Dr. Sam Newsletter Sept. 2008 Vol. 1Written by Samuel Mielcarski
In this e-newsletter edition:
*2 New Articles
*A Simple Breathing Test
*Some Sex Humor
*Q&A- How to tone your glutes?
*2 New Articles
I recently had 2 more new articles get published. They both appeared online at NaturalNews.com.
One article is titled: “Physical Therapists Strongly Recommend 'Tummy Time' for Improving Infant Development.”—it can be found here: http://www.naturalnews.com/023969.html
The other is called: “The 5 Best Ways to Succeed with a Physical Rehabilitation Program”—it can be found here:
Both articles will be also posted in the archives section of DrSamPT.com
*A Simple Breathing Test
One of the health essentials I discuss in my “Revolutionary Rehab Manual" is air. This includes not only the quality of air you breathe, but also the quality of how you breathe. Within our fast-paced, high-stim world it’s easy to develop poor breathing habits. The most common one I see in rehab is that people breathe very shallow and mostly from their upper chest and shoulder regions. This is a sign that the person I’m working with is functioning at less than optimal potential.
Why? Simply put: Breath is life. In other words, if your breathing is poor, your health can’t be optimal. Breathing affects how all other systems in the body work. You can only go minutes without air. This means it ranks very high on the survival needs list. The main breathing apparatus—the diaphragm—is intimately connected to vital structures of the body from head to toe. It’s provides nutrition as well as elimination functions. It also provides mobility and stability to the body. Its proper use will also bring about more strength and power, both internally and externally.
So, let’s take a breathing test:
Sit down or stand in front of a mirror. Take a deep breath in through your nose and watch your shoulders. Did they rise up a good bit? Did they move first before your lower rib cage expanded? If yes, you didn’t pass the test.
So, let’s fix your breathing habits:
Take a bed sheet or a piece of string and place it around your waist at the level of your lower rib cage (just above where you would see “love handles”). Now cross the string in the front as though you were tying your shoe (no bow, just the first part of the shoe tying process). Now, pull the string/sheet tighter around your lower ribs with each hand. Keeping your shoulders down and relaxed, slowly breathe in through your nose while focusing on expanding your lower ribs outward pushing the string/sheet apart. The key is to allow the breath to come in; don’t force it in by sucking it in aggressively through your nose. If you allow the edges of your nose to flare out (as if smelling the roses), you will find that the breath comes into your lower rib cage much easier.
Practice, practice, practice. Yes, this may seem odd at first, but with practice you can make this an unconscious habit. One trick that might help is to use a piece of string tied under your shirt around your lower ribs (as described above, except the full “shoe-tying process” around your waist will be needed to keep the string in place) throughout the day. When you don’t feel your ribs pushing into the string, you know your breathing has shifted to an upper trunk and shoulders breathing pattern—usually a sign of increased stress.
So, a simple piece of string can tell you whether or not you are stressed, as well as give you a simple biofeedback tool to correct it—and thus improve your overall health and well-being.
Have fun with your breathing exploration.
*Some Sex Humor
Who said foreplay won’t get you what you want?
Check it out: >>> Foreplay
*Q & A with Dr. SAM
Question: “U.L” asks: What are the best exercises to tone my glutes?
Answer: Without assessing you, this is hard to say. However, if you are trying to add more shape to your buttocks region, you will first need to make sure it is working correctly. What I mean by this is that if your buttocks muscles are not even being activated correctly, then all the “best exercises to tone your glues” quickly lose their value.
Four simple tests you can try are as follows:
1. Lie on your back and place both hands on your buttock muscles. Squeeze your buttocks muscles together as if trying to hold a coin between them. You should feel your buttocks tighten up and “get smaller” if they are working correctly.
2. Lie on your stomach and place one hand on your buttocks on the same side. For example, place your right hand over your right buttocks muscle. Now lift your right leg up off the floor about 2 inches. You should feel your buttocks muscle tighten up and your pelvis stay level as you do this. If your buttocks feels soft, your pelvis dips, or if you feel tension or pain in your upper back, lower back, and/or hamstring muscle (back of your upper thigh), your buttocks are not working correctly. Try it on the left side and compare it to what you felt on the right.
3. Stand facing a mirror with feet together. Focus in the mirror at your waist level. Now lift one foot off the ground. If your buttocks are working correctly, your pelvis should stay level. If you see it dip and your hip jut out to the side on the leg you’re standing on, your buttocks are not working correctly.
4. This is simply an observation test. Either look at your buttocks in the mirror or have someone take a picture of your buttocks in attire that will show most of your bottom end. If one side looks flatter, smaller, or less shapely then the other, there is a good chance your buttocks are not being activated correctly on that side.
These are four simple tests. There are plenty of other tests that can be used to determine if your buttocks are being activated correctly—some that directly test buttocks function and others that test related areas that may alter how your buttocks function (tight hip muscles, for example). However, the important thing to understand is that in order to change the size, shape, or strength of a muscle, it must first be working correctly.
With that being said, I would recommend finding a qualified therapist, trainer, or fitness coach to properly assess you and provide you with a good plan to help you meet your goal.
Thanks for your question.
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In loving service,
Dr. Samuel A. Mielcarski, DPT
Copyright- Dr. Samuel Mielcarski, DPT, 2008. All rights reserved. No part of this newsletter may be reprinted without permission of the author.