The Limits of Age and Exercise (Control What You Can Control)

The Limits of Age and Exercise (Control What You Can Control)

“I feel like I’m moving better than I did in my 20s and 30s!”

Want to know what led to my client saying this?

In this video I’ll go over not only the workout adjustments but also nutritional changes we made to help her feel her most fabulous.

Because we need to stop just blaming our age and ACCEPTING pain!

The simple fact is…you can’t change your age. You can’t stop getting older.

And yes, there are changes to our body as we get older.

But so often we just write off those changes as out of our control when so often there are lifestyle factors we can CHANGE that do have an impact.

Yes, as we get older, our recovery times change.

Aches and pains have had more time to accumulate…especially as often we haven’t truly taken care to rebuild from previous injuries.

Even the hormonal changes of perimenopause and menopause can lead to increased inflammation making our joints achier.

But through adjustments to our training and nutrition, we can reduce the aches and pains and even feel like we move better than ever!

That’s why in this video I want to go over controlling what you can control and adjusting your lifestyle to move your best at any age!

Let’s start with adjusting our workout routines. 

I wanted to outline the 2 key things I implement with clients in their workouts that have led to many saying…

“I feel better than I did in my 20s and 30s!”

First, We Include That Prehab Process Every Warm Up

Injuries…Daily postures… Daily posture

They can change our mobility and flexibility. They can change our recruitment patterns or how we use muscles to perform movements.

And so often, even when we’ve done rehab for previous problems, we STOP doing what made us better. 

This leads to us defaulting back into incorrect movement and recruitment patterns and can lead to aches and pains again adding up.

And while we may have “gotten away with this” when we were younger, it is also why aches and pains are adding up more now!

We start overusing muscles and joints not meant to carry the load. It’s why we may feel like lunges or squats only constantly hurt our knees!

That’s why that full 3-part prehab process of foam rolling, stretching and activation in every warm up is so key. 

It addresses any mobility, flexibility or stability issues we have, and preps our body to work that day.

And it’s key we use the system as a whole. Too often we pull out parts of things we “like,” and then are surprised when the benefits aren’t there.

But this process works because of all 3 components together and in that order!

Before you workout, foam roll tight and overactive muscles that may impact your workout or hinder you from performing moves fully. 

This then will help you better mobilize your joints with the stretches.

So if you’ve had hip pain and struggle to engage your glutes or squat deeply, you may roll out a hip flexor and quad muscle that is tight like the rectus femoris. 

Then include dynamic stretches to warm up your body and mobilize your joints. 

As you do these stretches, focus on the opposing muscle group engaging to drive the stretch.

To stretch out your chest in suspension trainer snow angels, focus on engaging your back to feel that stretch more.

Finally include activation moves that isolate muscles that are weaker or that you struggle to use correctly.

If you’ve had hip issues or lower back pain, you may focus on things like single leg reverse hypers or lying lateral raises to really target those glutes and engage them. 

But this prep work in your warm up, and even the rolling and stretching in your cool down, will help you not only move better in your workouts to get more out of those sessions but also recover better for the next workout!

However, we can’t just do our mobility work then rush through our workouts if we want to avoid aches and pains.

That’s why the second thing I focus on with clients is…

Seeing Every Movement As An Assessment! 

Every rep of an exercise is you practicing that movement.

If those reps are rushed and we aren’t focus on the quality of our movement, we aren’t going to get the full benefit of those exercises and may even end up injuring ourselves.

And if you’re thinking, “My form is great! I’m experienced with these moves.”

“Good form” doesn’t mean you aren’t cheating.

Often the more advanced an exerciser we are, the more we can cheat and overuse muscles or seek out mobility from other joints to mimic a movement.

We know what it SHOULD look like and our body is good at replicating what we want even if it means overloading muscles that shouldn’t be carrying the load.

It’s why you may be able to do that deadlift or pull up, BUT you’re also ending up constantly with lower back or neck and shoulder pain. 

That’s why I have every client see every movement as an assessment and always ask themselves…

“What do I feel working?”

Because the muscles we feel DURING the exercise, are what are powering the movement.

If the correct muscles are working, we’re going to see those results build.

However, if we are feeling muscles taking over that shouldn’t be the prime movers, we are going to end up with injury.

When we are able to feel this happening, we can regress to progress, adjust our form or cueing and even modify the movements to get the correct muscles working.

Even if we can do a squat with one weight, we may find increasing to a point then changes what we feel working. 

It’s why you want to be intentional in your training over just zoning out or rushing through.

Even changes in the TYPE of exercise, say a back squat vs a front squat, could impact how the move feels. 

The more we are conscious of what is working, the more we can make sure we are truly maximizing each movement and even working through the fullest range of motion possible.

Because we can’t out mobility work the movements we are doing in our workouts.

If you want to keep that flexibility you are working so hard on, you need to strength through that range of motion.

You can’t hope to improve your hip mobility while doing a two inch squat because you’re trying to go heavy! 

So be intentional with your training and you’ll see those movements improve and those aches and pains go away.

Not to mention you’ll even see improvements to your strength and muscle gains faster!

Next let’s talk about our nutrition and how we can adjust that as well to reduce those aches and pains. 

And I’m going to start by telling you something you don’t want to hear…

But that has been eye opening for my clients…

First and foremost…Track your food. 

So often we only think about tracking what we’re eating when we want to reach an aesthetic goal.

But tracking can help us truly understand the impact our diet is having on our health and even those aches and pains.

By tracking you may realize you aren’t eating enough protein to support optimal recovery or getting in the antioxidants or omega-3s you need to reduce inflammation and support optimal joint and muscle functioning. 

Protein is key. 

As we get older we are less able to utilize it as efficiently which means we need MORE of it to get the same muscle building response.

And protein isn’t just used to build muscle, it makes up all of the tissues of our body and even helps promote healthy bones and hormonal balance.

Without enough protein to properly repair, we are going to see more aches and pains add up!

Not to mention put ourselves at greater risk for other injuries such as falls and fractures.

And it isn’t just our macros we want to track but those micros and the types of each macro we consume.

Antioxidants like vitamins C and E, as well as beta-carotene, can help protect joint tissues from oxidative stress and inflammation.

This is why we want to track to make sure we’re consuming plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables, such as berries, citrus fruits, and leafy greens.

And then we don’t want to fear FATS in our diet either. Especially Omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce joint pain and stiffness. 

Tracking to make sure we’re including fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines as well as plant-based sources such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts is key! 

And then second, we focus on hydration and even tracking that water intake. 

Many of us have even set the goal to drink more water…and it’s a surprisingly hard habit to change!

It’s why I love to add this in as something clients also track in their daily logs for accountability.

What gets measured gets managed.

But increasing your water intake as you get older keeps those joints, as well as our other body tissues, healthy and happy.

It also helps us recover faster!

And it’s key we actually shoot for MORE water as we get older, especially if you’re increasing your protein intake to assist in better recovery and muscle gains!

When you increase your protein intake, you want to increase your water intake to help with absorption and digestion of the protein.

We also have to recognize that, as we get older and go through menopause, we simply need more water too to stay hydrated.

With decreasing estrogen levels, we often need to increase our water intake.

Not to mention during menopause you may find you do better on lower carb ratios.

Carbs help us retain the water we need.

So fewer carbs in our system may mean increasing our water intake and even being conscious or our electrolyte balance.

This is why shooting for 70% of your bodyweight (in pounds) in ounces is key.

And you want to track to get this over the day.

You’re not seeking to have your pee be clear either with this. You want that light lemonade color.

But this focus on proper hydration helps keep cartilage, the cushioning material for your joints, lubricated and functioning optimally.

You can move and feel your best at any age. But it does mean addressing what your body needs right now instead of focusing just on what used to work.

But stop blaming your age.

Control what you can control and make these changes to your workouts and your diet to feel amazing at every age!

Learn more about how to create the perfect plan for YOU and see the results you deserve…

–> Schedule A Coaching Consultation


How Strong Is Your Mind Muscle Connection? (Take This Test)

How Strong Is Your Mind Muscle Connection? (Take This Test)

How aware of your body are you?

Do you think you have an amazing mind-body connection?

Well…here’s a test to find out!

I mention this because too often we’re doing the right moves yet not seeing the results we want.

And it’s because we’re going through the motions with our training, mimicking proper form.

But proper form doesn’t guarantee proper recruitment patterns.

Aka just because a move looks pretty doesn’t mean we’re using the right muscles or seeking out mobility from the correct joints.

And the more advanced an exerciser you are, the more you can easily cheat and compensate.

But this can lead to overload and injury and you not seeing the results of your training you want.

That’s why in this video, I want to take you through a quick test to assess your mind-body connection.

And I want to do this test for an area many of us actually struggle to activate correctly…


To do this test, you’ll just be performing what seems like an oh so simple move and is an essential basic…

The Bodyweight Glute Bridge.

To do this glute bridge assessment…

I recommend setting up your phone camera to film yourself from the side and even from the knees up on a second round through. 

This external feedback can then help you adjust form if you need to tweak things to get the correct muscles working.

As you perform this move, you are going to ask yourself 4 key questions at different points of the move to assess different muscles and even imbalances between both sides. 

If you have the camera running, you can verbally answer.

Otherwise you may want a piece of paper next to you to make notes on! 

Then set up as you normally would for the glute bridge.

I like to have clients place their feet flat on the ground at a comfortable distance from their glutes and bend their elbows to drive their upper arms down into the ground. 

Then you want to bridge up.

Pausing at the top of the bridge, ask yourself…What do I feel working the most? 

Lower Back – Yes or No?

Glutes – Yes or No?

Hamstrings – Yes or No?

Quads – Yes or No?

Relax back down.

Repeat the move a couple more times pausing to assess. Then record what you felt.

Then next, AS you bridge up, ask yourself…

What do I feel working FIRST?

Is it your hamstrings, glutes, quads or lower back? 

Write down which muscle you feel engage FIRST.

Next, as you repeat the bridge, assess both on the way up AND as you pause for a second or two at the top, to ask yourself…

Do I feel one side working more?

Yes or No?

And if yes, which side?

Even make note of whether or not you just feel one side MORE or if you ONLY feel one side truly engaging.

The final assessment you want to do, is focusing on WHERE you truly feel your lower back, glutes or hamstrings working especially.

Do you feel the top of your butt under your SI joint working?

Yes or No?

Do you feel in the meat of your glute working?

Yes or No?

Do you feel right under your butt working?

Yes or No?

Or do you feel the middle of your hamstring working?

Yes or No?

Make a note, yes or no for each.

Now let’s break down what this information helps you understand about your glute engagement…

This may come as no surprise, but what you should have felt driving this movement is your GLUTES.

However, many of us do feel our lower back or hamstrings working and even taking over for our glutes during this move. 

We even sometimes feel our quads trying to engage although we can also feel them stretching as the glute bridge IS a hip flexor stretch. 

But often we don’t fully realize what is driving the movement when we get caught up only trying to focus on form.

We even simply think, “Oh my lower back is just weak and needs to get stronger.”

But really this shows that other moves are taking over when our glutes should be engaging.

This means we need to address our mind-body connection.

So if you found your lower back, quads or hamstrings compensating, I want to share some tweaks to your glute bridge form you may want to consider. 

Especially if you felt under your butt or your hamstrings working, this can mean your hamstrings are synergistically dominant.

Yes…under your butt is often that hamstring origin area becoming overworked.

And sometimes it is us not realizing that it is NOT our glutes but actually our hamstrings working right there that can lead to hamstring tendinopathy or tendinitis. 

Not to mention our hamstrings constantly being overworked is why they perpetually feeling tight no matter how much we stretch.

And when they are constantly overworked this can lead to knee pain, hamstrings strains and pulls and even perpetuate your lower back issues. 

So making sure the correct muscles are working during a fundamental more focused movement is key so we can lift more and run faster and avoid injuries with more complex movement patterns.

I will also share some tips as well if you found that you had an imbalance between both sides. Sometimes this can mean we feel only one side working or that we feel our glute on one side but actually our hamstring on the other!

But first, how can you adjust your form if you don’t feel your glutes working like they should?

Here are 5 quick tips…

#1: Focus on maintaining that posterior pelvic tilt from the start and don’t get caught up in bridging higher.

This can help you make sure you’re using your abs to protect your lower back AND the posterior pelvic tilt engages the glute max.

Also, often in an attempt to bridge up higher, we arch our back at the top over extending our hips further, which overloads our lower back and can engage our hamstrings.

#2: Drive your knees toward your toes.

Focus on pressing through your entire foot and as you bridge up driving your upper arms into the ground, don’t push yourself backward.

Focus on driving those knees forward to help you avoid overusing your hamstrings.

This can even help if you tend to feel your quads working too.

#3: Focus on STOPPING the lift with your glutes.

So often in trying to work through a full range of motion, we stop engaging muscles to power the move.

Instead of trying to get a bigger movement, try and really squeeze your glutes hard to prevent yourself from being able to lift any higher. This focus on that activation of the glutes will make sure you’re driving true hip extension while avoiding anything else compensating!

#4: Pause and adjust.

At the top of the bridge, pause and then try little adjustments. If you move your feet in closer to your butt does that help? Or does moving them further away help you engage your glutes better? 

While technically moving our heels further away toward a straight leg glute bridge engages more hamstrings, you may find, due to hip tightness that having your heels in too close to your butt engages the hamstrings more or makes you arch your back or even feel your quads.

So as you hold at the top, assess what you feel working and play around with even your posterior pelvic tilt or trying to engage each side. 

Even put a hand on your glutes to try and give that tactile cue to feel them working to make that mind-body connection! 

That can allow us to get the positioning we need!

#5: Try other bridge variations.

Sometimes we need to first adjust the variation we use to recruit the correct muscles. Slight changes to our posture and positioning can really impact things and even tools can provide an extra stimulus to improve our mind-body connection.

Even doing a move we feel working our glutes correctly prior to the one we struggle with can help us established the mind-body connection in that second move.

Two great variations to try if you’re struggling to engage your glutes can be the frog bridge as the external hip rotation can often help. 

Or the mini band glute bridge. Pushing out on the band can help engage our glute medius which can help us better engage our glute max. 

The band can also sometimes help if you struggle to get both sides working together!

Now To Address An Imbalance Between Sides… 

I do want to note we will NEVER be perfectly evenly BUT we do want to note when one side isn’t pulling it’s weight.

When we have an imbalance this can lead to our stronger side taking over during other moves. This can lead to injury on that dominant side.

It can also mean that we risk injury on our weaker side if it is fighting to keep up. 

So we want to address imbalances as much as possible and be conscious of them.

This is where unilateral glute activation may be key. 

You may consider extra work for that weaker side, even swapping in something like the single leg reverse hyper to get that glute working. 

Or you may use something like the 80/20 glute bridge to help you focus on each side more independently. 

We have to recognize how challenging the full unilateral or single leg glute bridge is, which is why I recommend the 80/20 version instead.

If you can’t control the two-leg bodyweight bridge, there is a good chance your weaker side will continue to struggle with a full single leg variation.

But modify the move or even add in unilateral work to make sure you aren’t feeling other muscles take over for that weaker glute!

Bonus Tip:

And a final bonus tip, which can be helpful whether you’re addressing an imbalance or even just your hamstrings, lower back or quads engaging when they shouldn’t…

Foam Roll those overactive muscles PRIOR! 

The impact of foam rolling is short-lived, but by rolling that muscle that wants to compensate before you then do the exercise, you can help interrupt that mind-body connection so you can better engage the proper muscles.

Especially if you feel only the hamstring on one side, trying rolling that muscle prior to the glute bridge to relax it to make it easier to establish that mind-body connection to your glutes!

Just remember, changes to our mind-body connection and recruitment patterns won’t happen overnight.

Our mind and body will want to default back into patterns we’ve created over time that now feel natural.

But if we don’t work to address them in fundamental moves like this, we put ourselves at greater risk for injury when we lift heavy, run or cycle.

Not to mention we may not be seeing the improvements in our other training that we want because we aren’t using muscles as efficiently to power our training!

–> Download The Workbook Sheet

5 Mistakes That Got Me INJURED (Avoid These!)

5 Mistakes That Got Me INJURED (Avoid These!)

Injuries suck.

No one likes them. No one wants them.

And they only seem to add up more and more the older we get.

I’ve personally suffered from far too many of them because of ego and stupid mistakes.

Mistakes I want to help you avoid.

That’s why in this video I’m going to go over 5 training mistakes I made that lead to injury to help you avoid making the same mistakes and even come back stronger than ever no matter your age!

By learning from my own mistakes, I now feel stronger and move better than ever before and have helped many of my clients overcome chronic aches and pains to move and feel their best as well!

So let’s jump right in with mistake #1….

Mistake #1: Just resting an injury.

Rest can be a key component of recovery. 

But far too often we just rest it then go right back to what we were doing that lead to the injury in the first place.

We never actually correct the underlying cause or problem.

We never address the movement compensation causing overload.

And then we wonder why a few months later we are sidelined with the same issue or another injury even on that same side of our body. 

Resting it doesn’t fix the problem!

If you have an injury, you need to assess what lead to the overload of that area in the first place.

Because often the point of pain, the place that got injured, isn’t even where the problem started. 

Even previous injuries may have resulted in changes to our movement patterns leading to the issues we now have.

Like that ankle sprain you got years ago you never rehabbed may be why you have hip or lower back aches and pains now. 

So instead of just resting an area, or even if you do need to rest to recover to start, focus on taking things back to basics and doing that rehab work to improve your mind-body connection and make sure you are performing exercises correctly. 

You want to come back to training and work on improving and retraining proper movements over just going back to what you were doing.

And regress to progress. Start back slowly to make sure you’re building up using the correct muscles to power moves! 

Which brings me to Mistake #2: Focusing only on proper form.

The more advanced an exerciser you are, the more you know what proper form should be…

And the more you can also CHEAT and compensate.

So picture perfect form doesn’t always mean we’re using the correct muscles. 

And this ability to mimic proper form is also why you can get injured while saying, “I have great form with moves! I know what I’m doing!”

Too often we force a movement pattern we can’t fully control, which leads to us overusing muscles not meant to handle the load or seeking out mobility from joints that aren’t meant to help us get that range of motion and movement. 

It’s why we may feel our lower backs as we try to extend our spine to perform the bent over row with a straight back. 

If we have limited thoracic mobility, due to hunching over a computer, we may end up overarching our lower back to compensate.

This can then lead to us overusing our lower back and ending up with back pain while our row form looks good.

We also have to remember that proper form isn’t a one size fits all thing. There are variations to what is perfect.

Like with the squat….

Social media may show you this one version of a picture perfect squat with super upright torso, feet hip width and completely straight ahead as the person squats ass to grass… 

But if you have a shorter torso and longer femurs or a different hip socket shape and depth, you may need a different stance or have more of a forward lean.

We don’t want to just ignore the importance of form, but we do want to recognize that there are acceptable variations we may each need based on build or even previous injuries or even mobility restrictions. 

If we try to force our body into a form mold that doesn’t fit, if we try to do a move we can’t control using the correct muscles, we are going to end up injured.

So focus not only on the movement pattern itself, but what you actually feel working to power the move.

And don’t be afraid to use variations or tweaks to movements to fit what you need!

Next Mistake #3: Not keeping in rehab as prehab.

You can NEVER stop doing what makes you better. 

And so often future injuries are a result of PREVIOUS aches and pains we didn’t fully address or keep addressing. 

How many of us have had an injury, done some rehab, had it go away, stopped the rehab then been frustrated when it seems like the injury keeps flaring back up?

It’s because we stopped doing the rehab that improved our mobility and built up strength in underactive and weak muscles! 

And the second we stop doing what made us better, we start to fall back into old postures, movements and recruitment patterns, overusing muscles not meant to carry the load.

Often we want to default back into movement patterns we did for a long time that have become natural. 

Movement patterns and postures we constantly have to fight against to ingrain new ones that will become natural only with time.

Time we don’t often truly dedicate to the changes!

So once you finish up rehab and start feeling good, you need to turn that rehab into prehab. 

You can’t just stop it at the first sign of feeling better and go back to what you were doing!

Include that prehab as part of your warm up or on recovery days BEFORE anything adds up! 

This helps ensure you’re using the correct muscles in movements and have mobilized joints to work through a full range of motion.

And if you do feel any aches starting to slightly reappear, whether you’ve spent longer hours at your desk or have been traveling and got a bit lax on your prehab, step up that mobility and stability work and assess what other moves in your workouts you may need to modify to address what is going on! 

But don’t think just because you did some physio or rehab for a bit the issue is magically solved forever!

We get good at what we consistently do and we need to keep doing those boring basics to maintain the foundation we built!

And while prehab and mobility work is key…

We can’t out rehab our daily movements and the way we then train in our workouts… 

This is why you have to be conscious of Mistake #4: Not checking your ego at the gym door.

Trust me…I want to push hard in my training sessions. 

And I know ego can push me to want to eek out an extra rep or use a heavier weight even as my form breaks down. 

There are definitely those workouts where I finish a set and know I wasn’t engaging the correct muscles as I got tired…yet I pushed through anyway.

This happens because we want to see results and we want to see them now.

But there is a fine line we have to tread when it comes to pushing hard and pushing to a point where we are ultimately creating overload and pain. 

We need to focus on being intentional with our workouts and making each rep quality.

We need to realize when our ego needs to be put in check.

We also need to embrace MODIFYING at times to get more out of moves. 

Sometimes we advance to a movement we haven’t earned, thinking if the exercise is technically harder it will help us see better results faster.

But since we haven’t earned the move, we compensate. We don’t actually work the muscles fully that we want to target. 

Not only does this not get us the full benefit of the move, so we’re wasting effort and time, but it can lead to injury.

If we instead had modified and regressed to progress, we could have made the move harder for ourselves because we were actually able to use the correct muscles. 

So as much as you may want to do that push up from your toes, check your ego. 

If your hips are sagging, your head is jutting forward or your form is just fugly, modify it to make it picture perfect.

That tweak can actually make the move HARDER because you’re able to use the correct muscles. And you’ll see better results because of it. 

Modifying doesn’t mean making a move easier. It means making a move match what you need.

And this can help you train harder without creating aches and pains!

And this final mistake is one we so often make and think we could “get away with” when we were younger…Only to now realize “getting away with it” may be why we have more aches and pains…

Mistake #5: Not doing a proper warm up.

Ever go into a workout without doing a warm up because you’re short on time and feel like it takes multiple rounds of your training session or even half your workout before you’re feeling warm and squatting as low as you’d like? 

Well not only did you end up wasting half your workout time by not “wasting time” warming up, but you also put yourself at greater risk for overload and injury.

We have to recognize that our bodies aren’t primed for the movements we are about to do because we’ve spent our day driving in a car or hunched over a computer or doing other repetitive movements and suboptimal postures. 

So that heavy overhead press you want to perform that keeps hurting your shoulder or neck or back, may be because you aren’t addressing your hunched over desk posture and first working on your thoracic extension.

You aren’t doing the mobility work to properly press overhead and engage your upper back while having proper scapular control. 

But all you need to do to fix this is include foam rolling, stretching and activation in your warm up prior! And do so CONSISTENTLY!

Your warm up is the time you address daily postures and ready your body for the movements you are going to do. 

It is the time you can address past aches and pains to make sure you’re not creating the same overload that can lead to injury.

This prehab work done just even for 5-10 minutes in your warm up CONSISTENTLY can add up more than a once a week recovery session. 

So in your warm up…

Foam roll to relax tight and overactive muscles… 

Perform dynamic stretches to warm up your body and mobilize your joints… 

Then include activation moves to engage those underactive muscles while improving your mobility and stability. 

Through this 3-part prehab process, you can ready your body to put in some quality work during your workout. 

You can help prevent your desk job posture and lack of activity during the day from impacting how you train!

If you want to avoid aches and pains from getting worse and adding up more and more over the decades, focus on truly addressing what caused the pain in the first place. 

Don’t push through it. Don’t skip your prehab.

Focus on what you feel working in movements and never stop doing what made you feel better! 

For more injury resources, CLICK HERE.

The Most Underrated Plank Exercise

The Most Underrated Plank Exercise

The plank is an amazing core move and a fundamental we need to include. 

But holding longer only helps us build strength to a point.

And just because a move is a must-do basic, doesn’t mean we can’t have fun using other variations especially to target specific muscles of our core more. 

Because the basic plank doesn’t help us work on that rotational core strength nor does it include any lateral flexion.

And learning to power and control both of these movements is key if we want not only a toned, strong core but also to improve our shoulder, hip, knee and even ankle stability.

So if you want to work those obliques and glutes even more with both a rotational and lateral flexion movement, while improve your shoulder stability try this amazing plank variation – the Plank with Oblique Knee Tuck! 

In this video, I’ll show you how to perform this move and modify it to fit your current fitness level so you can build a strong core!

And I’ll share my “secret” to finding a way to modify ANY exercise to fit someone’s needs and goals. 

How To Do The Plank With Oblique Knee Tuck:

This plank variation actually combines the basic front plank with the side plank as you transition from side to side with this rotational exercise.

And then it advances the basic side plank by adding in that oblique knee tuck.

Because you are stabilizing on just one arm and one leg, this move needs to be built up to slowly so that you aren’t overloading your shoulder or knee.

It is a challenging plank variation to work on your shoulder, hip and knee stability and will really work those obliques and glutes!

To do the Plank with Oblique Knee Tucks, set up in a forearm front plank from your elbows and toes.

Stack your elbows under your shoulders but outside your chest and focus on engaging your back to really lock your shoulders in place. Your hands will be in toward each other as your elbows are wider. This will feel more comfortable as you rotate.

You can even start with your arms fully perpendicular to your body under your shoulders.

Flex your quads as you drive back slightly through your heels and perform a small posterior pelvic tilt to feel your abs light up.

Maintain a nice straight line from your head to toes.

Then rotate to one side. Make sure your elbow stays stacked under your shoulder and your hips don’t drop as you twist.

As you move into that side plank, also make sure your foot that stays on the ground is flexed. This protects your knee and ankle to create better tension up your leg to engage your glute.

Squeeze your butt forward as you lift your top leg up and reach your top hand overhead.

Then tuck your elbow and knee together. You will crunch them together slightly in front of you, but do not allow your bottom hip to sag.

You want that bottom oblique and glute working!

After performing the tuck and reaching back out move back to face the ground and rotate into a side plank on the other side to perform the oblique knee tuck.

Do not rush this move. Take it slow to really stabilize and feel those obliques and glutes working!

So How Can You Modify This Move?

Adding movement to a plank exercise creates a new stability challenge. And side planks themselves are already very challenging.

You do not want ego to get in the way. So just because you can do a full plank from the ground, doesn’t mean you’ve necessarily earned this variation. 

The rotation into the side plank and then supporting yourself with only your bottom leg as you tuck the top leg, requires more strength and stability than we realize. 

If you find yourself losing balance or rushing, try first modifying with your elbow up on a bench, stair or incline. 

By lifting up your elbow, you reduce the resistance on your upper body and put less strength demands on your entire core. 

I prefer the incline to modify because it allows you to learn to engage everything down to your feet. 

When you do a knee plank variation, you don’t learn how to create tension into your lower leg.

As you build up and get comfortable with the movement pattern, you can move back to the ground. 

We have to remember it isn’t just strength sometimes but that mind-body connection we first need to work on with movements. We need to build that smooth coordination and get muscles engaged efficiently and correctly to progress.

So slow things down and use that incline.

However, if you find that you can do the full plank off the ground but that you lose balance as you alternate sides, you can even modify by doing one side at a time. 

Just rotate from that front plank to the same time to help you maintain that balance. Then after all reps are complete, switch to the side plank on the other side.

Now what if due to injury, an incline variation still isn’t right for you?

Because I know that not every move is right for every person, I wanted to share some tips to help you learn how to adjust any moves you ever need… 

So my secret to modifying moves?

Not being married to an exercise and instead always prioritizing the muscles I need to train and movement patterns I want to work on.

With this plank with oblique knee tuck, I always want to first see how I can simply regress the exact movement. 

But when this isn’t possible, I go back to why the move was being used in the first place.

Was it that I wanted rotational core work? That extra oblique and glute medius work? That lateral flexion?

When you have a goal for every move you include, you can easily swap in another move or moves that achieve those same goals whenever you need. 

If you did still want a balance and stability component while working on that lateral crunch, but that didn’t require strain on the shoulders, maybe you include a standing oblique knee tuck where you stay balanced on one side. 

Or maybe you wanted more of the rotational element to target your obliques and glutes unilaterally but can’t get down on the ground so you include a cable hip rotation. 

The point is, when modifying, you aren’t as much concerned with the exact exercise as the GOAL for the movement.

And whenever possible, you keep the exercise as close as possible to train that exact movement, build the mind-body connection and build up. 

But when that isn’t possible, you simply stay focused on the goal for including the move so you can see the same benefits!

There is always a way to find a movement variation to match our needs and goals. 

That’s why I love this amazing plank with oblique knee tuck when you want to work your glutes and obliques even more. 

And the rotational movement and lateral flexion are a great way to target your core in multiple planes of motion.

But if you can’t get down on the ground to enjoy this amazing plank move, give these non-floor core moves a try.

–> Non Floor Core Moves

4 Tips To Fix TIGHT Hamstrings (Stop JUST Stretching!)

4 Tips To Fix TIGHT Hamstrings (Stop JUST Stretching!)

Can’t touch your toes?

Hamstrings always feel tight?

STRETCHING Alone isn’t the answer!

In this video I want to share why stretching your hamstrings more may actually be perpetuating the issues and what you should be doing instead.

Now I’m not saying stretching is bad, BUT just because a muscle feels tight doesn’t mean that stretching is the answer.

In the case of our hamstrings, we have to understand why they are tight to realize why stretching is often making matters worse.

Our hamstrings can often become tight because they are actually already OVERSTRETCHED or even compensating for weak or underactive glutes.

This often happens because our hip flexors become tight and overactive or even our ankle mobility is lacking.

This shortening of our hip flexors can lead to excessive anterior pelvic tilt or a change in our posture that can lead to our hamstrings becoming overstretched.

And with this change in our posture, often our glutes don’t function as they should.

So then when we stretch our hamstrings, we may get temporary relief but we aren’t actually addressing the problem.

So what should you do instead?

These 4 steps can help us improve our hamstring flexibility by actually addressing the true mobility and stability issues!

First…Foam Roll Your Hamstrings.

If you always feel your hamstrings during any glute exercises they may be synergistically dominant and working instead of letting your glutes be the prime mover. 

Part of this happens because of our mind-body connection. We have that recruitment pattern ingrained which means our mind asks our hamstrings to work FIRST over using our glutes the way we should.

By first foam rolling your hamstrings, you can relax this muscle to better allow yourself to recruit your glutes. This is a great way to release the muscle WITHOUT stretching.

To roll out your hamstrings a ball on a bench works best. 

Sit on the ball with it under the back of your leg. Find a tight spot anywhere down your hamstring and hold on it. Lift your leg out in front of you to tense and relax the muscle.

Do this about 5 times and move to another spot. Focus on a few different tight areas before switching sides.

If you’re doing this for the first time, it’s not bad to roll along under your butt and then down toward your knee, even moving from the outside of your leg toward your inner thigh to find what’s tight for you!

Next…Stretch Your Hip Flexors And Ankles.

Part of that perpetual hamstring tightness might be a lack of mobility at our hips or ankles. 

This immobility leads to improper posture in everyday life, making our hamstrings feel like they’re constantly tight. 

That’s why you want to include this side lying hip and quad stretch in your routine to stretch out those tight hip flexors as well as the bear squat to foot stretch to improve your ankle and foot mobility. 

This can help you avoid your hamstrings being strained or overworked while being able to be better get those glutes engaged.

While you can do the side lying hip and quad stretch standing, the side lying variation is great if you have balance issues or can’t focus on that true hip extension while standing.

As you pull your heel back toward your butt, sqeeuze your glute to truly extend your hip. The knee flexion and hip extension will stretch out those hip flexors.

If you can’t reach your foot, you can loop a towel around your ankle to pull your heel back with that.

Relax out and repeat that same movement. Really focus on engaging the glute to truly extend that hip and stretch those hip flexors.

If you feel your hamstring cramp as you bring your heel back in, conscious relax your foot over allowing your ankle to flex. And focus on that glute!

With the bear squat with foot stretch, you’ll work to improve your ankle mobility as well as your foot mobility.

With this stretch, start on your hands and knees then sit back on your heels. You can rock side to side sitting back. Then place your hands back down on the ground and lift your butt up toward the ceiling as you drive your heels down toward the ground.

You can pedal your feet or hold for a second then lower down and sit back.

If you can’t sit back on your heels without pain, or have knee pain kneeling down, you can do a great ankle mobility movement, placing the ball of your foot on a plate weight or dumbbell and then driving your knee forward while keeping your heel down.

This move is best done without shoes on if you can but will then be more intense on your toes.

Now let’s address your glutes.

Focused glute activation moves like the glute bridge will not only stretch out your hip flexors but they’ll improve your hip stability through strengthening and activating your glutes. 

Strong glutes mean you won’t be relying on those hamstrings as much so they don’t just keep feeling tight from being overworked!

The one thing you have to be conscious of though is WHAT DO YOU FEEL WORKING?!

If you let your hamstrings compensate while doing the right moves, you’ll perpetuate your hamstring issues and they will keep feeling tight. 

In order for the glute activation work to pay off, you have to feel your glutes working as that prime mover.

If you struggle with even that bodyweight glute bridge, try the frog bridge instead. That external hip rotation can be helpful. Or you can use a mini band to even help engage that glute medius more which will help the glute max fire better. 

Just make sure you aren’t arching your back or pushing yourself backward as you do the move. 

Focus on a slight posterior pelvic tilt and only bridging up as high as you can control using your glutes! 

For more tips to help you really use the glute bridge to improve your hamstring flexibility by improving your glute activation, CLICK HERE.

Using these key moves you can improve your hamstring flexibility and see those results truly last.

Stop wasting time stretching and address the true mobility and stability issues that are going on!

How To Do The Pelvic Tilt Exercise (And SHOULD You?)

How To Do The Pelvic Tilt Exercise (And SHOULD You?)

The pelvic tilt…

How can you use this amazing move and progress this exercise to build a stronger core?

And why has this move received some hate in recent years?

Let’s break down the pelvic tilt progression and when and how to use it!

This exercise is a great way to learn to brace your abs and protect your lower back during core work

If you’ve ever felt your lower back or hips during crunches or leg lowers, Leg Raises you want to master this movement.

It will even help you better engage your glutes during moves like the glute bridge or other activation exercises. And it is a great way to target that lower portion of the rectus abdominis even more aka work those lower abs!

To learn the basic pelvic tilt engagement…

Lie on your back on the ground and take a deep inhale.

As you exhale, tuck your hips up toward your ribs, focusing on pulling each side of your pelvis in toward each other and up toward your ribs.

You want to focus on engaging those abs through that exhale as you tuck. You will feel the space between your lower back and the ground go away.

You should also feel your glute max engage with the tuck.

Hold here for a 3-5 count then relax.

Learning this engagement is key.

It helps you learn to control that spinal flexion as you progress to leg lower exercises and even progress your planks.

And if you’ve ever had lower back pain and feeling your back during glute bridges, hip thrusters or other glute activation movements, using the pelvic tilt can help you better engage your glutes during these moves without your lower back taking over!

Now, before I go over the full progression and how to master that double leg lower exercise we see in so many workout routines…

I want to touch on why people are against using the pelvic tilt exercise.

And it relates back to bracing during lifting and even the ability to maintain a neutral spine.

During lifting exercises, such as the squat and deadlift, you do not want that posterior pelvic tilt. This can lead to overload of your lower back.

And daily excessive posterior pelvic tilt posture can have a negative impact just like excessive anterior pelvic tilt can.

But this doesn’t mean the move is bad.

It just means you have to understand WHY and WHEN to use it.

Improper implementation of any exercise, using a move we haven’t earned even, can lead to issues.

While you may focus on that forceful exhale like you’re being punched in the gut to brace during heavy lifts, you do want to know how to engage through that posterior pelvic tilt to better use those intrinsic core stabilizers and even activate your glutes during prehab work and those floor core moves.

Our spines are MEANT to flex and posterior pelvic tilt is an action we want to know how to control using our abs while disengaging our hip flexors and back.

This is why you want to focus on building up through the posterior pelvic tilt progression instead of just jumping into those double leg lowers you can’t control.

So how can you progress the pelvic tilt and what are three of my favorite moves using it that aren’t part of this progression?

To progress the posterior pelvic tilt, you will want to start with a march Single Leg March from this basic position. From here you can progress to a double knee tuck. 

Then you can go to a single straight leg lower Single Leg Lower before a full double leg lower.

You only want to progress though as you can truly control the move.

If you start to feel your lower back lifting or your hip flexors are doing all of the work, stop and reset or regress the move.

While the leg raises and lowers are going to involve your hip flexors since they are movement at the hip, you want to feel your abs bracing the movement.

To help yourself check your engagement through this progression, place a towel under your back and hold the other end in your hand. 

You can then give it a slight tug to see if it stays pinned as you progress. This helps you double check you’re maintaining that tilt.

And make sure you don’t hold your breath. You want to exhale to help you brace as you lower a leg down or both down.

Once you’ve gone through this progression, you are never above those foundational variations but you may find you start to include other leg lower variations like flutters or criss crosses or even that full hollow body hold I love to call the banana!

Three other uses of the pelvic tilt I love are…

The dolphin plank, the hanging pelvic tilt and the glute bridge.

Dolphin Plank: 

The dolphin plank is a great variation to add movement to your basic forearm front plank and will help you learn to engage your abs to power spinal flexion but also avoid unwanted spinal extension.

You will use the posterior pelvic tilt as you round up in the plank and then you will fight the urge to extend your lower back as you allow your hips to sink toward the ground.

This is a killer anti-extension plank option. And you can modify it by holding a plange plank or by doing what I like to call the vomiting cat from your hands and knees. 

This is NOT that cat cow stretch.

The reason I call it the vomiting cat is you want to round up and draw your abs in as if coughing up a hairball. That hollowing out of your stomach is what really engages your abs.

Hanging Pelvic Tilt:

The hanging pelvic tilt is a great way to advance the pelvic tilt and really learn to control hanging ab exercises like knees to elbows.

Too often with knees to elbows and even leg raises, we let our hip flexors take over or really start to swing and lose control.

By first learning to do the hanging pelvic tilt, we can learn to start that engagement with our abs!

Really focus on pulling down on that bar as you tuck your pelvis toward your ribs!

Glute Bridge: 

I want to mention the glute bridge as well because of the impact that the posterior pelvic tilt can have on our glutes.

That pelvic tilt can help us better activate our glute max which is key if we are struggling with feeling our lower back or even our hamstrings take over during our glute work.

So if you even feel your lower back when trying to do weight glute bridges or hip thrusters, make sure you aren’t arching but instead starting the move with this tilt.

This helps you also focus more on true hip extension.

Too often with bridging we lift up higher and don’t realize we are actually getting the extra range of motion from our backs, not by actually fully extending our hips.

When you start with the pelvic tilt, you help yourself focus just on true hip extension using your glutes!

And learning to use the pelvic tilt during moves like this is especially a win win if you’re rebuilding post-partum. 

Bonus Tips:

I did also want to include just a few extra tips, especially if you are using this move to rebuild after lower back injury or pregnancy…

If you are rebuilding your core strength after having a baby, make sure you roll onto your side before lying on your back over just lying back.

And make sure you only progress the pelvic tilt as you are able to control your abs and avoid them doming out.

You may also find it easier to engage your ab and even your pelvic floor by also engaging your adductors.

If you’re struggling with that brace, consider squeezing a ball or block between your knees.

This squeeze can really help you stay focused on that tension. 

And do not hold your breath!

Use the pelvic tilt exercise to better brace your abs and build a strong core!