When you were training for sports in your P.E classes, you were most likely told to hold your hamstring and groin stretches several seconds before starting your training session. This static stretching is very popular and is a common routine in any athletes routine.
But more recently if you ask a medical professional or coach about stretching before your workout you will likely get a different answer. So why is some advice to stretch before working out and other advice is to stretch after your workout? We will cover the reasons behind this in today’s blog.
To start, there are different kinds of stretching. These are listed below:
Static Stretching: This is this most common stretching that people think of. For example, if bend over to touch your toes and hold the position, you are performing static stretching.
Passive: This is when someone else moves your body into a stretch and proceeds to hold the tension while you are relaxed.
Dynamic: This is a controlled movement into the stiff position. The best way to think about it is performing a deep squat or lunges.
Ballistic: This involves using your bodies momentum to bounce in and out of stiffness. It’s not recommended by many because of the chances of injury but is more commonly used by dancers.
PNF: This is an acronym for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation and describes a combination of passive stretching followed by different types of muscular contractions. If someone gets your muscle into a position, for example a hamstring stretch while you are on your back. Then asks you to contract and then relax while they push the muscle further, this is PNF.
In the past, research showed that performing static stretching before training or a competition could reduce the chances of muscular strain. This is why it is such a popular form of stretching.
But recent research is showing that static stretching can lead to a decrease in strength, speed and power. So this would lessen the athlete’s performance. But it might not be the static stretching that is the problem, rather it is the long duration someone will hold the stretch for.
Stretches for short periods of time (under 30 seconds) cause no harm to muscular performance and cause an increase in mobility, this means you can get into better technical positions when performing your lift or movement. It is when a stretch is held for 45 seconds that there is a decrease in power, speed and strength.
A test to do:
If you struggle with tightness and feel restricted you can test if you are short of what is expected of your muscles.
Place your foot 10 cm from the wall and then bend your knee to try and touch the wall without lifting your heel to do so. If you can touch your knee to the wall you have passed the test and have good ankle mobility. Working on passive stretches of 30-second holds can help to free up your calf and get to pass the test without affecting your performance.
For example, a deep goblet squat can help improve your ankle mobility before training. Hold a kettlebell on your chest and sit down into a deep squat. Hold 4 stretches for 10-30 seconds.
If you do not have good ankle mobility you will be unable to get into a good squat position and therefore will hinder your technique.
In the clinic, we work using a variety of techniques to help improve mobility in all areas of the body, including ankles. So working on your muscles and joints to help get into a good position will allow you to perform and move better day to day and during athletic performance.
Stretching prior to your workout is not a one size fits all. It will come down to you as an individual and what your body responds best to. Also, it will depend on where your weaknesses are. Your tightness can also be down to overall muscle weakness, so it could tighten up to try and stabilise the area.
To help work out what needs to be done to fix your issue and to help get you the best results contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois
Shoulder pain is a common issue for a lot of people either in day to day life or when they are training. One of the most common conditions is shoulder impingement.
To prevent shoulder impingement it is important to have strength and endurance in a muscle called the Serratus Anterior. In movements such as putting something up on a shelf or exercises such as an overhead press, this muscle activates and makes sure that your shoulder blade moves correctly and that your shoulder joint is stabilised in a correct position.
If your Serratus Anterior is weak or if it gets tired quickly then it can cause unwanted movement in the shoulder joint and lead to an impingement in the shoulder.
So what exercises can we do to strengthen the Serratus Anterior and also stabilise your shoulder?
Half-Kneeling To Overhead Press
A bottoms under kettlebell press is an excellent stability based exercise for the shoulder and this movement carries over to alot of movements you perform in the gym and daily life.
Start with both knees bent with the kettlebell in the front rack position. Then keeping your core engaged drive up and bring your leg in front of you. It is important to keep your core braced doing this and try to keep your ribcage stacked directly over your pelvis. Finally, press the kettlebell overhead and then lower it back down keeping control of the kettlebell throughout the movement.
Holding the kettlebell upside down means the centre of gravity is further away from your hand and therefore means you have to work harder to control the kettlebell as it is in an unbalanced position.
DNS Low Oblique Sit Stage 1
Start on your back with your right hand up in the air holding the kettlebell. This time the kettlebell will not be in a bottoms under position. Then bend your right leg up and keep your left leg straight. Pressurise through your abdomen and keep your core contracted. Bring your left elbow out and drive up through the elbow keeping the kettlebell overhead and your core braced. Keep in control of the kettlebell at all times and control your movement back into the start position.
If you are an elite athlete or just enjoy going to the gym then both of these exercises can help you. They both work very well as a warm-up before you do your workouts, or they also work integrated into a workout superset.
If you have shoulder pain and want to get it sorted then contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois
If you suffer from stiff ankles or tight calves this blog post is for you.
The assumption to make when you have tight calves is to stretch the calves. However, to gain length in your calves it is often helpful to train the muscles at the front of your lower leg. This is because they are often weak in people who have chronically tight calves. This is because stretching causes a mechanical change in the muscles whereas strengthening causes a change in the way your body perceives length.
What are the problems if you have poor ankle mobility?
Common for people to roll off the outside of their foot when walking.
Big toe bunions can form
If your ankles are tight when walking your calf is used more, therefore becomes tighter.
Your body mass is more forwards when walking
Collapsing of your foot arch
So when you are at home instead of forcing your knee over your ankle to create mobility in your ankle, try to strengthen the front of your lower leg which will allow you to access more range of motion for the long term. This will be more long term because you won’t be relying on an external input but instead you will cause internal changes that should make more significant differences in muscle function.
How to do this?
Try this exercise called the moonwalk.
Come back onto your toes
As you lower your toes, bring your knee over the front of your toes
As you bring the knee forwards, lift up your toes
If you suffer from stiff ankles or tight calves and would like us to assess and treat you, then contact the clinic today on 0578678904, direct message us on Facebook or book now.
Shane’s talk from the Irish Strength Institute 2018 Symposium
“Building Better Senior Golfers”
Discussing a number of aspects including ▪️ Common Injuries seen in Senior Golfers ▪️ Assessing & Treating the Senior Golfer ▪️ Rehab Applications including Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization, McGill Method and Functional Range Conditioning ▪️ The Importance of a Warm Up
Clinic Patient Privacy Statement
Lawlor Clinic as a data controller is aware of its obligations under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Clinic is committed to protecting the privacy and security of your personal information.
We want you to be absolutely confident that we are treating your personal data responsibly, and that we are doing everything we can to make sure that the only people who can access that data have a genuine need to do so.
This privacy notice summarises, in line with GDPR, how we collect and use personal data about you during and after your time as a patient of this clinic. It also sets out how long we keep it for and other relevant information about your data. It applies to current and former patients.
Please contact the Clinic on email@example.com for full privacy terms and conditions or request a copy at reception.
We need to collect personal information about you and your health, in order to provide you with the best possible treatment. Your requesting treatment and our agreement to provide that care constitutes a contract. You can, of course, refuse to provide the information, but if you were to do that we would not be able to provide treatment.
We have a “Legitimate Interest” in collecting that information, because without it we couldn’t do our job effectively and safely.
We also think that it is important that we can contact you in order to confirm your appointments with us or to update you on matters related to your medical care. This again constitutes “Legitimate Interest”, but this time it is your legitimate interest.
We have a legal obligation to retain your records for 8 years after your most recent appointment (or age 25, if this is longer), but after this period you can ask us to delete your records if you wish. Otherwise, we will retain your records indefinitely in order that we can provide you with the best possible care should you need to see us at some future date.
Your paper file is stored in locked filing cabinets, the keys are locked in a safe, and the offices are always locked and alarmed outside working hours. Paper records are never removed from the Clinic premises.
Your electronic file is stored “in the cloud” using encrypted practice management software. We have a contract with this provider which includes a written declaration that they are fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulations. Access to this data is password protected.
Email appointment reminders are set up for each patient, but patients can opt out of this service if they wish. We do not use SMS or email marketing communications.
Occasionally we will need to contact you in writing or provide a medical or solicitor report on your behalf. Such letters are saved securely on to our office computers, which are password protected and the offices are always locked and alarmed out of working hours.
We will never share your data with anyone who does not need access, without your written consent. Only the following people/agencies will have routine access to your data:
– Your practitioner(s) in order that they can provide you with treatment. Self-employed Associates and Therapists have a signed contract with the Clinic which includes obligation to maintain confidentiality of information relating to clients.
– Our clinic manager and reception staff who have signed contracts of employment including strict clauses re data confidentiality.
– The practice management system that stores and process our electronic records
You have the right to see what personal data of yours we hold, and you can also ask us to correct any factual errors.
Provided the legal minimum period has elapsed, you can also ask us to erase your records.
Should your personal data that we control be lost, stolen or otherwise breached, where this constitutes a high risk to your rights and freedoms, we will contact you to explain to you the nature of the breach and the steps we are taking to deal with it.
Making a complaint
You have the right to make a complaint at any time to the Data Protection Commissioner via their website: www.dataprotection.ie
If you have any questions about this Privacy Notice or how we handle your information, please contact Karen Lawlor, Lawlor Clinic, 2 Audville Terrace, Dublin Road, Portlaoise, Laois, R32 VW62. Telephone number 057 8678904. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PLEASE SPEAK WITH OUR RECEPTIONIST IF YOU DO NOT CONSENT TO RECEIVING EMAIL APPOINTMENT REMINDERS / IMPORTANT CLINIC UPDATES. WE WILL MAKE SURE YOUR RECORD IS UPDATED TO REFLECT YOUR CONSENT AND PLEASE BE AWARE THAT YOU CAN OPT OUT OF THIS SERVICE AT ANY TME. WE WILL NOT SEND YOU MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS.
Shane has been selected to speak at the inaugural European Golf & Fitness Symposium which will be held in Lisbon. Portugal this coming April 12th & 13th
This symposium will bring together international experts in the areas golf coaching, biomechanics, physical preparation, injury prevention, treatment and fitness.
Shane is one of Europe’s leading Sports Chiropractors and is an expert in the treatment, screening and rehabilitation of golf injuries. He has travelled extensively with professional golfers on both the European & PGA Tours since 2009 and worked with over 45 different tour pros.
For more information on the European Golf & Fitness Symposium visit the website
Yours in Health
Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois
Experts in the Assessment, Treatment & Rehab of Golf Injuries
It has been shown that 80% of the population will suffer from an episode of back pain during their lifetime. A smaller number will also suffer Sciatica, a referral into the leg which can be caused by a disc bulge, bony narrowing of the exit canal or entrapment of the nerve along its path down the leg, for example at the piriformis muscle.
Walking: It is important that you keep as active as possible, so we recommend short frequent walks for our patients who suffer from back pain or sciatica. Depending on the severity of the leg symptoms we also ask the patient to shorten their stride so this will put less pressure on the sciatic nerve particularly during the swinging of the leg forward.
McKenzie Extension: This is one of the few positions that patients or athletes will feel any relief from their leg pain, The extension exercise has been shown to centralise the disc material taking pressure off the nerve. You should feel the leg pain reduce during the hold, the pain may also localise to the low back or buttock area.
Cat & Camel: Spinal flexibility and control is important for the lumbar spine. The Cat & Camel exercise is a great exercise that we give to every patient. If you struggle with either of the movements then we suggest you use a mirror for feedback.
Nerve Flossing: This exercise will help with leg pain and also improve the sliding of the sciatic nerve from the low back all the way in the foot.
With any of the exercises it is important to work within a pain free range of motion, if you see an increase in your symptoms then please stop the exercise and consult your local health professional or contact us today for a consultation.
In the last blog article we covered a number of different topics related to concussion and its management. We will focus on nutrition and sleep in this article.
Post Concussion Signs & Symptoms:
Difficulty in remembering things or people
Lack of Focus
How to Improve Recovery with Nutrition:
Omega 3 Fish Oils are important in cognitive function of the brain, they will also act as anti inflammatories for the brain during the recovery phase of the concussion
Creatine helps to increase water retention in the body which will in turn increase fluid levels supporting the brain during healing.
Turmeric is a powerful natural anti inflammatory which can also aid in the recovery phase
The majority of post concussion patients will need to increase their number of hours of sleep as this is essential for the brain to recovery from injury. It is also important to decrease the time spent on mobile devices as the blue light from the screen can have an effect on melatonin levels which help to regulate sleep cycles. Most devices and computer now come with blue light filter or apps can be downloaded if not included on your phone, tablet or computer.
A common condition we see frequently in the office is knee pain. In a lot of cases we can trace the pain in the knee back to a dysfunctional joint above or below it, unless you got a direct trauma to the knee itself.
This is largely because the ankle and the hip have far more range of motion and thus more risk for injury and dysfunction than the knee itself. The knees are hinge joints, which means they primarily move in flexion and extension, with a bit of rotation. The femur (thigh bone) sits on top of the tibia (shin bone), cushioned by the meniscus (cartilage) in-between the two. It’s all held together by a lot of strong ligaments, along with the muscles of the thigh and calf there to support as well. Here are 3 common factors:
1. Big toe dysfunction– this problem is more common than you would think. When the big toe gets stiff and loses movement, the body starts to compensate to try and get the same range. This leads to the ankle collapsing inwards and also the knee along with other problems further up the body. This inward collapse of the knee toward the other one is called a valgus stress- and you don’t want to have this!
2. Ankle mobility– limited motion, specifically dorsiflexion or lifting the ankle up towards the body, requires the knee to go more forward to make up the distance lacking at the ankle. Knees forward over the toes is another risk for injury. There is too much strain on the knee in that position and eventually something will give.
3. Glute activation-or lack there of. With our modern lifestyle we are sitting much more, which means the glutes are not getting worked as much as they should be. Specifically, weakness in the glute medius and other external rotators can predispose us to valgus stress at the knee…. which if you remember: you don’t want to have this!! Try these clam shells to get your glute muscles firing:
There are many other reasons why you may have knee pain, but these are some of the most common we see in the clinic. Instead of straining the knees with your movements, why not work on moving properly through the ankles and the hips to take the pressure off them and prevent future injuries? Want to get your knee pain assessed? Contact us today!
Supplements are an important aspect for reaching optimal health and well-being as most of us are not intaking adequate nutrients on a daily basis. Our diets have changed over the years, we have gone from eating whole food sources to more foods that are pre-prepared and pre-packaged, which usually means less nutritional value. Supplementation is not meant to replace eating healthy, but meant to be an addition to healthy eating habits, to help us get all the nutrients we need. Here is our list of the most important you should be taking:
Probiotics– more research keeps coming out about how many different conditions are affected and prevented by having a healthy micro biome in our guts. Even if you haven’t been on antibiotics recently, but especially if you have, make sure to get good bacteria into your system. Outside of supplementation you can get bacteria through fermented foods and yogurts as well.
Vitamin D– this is a common deficiency to have, especially in places where daylight and sunshine is limited. It is not just for bone health, but can impact a number of systems in the body, contributing to: fatigue and achy muscle pains. Make sure to get it in D3 form with supplements.
Omega oils– you can get these from animal sources such as fish oil or krill oil, but they can also be obtained from plant sources such as flax, chia, and hemp seeds, and spirulina. They help with heart and brain function, and can also be beneficial in certain conditions such as ADHD and autism.
Magnesium– is used throughout the body in different systems. It can lead to symptoms such as: fatigue, muscle cramping, and numbness/tingling.
Zinc– we don’t store it in the body, so its important to get this one daily. It helps to ward off colds and keep your immune system strong among other things.
Everyone is different and their nutrient needs are also different, but this can be used as a guide to help you make sure you are including these important substances into your daily routine.