exercise is the supine brace. If done correctly, it teaches people how to get their glutes to “turn on”. (If done incorrectly, it can lead to hip pain or back pain.)
Enjoy!


The right way to stretch the hips...

I think it is very important to distinguish between stretching the muscles of the hips (psoas and rectus femerus) and stretching out the joint capsule itself. Many people lean into the stretch, essentially stretching (and destabilizing) the joint capsule itself.
I would also be remiss not to mention that you can hip stretch until the cows come home but if your glutes don’t work, then it is a waste of time.


This was a light bulb moment...

This was the light bulb moment for me.
I was suffering with knee pain and I just picked up a copy of Functional Training for Sport by Mike Boyle. In the book, Coach Boyle talked about how important glute health was for strong knees and a strong back.
I remember thinking to myself, “This is silly, what does my rear-end have to do with my knees?!”
So there I am, rolling my glutes in the middle of The Atlantic Club, kind of feeling out of place and like a lot of eyes where on me. Nothing was happening. I kept moving around on the roller.
And then, seemingly out of no-where, I found a trigger point high up in my glute, and boy-oh-boy did it hurt!
After I was finished rolling, my knees no longer ached! Granted, that wasn’t a one time fix, but it showed me how much glute health is related to knee health!


An Open Letter to Tiger Woods

An Open Letter to Tiger Woods
By Jon Messner

It is not uncommon for even the greatest athletes to suffer with back pain. Even those who have access to the best doctors, physical therapists, and trainers in the world still suffer like everyone else. Tiger Woods is no exception.
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Back Pain is Not Like Catching a Cold

Back Pain is Not Like Catching a Cold
By Jon Messner

Some back pain sufferers feel that back pain is random in occurrence and that drugs or a doctor’s visit will cure the problem. Understanding the more common mechanisms of low back pain will clarify why this isn’t necessarily true.
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Striking Out Part 1

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By Max Prokopy, M.Ed., FMS, TPI-2, CSCS

Runners love to run. They will go to tremendous depths of pain and effort to fill the log sheet. Like all sport cultures, it’s always interesting to see what sticks in the zeitgeist.
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An Open Letter to My Clients

An Open Letter to My Clients
By Jon Messner

Exercise can cure pain! Exercise can HEAL bad backs, bad knees, bad shoulders, and bad hips. We have the magic pill and it is called exercise!!!
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Strength Training for College Distance Runners

Strength Training for a College Distance Runner
By Jon Messner

A strength training program for college distance runners will not help them run faster.
A strength training program for college distance runners will not make them bigger.
A good strength training program for college runners will allow the athletes to compete over a longer period of time because they are healthier and stronger.
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My Dream

My Dream
By Jon Messner

My dream is...
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Why We Do Weighted Rows Everyday

Why We Do Weighted Rows Everyday
By Jon Messner

The internet is infested with junk information. Now I know what you are thinking; it is a sad state of affairs when there are those who would sabotage the F-35 project just to promote themselves. These “experts” write about the relevance of the next generation fighter in a militaristic landscape without ever considering current economic conditions.
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3 Reasons Sprinting is Essential for Distance Runners

The Top 3 Reasons Sprinting is Essential for Distance Runners
By Jon Messner

Most distance runners feel as though sprinting is unnecessary as long as they are hitting their mileage goals. I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is sprint training can prolong your running career.
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Self Limiting Exercise

Self Limiting Exercise
By Gray Cook

Self-limiting exercises make us think, and even make us feel more connected to exercise and to movement. They demand greater engagement and produce greater physical awareness.
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