The Reluctant {Dragon} Exerciser

Credits to disney wiki Image retrieved from http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/File:TheReluctantDragonFakeDeath.jpg

Credits to disney wiki
Image retrieved from http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/File:TheReluctantDragonFakeDeath.jpg

Something both me and my mom (Tiffany) share from my childhood is our love for an old cartoon called The Reluctant Dragon (by Disney). This cartoon follows a young boy who wishes to see his favorite Knight fight a dragon. He finds a dragon in a nearby cave and tries everything he can think of to convince the dragon to fight with the knight, but the dragon always refuses. The Dragon finally gives in to participating in the fight when it is presented to him as an opportunity to show off his acting skills. The reason the dragon finally decides he will  fight is that he LOVES to act and perform in front of an audience. He doesn’t like to fight, but if he thinks it is just acting he’s all for it.

The same is true about exercise. Most people know what it feels like to be reluctant to exercise, in fact some might even dread the very thought of exercising all together, just like the reluctant dragon felt about fighting. Nevertheless, there is still hope! All you need to do is find something you are passionate about.

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What’s Love of Running Got to do with it

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  I’m a runner and have been running since Jr. High.  Yes long ago, and far far away (from where I live now) they use to call middle school, Jr. High.  I don’t really know why I kept running after the first year because I was dead last in every event that I was entered into.  But for some reason I stuck with it and found out that I had a talent and love for it.  I certainly never became a state champ or made it to nationals, but I continued to work hard and enjoy success in my running and now I have a love of running!

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Gluteal Amnesia: Got Weak Glute Muscles?

Weak glute muscles contribute to many different health issues, such as low back pain, poor balance, and ankle instability.  I’m sure that everyone reading this has heard of amnesia, which is “a defect in memory, esp one resulting from pathological cause.” (dictionary.com)  But (no pun intended, Lol) I bet that most of you have not heard about gluteal amnesia which is when the glute muscles have a defect in their memory (the muscle doesn’t remember how to fire correctly) that is usually caused by an injury or muscle imbalance. 

One of the biggest problems I deal with as a personal trainer is getting my clients to buy into the idea that their weak glute muscles are a major cause of the pain and problems that they are dealing with.  The reason that this is such a big focus for me is that I think that most people could avoid a lot of pain and suffering and prevent injuries if they would just strengthen their glute muscles properly. They usually end up paying for those weak glutes with lower back pain, poor balance, and ankle instability .

Research is showing that “Poor endurance and delayed firing of the hip extensor (gluteus maximus) and the abductor (gluteus medius) muscles have previously been noted in individuals with lower limb instability or low back pain.” (1)  Another study found that there was a significant delayed response of the gluteus medius muscle in individuals with chronic ankle instability compared to normal controls. (1) The following statement is anecdotal (my own personal observations – not based on scientific research) in nature.  For the last decade I have observed that most people are unaware that they are using their low back, legs, and/or feet to move their body from here to there and everywhere and to perform all kinds of different tasks, instead of their glutes.

The other day I had a client come to my class that I had not seen in years (probably 4 or more years). I ended up spending the majority of the class helping her to understand that she was not in the proper position and that she was not using her glutes properly, that she was using her lower legs and feet to do the work that the butt should be doing. She later made a comment to one of the other participants about how all I did the whole class was to talk about whether she was using her glutes or not. She also said that she thought it was great because she could really feel the difference when she performed the exercises with the proper form and that she was actually able to do the exercises when she did them correctly. She has continued to return to my classes on a regular basis and is seeing a difference in her ability to move properly.  By the way, she is 77 1/2 years old, so if she can strengthen her glutes, so can you! Lol  Two final thoughts, I propose that you leave the “amnesia” to the soap stars and get your glutes working.  And if you are already doing butt exercises are you doing them with the correct form and are they truly effective in helping you get the results you’re looking for and need?

(1) Nadler SF, Malanga GA, Feinberg JH, Prybicien M, Stitik TP, DePrince M; Relationship between hip muscle imbalance and occurrence of low back pain in collegiate athletes: a prospective study. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2001;80:572-577.

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