Arm Strengthening for Climbers: Hand Sloper Strengthening with Rotator Cuff and Scapular Stability

Are you a long-time rock climber who wants to climb for a lifetime? Do you want to train right and train smart to prevent injury? Do you wish your hand strength was better for slopers and other open-handed grips while rock climbing?
In this video, Dr. Bottrell introduces a quick series of exercises that strengthens your hand and forearm in open hand positioning for slopers while simultaneously strengthening and increasing the stability of the rotator cuff and scapular (shoulder blade) muscles and joints. Incorporating exercises such as these present the opportunity for better performance & longevity of climbing of a lifetime, decreased likelihood of injury.


Bear in mind these are general recommendations, and a certain amount of strength and fitness are needed.
Interested in what weighted ball uses in this video? It's the Gymnic Heavymed 2 kg weighted ball for resistance.

We Are On SE Belmont too! Why?

This post is long overdue to let you know about our relationship with Wholeself Wellness at 2121 SE Belmont Street. We have been working closely with the owner, Ian, since late spring and started treating patients and clients there in July. It has been a blast. At Wholeself Wellness, Artisan Physical Therapy clients have access to their private treatment room, as well as, their open concept gym for body weight, resistance band, and free weight exercise - it seems there is almost no shortage to the tools there.

For those of you looking for personal training that will move you towards increased wellness without injury - Wholeself Wellness is your place. The emphasis there is not the external and aesthetic that you find with some trainers, but with deeply rooted healthy habits - including balanced and symmetrical movement patterns and nutritious eating and living for the long-term.

Dieting is notorious for rebounding back to original weights and habits, so they are there to help with understanding your "food story" - the story you tell yourself and believe about food - and moving it to a healthier space and they also address body image and hang-ups that many of us have about our body shape. So you can see where their name comes from they want to treat - the whole self - not just part of it, and not just superficially.

Liz working out at Wholeself Wellness

Liz working out at Wholeself Wellness

It's been a great relationship and pleasure to work with them. Personally, I've been participating weekly since July in the semi-private training sessions that they offer. It's provided insight into long-standing asymmetries I've acquired due to being right handed and playing things like softball, tennis, football and participating in things like snowboarding, skateboarding, and soccer. Over the months, the imbalances are disappearing I'm getting stronger and I have a clear path for how to continue to work on these primarily rotational imbalances I have. I felt strong enough that I even ran every day in October - something I had never tried before and an experience that I wrote about in a previous blog post.

For Artisan PT patients and clients, working out of Wholeself Wellness gives the convenience of a near SE location, more physical therapy appointment times, and a variety of strength and stability tools to use for those ready to take their health to the next level. It also gives our physical therapy patients a place to transition to, with confidence, for personal training.

8 Minute Abs

Last month I did a daily physical challenge of running every day - with the goal of being healthy. Success! This month the physical challenge is "8 min abs". I've spent everyday of November (one day to go) targeting abdominal strength, endurance and control for 8 minutes. Now this isn't about aesthetic or beach body abs. Being able to do crunches and sit-ups are important but have been over-emphasized in the fitness industry for years. Having healthy appearing abdominal muscles - a 6 pack - doesn't mean you are in fact healthy. More specifically, it doesn't mean you are preventing injury. Abdominal strength and stability in combination with low back and hip strength and control make up what we physical therapists call "lumbopelvic stability" or "lumbopelvic control." This is something we emphasize in helping and rehabilitating persons with low back pain, sciatica, SI joint (sacro-iliac joint) pain, lumbar radiculopathy, herniated discs, DJD (degenerative disc disease), arthritis in the joints of the back, and stenosis. The back is connected to the pelvis, which is connected to the hips/thigh/femur. I often sing  to my patients and clients about the wisdom of the children's song: "the back bone's connected to the hip bone. the hip bone's connected to the thigh bone" (They love it, as you can imagine).

So me spending on this focused time on this region wasn't just sit-ups and crunches. In fact, it was much more perform leg and arm motions without letting my back move. I spent 8 minutes each day this month emphasizing a variety of challenges to lumbopelvic stability to promote and preserve a healthy back. I brainstormed a list of exercises and invited a friend to join me with this month's challenge. My list is long and varied. I challenged my abdominal muscles - all of them (rectus abdominus, internal and external obliques, and very importantly the transverse abdominus). I rotated through 48 different exercises these 30 days! There's no reason to get bored. And as we strongly recommend here at Artisan PT - variety is good and very healthy for us. 

Want an example of how to train the transverse abdominus? The transverse abdominus is the most important abdominal muscle to prevent back injury and recover from a back injury or back pain. Learn more in our video on a starter transverse abdominus exercise. PS - Side effects of this exercise include flatter stomachs! PPS - I won't be posting pre- and post- 8 min ab challenge photos, but will be enjoying the results.

 

Watch should the next challenge be? December is right around the corner!

Let's Get to the Source, and TOGETHER, Let's Get Moving!

Liz

3 Simple Strengthening Exercises to Prevent Climbing Shoulder Injuries

Today we have a guest post from a friend and fellow colleague on preventing shoulder climbing injuries. Dr. Jared Vagy - The Climbing Doctor - out of Los Angeles, California works with high level climbers and teaches at USC. The following is an excerpt from his blog post

"It is the end of the day. You are tired and beat, but you decide to give it one last go on your project. You get to the crux move and give it everything you’ve got. Suddenly you feel a sharp pain in your shoulder. You know that you likely injured your shoulder. What happened and what could you have done to prevent this?

The tendons in the shoulder slide through a very narrow passageway and attach to the shoulder bone. Impingement occurs when the space between the bones in this passageway is reduced. This can occur from repetitively moving the shoulder into a stressful or suboptimal position. When this occurs, the bones in the shoulder pinch down on the tendons and cause shoulder impingement. You should be aware of the dangerous movements that can lead to shoulder impingement. These movements include hanging on your arms during rest stances, climbing with a hunched posture and strenuous overhead reaching."

Bent over T's, Y's, and L's:

Dirtbag tip - use items you have around: cans, bottles to provide the weight.

Dirtbag tip - use items you have around: cans, bottles to provide the weight.

These should not cause any shoulder pain! 

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 12.53.07 PM.png

Climb INJURY-FREE

Dr. Vagy just released another book! 

You can find it on Amazon now.

Thanks, Dr. Vagy for the helpful content.

Any questions? Comment below. 

Give Swimming a Try!

I was never a "water baby" - that is - I was never a kid that jumped into water whenever I saw it. I only wanted to get wet if I was dirty, sweaty, or super hot. This followed me into adulthood, so choosing swimming as a workout was not something that happened for me. That is until I was forced to. By age twenty I had injured my knee significantly twice. These ACL knee injuries (anterior cruciate ligament) had ended my soccer career prematurely. I had to wait a few months for ACL surgery, but wanted to stay active, so I did early morning walks with arm motions to get a whole body workout and I started swimming. 

I hated swimming. I hated it as I packed my swimsuit & towel, traveled to the pool, dressed, walked onto the pool deck, jumped in, and swam the first lap.  Do you see the trend? I hated it. But by the second lap it wasn't so bad. It was a quick and very intense workout for me. 20 minutes and I felt like jelly afterwards. All without any impact or pain to my knees! The workout was, in fact, so difficult for me that my cheeks tingled afterwards. Anyone else? Probably not. 

Flash forward to over a decade later and swimming is high up there on the things that I really miss about LA. Swimming laps outside midday on a sunny day is one of the most meditative and mind clearing experience I have. I get a whole body, no impact workout to balance out my running, hiking, biking leg workouts with inclusion of arm and abdominal conditioning and my mind gets to wonder through future ideas and possibilities as well as reflecting back on experiences and relationships. Oh and my cheeks don't tingle anymore.

So give swimming a try! 

Want to make sure you're healthy while swimming? Wonder what swim strokes are right for you? Wonder if you're stroke technique could lead to an injury? Wonder how much to do? Necessary stretches and strengthening? Let's chat. (Also possible future blog post topic - what do you think?)

Already swim? Where is your favorite place to swim?

Together - Let's Get Moving.

Liz

Why Does My Foot Hurt in the Morning?

"Why does my arch hurt?" 

"I get a sharp pain in my heel every morning I get out of bed.

"When I've been on my feet too long, the bottom of my foot hurts so bad."

Do you say these things? You may have plantar fasciitis.

The plantar fascia is a ligament that helps support the arch of your foot and gets stretched when you put weight on it and every step you take.

"Itis" is Latin for inflammation, so plantar fasciitis is a diagnosis of inflammation of the plantar fascia. Inflammation takes place when you have an injury and the body is trying to heal. Research is showing that most cases of plantar fasciitis is not an "itis" but is instead an "-osis" which reflects degeneration. This is why rolling on a frozen bottle might not make your symptoms go away.

At Artisan Physical Therapy, your PT will try to figure out a few distinct things in your evaluation - what tissue is injured or irritated and then the why it is injured/irritated/painful. Often both need to be treated the sore tissue needs to be calmed down and then that factors that led to the injury need to be changed and/or alleviated otherwise it will be perpetually irritated.

Common factors that lead to plantar fasciitis or fasciosis include:

  • Insufficient arch support - going barefoot, wearing flip flops, or shoes without arch support or very flexible soles
  • Tight ankles and calve muscles
  • Weak hip (gluteal muscles)
  • Excessive body weight
  • Increasing activity too quickly (deciding to train for a marathon or get in shape drastically from prior level of activity)
  • Weak foot muscles or inappropriate muscle use/activation

Just because you have arch or heel pain, it doesn't mean you have plantar fasciitis. It could be a tendinitis or tendinopathy of a foot or ankle muscle or an issue in the joints of your foot. A quality physical therapy exam will clarify this for you.  As mentioned above knowing which tissue is irritated allows for specific, targeted treatment to get rid of your pain and get you back to pain free walking, running and whatever else you love and need to do.

Think you might have plantar fasciitis? Take the first step towards health and get a PT evaluation to get quality manual therapy to temporarily decrease the pain in your foot and learn exercises to keep it away by learning how to reduce the stress to the plantar fascia and learn what activities to avoid a do instead to allow it to begin healing today.

Let's Get to the Source - and TOGETHER - Let's Get Moving!

Performance Does Not Equal Health!

Performance = health, right? Running faster means you're healthier, right? Lifting more weight is healthier too, right? You have to be healthy to finish a marathon, right? Climbing harder routes means your more fit and therefore healthier, right?

The way many health and wellness professionals and physical therapy clinics, even doctors offices, promote performance you would think it was the same thing as health. But is that true?

Just considering this question should lead to better outcomes for you.

Think about how early professional athletes or Olympians have to retire. They performed at a very high level, but was it healthy for them?

At Artisan Physical Therapy, our goal is always health and how to help with performance long-term. Our emphasis is not about short-term results at the expense of long-term health. We are not interested in helping you do that next race or obstacle competition, if it will damage your body.

There are good stresses and bad stresses for your body. We are only about good stresses and we can help you know the difference.

Are you focused on health or performance? Choose the long road. Choose health over performance, because health will lead to long-term increased performance. 

Follow along with future posts as we discussed some of the key principles for healthy living. Comment or ask questions below.

Let's Get to the Source - and TOGETHER - Let's Get Moving!

Preventing Rock Climbing Hand & Tendon Injuries: Part 2 - Techniques For Open Grip Strengthening

People are often injured by trying to progress too quickly and this is very prevalent in rock climbing. People fall hard for the sport and enjoy the challenge of pushing their limits, but lack the knowledge needed to stay healthy, prevent injury, and thus climb for a lifetime and not have to take months and month off due to tendon or pulley injuries in their hands or forearms.

In this video you'll learn the how-to principles of hand strengthening to cross train to improve open grip strength and reduce hand pulley and tendon injuries for rock climbers. Climb better, climb harder, climb longer. Climb for a lifetime.

For a personalized assessment, contact us at our Portland office.

If you have injured this area, make sure to give sufficient rest and see your local PT who specializes in manual therapy & treating climbers to learn how to get back to your prior level and incorporate this open hand strengthening to improve your grip and reduce compensatory strategies that overload your pulleys. Also find out how shoulder weakness, for example, can influence which grip you choose. 

This is Part 2 of a 2 Part series, with the possibility of a Part 3 adapted to interest, questions, and feedback from the first 2 Parts. Watch Part 1 to learn why hand strengthening matters to prevent injury and the important of incorporating into your climbing routine. Questions? Should we do a Part 3?

Let's Get to the Source, and TOGETHER, Let's Get Moving!

Preventing Rock Climbing Hand & Tendon Injuries: Part 1 - Why Hand Strengthening is Important

Are you a long-time rock climber who wants to climb for a lifetime? A beginner climber who wants to train right and train smart to prevent injury? Are you currently side-lined due to a tendon or pulley injury in your hand and want to know how to rehabilitate it?

In this video, Liz explains why injuries commonly occur in the hand and tendons/pulleys of the hand, how your technique may be contributing to this, and why strengthening your hand, not just your forearm is important for preventing this and rehabilitating injuries here.
This is Part 1 of a 2 Part series, with the possibility of a Part 3 adapted to interest, questions, and feedback from the first 2 Parts. Watch Part 2 to learn specific techniques, strategies, and exercises to incorporate into your climbing routine.

The weather is warming up and it's time to climb!

We can take it to the next level and help you with focused and personalized examinations in our downtown Portland location or with mobile therapy throughout the Portland, Oregon area. 

 

March LA PT Pop-UP announcement

We have it! Our next Artisan Physical Therapy LA PT Pop-up is on the schedule: THIS Sunday March 5th in Silverlake.

If you'd like to snag one of the limited remaining appointments, email us to inquire about how to reserve your spot. Come get some quality evaluation, manual therapy, movement analysis, and movement and exercise instruction and prescription. 

Here's to a healthier you, LA!

March LA PT PopUP

Quick Yoga Sequence for Runners: Stretching with Some Core

New video out!

In this video, Doctor Elizabeth (Liz) Bottrell PT, DPT, FAAOMPT of Artisan Physical Therapy in Portland, Oregon demonstrates a quick and effective yoga sequence for runners. Whether running your first 5k, training for a marathon, triathlon, or an ultra, you need to stretch. Stretching takes time and knowledge. In this video, you'll learn a quick vinyasana or flow yoga sequence that efficiently stretches your hamstrings, calves (gastrocnemius & soles), and hip flexors (Iliotibial band and iliopsoas) to maximize your time, as well as incorporating abdominal strengthening and control and cross training strengthening for the pectoral muscles and triceps. This fast routine, also trains balance, breathing, and improves motion in your back and abdominal muscles!

You can repeat and hold longer as needed. Do not hold your breath!

Pay attention in the video because you need to make sure you know which muscles to stretch. Follow-up videos will show specifics for a few other essential muscle groups for runners to stretch.

Try it and let us know what you think.

Contact our Portland office to schedule your personalized evaluation or join in one of our LA PT Pop-ups while they last (next PT pop-up is January 23rd).

*Sold-out* December LA Monthly Pop-op Treatment Session

We are stoked to be offering a sold-out monthly pop-up day day of treatment with Liz of Artisan PT in Los Angeles tomorrow. Thank you to the clients and patients have referred their friends and family. We are looking forward to seeing meeting and helping new folks in addition to seeing familiar faces and old friends. We can't wait to spend the day in an awesome location in Silverlake near the reservoir.

Missed out this time but want to get on board for our future sessions? Let us know and we will add you to a priority short-list to get the opportunity to schedule before the monthly pop-up treatment goes public. Due to the success of this month's session, we are looking to extend the trip next month (woohoo!).

PDX to LAX - We are coming for you!

Is What You Are Eating Keeping You Hurting?

What you eat has a big influence in how you feel. Not too many people will disagree with this statement, however many are not aware the extent that this is true.

Your diet could be perpetuating your back pain, our contributing to your achy knees, or be prolonging that car accident our recent injury pain.

What do we know?

AVOID eating refined carbohydrates, french fries and other fried foods, soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage), and margarine/lard.

 

EAT MORE tomatoes; olive oil; green leafy vegetables - spinach, kale, and collards; nuts like almonds and walnuts; fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines; fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges.

Eating this way helps reduce diseases associated with inflammation: e.g. heart disease and cancer. You can read more about this at http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation.

But eating this way will also contribute time reduce your musculoskeletal and orthopedic pain. (Read -  less pain in your muscles, discs, joints, fascia, and ligaments). Sounds great, right?

If you're not seeing the consistent pain reduction you want from changes in posture, strength, stiffness, and flexibility, consider taking that next step to reduce what my be stagnant inflammation in your body and change your diet to tips towards anti-inflammatory in addition to all the good work your doing with exercise, position, rest, icing, etc.

Every little step towards healthier living counts!

Car accident blues

Were you in a auto accident? Rear-ended? T-boned? Don't relinquish control of your health!

One of the biggest mistakes we see people make after automobile accidents is not taking responsibility for their health. Waiting on payment from insurance and settlements before receiving professional medical care to rehabilitate from whip lash, pulled, strained, and sore, achy muscles, joints, and ligaments is common and results in prolonged injuries, negative outcomes, side effects, and chronic pain.

The best thing to do is to receive professional care as soon as possible, and what better, than a physical therapist? Physical therapists are EXPERTS in musculoskeletal movement dysfunction and rehabilitation.

Make sure to rest, limit extremes of body range of motion and speed, let your body recover, and take steps to reduce inflammation in your body. Don't put off take care of your health. It is your livelihood. It is your life. First get the quality, personal, and focused care you need to deal with your motor vehicle accident (MVA).

At Artisan Physical Therapy, you don't get generic treatments such as lying on hot packs, getting electrical stimulation, and ultrasound. Instead you get quality and focused manual therapy specifically suited to your needs to reduce swelling, inflammation, pain, stiffness and tightness so that you can get back to doing what you love and when you want to do it. We give you things to put you in control of how you feel - education on the specifics of what to do and what not to do in your daily activities and active body movements and therapeutic exercises.

It's not uncommon that people through care with Artisan Physical Therapy can learn more than they even knew about their bodies and live healthier lives than they did even BEFORE their car accident.