Is An Injury Why You Can’t Lose Fat?

Is An Injury Why You Can’t Lose Fat?

Let’s face it. Injuries suck but so often they aren’t what’s truly holding us back from losing weight.

Often it’s a case of the more you do, the more you do…and our diet starts to slide as we’re thrown out of our normal routine.

However, ultimately we can’t always change our situation…we can only control our perspective.

We can see it as an obstacle or as an opportunity.

How can you see this as an opportunity to actually get better fat loss results over feeling like injuries keep sabotaging your progress?

What are some new things you can EXPLORE?

– New recipes
– New hobbies
– Dialing in your rest and recovery
– Learning about rebuilding from injury – looking for perspectives on your issues and even why they occurred to ask better questions of your health care professionals.

See this as an opportunity to come back STRONGER even with so many habits dialed in to build off of!

But we’ve got to focus on controlling what we can control.

And you 100% can control how you’re fueling.

While you definitely need to train to build muscle, because you need that challenge to adapt and grow stronger. And while training can really help make the fat loss process easier and your results easier to maintain, you can honestly lose fat without doing any activity at all.

Aka being injured really isn’t an excuse!

Sure you may not be able to train exactly how you’d like, but you can see that as giving you more time to try new ratios or learn to track your diet.

Tracking your diet can also make you feel a bit more secure you’re doing what you need and have the power to adjust as you’re lifestyle evolves.

And being out with injury doesn’t mean slashing your calories lower.

While I know we often go straight to this because we feel our activity level has decreased so we’re burning fewer calories, this can also lead to more muscle mass being lost!

It can lead to impaired recovery as healing takes energy!


And honestly, if you want a magic pill, protein is it!

It is the building block of all of your tissues aka all of the things that need to repair from injury.

So while you want to avoid an extreme deficit, your energy intake will decrease. And you don’t want your protein levels dropping too much during this time.

Protein can aid in your recovery and help you retain lean muscle mass, which can also help you keep lean while not training the way you’d like.

Studies have shown that “insufficient protein intake will impede wound healing and increase inflammation to possibly deleterious levels.”

It’s honestly why I even have clients take BCAAs when out with injury as they can help improve muscle mass retention and are no calories to avoid consuming too much.

And, partly due to the fact that BCAAs can help us build and retain lean muscle, but also due to the fact that isoleucine and leucine help improve glucose tolerance and increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, they may also help you increase fat burning and fat loss. Especially when insulin sensitivity has been decreased due to a reduction in exercise.

It’s also why I promote Collagen use during recovery periods especially as well.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is used to make connective tissues.

Type 1 and 3 collagen are for skin health and help with sagginess, wrinkles and wound healing. Type 2 collagen is for joint health and may help relieve joint pain, swelling and stiffness.

Even take collagen with Vitamin C as vitamin c boosts natural production of collagen as well.

Plus vitamin c itself helps with tissue repair and growth

Even jut 5-15 grams of collagen with 50mg of Vitamin C can be a great bonus!

Drink enough water! Hydration is key to you healing quickly, not eating out of boredom and sleeping well!


Realize you CAN truly do so much to keep training!

And this doesn’t mean pushing through the pain!!

We have to stop thinking that because we can’t train how we normally would that we can’t do anything at all.

Even just some form of training can go a long way in maintaining the muscle mass and strength we’ve built. Even if we aren’t training those same areas in the exact way we would like.

It’s sometimes about doing the minimum you can to keep that muscle memory, put the breaks on muscle mass loss and create that anabolic environment to avoid muscle catabolism.

Because even if we can’t do enough to BUILD, often we can do enough to MAINTAIN!

And there are so many ways to modify around injuries.

Ankle injury?

Try kneeling squats.

Shoulder injury, try lower body workouts.

Knee pain and want to do cardio? Try even battle ropes seated.

See this as an opportunity to have fun training around.

Even depending on the ache or pain, you can sometimes modify the exact movement to engage the correct muscles.

And then focus on this as a chance to rebuild your foundation stronger!

Do that prehab. Focus on the mind-body connection.

Learn about and address what lead to the overload.

Even find other weaknesses to work on!

Maybe this is the chance to do a deload and address other mobility restrictions or areas that have been achy in the past.

Studies have even shown that training one limb can improve strength gains in the untrained limb. So while we don’t want to go crazy, it does show that doing SOMETHING can even pay off.

And then rebuild slowly.

Don’t just do less, truly meet yourself where you’re at so you even crave more.

And during this time as I mentioned to start, see this as an opportunity.

Dial in other areas of your healthy habits, even including your sleep.

For more on even mobility work and that full 3-part rehab process, check out the links below…


For two essential fat loss tips:


For more injury prevention, or prehab exercises:

Shoulder Mobility:

The Right Way To Get A Strong Lower Back (4 exercises)

The Right Way To Get A Strong Lower Back (4 exercises)

Many of us have thought to ourselves, “My lower back is so weak” when we’ve been suffering from lower back aches and pains.

We feel it during ab movements or deadlifts and think that we feel it because we need to strengthen it.

But what if the problem isn’t that your lower back is weak?

What if the issue is that it’s actually OVERWORKED?

This is all too often the case when it comes to our lower back.

The muscles there become overworked due to our daily postures which have created mobility restrictions and underactive abs and glutes.

So all of that strengthening you’re trying to do, all of those superman you’re doing, may actually be perpetuating the issues making them worse instead of better.

Instead you may need to be working on your hip and thoracic mobility while activating your abs and glutes to protect your lower back from being overloaded.

Remember the point of pain isn’t always where the problem started. And feeling a muscle work during a move may not be because it is weak. Instead it may be working when it shouldn’t and become overloaded.

So if you’ve been feeling your lower back during moves and thought, “I need to strengthen it,” try including these 4 moves in your warm up routine instead! And stop overworking your already overloaded lower back more!

Exercise #1: Thoracic Foam Rolling

If one area is lacking in mobility, we will seek out mobility from another area to compensate.

Because we often lack proper thoracic extension due to hunching over our technology or driving in our cars, we tend to compensate for this lack of extension by arching our lower back during exercises.

If you’ve ever felt your lower back during overhead pressing movements or bent over rows or back flyes, you may be arching your lower back in an attempt to maintain a neutral spine because of your limited thoracic extension.

That’s why it’s key we work to improve our thoracic extension to avoid seeking out mobility from our lumbar spine to compensate.

That’s why I love peanut foam rolling. It’s a great way to relax those muscles that may become tight along our spine while improving our thoracic extension.

To do this move, you can use a peanut, which can easily be made by taping two balls together or tying them in a sock. Lie on your back placing the peanut in your mid-back with a ball on either side of your spine.

Place your hands behind your head, pulling your elbows open as you relax over the peanut.

Breathe and hold for a second, then crunch up and relax back down. Do a few of the crunches, extending back over, before moving the peanut up your spine.

You can also reach your arms up overhead and sweep them open and out to your sides before crunching up to stretch out your chest further.

But focus on breathing to relax as you hold and allow your spine to extend over the roller.

To progress this move, you can use something like the Simple Mobility tool which has a larger diameter and will require more spinal mobility to relax over.

Exercise #2: Bench Hip And Quad Stretch with Rotation

Tight hip flexors, and a lack of hip and spinal mobility in general can lead to you overusing your lower back as you then aren’t able to properly engage your glutes or even your upper back and abs.

That’s why stretches to improve your hip extension and spinal mobility are key.

Too often if our hip flexors are tight, we end up feeling moves that should be felt in our glutes in our lower backs and quads. Not to mention we can develop hamstring synergistic dominance where our hamstrings start to become overworked instead of our glutes working when they should!

To address both limited hip and spinal mobility, I love this Bench Hip and Quad Stretch With Rotation.

To do this move, place one foot up on a bench or chair behind you and half kneel on the ground with that back knee down and front foot flat on the ground. Move out far enough that you can squeeze that back glute to drive your hip into extension while keeping that front knee aligned over that front ankle.

In this half kneeling position, place both hands down on the ground even with your front instep.

In this position it is key you squeeze that back glute to drive that hip into extension or you lose out on the hip flexor stretch. Having your back foot up on the bench flexes your knees to stretch your quads at the same time.

Then lift your hand closet to your front foot to rotate toward that front leg. As you rotate your chest open, don’t just move at your shoulder. Focus on engaging your upper back to rotate your chest open.

Reach up toward the ceiling then place that hand back down on the ground. Then lift your other hand up to rotate away from that front leg. You may find it harder to rotate one direction, especially away from the front leg.

Make sure to keep that back glute engaged the entire time to stretch your hips and engage your upper back to help you twist and rotate.

Do not let yourself rock out on that front foot and cheat, seeking out mobility from other areas!

Move slowly and work for about 30 seconds per side even before switching legs.

To modify, you can place your back foot on a block instead of up on a bench. You can also place that back foot on a wall if you don’t have a bench.

If you can’t kneel due to knee issues, do this from a runner’s lunge position, even modifying with your hands up on an incline.

Exercise #3: 3-Way Hip Circles

The best way to protect your back is to strengthen your glutes and your abs so they brace to help protect your spine so your lower back isn’t doing all of the work!

That’s why this 3-Way Hip Circle activation move is so important to include. It not only helps mobilize your hips, but also works on your core engagement, activating your glutes, abs and even obliques.

Avoid leaning away or rotating your pelvis as you focus on moving just at the hip joint.

In this drill you want to pause in each position as the donkey kick will target your glute max while the fire hydrant will target your glute medius and the knee tuck will engage both your hip flexors, but especially your abs if you focus on drawing in your belly button as you pull in to tuck.

By also fighting the urge to lean away you’ll feel those obliques working to keep your hips level toward the ground.

To do the 3-Way Hip Circles, start on your hands and knees with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Flex your feet.

Then, keeping your knee bent to about 90 degrees, kick one leg back like into a Donkey Kick. You may slightly abduct the leg to better engage the glute, but do not let the knee rotate open. Focus on stopping the move with your glute over arching your lower back to lift up higher.

Pause here even assessing if you feel your glute. If you feel your hamstrings, relax your foot or even kick slightly out. And make sure your hips stay level to the ground.

Then, without bringing your knee back down, circle it out to the side into a Fire Hydrant position. Do not bend your arms or lean away to try to get the leg up higher.

Pull your knee in line with your hip, keeping your knee bent to about 90 degrees. Focus on keeping your lower leg about parallel to the ground. Do not let your foot flare up higher. Feel the side of your butt working to hold the leg up.

Pause here then tuck your knee straight in toward the elbow on the same side.

Pull your abs in as you crunch and don’t be afraid to flex slightly through your spine. Focus on those abs working as you drive your knee into your arms.

Pause then repeat the move kicking back into that Donkey Kick position.

Move slowly focusing on avoiding rotation or arching of your lower back as you kick back.

Complete all reps on one side before switching.

You can not only modify this move but also simply add variety to it and a balance challenge, by doing this standing. You can also do a straight leg kickback if you really struggle with arching your lower back or your hamstring compensating.

The key is making sure you actually feel the glutes working. Because doing the right moves, without feeling the correct muscles working may only perpetuate the problem over correcting it!

Exercise #4: Pelvic Tilt Balance March

Improving your pelvic stability to properly be able to brace your abs during movement is key if you want to avoid lower back overload and injury.

It’s why the Pelvic Tilt Balance March.

It is far from an easy move but it is a great way to engage your TVA or transverse abdominis while working your rectus abdominis and obliques to stabilize.

Just make sure you advance it slowly over rushing it.

You don’t want your lower back to take over or your hip flexors to be doing all the work.

To do this move, place a larger foam ball or pilates ball right under the top of your butt.

You want to balance on this ball, pressing down into it with your arms down by your sides, palms pressing into the ground.

Then bend your knees to about 90 degrees, bringing them into that tabletop position. Better to have them slightly out than to tuck them more into your chest as that will make it easier.

Balancing here, slowly touch one toe to the ground, fighting the urge to rotate. Raise that leg back up then touch the other toe down.

Focus on bracing those abs and not letting your abs dome out or your lower back arch. If it feels like too much, bring the ball up slightly higher.

To advance from here, you may bend your elbows or even raise one or both arms off the ground. This will give you less of a base to assist with stabilizing.

But only progress as you’ve earned it. Better to modify and really feel those abs working!

Move slowly with this move and even consider starting without the ball to master that posterior pelvic tilt progression if you haven’t!


Too often our lower back becomes overworked due to hip and spinal mobility restrictions and weak or underactive abs and glutes.

But because we consistently feel our lower back during moves, we assume it is actually weak and instead try to do more to work it.

This only perpetuates the problem.

So make sure you’re also working to improve those mobility restrictions while strengthening supporting muscles so your back doesn’t become overloaded.

Remember where the point of pain is isn’t always where the problem started! And injury doesn’t only mean an area is weak!

Use these 4 moves in your warm up, even just spending 30 seconds per move to start to help you avoid those lower back aches and pains!

Want more workouts, exercises and tips? Join my daily newsletter:

–> Join The RS Newsletter!


IT Band Pain?! Don’t Ignore THIS Muscle

IT Band Pain?! Don’t Ignore THIS Muscle

IT Band issues that just won’t fully seem to go away?

Frustrated that every time you seem to build up the mileage or start lifting heavy that old pain comes back and even starts to aggravate your hips and knees….maybe even your ANKLES?!

If you’ve been struggling with annoying IT Band issues, it’s time you paid attention to this hip flexor muscle…

The TFL or tensor fasciae latae.

Before I go over 3 moves you can include in your prehab routine to prevent the pain and overload, I want to discuss how the TFL can lead to IT Band problems.

So let’s break down what the TFL does…

The TFL contributes to hip abduction (lifting your leg out to the side), hip flexion (bringing your knee up toward your chest) and hip internal rotation (rotating your hip to turn your leg in toward your other leg).

At your pelvis it assists in anteriorly tilting you pelvis, which, if the muscle is tight, can lead to excessive arching of your lower back.

And at the knee it also contributes to tibial external rotation, which is what causes your foot to turn out.

This hip flexor muscle has the power to impact your lower leg because of the tension it creates through your IT Band.

And this is why it’s key we look beyond just the exact point of pain.

When our TFL becomes tight and overactive it can have a far reaching impact.

But most notably it often starts to compensate for an underactive and weak glute medius.

The glute medius is supposed to be our primary hip abductor.

HOWEVER, if the TFL becomes shortened and overactive, it may restrict our glute medius from firing effectively and efficiently and even try to carry more of the load than it should.

This is then what can create tension through the IT Band and accumulate leading to overload and injury.

So how can you tell if your TFL is taking over for your glute medius?

Have you ever done Mini Band Monster Walks or Lateral Raises and really felt your hips burning?

Like you end up rubbing the front outside of your upper thighs instead of the sides of your butt?

That may be because the TFL is trying to take over for your glute medius instead of allowing it to work as it should!

That’s why I wanted to share 3 mobility and stability exercises, and some key form cues to help you relax your TFL if it has become overactive and tight while better activating your glute medius so you can avoid IT Band aches and pains.


3 Moves To Help Prevent IT Band Issues:

Exercise #1: TFL Foam Rolling

It is key we first start with relaxing the overactive and tight muscle. Often otherwise we tend to keep performing improper recruitment patterns during the moves meant to make us better.

For instance during any glute medius abduction activation move, we still tend to let our TFL take over when it is overactive as that muscle does assist in abduction.

So doing all of the “right moves” ultimately doesn’t pay off the way we had hoped.

That’s why before you do activation, you want to foam and relax the TFL.

To roll out your TFL, a ball works best but you can use a roller if a ball applies too much pressure.

To find your TFL, lie on your back with your legs out straight and hands just in front of your hip bones under your pelvis, internally rotate your hip and feel that muscle contract.

You will want to lie on your side with the ball positioned there. Hold and breathe, lifting and lowering your leg as you hold to help the muscle relax and release itself.

Exercise #2: Wall Side Bend

This is a great way to stretch your TFL without even going down on the ground.

It is key when you do this move you engage your glute max to drive your hips into extension, even using a slight posterior pelvic tilt as you do.

Because the TFL can contribute to anterior pelvic tilt, by performing posterior pelvic tilt you are actually stretching the short and tight muscle.

To do the Wall Side Bend, stand with your side to the wall and place your forearm and elbow on the wall at about shoulder height or just below. You will then want to step your leg closet to the wall a foot or two from the wall.

Cross your outside foot in front of you toward the wall to help you balance as you then drop your hip toward the wall.

Do not rotate as you drop your inside hip toward the wall. Squeeze your glute and maintain that posterior pelvic tilt even to make sure you don’t lean forward or flex your hips.

Feel a stretch through your TFL and even IT band. Then relax out of the bend before driving your hip again toward the wall.

Exercise #3: Extended ROM Side Lateral Raise

The Clam is such a common move to use for glute medius activation but one that is so often done incorrectly ultimately perpetuating the issue instead of correcting it.

It is also not the move I like to start with because it is so easy for people to allow the TFL to take over, partly because of the hip flexion.

That’s why I love to use the Extended Side Lying Lateral Raise.

Not only does this move put your TFL under a slight stretch while working the glute medius through an extended range of motion, but it also allows you to work from a hip extended posture.

This can help you make sure you engage your glutes.

To do the Extended ROM Side Lateral Raise, lie on your side on a bench so that your bottom knee is bent and your bottom leg is close to the end.

Prop yourself up on your elbow and position yourself so that your top leg can hang down over the edge and your foot is just a few inches off the ground.

Keep that foot parallel to the ground or even turn your toe to slightly face the ground. This internal rotation of your lower leg can help if you tend to feel your TFL engage with lateral raises. Do not rotate open as you lift.

Then lift that top leg up and kick slightly back, feeling your glute medius, or the side of your butt, working to lift your leg.

By kicking slightly back and extending your hip, you’ll engage that glute max to further inhibit your TFL.

Lower that leg back down and repeat the move. You want to fully lower the leg to work through that extended range of motion

To advance the move when you’re ready, you can hold a plate weight on the outside of your top thigh, or wear ankle weights. But don’t make the move harder or progress if you feel your TFL taking over!

If you don’t have a bench, you can try a variation of this from a modified side plank position. Make sure if you do the side plank position to give you that extended range of motion, that you engage your glutes to keep your hips fully extended.


We have to remember that it’s all connected. And tension in one muscle can alter the way we engage and use other muscles resulting in overload and injury.

If you’ve been suffering with IT Band issues, try including these 3 moves as part of your warm up before your runs, rides or lower body lifting sessions.

Complete even just one round through, working for 45 seconds per move per side. Follow the order of foam rolling, stretching then activating for the best results!

If you need even more quick mobility routines?

Improve your mobility and stability with my Injury Prevention Pack!


The Piriformis Muscle – A Real Pain In The BUTT

The Piriformis Muscle – A Real Pain In The BUTT

Issues with this muscle can be a real pain in the butt…(yeaaaa….bad joke)

I’m taking about the piriformis muscle.

This muscle can not only literally become a pain in the butt but it can also irritate the sciatic nerve leading to pain and irritation all down your leg.

And issues with this muscle can not only arise because of overuse during exercise but even honestly often simply because we’re spending too much time seated.

The first step in preventing and alleviating piriformis aches and pains is understanding what this muscle even does and it’s location.

What Does The Piriformis Do?

The piriformis muscle is a primary hip external rotator and helps with horizontal abduction of the hip when it is flexed to 90 degrees. It also helps stabilize your SI Joint. And can even potentially act as a weak hip extensor if the glute max is underactive.

This muscle becoming short and overactive can not only lead to piriformis syndrome and sciatic nerve compression but also hip and SI Joint issues not to mention lower back and even knee aches and pains.

However, this muscle can ALSO lead to sciatic nerve compression if it becomes lengthened, which creates the interesting question of…

To stretch or not to stretch?

But before I dive into whether or not to stretch this muscle and 3 key prehab moves to include to prevent and alleviate piriformis issues, I do just want to address one thing…

Are Sciatic Pain And Piriformis Issues The Same Thing?

While yes the piriformis muscle can compress or irritate the sciatic nerve and lead to sciatic nerve pain, and this is often what is termed piriformis syndrome, you can have piriformis issues that do not lead to sciatic nerve issues and you can have sciatic nerve compression NOT caused by the piriformis.

I think it’s key we note that sciatic nerve pain doesn’t always mean the piriformis muscle is the problem.

So if you have sciatic nerve pain, it is key you do address the culprit of the irritation or sources of the compression to address your specific mobility restrictions and overactive muscles.

You do want to determine if your compression is coming from your lower back or piriformis or even ankle mobility restrictions leading to compression at another point in your leg!

But if you have determined that the piriformis muscle is the issue, the question now is…..

Should I Stretch It?

The annoying answer is…IT DEPENDS!

Often when muscles become overactive and need to be relaxed and released to alleviate the issues, the muscles become shortened.

This means that you want to foam roll AND stretch the muscle before activating the muscle it is compensating for.

When it comes to our piriformis, when it is shortened and overactive we want to foam roll and stretch it while activating our glute max and our glute medius.

However, the piriformis muscle can also irritate the sciatic nerve when it becomes LENGTHENED.

And, in this case, stretching the muscle may provide even temporary relief but also PERPETUATE the problem.

So getting assessed to determine your exact imbalances and mobility restrictions is always key, but these 3 moves are a great place to start to not only relax an overactive piriformis whether it is shortened or lengthened while activating those underactive glute muscles!

So what are the 3 prehab moves you should be including?

3 Moves To Do To Help:

#1: Piriformis Foam Rolling

To relax and release the piriformis when it is overactive, foam rolling is a key first step. This can help decrease the tension this muscle is even applying to the sciatic nerve.

A ball works best to really apply more pressure, but you can use a roller especially starting out if you can’t relax against the ball. 

To do Piriformis Foam Rolling, find the spot where the top of your back jean pocket would be.

You can then cross the ankle of that leg over the other knee as you lean into that side

When you find a tight spot, hold there and breathe. If you can’t relax as you hold, use a larger or softer ball or even the roller.

You may even find it helpful to lift and lower the leg as you hold to help the muscle relax and release itself.

Or, if more comfortable, you can even relax back onto your forearms as you hold.

#2: Bench Rotational Half Kneeling Hip Stretch

Hip mobility restrictions and even a lack of spinal mobility can often perpetuate piriformis issues.

And also because of the Piriformis’s impact on the SI joint, this Bench Rotational Half Kneeling Hip Stretch can be a key move to include in your prehab work.

To do the Bench Rotational Half Kneeling Hip Stretch, set up placing the top of your back foot on a bench and move to half kneeling on the ground. Make sure you’re not right on your knee back but actually rocked toward your thigh.

Move your front foot out so that knee is bent to about 90 degrees while allowing you to extend that back hip using your glute.

Place your opposite hand from your front foot down on the ground at your instep.

Squeeze your back glute to drive that hip into extension and place your other hand behind your head.

Rotate to bring that elbow back toward your elbow of your arm on the ground. You’re twisting away from that front leg and focusing on rotating through your spine.

The rotate that elbow up toward the ceiling, twisting toward your front leg.

Make sure to squeeze that back glute as you do and do NOT rock out on that front foot to create space.

Rotate open toward that leg then twist back toward that starting position.

You should feel that back hip and quad stretching and even a stretch in the outside of that hip and glute of your front leg.

You’ll also feel this through your spine, especially your thoracic spine.

Move slowly and make sure you don’t just flap your arm!

To modify you can do more of a Spiderman lunge variation with your hand on a bench or incline as you twist!

#3: Wall Side Lying Mini Band Lateral Raise

Your piriformis can become overworked because your glute max and medius are underactive, not only on that same side but even on your opposite side.

That’s why unilateral activation work can become so key.

And because your piriformis assists with horizontal abduction when your hip is flexed to 90 degrees, it can be key to work on activating your glute medius while your hip is extended.

That’s why this Wall Side Lying Mini Band Lateral Raise is such an amazing move to include.

This move works on hip extension to engage your glute max while also working to improve your hips stability and glute medius activation.

To do this exercise, place a mini band around your thighs above your knees. Start light and focus on that control and mind-body connection to really feel your glutes working.

You can bend that bottom leg to help you stabilize and set up lying on your side with your back to the wall. You want to set up a few inches out from the wall so you can kick back slightly into the wall.

Lift your top leg up a few inches off your bottom leg and make sure you do NOT rotate that toe open. You do not want to externally rotate your hip or you’ll engage that piriformis more.

Feel the side of your butt engage as you lift just a bit to create tension through the band. Then drive your heel back into the wall.

From this position, slide your heel up the wall abducting your leg. Perform this lateral raise but do not rotate your hip open to raise up higher.

Lift up and then, keeping tension back into the wall, slowly slide the leg down. Do not lower completely down and lose tension on the band. You want your glute working the entire time.

Focus on feeling your glute medius lifting against the band as you feel your glute max working as you drive your heel back into the wall extending your hip.


If you’ve been suffering from piriformis issues, get on that prehab work! Start addressing this overactive muscle while activating those underactive glutes.

Even start with just 45 seconds per move per side for a quick mobility series.

For the complete prehab process to address aches and pains from head to toe, check out my Injury Prevention Bundle:

–> The Injury Prevent Pack

STOP Torturing Your Rotator Cuff (Do This Instead)

STOP Torturing Your Rotator Cuff (Do This Instead)

Rotator cuff injuries are all too common.

And often when a muscle gets injured we blame it for being weak.

So in our attempts to recovery we include a ton of moves to work and strengthen those muscles.

But what if this extra strengthening work is actually holding you back?

What if these exercises are actually perpetuating the issues long-term instead of addressing the true culprit of the problem?

Because so often muscles, like our rotator cuff, become injured because they are actually OVERWORKED and OVERUSED.

These smaller, weaker muscles end up overstrained and overworked because of joint mobility restrictions and other muscles not pulling their weight.

That’s why rotator cuff injuries especially are becoming more and more common.

That’s why a proper recovery and mobility program can’t just focus on rotator cuff strengthening moves.

It actually needs to focus on your thoracic, scapular and shoulder mobility as well as proper engagement of the larger muscles of your upper back as well as your serratus anterior.

But before we dive into the moves you need to include, it’s key we have a better understanding of the muscles that make up our rotator cuff and what they do.

What does your rotator cuff do?

While each of the 4 rotator cuff muscles does contribute to a different joint action, all four muscles play an important role in stabilizing your shoulder, which is a ball and socket joint.

A great way of understanding the importance of these muscles and their role in shoulder stability is to think of your shoulder as a golf ball on a tee. Your rotator cuff muscles hold that golf ball in place so it doesn’t rotate off the tee.

However because each rotator cuff muscle does contributes to a different joint action, it can be helpful for your recovery to know which one is injured and have a better understanding of how they function.

What are the 4 muscles of your rotator cuff?

– Supraspinatus 
– Infraspinatus
– Teres Minor
– Subscapularis 

The Supraspinatus abducts the shoulder or helps you raise your arm out to the side.

The Infraspinatus and Teres Minor externally rotate the shoulder. For a visual example of this, place your elbow in by your side and bent it to 90 degrees with your hand out in front of you. Then open your arm out to the side. That movement is external rotation.

The Subscapularis, on the other hand, internally rotates your shoulder. So if your elbow was bent in the same position, your hand would move in toward your body.

Your rotator cuff muscles are also made up of mainly type I muscle fibers. So if you are working to strengthen them to improve your shoulder stability, higher reps and lower loads will be key.

But remember, while keeping these muscles strong for stability is key, if that golf ball isn’t properly aligned on that tee, or other muscles aren’t pulling their weight, your rotator cuff can easily become overworked which can lead to injury.

That’s why you want to include these 4 exercises to foam roll, stretch and activate and keep your shoulders healthy and happy! These moves will help you work on your thoracic, shoulder and scapular mobility and stability.

They are important to include in your upper body training routines if you have a desk job especially and can easily be combined even into a quick warm up before your workouts.


EXERCISE #1: Chest Foam Rolling

Your pec minor and major can become shortened and tight, especially if you spend a ton of time hunched over throughout the day.

This can lead to both internal shoulder rotation but also anterior tipping and downward rotation of our shoulder blades and create overuse of the rotator cuff.

That’s why it’s key we first use foam rolling to relax this overactive muscle!

To roll out your chest, you can use a larger ball against the ground or a smaller ball in a doorway.

Start with the ball just inside your shoulder joint and under your collarbone. You will not roll back and forth but hold and relax as you apply pressure. Be careful and very gentle if you start to work the ball toward your sternum.

As you hold with the ball pressing in to your chest just inside your shoulder, you can lift your arm overhead and slowly lower it down if standing in a doorway or rolling out against a pole.

If you’re lying on the ground, you can make a snow angel movement as you hold to help create tension and then relax to help the muscle relax and release itself.

EXERCISE #2: Active Foam Roller Star Stretch

Spinal mobility is key so that we don’t seek out extra mobility from our shoulders to perform exercises like the overhead press, which can strain our rotator cuff.

Proper spinal mobility also allows us to have proper scapular movement so we properly engage the muscles of our upper back to support our shoulders.

That’s why the Active Foam Roller Star Stretch is a great move to include.

Place a foam roller or block on the ground to one side.

Lie on your back with the roller running parallel to your body and bend your knee on the side further from the roller to about 90 degrees.

Pull your knee across your body to place it on the roller with your opposite hand as you place your other hand behind your head so your elbow is open and out.

Rotate that elbow in front of your face to touch the elbow down to the ground in front of you.

Then lift the elbow up as you rotate your chest open toward the ceiling. Rotate through your spine as you try to touch your shoulder open to the ground.

Focus on twisting through your spine without letting your knee come up off the roller. Open up, pause and then rotate back closed. Repeat all reps on one side before switching. Do not just flap your arm.

EXERCISE #3: Lying W Pulldowns

To help support your shoulders and improve your posture, you then want to activate the muscles of your upper back, like your mid and lower traps especially.

A great way to improve your shoulder health and target these muscles, as well as your lats, is with activation moves like the Lying W Pulldowns that work on retraction and scapular depression.

To do Lying W Pull Downs, lie face down on the ground with your arms extended overhead, thumbs facing up toward the ceiling as if giving a thumbs up. Engage your upper back to lift your face and arms just off of the ground. You can also put a towel under your forehead if you struggle with engaging your neck.

Then begin to bend your elbows, pulling them down and in toward your sides.

Feel your shoulder blades pinch slightly together as you pull them down. Feel yourself initiate the movement by the movement of your shoulder blades.

Pull your elbows down and in as if you pulled your chest up to a pull up bar.

Then keeping your hands off the ground, extend your arms straight out toward the wall in front of you. Reach out overhead the bring your hands back down and in.

Feel your back and even your lats as you pull your elbows back down and in to your sides.

EXERCISE #4: Serratus Anterior Press

The serratus anterior is a primary scapular stabilizer and weakness of this muscle has been linked to neck, shoulder and even upper back aches and pains.

A strong serratus anterior is key as it will help posteriorly tip the shoulder blade as well as help you perform proper upward rotation of the shoulder blade. It will help you avoid those rotator cuff muscles becoming overworked!

To strengthen your Serratus Anterior include the Serratus Anterior Press in your activation routine.

Start in a staggered stance with the opposite foot forward from the hand holding the band in at your chest.

Then press the band out from your chest and slightly up. Feel yourself pulling your shoulder blade forward around your ribs as you reach out. You aren’t just doing a unilateral chest press.

Then slowly bring your hand back in toward your chest. Do not rotate toward the anchor point.

You want to focus on the movement being felt around your ribs as you protract your shoulder blade or pull it away from your spine.


To keep those shoulders healthy and happy and avoid rotator cuff issues, try combining these 4 moves into a quick mobility routine or use them as a warm up, performing 30-45 seconds per move or side.

With these moves remember you are working to improve your shoulder, scapular and thoracic mobility while activating the muscles of your upper back to help prevent those rotator muscles from becoming injured because they’re overworked.

We want to make sure we’re addressing the underlying cause of the injury and not just torturing our rotator cuff more!

How To Fix Knee Pain – Do These 4 Moves

How To Fix Knee Pain – Do These 4 Moves

Achy and sore knees are an all too common complaint.

And nagging knee pain can become a daily annoyance.

Knee pain can make walking up stairs or getting down on the ground uncomfortable and difficult.

It can make us fear moves like squats and lunges so much that we simply stop doing them all together.

It can hold us back from training intensely.

Knee pain can cause us to simply no longer enjoy the activities we used to love like running or jumping.

And the worst part is often we’ve done a ton of things to TRY to address the problem.

We’ve focused on all of the muscles right around our knee trying to strengthen everything to improve our knee stability.

But all too often this not only doesn’t provide lasting relief, but it actually BACKFIRES.

So if trying to strengthen the muscles right around your knees isn’t necessarily the answer, what is? How can you get rid of nagging knee pain for good?

First, there are two joints you need to be paying attention to instead of just focusing only on your knees…

Your ankles and your hips!

If there is immobility or instability at either one of these two joints, your knees are going to suffer the consequences.

All too often when we lack mobility in one area, we seek out mobility from another.

So if your ankles aren’t mobile? You’re going to search for mobility from your knees! Mobility your knees really aren’t meant to provide!

And instability at your ankles or hips is what can lead to improper alignment up and down your legs, causing muscles around your knees to even become tight and overworked, further perpetuating your aches and pains!

That’s why I want to share 4 essential exercises with you to address both ankle and hip mobility and stability issues.

 4 Must-Do Moves To Prevent Knee Pain:

Improving your range of motion and stability at both joints can help you avoid perpetuating your knee issues and even alleviate the overload.

#1: Knee-Friendly Ankle Mobility Stretch

Improving your ankle mobility, specifically your ability to dorsiflex or draw your toes up toward your shin can go a long way in preventing knee pain during squats and lunges, not to mention when you run or ride!

Especially if you are suffering from knee pain currently, many ankle mobility drills can be uncomfortable as your knee will travel even past your toes.

That’s when this Knee-Friendly Ankle Mobility Stretch comes in handy.

Because the ball of your foot is up on a block or weight, you’ve put your ankle into dorsiflexion before you even shift your weight forward.

Most ankle mobility moves require your knee to move past your toe for the full range of motion.

But because of this starting position, your knee doesn’t have to travel forward that much for a full range of motion.

This can help alleviate some pressure on your knees as you work to improve that ankle mobility.

Keeping your heel on the ground with the ball of your foot up, shift your weight forward as much as you can. If your heel starts to lift, you’ve gone too far.

Then shift back and repeat.

#2: Single Leg Toe-Raised Calf Raises

It’s key you activate any weak or underactive muscles if you want to maintain the range of motion you are working hard to build.

If you don’t establish the mind-body connection to those muscles?

You are just going to keep perpetuating the same patterns of overuse, leading to your knee pain.

Having mobile, but also STABLE ankles is key if you want to avoid injury.

That’s why it’s key after you do any mobility work that you do activation moves to strengthen weak muscles and work to maintain that range of motion.

And especially if you’ve ever had issues on just one side, you want to address the imbalance with imbalanced prehab. Which may even mean doing this move on only one side or more reps on one side at least.

I recommend having your hands on a wall or something to help you balance so you can focus not only on driving off the entire ball of your foot for the calf raise, but also so you can focus on dorsiflexing your foot as much as possible as you move to your heel.

Make sure to move slowly lifting your toes toward your shins to sit back on your heel before lowering your foot to the ground to press up onto the ball of your foot. Do not just rock and use momentum.

You can also do this as a bilateral move instead if both sides need equal attention.

#3: TFL Foam Rolling

The TFL or tensor fasciae latae is a hip flexor muscle that is a common culprit of not only hip pain, but also knee and even ankle pain.

This muscle can have a far reaching impact because of it’s connection to the knee through the IT Band.

So if you’re a runner who’s had IT Band or knee issues, you need to include this move as part of your warm up!

When the TFL becomes overactive and tight, it can also try to compensate and work when your glute medius should actually be the prime mover. This perpetuates what has been called gluteal amnesia.

It can inhibit your glute medius from working correctly to support and stabilize your hip, which can also lead to further knee issues.

This simple foam rolling move is key to use even before a glute medius activation exercise as it will help you relax the TFL so it isn’t as likely to try to engage and take over.

Place a ball in the lateral side of your hip and lie slightly propped up on your side with the ball pushing in toward your hip socket.

Relax as you hold. To help the muscle relax and release itself, lift and lower your leg to tense and relax the muscle.

You can prop yourself up more or fully lie over the ball depending on how much pressure you want to create. Make sure you can actually relax as you hold. You don’t want to tense against the pressure.

You may even find standing to hold against the wall is better pressure to start.

#4: Extended ROM Side Lying Leg Raises

Improving your hip stability will help protect your knees. That’s why it is key you include moves to activate your glute medius.

The glute medius is a key hip stabilize, not to mention strengthening it will help prevent your TFL from becoming overworked!

Because a tight and overworked TFL can cause hip internal rotation and external tibial rotation, it can lead to our knees caving in during things like squats.

It can cause tracking issues so that your hips, knees and ankles aren’t all in proper alignment during even exercises like lunges.

Basically, it can lead to movement patterns that end in knee pain.

By strengthening your glute medius, you can prevent this improper movement pattern.

And that’s why moves like side lying raises or abduction exercises are so key.

By lifting this basic move off the ground to perform it on a bench instead, you can allow yourself to work through a bigger range of motion to strengthen the glute medius. This is even a great way to progress that basic move from the floor without adding loads.

Just be conscious you do actually feel your glute medius working and not your TFL taking over.

A great way to help avoid your TFL compensating is to turn your toe down toward the ground as you lift or even kick slightly back.

The internal tibial rotation can help inhibit the TFL while the kick back can slightly engage the glute maximus.


Using these four moves you can improve your ankle and hip mobility and stability to help prevent your knee from suffering the consequences of issues at these other two joints!

You can choose to include one or two of these in your warm up routine or combine all four for a quick mobility series. Even just 1-2 rounds through working for 30-45 seconds per move or side can go a long way!

Ready to say “Bye bye” to aches and pains? Check out my Injury Prevention Bundle.

Do the prehab work DAILY to keep those aches and pains away!