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Back pain, Core strengthening, Health, physical therapy, physiotherapy

Beating Low Back Pain – Must know Physiotherapy Exercises

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Don’t put up with low back pain and Sciatica. Below are the best and safest exercises to treat your low back pain yourself.

With 80% of the population experiencing low back pain in their lifetimes, and 84% of those having a recurrence within the same year, this is a huge problem, but a problem that can be helped… alot! As with most other pain and injury, treatment and exercises combined lead to optimal results, so below are five exercises for you

As with most other pain and injury, treatment and exercises combined lead to optimal results, so below are five of the best exercises for you to rehabilitate your low back pain at home.

1. Bridge, level one:

Start by lying on your back on the floor or bed with your knees bent. Squeeze your buttocks together and lift buttocks off the floor until your body is aligned. Hold for 5 seconds, then lower down. Repeat 10 times twice.

Brideg - up

Bridge level 2:

For the next level up if the above is too easy, keep one leg straight out in the air and perform with one leg. 10 reps each side, 2 sets.

For the next level up if the above is too easy, keep one leg straight out in the air and perform with one leg. 10 reps each side, 2 sets.

SL bridge 1SL bridge 2

2. Glute sling stretch:

Our favorite stretch!

glut and Lat stretch - Hip flexibilityglut and Lat stretch - Hip flexibilityglut and Lat stretch - Hip flexibility

Start on your hands and knees then bring one knee between your hands. stretch the other leg out behind you and across to the other side. Now slowly walk out over your knee with your hands until you feel a good stretch.

Hold for 1 minute each side.

Tip – If that is too much of a stretch then go down onto your elbows first.

3. Bird-dog: 

Instructions: In four point kneeling slowly raise one arm and leg on opposite sides, making sure to keep your back straight (imagine your dinner is sitting on your hips – it is all about control). Lower down in a controlled manner and repeat, 10 times each side twice.

Beginners: Start by raising one leg only.

birddog 2birddog 1

4: Hip flexor stretch: This is important to unload the Low back and pelvis:

hip flex 1hip flex 2

Tip: to get a good stretch “tuck your bum in” or draw the bones at the front of your pelvis up towards the roof. You should feel it in the front of your hip or top of your thigh.

Hold for 1minute.

5: McGill Curlup

Place your hands down on the floor underneath the natural arch in your lower back (Don’t flatten your back.) Only lift your head and shoulders off the ground – unlike crunches, there should be no movement of your lumbar spine. Your hands are there to make sure your back is not curling off your hands or crushing them.

Once you have good spine control then you can take your hands onto your thighs and slide them to the top of your knees to do the curl-up. It doesn’t feel like you are going far but with repetition, it can get your abs firing well.

Begin with 20 at a time, and build up.

mcgill curl up

The key to all of these exercises is to maintain control and don’t rush them.  Do these exercises twice daily for 6weeks and notice the difference (but don’t stop there!)

Also check out our Lower Back Rehab Guide

And if you want more and harder exercises to strengthen up your low back: Get into some QL strengthening!

Please Share, like and comment to let me know how you go.


3 Killer Exercises for Tight Muscles

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Tight muscles are a real drag, slowing us down, causing injury and generally just putting you in a crappy mood. So I’m going to show you the three best exercises to loosen up your body from top to bottom – and all you need is five minutes!

1. Shoulder and neck release

One of the most popular posts on PhysioPrescription is easily this shoulder myofascial release, incredibly shared over 10000 times on Pinterest and viewed over 30000 times, it really is a go-to exercise for tight necks and shoulders. Grab a firm ball, place it under your upper traps bulk as shown on the video and bring your arm up and down, grinding out that tightness for 1-2 minutes.

YouTube player

2. Hip release

Glute stretches are a great loosener for tight muscles. Being one of the largest and most important muscle groups in the body – it can not be ignored! My favourite glute stretch is the sling stretch and if you do it right, it will easily become a regular for you. As shown in the pictures below, this is how it is done.

  1. Start on your hands and knees then bring a knee up between your hands and the foot across under your body
  2. Slide your other leg out to the back
  3. Now lower down onto your elbows and if you are really game stretch your arms right out as shown.
  4. To add a Lat stretch in, bring your arm (the one on the same side as your back leg) across in front of you as far as is comfortable.
  5. Hold for 30 seconds each side

glut and Lat stretch - Hip flexibilityglut and Lat stretch - Hip flexibilityglut and Lat stretch - Hip flexibility


3. Hamstring release

Who hasn’t had nasty hamstrings dragging you down at one point or another? Agin, get a firm ball, sit on a firm chair and place it under your thigh. Tilt your pelvis forward or hold the front of the chair and then straighten your knee in, and then out. Repeat this ten times and then move the ball up or down your hammy. Repeat a few times and you are done.

hamstring tight MFR - self muscle releaseHamstirng, thigh self myo-fascial release


Try one or all of these exercises out and make it a regular thing. Like, share and comment to let me know how you go.

Take 5 minutes out of your day, take the challenge and get rid of your tight muscles

Health, Mobility

Can’t get up off the floor or a chair? Here’s how to improve

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cant get up from chair? exercises to fix thisMovements that many of us take for granted at some can become harder with age,weight-gain or injury and it isn’t until we can’t do them that we really appreciate how important they are. Regular strengthening exercises and using the right technique can make the world of difference and give you the freedom you deserve.

A follower of PhysioPrescription emailed me last week asking me what he can do to help him get up off the floor and out of a chair better. Well let me tell you, you are not alone, not by a long shot and there are some easy exercises that you can do to get better at it. It limits our lives so much when we can’t do the simple things like getting put of a chair without a lot of pain and effort, let alone getting off the ground – a lot of people actually just don’t get onto the ground for fear of getting stuck there!

Fortunately, there are some great techniques and easy exercises that you can use to improve these.

We are going to run through

  1. The best techniques for getting up off the ground and out of a chair
  2. Exercises to strengthen the muscle that should be powering you out of a chair or off the floor.

Technique – Lets get the basics right

First of all, you need to be doing it the right way (which is the easiest and most efficient way). If you aren’t, you will  just be battling away and wasting energy – potentially leading to injury.

sit-to-stand correct technique and exercise1. Sit – To – Stand

Getting up out of a chair is something that is very, very often done wrong and there are some great tips to improve how you do it.

  • Lean forward at the hips

  • Look up

  • Nose over toes

  • Drive up!

Tip: This technique utilizes your body weight going froward – hence why you need to lean forward so that you nose goes over past your toes. This will start you falling forward, and then all you need to do is push up with your legs to stand up-right.

Note: remember if you are looking down, you might go down, so keep you chest up-right and focus on the top of the wall.

2. How to get up off the floor

The main thing here is to:

  1. Roll onto your side and plant your hands on the floor
  2. push your upper body up, so that your arms and straight
  3. Pivot onto your knees so that your hip comes off the ground – This will get you into four-point kneeling
  4. From there you need to bring one foot forward and plant it – from there you can drive up with that leg.

Watch the video here for a good demo of how to get both down safely and up again:

YouTube player

Exercises to strengthen

Strengthening exercises, when done regularly can make so many daily activities a lot easier. And I don’t mean going to the gym and throwing iron around – There are some great exercises that you can do from home!

1. Sit-to-stand

wpid-wp-1411171453740.jpegGreat functional exercise. If you are finding it difficult to stand up out of a seat, then one of the best ways to improve is practice – build up the muscle memory using the correct technique.

sitting down into a chair and standing up again is almost like doing a good squat and you can use the same technique to do it right.

Now, I know that not everyone can start doing this straight away, so I have included two levels:

Level 1: Modified sit-to-stand

Here, we make it easier by adding a pillow or cushion to the chair – This raises up the platform and means less distance for you to go up, making it easier on your legs.

Now, I want you to use the correct sit-to-stand technique I taught you above, to do this exercise. Stand up from the chair, not using your arms (your legs are only going to get stronger by working at it) and then slowly sit back down again using the same technique as when you came up (except in reverse!)

This is a great one for strengthening your posterior chain and is very functional. Remember to make it easier just place cushions, or solid books etc on the chair seat to raise the platform.

Do 3 lots of 10 – that means do ten sit-to-stands, have 1 minute break and repeat 2 more times.

Level 2: full sit-to-stand

This the same as above but without the cushion or pillow to raise it up – you are doing it right onto the chair seat.

tip: to make it harder hold, a small weight in your hands in front of you , start with 1-3kg.

Bridge - increase leg strength, glute activationa dn decrease back pain. physiotherapy exercises for everyone

Bridge – increase leg strength, glute activationa dn decrease back pain.

2. Bridges

Your extensors (Glutes, back muscles, hamstrings etc) are what really drive you upwards and straighten you up at the hip and torso. This is a great exercise to do to get them working for YOU and the good thing is that it can be done on a firm bed or bench, as well as the ground.


  • Lying on your back, on the ground, firm bed or bench, bend your knees up and place your feet on the ground.
  • Pushing through your heels and keeping your back straight, lift your bottom off the ground
  • Lower down again, in control the entire time
  • Repeat 10 times for 3 sets.

Tip: If you get back pain doing this or hamstring spasm, try moving your feet in closer to your bottom – this will likely make it easier.

3. Lunges

lunge to strengthen glutes exerciseThis exercise builds great control and strength through your hips.


  • From a standing start, take a step forward, planting your front foot
  • As shown in the picture, bend the back knee towards the ground, keeping your toes on the ground.
  • Control this all the way with your front leg – this will be doing a lot of the work
  • Only go down as far as you can comfortably and safely
  • Push off with your front leg so that you come back to standing
  • Repeat 5 times on each side for 3 sets.

wall squat exercise4. Wall squats

These exercises are easier than the name lends to thinking and is great for targeting your quads (thighs), these, along with your extensors help drive you upwards, straightening out your knees.

Again, there is two levels here, so that you aren’t thrown straight in the deep end and can start where you feel comfortable:

Level one: Squat and hold


  • Lean against a wall with your feet at least a foot out from the wall
  • Slide your back down the wall, controlling this with your legs until you are about halfway down
  • Only go down as far as you are comfortable with!
  • Hold this for 5 seconds and then slide back up again
  • Repeat 10 times

Wall ball squat exerciseLevel two: Swiss ball wall squats

You will need a swiss ball (also called gym balls among other things) for this good little exercise


  • Place the ball against the wall and lean against it at the height of your low-back – make sure your feet are out from the wall
  • Slowly squat down, keeping the pressure against the ball
  • Only go down as far as is comfortable.
  • Return back up and repeat 10 times for 3 sets

Bosu ball, wobble board ankle and calf re-training rehab quick5. Single leg standing – For balance and hip control

Level 1:


  • Stand on one leg on the floor
  • Don’t let your legs touch each other
  • Goal: hold for 1 minute

Tip: if you cannot hold this very well, you can start with one finger on a wall or bench close to you

Level 2:


  • Stand on a wobble board, dura disc or bosu ball on one leg
  • Aim to hold this for 1 minute or build up to it
  • If you cannot afford one of these you can also fold up a towel and stand on that – rolling it up firm to make it harder

As I mentioned above, these exercises are effective if they are done regularly, so make it routine and stick to it.

Aim to do these exercises at least 4 times per week and you will really notice the difference.

You may also like:

Note: it is always best to consult with your GP first if you have any medical conditions and have someone standing by when trying these exercises.

Core strengthening, physical therapy, physiotherapy, training

Resistance training for an injury free and functional body.

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Free, Body and weight training – this post is not just for the gym junkies, it is for everyone that wants their body to perform well and likes to look after their body home or the gym.

As a physiotherapist I am a huge fan of functional exercise and so in this post I am going to briefly talk about what type of weight training is best for your body.

Below is a brief description of all three types and a table outlining the pros and cons:

1. Body weight exercises: exercises in which the resistance is provided by your body weight. Eg. push-ups, pull ups, lunges, curl ups, tricep dips.press up training body weight

2. Free weight exercises: exercises where the resistance is applied by a object that is not attached to anything else such as dumbbells, resistance bands, medicine balls.

3. Machine exercises: this is fairly self explanatory but is any exercise where the weight is stabilized by the machine and you just have to apply force in one plane of movement.






Muscle mass







Low – mod















Conclusion: Both free and body weight exercises make your stabilizing muscles work, leading to much greater functionality and cross over into everyday life and I would recommend them over weights machines absolutely any day.  Weights machines are ok if you purely want to build muscle mass, but this has little functionality due do the machine guiding the weight and stabilizing for you.

The best thing to do would be a combination of body and free weight training as you have a much larger range of exercises and workouts available to you and great coss over.

 Why is stability important?

Stability is very, very important, if you do not have a stable base to work off then you are much more likely to get injuries, AND it makes the exercise a lot harder.

Imagine: trying to lift up a heavy object while standing on ice (or mud)(unstable base) and how hard that would be compared to lifting a heavy object with feet firmly planted on a rubber mat (stable base) – what is easier?

This is exactly the same as the following two examples:

    1. Having weak shoulder stabilizers such as your rotator cuff. If these are weak then the shoulder is not stable and so all the muscles working off it will struggle and are much more likely to get injuries such as rotator cuff tears or tendinopathy due to impingement.
    2. Weak core and hip stabilizers:  If you don’t have good strength and endurance in your stabilizers here, you are more likely to injure your back, hips, knees and ankles purely because you are working off an unstable base, leading to poor form and bio-mechanics.

So although weights machines are at times easier – they are not practical the majority of the time, can be costly and do not cross over functionally in to everyday life and sports. If all you want to do is build muscle – then make sure you also do stabilising exercises such as rotator – cuff strengthening for your shoulders in order to reduce the risk of overuse injuries.

And so It is only fair that I give you some great exercises to increase the strength and the endurance of your stabilising mucscles!  These will be for EVERYBODY. Subscribe or stay tuned for these in up-coming posts.

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