You might be thinking I’ve gone mad and your mouse is sliding towards closing the tab… but using the Flippy, Floppy and Stiffy principle is actually a brilliant way of preventing injury!
It has been used for some time among physiotherapists to group patients simply and effectively and has nothing to do with anyone’s nether regions! In fact, it has also been used by top tier rugby and football teamsas well , instead of grouping all their players together.(1)
Training your body according to your body type has huge benefits and if you get it wrong, you can be putting yourself at real risk. Take for example someone that is super flexible. If they were to do a lot of yoga and stretching only, they would get more and more mobile and lose more stability, which they didn’t have much of to start with, potentially leading to a joint sprain.
So here are the 3 types and how we can apply exercises to them:
If you are a floppy, you can probably bend down and touch the ground easily or bend your thumb down to touch your wrist. You are hyper-mobile, meaning you have a lot of mobility in your joints and laxity in your ligaments. You can get your Beighton score here to see how hyper-mobile you are.
If you are a floppy, you don’t need a lot of stretching.
You need strengthening of your muscles. This will help develop the muscles around your joints to improve stability and limit your joints going too far.
Stiffies, believe it or not, are typically male but that’s not a strict rule.
I’m a self-confessed stiffy. I can’t touch my toes without bending my knees a little, I’m terrible at sitting cross-legged and am simply not very mobile. For those of like me, of which there are a lot, you need to stretch and mobilise.
You need to stretch regularly, practice yoga and work on joint mobilisations and you will notice a huge difference.
And lastly, flippies have a foot in both camps. They are those lucky ones that aren’t over-flexible or stiff as a board.
You flippies probably have more work to do unfortunately as you will benefit from keeping mobile and strong, having a good mix between stretching and strengthening for the best outcome.(3)
So are you a flippy, floppy or stiffy? Categorise yourself and take a closer look at your regular workout routine – do you need to individualise it a bit better to suit your body type?
If adequate fluid isn’t taken in, dehydration can happen and will happen. These are the dehydration symptoms to look out for:
General discomfort and complaints
Why stopping dehydration is so important:
Water is the essential solvent for your bodies biochemical reactions, and with less of this, your body simply will not function as well. It makes up a huge 63% of our whole body mass (we are basically a big mess of water balloons!) and more importantly at least 80% of our muscles , kidneys and lungs are made up of water – So water is a big part of us. And we don’t just lose water through sweating either; our body is always losing water through our skin, lungs and kidneys, through sweating, urinating and respiration mainly – so this shows that it isn’t only when we are exercising that we need to optimize hydration. So not only do we lose water throughout the day but when we are exercising, doing physical work or it is a really hot day, we need to be drinking 2-6 times more water to maintain good hydration and keep our cells happy.(5)
It’s not just how much we are drinking – it’s how we are drinking.
Staying hydrated doesn’t mean drinking a couple of liters at the end of the day or after exercise all in one go. The water ideally needs to be consumed in parts – like breaking two liters into four 500ml drinks half and hour apart.
How to monitor dehydration
Even a loss of 2% of body mass can decrease exercise performance, brain function and alertness (1,2), so it is in your best interest to monitor your bodies hydration levels and learn to know how much water intake is right for you.
There are quite a few ways to monitor your hydration but it is important that we can do ones that are easy and inexpensive (unless you are a professional athlete – then you can put some more time and money into it). The two most practical ways to monitor hydration are as follows:
1. Measure your weight loss over an exercise session
Whether this be a sport, running or a busy period of work. Measuring body mass change is a commonly used and safe way to keep an eye on your hydration but is only really useful over a period of 1-4 hours with or without exercise. Weigh yourself before and after your session and calculate the difference – you should aim to keep the change less than 1% loss of body weight.
2. Check your urine color
This is a very easy way to determine how well hydrated you are. All you need to do is check the color of your urine when you go to the bathroom and aim to keep it a very pale yellow (#1 in the chart). If you keep your urine at number 1, then you will generally be within 1% of your baseline body-mass (well hydrated).
This is something that is great to be checked first thing in the morning to know where your hydration is at and start getting it on track.
Combining these two measures is a great one to become more in tune with your bodies hydration needs, which will ultimately mean you perform better and feel better.
So how much should you drink:
Over a normal day, where you aren’t exerting yourself physically (sweating a lot) then this is roughly how much you should aim for:
Women: 2.3 Liters per day
Men: 3 Liters per day
Note: This is not all at once!
If you are exercising then you need to drink quite a lot more:
Before exercise: To make sure you are well hydrated when it comes to exercise, you need to prepare by drinking 500-600ml 2-3 hours before exercise and then 200-300ml 10-20 minutes before exercise.
During exercise: Regularly drinking water or sports drink is key. Ideally, you need to be drinking 200ml every 15-20 minutes (this doesn’t need to be all at once!).
Following exercise: After activity you should aim to re-hydrate within two hours of finishing. Re-hydration should include water for hydration, carbohydrates for your glycogen stores and electrolytes for salt loss when sweating (this also speeds up re-hydration). The amount you need to replenish following exercise varies but you should aim to take in 150% of body weight that you have lost. For example if you have lost 1 kg then you should drink 1.5L of fluid – ideally this should be spaced over two hours.6
Note: Specific individual recommendations are calculated based on sweat rates, sport dynamics, and personal tolerance. It is important to listen to your body as everyone is different and has slightly different needs. Try keeping an eye on the measures talked about here (urine color and body weight loss) and learn what your body needs. It is also very important to not drink too much, too fast.
Lastly, the National Athletics Trainers’ Association has this to say notes that dehydration can compromise athletic performance and increase the risk of exertional heat injury and that in general athletes do not voluntarily drink enough water to prevent dehydration during physical activity.
You need to take it upon yourself to get this right – it makes a big difference to your body.
Strengthening exercises decrease football injuries to less than 1/3 and over-use injuries can be almost halved! This is how you can do sports specific training to have less injuries and perform better.
Football (soccer) is the most popular sport world-wide with around 265 million players and more than 3 million young people play in the United States alone. Unfortunately injuries, particularly knee and ankle injuries are rife in football and serious injuries like cruciate ligament cause serious problems for players and teams, with long periods away from play and early osteoarthritis.(2)
Fortunately, but unfortunately not well-known… short, easy but effective exercise regimes can seriously reduce football injuries and I’m not talking by 5 or 10 percent – you can decrease your injury risk to less than one-third – that is huge.(1)
Here is some great examples:
Walden et al 2003 followed 230 football clubs for a season and found that the players that did a 15 minute neuromuscular control warm-up, just twice a week throughout the season, decreased ACL injury by 64%. Their program was based around functional, dynamic exercises that targeted core stability, balance and proper knee alignment(2).
Peterson et al 2011 showed that adding eccentric hamstring strengthening into footballers regime (they had 942 players in their study!) decreased hamstring injury by over 70%.(3)
Here’s a third and final example if you aren’t convinced yet:
A 2014 study on the effectiveness of the FIFA 11+ program. This is a great warm up program specifically designed to prevent football injuries in players 14 years old and above. This study took a huge 414 players (aged 14-19) into the study and showed that the FIFA 11+ warm up program reduced the overall injury rate by 41%.(4)
This really is some great evidence that shows absolutely every football team should be utilizing the great injury preventions that are now readily available to them. They result in, a massive reduction in injuries.
Make a change to your football routine and start a pre-game or training warm up routine. The FIFA 11+ is a great warm up program for anyone to get into – Check out this link to learn more about it and this one, for some great you-tube videos demonstrating all the program.
The recommended daily allowance for protein is 0.8 g/kg/day – But is it right for you? In today’s post I am going to give you a simple and easy to read guide to answer the question: How much protein do I need?
The problem is that this RDA is based on sedentary individuals – people who are inactive and sit far too much – and is an amount is just aimed to prevent any loss and prevent deficiency.
So what does this mean? A recommended amount that is just enough to maintain muscle mass in an inactive person, could mean that as an active person – you are not getting enough protein to keep up your muscle mass and could:
Be losing mass
Wasting a lot of time and effort exercising
If you are going to go to all that great time and effort to exercise – you need the right fuel in your body to keep you going, help you recover AND help improve.
If you are an active person, this RDA is definitely NOT enough for you.
Note: 0.8 g/kg/day means grams of protein taken in per kilogram of body weight, per day. So if you are 80 kg – Your RDA is 64 grams per day (0.8 grams x 80 kilos).
So how much should an active person be consuming?
Multiple scientific bodies estimate that the requirement is double your recommended allowance(1). And whats more if you are new to working out – you need more than someone who has been doing it for years.
One study showed that novice body builders require an intake of 1.6-1.7 g/kg/day – Now I know you may not be a body builder, but if you are working out regularly and particularly if you are doing resistance training at the gym – this gives a good guide.
In those of you who are well trained and work-out regularly, the amount is actually a bit lower – at 1.4 g/kg/day
So: If you are sedentary and don’t exercise much at all – stick to the RDA, BUT if you workout regularly, you should be taking around 1.4 grams per kg of your body weight and if you are new to resistance training maybe bump it up a gram or two . If you exercise moderately for fitness and health, aim for 1-1.2 g/kg/day – Otherwise you are not fueling your body right, which leads to you not maximizing your effort.
One other interesting finding from new research that debunks some common myths is this:
The window for protein consumption would appear to be greater than one-hour before and after a resistance training session. Positive effects were actually due to increased protein intake, and not the timing of when it is taken. This throws the common belief that you need to consume protein within a hour of exercise into the spotlight – What do you think?
The approach to treatment and rehabilitation is changing and for the better. Gone are the days (going anyway) of just treating the pain and symptoms. This approach lead to :
Short term outcomes: Pain relief, symptom relief (muscle spasm etc) and you feeling better.
Flare ups and frustration: But the pain kept coming back after these quick fixes.
Meaning more money spent in the long-term, more frustration and decreased quality of life.
The reason the quick fix approach doesn’t work for a lot of people is because the cause is not being addressed – The reason behind the pain and injury isn’t being rehabilitated.
When an injury, pain or niggles occurs you need to look above and below the area to find the contributing and causative factors.
Some examples? Here is a couple of common examples:
1. An office worker gets regular headaches that stops them doing what they love, playing on their mind and being very, very frustrating. They have had their neck treated in various ways – acupuncture, massage, trigger point release, joint mobilizations etc. All of these offer release – but they keep coming back!
Often the reason behind this is a rounded thoracic spine (upper back). This rounded spine pushes the head forward in a less than ideal position as you can see in the image to the right. This forward head position, one closes down the joint at the base of the skull and also every centimeter that the head is forward makes the neck muscles work four times harder! This will definitely cause muscle knots and stiff joints at the base of your skull AND headaches. So no matter how much you pull your head back, have the neck treated etc – If you do not treat your spine below the neck – You are going to keep getting headaches.
2. Another common example that will ring true with a lot of people, particularly runners, is anterior knee pain (Patello-femoral pain). Anterior knee pain is one of the most common running injuries and the pain happens because the knee cap doe not glide in its grove correctly. This is due to increased tension in your quads (particularly the outer quads) – pulling the knee cap laterally (to the outside) causing pain, inflammation and further muscle tension to due it grinding in the wrong place. Studies have shown that runners with PFPS have weak hip abductors and external rotators – This is a huge contributing factor as if these muscle are weak the knee is not controlled, in turns inwards, changing the tracking and position of the knee. So the knee can be treated, taped, dry-needled and exercises etc as much as you like but of hip strength and endurance isn’t improved then this will hang around and really frustrate.
It is amazing how the body is connected, with no muscles and joints working in isolation. The body is full of synergies, with different muscles and tissues working together to move everything in unison, it really is an awesome machine.
But this is why when one thing goes wrong – multiple other areas can be affected. Other areas help out and work hard to compensate, some parts get more stress through them, leading to pain and niggles, that may bot be where the problem is!
This is why you need to rehab with your eyes open. If you have:
Shoulder pain – Check your thoracic spine and shoulder-blade position.
Look at your body holistically – Don’t just focus on the pain and getting a quick fix. Health care is changing; less pills, less anti-inflammatories, healthy food and less steroid injections – Become aware of your body and improve it for the long-term and Physioprescription is here to help you do that, giving you the tools, info and exercises to live better!
Please share, like and let me know how you get on!
I really don’t need to explain this great graphic as it clearly shows much increased brain activity after a short walk. It highlights well how much exercise can help brain function and how to improve concentration with simple exercise.
This is why when studying I often stop to do a dozen star jumps or burpees – give it a go!
This graphic was posted by Explore. The MRI was provided by Dr. Chuck Hillman from the University of Illinois.
How to build muscle – As a health professional I see a lot of people who want and need to lose weight but also a lot of people who want to put on weight. More specifically they want to build more muscle. There are so many scams out there and myths about gaining weight, so I want to give you an easy to follow and simple guide, including a free recovery guide to really make the most of your training sessions.
So here is a guide full of tips, advice and training tools on how to put on muscle that are easy, realistic and developed by a professional Physiotherapist to help you reach your goal.
To safely and effectively gain muscle you need to cover a few important aspects:
Sufficient rest and recovery
If you just start drinking protein shakes or a plethora of steaks, you won’t get very far. If you start lifting weights but don’t challenge your muscles enough, you won’t get far. If you don’t give your body time to get stronger, you will fall to pieces. Below I will cover these three important aspects so that YOU can get bigger stronger and feel a lot better.
During: A huge amount of people are dehydrated before they even start exercising. This is because thirst (eg dry mouth etc) are signs that it is too late – you should not reach this point as it limits your muscles, causes cramps earlier, and reaction time slows. over the day women should drink 1.6Litres and men should consume 2 litres – Although if doing exercise, hot weather etc you should be drinking more. A general guideline is to drink 500ml 1-2 hours before training, 200ml every quarter-hour of exercise and 500mls of water or sports drink after exercise.
After workout: Protein, carbohydrates and water are needed post workout. Check out the ideal recovery schedule below for more detail. Muscle growth post workout depends a large amount on the availability of amino acids as these are the building blocks that create muscle. Amino acids are what make up protein and so without a good dietary intake – all your hard work would be for little.
A word on protein: You need to take in enough protein to support muscle growth. Your body can’t take on more than 30 grams of protein at one time so it is pointless taking more than this – it is recommended to consume 1.4 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day so you will need to spread it out through-out the day.
Sources of protein:
General nutrition: It is important to eat a healthy diet day in, day out as this gives you the energy, nutrients and all the building blocks that are needed.
Tip: Increase overall daily intake: if you want to put on more muscle and train more – you need to eat more, plain a simple.
Foods to avoid:
Sugar – Unless it is after exercise: Sugar causes a spike in insulin levels, increasing the muscles intake of sugar with amino acids to build muscle. At other times it will go straight into fat. Conclusion: avoid sugar except after workout – then you can have 40-100 grams.
Trans fat – Stay well away from Trans fat as just 5 grams of trans fats can increase your chance of heart disease by 25% among other things (generally things like canned foods, potato chips, pies, deep-fried chips and fried chicken all have over 5 grams – the easiest thing to do is check the packet nutritional info on the packet!).
Don’t be scared of fat: Other fats are needed in a healthy diet – 30% of our calorie intake should be from fat with roughly 10% saturated fat, 10% monounsaturated fat and 10% from omega 3 fats.
Sports drinks unless it is during or post workout.
Window of opportunity: The hour after exercise is when your body can take on fuel and re-load the best so it is very important to eat and drink within an hour (ideally within 1/2 and hour).
The ideal recovery guideline:
First 5 minutes – Rehydrate and refuel. eat/drink carbs and protein (4:1 carbs to protein ratio) using high GI Carbs. eg recovery sports drink, banana and water.
5-20 minutes – Cool down, light exercise for 5-10 and stretching for 5-10.
Within the first hour – Continue hydration, take in more food (High and med GI carbs and proteins – a meal, protein shake etc).
In the evening: continue to hydrate and refuel where appropriate. Apply a curfew, lights off etc to get a good sleep.
Tip: Train to failure – in order for your muscles to grow, get bigger and stronger they need to be challenged. Your body is continually adapting to the forces that are out through it so if you are pushing your muscles enough that you cannot do anymore after a set of 8-12 – they will adapt and get stronger!
Muscle recovery: Your muscles need 48-72 hours to fully recover after a workout (you have done a lot of little tears – they need time to heal and get stronger). This is why you need to have at least one rest day per week to allow the muscles to heal and adapt.
Note: If you find that you have sore muscle the day after – this is a good thing! It means your muscle have been working hard and will heal stronger. To decrease the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and also help your body recover faster and stronger – a warm up and cool down is essential.
Work your whole body! It is best to do a work out that incorporates your entire body and not just one muscle group such as chest or quads. Working on just chest or triceps etc is not functional at all and is only useful for bodybuilding, professional weight lifting etc as very rarely do we actually isolate and use one muscle group in real life.
How much should you push yourself? To gain muscle you will need to really push the muscles. It is also best to use free weights and body weight exercises as these engage your stabilizing muscles and are a lot more functional that weights machines.
Sets and reps: 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.
Before activity: Dynamic stretching – this is best as it functionally lengthens the muscles while, warming them up and increasing muscle activation.
After activity: Static stretching can be done here and is great recovery.
Rest and recovery: Again, you need to have 1 rest day per week otherwise you will start falling to pieces. Make sure to get enough sleep also and decrease stress as much as possible.
it is important to remember that rest does not mean, sleep all day, play video games etc, it means take it easy – you can take a walk, a jog, a bike etc.
Conclusion on how to build muscle: You need to do resistance training that really tests your muscles, have a good nutritional intake that allows your muscles to grow and give the body a rest so that it can recover.