Welcome back to this week’s edition of 2-Minute Tuesdays. Now this week, we are talking about how to exercise with a common complaint that we hear about, and that is an “itis” issue, such as tendonitis, bursitis, plantar fasciitis. How can you start modifying your exercise right now to help respect the symptoms that your body is giving you while still ensuring you are able to workout consistently?
The two biggest categories that we need to modify with clients when they are experiencing an “itis” issue are how much they are moving during each exercise and how they are moving during each exercise. There are a couple take-home points to explore with each of these.
1) How Much You Are Moving
- How Much Do You Move Relative To The Exercise?
The first thing we check with clients who are exercising with an “itis”, as well as those who do not have any physical complaints, is how well their body moves relative to the exercise we are about to do. For example, if we are going to have a client do a leg press, we need to make sure that the starting position of the leg press is not too close for them. This can be checked very simply by having the client in a proposed starting position and then having them pull their legs towards their chest, one leg at a time. If they can bring their knee towards their chest and have their foot at least one half inch off of the foot plate, then that is often a reasonable starting position for them. If they are unable to do that, then we need to adjust their starting position so they are not as close to the foot plate.
Action Step: Getting into the habit of checking the exercise motion you are about to do and then matching the exercise to that motion is one of the best habits you can get into when working out on your own. Give it a shot and let us know what you think!
- How Much Are You Moving During The Exercise?
The second aspect to consider relative to how much you are moving is how much will you move during the exercise itself? This can be especially important if you have an “itis” because you may find that part of the motion of the exercise feels good while other parts feel symptomatic. Our rules of thumb are 1) To start with less motion and move towards more, and 2) To start doing the exercise in the “mid-range” and then work towards more of your extremes of motion over the course of a few sets all the way to a few months depending on how your body is feeling.
Action Step: When you first start doing an exercise, don’t get caught up in the idea of doing “full range”. Start with less motion and gradually progress towards doing more. You can always add more motion if you are feeling up for it, but you cannot undo using too much motion after it is already done.
2) How You Are Moving
- Be Mindful Of Your “Ends”
The third aspect to consider while you are exercising if you have an “itis” is how your “ends” are. The “ends” of an exercise are the starting, turnaround, and stopping points of an exercise. These parts of an exercise should be performed slowly and under great control as they are they parts of an exercise where somebody can be most likely to get injured. You can greatly reduce your risk of injury by approaching your “ends” slowly.
Action Step: Slow and steady wins the race! There isn’t any need to try to move quickly through your “ends”. Keep your body safe and protected by respecting these parts of the exercise and approaching them slowly.
- Change Your Angles
The final consideration you can make when exercising on your own with an “itis” is to change the angles of your joints during your exercise. For example, with a leg press, you can have your feet pointed up or out, you can have them spaced more narrow or farther apart, and you can have them higher or lower on the foot plate. Playing around with each of these variables will help to change the angles of your hips, knees, and ankles as well as the muscular involvement during the exercise. Ultimately, this can lead to changing the stresses that your body is experiencing.
Action Step: If you find that one way of doing an exercise doesn’t feel good, change up how you are doing the exercise by changing your joint angles. This can make a tremendous difference in how you experience the exercise and can allow you to workout on a consistent basis.