Sure, sipping a glass of juice is refreshing, tasty and provides some nutrients. But can it enhance your athletic performance, or is juice just another sugary beverage? Let’s explore a few of the latest juice crazes — tart cherry, beet and celery — to see whether they are worth the hype when it comes to improving fitness.
To be able to answer this question, we must first look at the anatomy of the quadriceps muscles. The quads (quadriceps femoris) are made up of four muscles (hence quads!), rectus femoris, vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis, and vastus medialis. They all join at the bottom of the thigh and form the patella tendon. This tendon crosses the kneecap (patella), and inserts on the tibia – main bone of the lower leg.
If you have ever experienced knee issues you may have heard of the vastus medialis muscle, sometimes known as the VMO (vastus medialis obliquis). This muscle is notorious for being the weakest quad muscle that directly affects the patella. It attaches on the medial side (inside) of the patella, and if it is not strong enough, the risk of the patella being pulled laterally (outwards) increases. If this occurs, then knee pain arises.
The infamous ITB (ilio tibial band) works with the vastus lateralis to help pull the patella outwards (laterally)every time you activate your quads. These two muscles are considerably strong in comparison to the vastus medialis. Most active people need to do specific work to ensure they have equal length tension relationship with the muscles affecting both sides of their patella, so when they use their quads, the patella moves in the femoral groove comfortably, and does not get pulled out of alignment.
Put these factors together and it should become obvious that stretching the quads should be done in a manner to ensure the medialis is not overstretched compared to the lateralis, and that there is correct alignment with the upper and lower leg, including the knee joint. There are plenty of specific exercises that can be performed to ensure there is equal tension between the
muscles that affect the patella both laterally and medially; but that is for another article. This article is specifically about stretching the muscles of the front of the thigh correctly to help prevent muscle imbalances around the knee.
There is a lot of science behind stretching. There is also a number of different ways to stretch, these include static, dynamic, ballistic, range of motion, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), active,passive and isometric, all serve different purposes for what you want to achieve as well as your current condition.
Watch this video on How To Stretch Your Quads Correctly
By Kerrie Hains
Fitness Inside Out – Mobile Personal Trainer
What are the best ways to spice up a vegetarian BBQ?
With many people moving away from eating meat, having a few techniques to spice up the veggies is a must for this summer. The best way to add extra flavours is add spices such as paprika, salt, pepper or chipotle chilli sauce. Here are some ideas to add those flavours to your mean. Read more…
If you are after a meat alternative to throw on the BBQ there are a number great products on the market. Check out the Meat Alternative Company, available in Coles these products are so good you will have the meat eaters fomo your hamburgers.
Australia has some of the best weather, sunshine and temperatures 15 to 25 degrees daily, yet many of us spend hours inside sitting at a screen. Training or exercising outdoors has the benefits of getting our daily dose of vitamin D, breathing fresh air and the mental stabilization of being in touch with the earth.
Many local councils across Australia have installed outside gyms to encourage the use of the parks for fitness. Check Out your local park for an outdoor gym.
When ever we start with a new client we often ask, “what motivates you to get a personal trainer?”. Understanding your motivation is key, as it not only allows your trainer to help you set realistic goals, but also we get an insight what drives you.
Commonly we hear, I want to look for my wedding or I am going on a ski trip or I need to lose weight for my health. But the other day I was reading some articles online and found this article from Popsugar about inspiring women in movies and I thought yes this could be good for motivation too. Motivation comes from many places so why not the movies too.
I am always looking at healthy easy things to take to work for lunch and this Cold Chicken Soba Noodle Bowl from Myfitnesspal is perfect. For me I love the asian flavours of ginger and miso, but try it yourself.
Regular physical activity is vital for good physical and mental health. It helps improve your overall health and fitness, maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk for many chronic diseases and promote good mental health.
Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend that at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days is required for good health. This is the same for women and men. However, only 54 per cent of Australian women meet these guidelines.
Some of the barriers to physical exercise that women face include family responsibilities, body image and perceptions of safety.
Do you have headaches? Pain in your neck, shoulders and / or back? Do you activate the stabilisers in your neck correctly, to support your head?
Just like the lower back has spinal stabilisers, the neck has spinal stabilisers that perform the function of stabilising the vertebrae in the neck. This is to ensure the vertebra do not “jam” on each other and impinge the discs and nerves between each vertebra. It also allows the bigger mover muscles the opportunity to do their job, i.e. move the head, while the stabilisers do their job, i.e. provide spinal stability.
If our head is in the wrong position, it reduces the ability of the spinal stabilisers to activate correctly. Once this happens, the bigger muscles that are responsible for moving the head try to do the job of stabilising the neck as well as moving the head. This can cause headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain and even pain down the arms.
It is recommended everyone learn how to activate their deep neck flexors to help ensure the correct muscles are performing their roles at all times.
We should all try to assess and reassess our posture intermittently throughout each day to ensure we are in ideal posture, just so we don’t put unnecessary stress and load on muscles. We should also all know how to activate our deep neck flexors, to help ensure these muscles are doing their job i.e. stabilising the neck and helping to maintain ideal neck and head posture.
Everyone should know how to activate these muscles and do regular checkups on themselves to ensure correct technique.
By Kerrie Hains
Fitness Inside Out – Mobile Personal Trainer
Do you cross your legs when you exercise? Performing exercises with your legs crossed is really not recommended; if you want to prevent injuries. The reason is that, generally you will always cross your legs the same way. If you clasp your hands you will find that you want to do it with either the left or right hand in front. If you try to change it, it feels very unfamiliar, even uncomfortable.
It is the same with your legs. We generally do the same way each and every time, especially when exercising. If you have a close look at the spine in these two pictures you may notice in the picture on the left that the pelvis on the right hand side is slightly lower than the left. You may also notice there is a slight curvature in the lumbar spine toward the right.
In the picture on the right hand side, the legs are not crossed. The pelvis is showing relatively horizontal, and the vertebrae is showing almost vertical, as it should.
If you exercise with your legs crossed, and you cross them the same way every time, the risk of you ending up with a functional scoliosis (curvature of the spine) is quite high. Most exercises that we do with our legs crossed involve activating our core musculature; these include push ups, chin ups, crunches, to name a few. Consider the slight tilt in the spine, with repeated repetitions or long sustained holds of core muscle activation.
Try to get in the habit of not crossing your legs while you exercise to give your trunk it’s best possible chance at maintaining ideal alignment.