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Last week I listened to the interview with Gray Cook and Shirley Sahrmann on SportsRehabExpert.com. It was a very good interview – When listening to interview like that when there is such a vast amount of knowledge being shared, I think you try to pick out a few points that you can really chew on.

Of the many things that were said, one of the things that stuck out to me when Dr. Sahrmann was discussing the ownership of exercise and the movement. Her comments in particular were directed toward physical therapists. She was stating that physical therapists should be the experts in exercise and movement patterns. They should be the go to people when it comes to exercise instruction and movement. And she lamented that unfortunately, people will go to the gym first seeking instruction regarding exercise there before considering going to a physical therapist.

I would argue that this same principle would also apply to athletic trainers as well.

I would go so far as to say that physical therapists, athletic trainers, and even strength and conditioning coaches and personal trainers have not “owned exercise and movement patterns” as we probably should. In general, we do not have the command of proper and improper movement patterns in addition to corrective exercise strategies, exercise progression, and even proper exercise technique as we should.

I can speak from experience – Over the past year, I went from working in a purely injury rehabilitation setting to now working in a setting which involves a mixture of injury rehabilitation and fitness/exercise programming. At the beginning of the transition, I can say that relying on what I had learned years past was woefully inadequate.  Over the last several months, I have had to study and learn and read and listen- all to just have even a modest working knowledge of exercise and movement patterns. I have read books and read blogs and listened to webinars over the last year that I wouldn’t have in the past – not our of arrogance but out of ignorance. It has been an eye-opening experience, and although Dr. Sahrmann was speaking to the physical therapy crowd, I could relate 100% to what she was saying.

Dr. Sahrmann at the end went on to conclude that (again speaking to physical therapists) they need to be lifelong learners – from birth to the grave. And I would concur. Continuing education is not a necessary evil – it is a vehicle that allows us to continue to excel at what we do.

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As 2010 is now here, I have several books on the proverbial wish list to purchase this year.

One of those – The Men’s Health Big Book of Exercises by Adam Campbell, MS, CSCS – I picked up yesterday. This book just came out and comes in both a men’s and women’s edition. (A quick look through – both appear nearly the same in terms of exercise selection although the tips vary from each book dependent upon the male and female population. You can’t go wrong with either. )

The book is chocked full with over 600 exercises. The exercises are laid out by muscle groups being targeted and is also laid out by progression as well.

The photography is really outstanding as each exercise is laid out in full color and is extremely easy to see how to perform. (By contrast, I perused several other exercise books yesterday just for comparison and the photography and exercise demonstration wasn’t even close). The exercises have tips on form and proper execution. There are additional tips that are sprinkled throughout this book in addition to other nuggets such as workout regimens, nutritional information, and more.

So if you are looking for a pretty exhaustive encyclopedia of exercises, this is a great resource to add to your professional library.

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No, I’m not already thinking about lunch – the title is correct. What are you having with your lunge is a play on words. Really the question is this: what else are you doing to make this an effective exercise for your athlete or patient? This is a key element that you really apply to any any body part you are rehabbing and any activity that you put your athlete or patient through. The basic premise is this: How can I make something good even better?

So let’s go back to the lunge. You have an athlete or patient with an injury to the ankle, knee, hip, low back, etc. and you have decided that a lunge would be a great exercise to include. You have the individual perform some lunges as a part of their rehabilitation program. The individual tolerates the exercises well – he/she is happy and you are happy.dsc008971

The next day the athlete/patient comes back in and goes through the same routine. Fair enough but this has to eventually go somewhere else doesn’t it? Doing standard lunges is a great starting point but what can be done to make this more challenging, and really more beneficial, to the patient?

The great answer to this question is this: just about anything you want. There aren’t any real rules (outside of not doing something illegal, something that is contraindicated or something that will harm the athlete or patient). Be creative. But just in case those creative juices aren’t quite flowing yet, here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Add some tubing or exercise bands around each ankle that provides additional resistance and adds a proprioceptive element (increase the level of resistance with the band for an increased challenge)
  2. Add some medicine ball work as they go through the lunges. You could play catch with them as they are doing the lunges. You could also have them do some sagittal, frontal, or transverse plane movements with the arms with a ball in their hands for an additional challenge.
  3. If you have a BodyBlade® or B.O.I.N.G available, the individual could also be doing some activity with these as he/she is going through the lunges.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless. So make it a point to try something new and different today. You’ll enjoy your “lunge” a lot more if you do.

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