The key to maximizing your core training...

You may have been told by a professional that if you strengthen your core, it will help with your pain or discomfort. You may do core exercises in hopes of having a leaner-looking midsection.


Despite your reason for doing core exercises, consider the quote above.

Before we can think of the outside appearance, as the above quote suggests, we must first want to understand the foundation, which is deeper than the eye can see.

There are several core muscles below the superficial six or eight-pack that we can visually see. Today we will consider the one that if it does not function correctly, nor will much else in our body.

The diaphragm muscle is a round dome-shaped muscle located deep inside your trunk, separating your upper body (thorax) from your abdominal area. It sits inside your rib cage and attaches to your ribs, breastbone, and spine. It is the primary muscle of respiration. When you inhale, it flattens, returning to a dome shape as you exhale.

The mechanism of movement...

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The Importance of a Principle Based System When Exercising

There is a great quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “As to methods: there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

Often the new year brings the need to evaluate, make changes, etc. Health and fitness are significant areas where people consider and want to make a change this time of year.

If you are finding that you are in that place this time of year and are looking to start a fitness program, be sure the program or the professional you are working with works in a principle-based system.

You can use many different methods when you exercise with a set of principles. 

The Integrative Movement System which we use in our studio is based on three simple principles to ensure your body moves with its greatest efficiency:

  • Alignment
  • Breathe
  • Control

When you move and exercise, utilizing optimal joint...

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Where Are You On the Wellness Continuum?

Uncategorized Dec 31, 2022

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, wellness is defined as:

  1. The condition of good physical and mental health, especially when actively maintained by proper diet, exercise, and avoidance of risky behavior.
  2. The state of being well or in good health.
  3. The quality or state of being in good health.

In 1978 Dr. John Travis created the Illness to Wellness Continuum pictured below. Dr. Travis feels, 'it less important where you are on the continuum; it's more important which direction you're facing – toward illness or wellness.'

As we start to look at the new year and set goals or resolutions,

which direction are you facing on the continuum?

Taking care of your body, mind, and spirit is essential for a state of wellness. 

If your answer was you are facing towards wellness on the chart and are aware there that you need to learn more to grow towards greater wellness partner with us and let's keep you moving toward greater wellness.

If you...

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Great exercise for balance, walking, and running.

Over the last two newsletters, we have looked at plank and squat progressions and challenged you to do them optimally and earn the right to move on to the next level of progressions.  This time we will look at the split squat which progresses to step-ups. 

The split squat progression is a great way to train, the legs, glutes, as well as, balance, walking, running, and more when performed optimally.

Be sure to set up and check your setup before each set:

  1. Think length through the back of your head, and set your foot tripod with your weight balanced between the base of your big toe, the base of the small toe, and the heel.
  2. Go into a small squat and slide one foot back slightly with the back heel off the ground.
  3. Most of your weight should be on the front foot in the tripod.
  4. Inhale to come up - maintaining the weight on the forward foot.
  5. Exhale to go down - maintaining the weight on the forward foot.
  6. Stay on the same leg for 8 repetitions.
  7. Switch to the other leg repeating...
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The Squat Challenge

In the last newsletter, we challenged you to a plank challenge.  Not the usual challenge of how long you could hold it. Instead, it was how well you could do the plank at various challenge levels.

How did you do?  Were you able to progress to the counter height plank, maintain your ABCs and maintain optimal range of motion after?

This week we will challenge you to earn the right to move through some squat patterns.  We have to squat throughout our day for basic activities of daily living, so it would seem vital that we do it well.  Squats are also a popular exercise so if you are going to do repetition after repetition, let's be sure you are doing it in a way that supports the health and alignment of your joints.

Remember to use your ABCs:

A stands for alignment of the joints.  As outlined in the photos above, maintain your rib cage in alignment with your hips and pelvis.  When you can do this, it maintains optimal spine alignment, allowing your core...

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The Plank Challenge

The plank is a widely used exercise to build core strength.  When done optimally, it can build core strength and improve shoulder and spine stabilization. 


To get the most benefits from the plank, you want to follow the simple plan of A-B-C.

A stands for alignment of the joints.  As outlined in the photos above, maintain your rib cage in alignment with your hips and pelvis.  When you can do this, it maintains optimal spine alignment, allowing your core muscles to naturally turn on to maintain this posture without having to 'pull' them in.

B is for three-dimensional breathing. Breathing in a three-dimensional manner allows you to use your deepest core muscle, the diaphragm, maximally.  It also helps support your spine in the plank position.

C is for control. Control is when we use the correct effort for the task while maintaining A and B.  

Start with the wall plank with the arms extended.  Focus on maintaining the above...

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The Power of Habits

Habits!  Good or bad, they can significantly affect how our bodies move and feel.

Here is a quick example, bending over or squatting.  We do this throughout our day to sit or pick something up.  How you do either has become a habit.  Do you think you bend in a good way or a not-so-good way?

Let's take a look at some examples:

From the pictures of our model above, if you are doing more of a straight leg bend or a squat-type bend, you want to make sure you are bending and moving through your hips and not your back.

It sounds simple enough, yet, time and time again, people struggle with back pain.  They pick something up, and they feel pain in their back.  They get done working out and need to stretch their back because it feels tight.

So what is the secret to creating a good habit of bending?

  1. Bend at the hip joint.  This is where your thigh bone comes into your pelvis or the crease at the top of your leg.  If you struggle to move through this...
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Do you struggle with 'good' posture?

Stand up straight, pull your shoulder back, lift your chest, pull your abs in, and squeeze your butt; these are common cues for posture but are they good cues?

The dictionary defines posture as the position or bearing of the body, whether characteristic or assumed for a particular purpose.  Various postures are assumed for many reasons, including the military, fashion model, and bodybuilder, also to appear thinner, taller, shorter, and others.  

What posture is good for the health of your body?

When we consider 'optimal' posture, it would ideally be efficient, meaning the least amount of muscular effort while maintaining alignment of the body's joints.

The first picture below demonstrates optimal versus suboptimal standing posture. 

The second picture demonstrates how to create a more optimal posture.

1. At the head:  Imagine a hook under the small bump on the back of the head, and it suspends your head towards the ceiling.  This will help lengthen your...

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Is Talent A Useless Concept?

Uncategorized Nov 01, 2022

Have you ever heard yourself saying, "I could never do that, or I wish I could do that?", especially when watching athletes compete, a performer belt out a song, or an awe-inspiring speaker?

What we often see is their very best performance, what we don't see is the endless hours, months, and years they have spent practicing and perfecting what we see.

In this second part of our three-part series looking at insightful concepts from the article The Mundanity of Excellence by Daniel Chambliss, who followed amateur and Olympic swimmers for several years to see what made them successful, there were three takeaways:

1. Excellence is a qualitative phenomenon.  We spoke about this in our last newsletter.  Remember, more does not equal better in most things, especially exercise.  Rather, focus on the quality of how you move through your exercises.

2. Talent is a useless concept. 

3. Excellence is mundane.

This week we will look at the idea that talent is a useless...

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Is it just an exercise in futility?

Uncategorized Oct 25, 2022

Have you ever felt like your body was physically stuck? Does it seem you tried everything, and nothing has changed?

Does it all seem like trying is just an exercise in futility?

I can assure you; you are not alone. 

Making changes in your body, especially after any injury (even if you are unsure how you developed it), surgery, accident, etc., is much harder, and success can be achieved.

A client will ask, "Can I do this exercise?". They may have seen or read that it is good for the core or back. They see the fit, strong-looking person in the picture or video appearing to successfully do the exercise and looking great while they do it.

Again you are not alone.  

There is no one best secret exercise. Nor do we recommend believing anyone who tells you that.

Another secret that has come to light to many who work in the exercise industry and clients have shared about themselves is that just because someone 'looks' good does not mean their body feels good. Many of our...

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