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UNLOCK THE POWER OF EXTREME FOCUS | Wake up your Reticular Activating System


Do you want to unlock the power of extreme focus and be able to use your mental energy to do whatever you want? Well, let’s start by waking up the reticular activating system of your brain.

Have you ever decided to buy a car, or if you’ve bought a car and you’ve picked a certain color and now you see that everywhere? When I decided that I wanted a jeep, I began to see jeeps everywhere. When I bought a jeep, I realized that the roads are inundated with Jeep’s. My Reticular Activating System has brought to my attention, to my consciousness, that all these Jeeps were around all along, but now, I am noticing them. The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is a bundle of neurons located inside of the Reticular Formation, which is in the brainstem. This is the most primitive part of our brain. The Reticular Formation is responsible for cardiovascular function, pain perception, sleep cycle, consciousness, and habituation, which is directly linked to the Reticular Activating System.

The Reticular Activating System is responsible for our wakefulness, our ability to focus, our fight-flight response, and how you ultimately perceive the world. It can control what we perceive in our consciousness, essentially a gatekeeper of information. When we are at a restaurant and we’re speaking to our friend or significant other, we can tune out all of the extra noise that’s happening, and be able to focus in on the conversation that we’re having. That is a perfect example of the RAS at work because otherwise our system would be overwhelmed and just inundated with constant sensory information. The RAS acts as this gatekeeper so that we can focus our attention on specific things, and remember… these specific things can help us meet the goals that we’ve set for ourselves.

How can you wake up your RAS so that you can have extreme focus, better sleep/wake cycles, and be able to have a deeper consciousness and intention throughout your life? Read on.

1) Evaluating the head and neck position. If you have had a concussion, some kind of traumatic brain injury, a sports injury, whiplash from a car accident, or just chronic overuse and repetitive stress injuries; you could have some type of misalignment in the cervical spine. This can cause compression on the brainstem and affect cranial nerve innervation.  As the head comes forward into this extended posture it can create compression, and therefore decrease blood flow around the brainstem for the cranial nerves and the reticular activating system to function at its optimal capacity. So, reach out to your physical therapist or movement expert to help you with this.

2) Vestibular/Visual Exercises: The RAS is connected to our vestibular system, so think of our inner ear, and the connection with our visual system. A great exercise to do is to hold your finger out in front of you, keeping your eyes focused on your fingertip, and then turning your head back and forth. As you’re continuing to gaze right at your fingertip, you can start to move your head side to side, then you can go up and down, and you can even go on a diagonal.

3) Meditation: Meditation is a fantastic way to be able to use your senses to hone in on your present experience and filter out whatever is unnecessary. Of course, just like anything meditation is a practice that needs to be cultivated over time, but probably one of the best ways to begin to tap into the power of the RAS. This can help bring you clarity and focus to allow you to reach your goals.

4) Turning your brain on the exact messages that you want:  If you want a silver Jeep, start thinking about the silver Jeep. It’s that simple. If you want to be confident in a dress that you want to wear, then start thinking about it. If you keep thinking that you can’t do that, you keep getting distracted from my goals, you keep thinking about all the things that you haven’t done or you can’t do, then unfortunately you will not be directing your attention, focus, or drive and activating this RAS to achieve what you want. So start thinking about what you want in your life, and use that as a way to really drive your conscious behavior and therefore your subconscious behaviors.

I hope this helps you become more successful and achieving what you want in your life and your health.

If you need help on your journey to better health, contact drarianne@themovementparadigm.com to schedule.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.



WHAT IS A HEALTHY PELVIC FLOOR?


Let’s discuss a much-overlooked topic in modern medicine, especially as it relates to rehabilitative medicine…the pelvic floor. Yes, both men and women have a pelvic floor, and both can be compromised and contribute to many different conditions including but not limited to incontinence issues, sexual issues, and chronic pain.

The pelvic floor is essentially the base of our core. It has to be integrated with the rest of the surrounding anatomy. That means the organs, the bowel and bladder, the connective tissue, and the ligamentous tissue all have to be deeply integrated and fine-tuned for everything to work in this rhythmical dance back and forth. It also helps to support our daily functions, prevent urinary and fecal incontinence, improve sexual function, and many other functions that we’ll discuss.

So, what does a well-activated pelvic floor actually do?

1) We are constantly transmitting force through the body. So, a well-activated pelvic floor is going to attribute to the closing force to prevent any leakage of urine, fecal, or gas.

2) Research shows that between 60 to 80% of women with stress urinary incontinence can cure it or significantly improve it with pelvic floor retraining.

3) A well-activated pelvic floor is also going to allow the appropriate relaxation response of the pelvic floor muscles to allow for proper emptying of the bladder and to prevent any post dribble or leakage after you’ve finished urinating.

4) It should also be relaxed enough for proper evacuation of the bowel, but provide enough resistance for optimal defecation.

5) It supports the internal organs such as the vagina, the bowel, and the bladder. Especially as it relates to women and pregnancy, the more intact the pelvic floor musculature is, the less likely there will be a prolapse.

6) It increases the tone which allows for greater sexual awareness, and you need to have a pelvic floor that can relax completely so that you can have more pleasurable pain-free sex.

7) A well-activated pelvic floor will relax and significantly stretch during vaginal delivery.

8) A well-activated pelvic floor will work in coordination with your diaphragm and the rest of the abdominals. This is very important in looking at overall movement and movement efficiency.

In summary, a well-activated pelvic floor is important for so many necessary functions. When it is not functioning well it can contribute to a whole host of problems, one of which, that we see consistently in our office, pain. Chronic pelvic pain, low back pain, hip pain, and even knee pain can all be driven by pelvic floor dysfunction. It’s way more common than you think!  It’s also an area where we tend to hold our emotions. So, I want to point out that as important as it is for the pelvic floor to contract, it is equally important for the pelvic floor to relax. If it is always tight, then we are not able to fully contract and fully relax it, which can contribute to the same issues. That is why it is very important to get evaluated properly. If you are having any type of symptoms that might indicate you have a pelvic floor issue, please contact our office to schedule a pelvic floor examination.

If you need help on your journey to better health, contact drarianne@themovementparadigm.com to schedule.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.



MINDFUL EATING 101 | Having a healthy relationship with food


Did you ever wonder how mindful eating can help you have a healthier relationship with food? The first step in having a healthier relationship with food is really to begin to change your perspective about food. Food is amazing. It is a connection, it is a way to bring people, families, and cultures together. If we think of it from the perspective of medicine; food is medicine. It can be healing in so many ways. Not only can help with mot chronic and autoimmune diseases, but it can also be preventative for the majority of lifestyle-related diseases. Food is also information. This is so important! Food is constantly giving us information, it’s just whether or not we decide we want to listen to it or not. It gives us information about how it affects our energy levels, it may or may not contribute to digestive issues, or even aches and pains in our body.  Once again, we just have to listen to it and explore it. Food is a powerful. When we think of it as this powerful gift that we have in our lives that not only allows us to  survive in this world but to thrive; it seems that we can be more present in our eating and improve our relationship with food.

When you sit down to eat your meal, be aware of what’s happening in your body. Are you actually hungry, or are you full, bored, stressed, or even sad? Take inventory of what’s happening and a pause to tune in to see why you’re eating. Then, aim to eliminate all distractions. Try to clear your environment and make sure there’s no TV or phone. Try to limit all distractions so that you can be present with your meal, be in tune with the process of eating. Next, you want to think of non-judgment, one of the pillars of mindfulness. We tend as humans to judge ourselves and other people especially as it relates to food. We can tend to have a lot of rules and rigidity about what’s good and what’s not good. So, taking that moment to pause and allow yourself to be present, to be still, and to think about the food that you are putting in your mouth. Free yourself of all the rules and allow yourself to experience the process of eating.

Now, try to use your senses to experience the process of eating. What do you see, hear, feel, smell, and taste? Let’s say that you are going to have an apple. You can start by observing the apple. What shape is it? What color is it? What texture is it? You can even smell it. Smell it before and maybe after you take a bite of it. After you take a bite of it, chew the food thoroughly, 20 to 30 times.  The digestive enzymes in the saliva allow for the start of a healthy digestive process.  Actually taste the food in your mouth and assess all  the flavors.  Then as it goes down the esophagus into the stomach, try to sense what’s happening. How does that feel as it moves through your body, what does it feel like after you chew the food entirely? Assess your experience. It can be such a beautiful experience because it can shift your perspective on how you look at food. If we did this all the time, none of us would eat too much. We also wouldn’t eat foods that don’t make us feel good because we’re really in tune and completely present in the moment with our eating.

Try to introduce mindful eating into your life. It’s a way to begin practicing mindfulness. It is a way to begin to have a healthier relationship with food. It is a way to eat what your body is signaling you need to eat, as opposed to just eating because you’re stressed or bored and using emotional triggers as a driver. There are so many benefits to this. I encourage you to explore it and see how it is for you and how you can introduce more of it into your life.

If you need help on your journey to better health, contact drarianne@themovementparadigm.com to schedule.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.



HOW TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS; Hacking your subconscious


Have you struggled with setting goals for yourself? Or maybe you have struggled with achieving your goals? Our conscious mind is one percent of our mind where our subconscious mind is 99 percent of our mind. To achieve whatever goals you set out  to do,  then you have to make sure that those two are aligned. The conscious goal could be, for example, “I am going to work out three days a week,” but the subconscious mind takes into account all of your past experiences with trying to work out either successfully or unsuccessfully, all of your thoughts, emotions, and day to day activities. We have to make sure that if your goal is to work out three days a week, that you are doing everything in your power to set yourself up for success so that you can achieve that goal. For example, if you do not necessarily block the time out, you don’t have enough time in your schedule, you don’t know where you’re going to work out, you don’t know what you’re going to work out with, or you don’t know what you’re going to do for your workout; then, the goal of working out three times a week will be highly unsuccessful. A good example of this is New Year’s resolutions. Many people set forth all of these New Year’s resolutions, and the majority are not successful because they are not aligning that subconscious mind with the conscious mind.

The second thing to consider when goal setting is using the different language of how you make your goals. “I would like to work out three times a week or more by January first or sooner is a good way to write your goal. That allows you to change the power of the subconscious mind. By changing how you set your goals and then also how you set yourself up for success to achieve your goals is a sure way to success.

I am 100 percent confident that you can achieve anything that you put your mind to, but make sure that you go through the process of setting a realistic goal, setting yourself up for success to achieve a goal, and then also using the right language and not limiting yourself by barriers or numbers. Instead, create an openness to do really amazing things.

If you need help on your journey to better health, contact drarianne@themovementparadigm.com to schedule.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.



Arthritis: An Inflammatory Condition


Have you or someone you’ve known experienced some kind of arthritis? Perhaps it has been debilitating and or it has affected your quality of life? Let’s define arthritis and discuss the drivers of osteoarthritis, as well as rheumatoid arthritis, and what you can do to prevent it.

Many people experience aches and pains as they age. Is this normal? Not really. Is this common? Yes. Is there something that we can do about it? Yes. You do not have to embrace the deterioration of your body as you get older. There are things that you can do to prevent osteoarthritis, as well as rheumatoid arthritis.

Let’s talk about some misconceptions about osteoarthritis. First, “everyone gets it”, which is not true. Second, is that it is genetic, and that is also not true. It is in fact, a matter of diet, lifestyle, and the environment.

Osteoarthritis is pain and inflammation in the joint or multiple joints. Research shows, however, that osteoarthritis is due to inflammation in other parts of the body. Specifically, it can be related to high insulin levels.  With diets, specifically the Western diet that is high in sugar and processed foods, can lead us to high insulin levels and poor blood sugar regulation. This is one of the key drivers in osteoarthritis. We want to remember this key thing, osteoarthritis is an inflammatory condition. Seventy percent of our immune system is in our gut. If we are having any type of systemic inflammation or excessive inflammation in our body, this can drive osteoarthritis. Often, you will see that a person that is experiencing severe osteoarthritis all over their body. They are in a very inflammatory state.

Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune condition. It affects 1.5 million Americans, but the interesting fact is that it has been happening at younger and younger ages. This is when the synovial fluid becomes thick and murky and creates degeneration in the cartilage of the joints. The joints can become very stiff and painful. One of the biggest drivers of autoimmune conditions, once again, is going to be a predisposition genetically, the environment, and activities of daily living. One of the biggest contributors to autoimmune disease specifically rheumatoid arthritis is a leaky gut, otherwise known as intestinal permeability. Our immune system begins to attack healthy tissues, too.

Before we get into what would be most helpful, let’s talk about what you should not do; take chronic nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). These will ultimately turn off your immune system, contributing to poor regulation. Although it may mask symptoms temporarily, it is not optimizing your immune system for the long-term.

In both cases of arthritis, a major goal is to reduce inflammation. Also, reducing your insulin, eating less sugar, eating to balancing your blood sugar, and keeping them stabilized throughout the day is critical. Improving your gut health and determining what foods are inflammatory for you is necessary. Doing so will help you to optimize your overall immune health and be able to prevent these types of inflammatory conditions.

As it relates to movement, please consider seeking out a qualified movement professional to help you on your journey to make sure you are moving well and without compensation.  Even though it’s inflammatory, you want to optimize the joint positioning, referred to as joint centration. Think about the shoulder joint, a ball and socket joint. When the ball isn’t in that center position of the joint, it will shift forward and often start to cause pain and irritation in the joint. So you’ll want to make sure that you’re stabilizing the joint and strengthening around it. Essentially, you’ll want to load the joint in its pain-free non-restricted range of motion.

There you have it; powerful ways to prevent and improve arthritis as you go into your older years.

If you need help on your journey to better health, contact drarianne@themovementparadigm.com to schedule.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.



5 INFLAMMATORY TRIGGERS you should know about


Do you suffer from chronic conditions such as chronic pain, joint stiffness, muscle stiffness, digestive issues, skin issues, delayed onset allergies that have seemed to haunt you later in life, or perhaps any other chronic health condition you’ve been suffering from? In this case, you may have what we refer to as systemic inflammation, where your body had a loss of tolerance and it is not able to manage inflammation well on its own. Seventy five to ninety percent of all human disease is linked to excessive or persistent inflammation, so it is really important to figure out what may be inflammatory for you in your body. Let’s discuss five different categories of inflammatory triggers.

1) Food. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is a western-style diet filled with rich, processed foods, fatty foods, and sugary foods. It is the classic pro-inflammatory diet that a large majority of Americans consume. Additionally, there are also 12 potentially inflammatory foods that could be driving your health conditions. Some of these foods may seem healthy and very well can be, however that doesn’t mean they are healthy for everyone. This could be anything from soy, peanuts, processed meats, red meat, shellfish, and the list goes on. Click HERE for a video on 12 inflammatory foods. Your friend may be able to eat gluten, but you may not be able to.

2) Bugs. This could be a parasite that is causing an infection and ongoing inflammation in your body. It is really important to be tested for this especially with chronic health conditions that you’re trying to determine what the root cause is and a comprehensive stool test including a parasite test will evaluate for that specifically. This could also be something like a tick-borne illness contributing to an ongoing infection that your body is trying to manage.

3) Toxins. This can include internal toxins as well as external toxins. External toxins are things like herbicides, pesticides, and cleaning chemicals. We also have it in the products that we use on our bodies. On average, a woman uses 168 chemicals before they leave the house in the morning and a male uses 87. A female teenager uses even more than that. So, we want to think about the toxins that we are exposed to in our daily environment but also in our outside environment. Mold is a common example of a toxin that many people are exposed to without knowing. We can also have internal toxins. Yeast overgrowth, for example, is an internal infection your body many be trying to manage or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). There’s a lot of toxins that we are exposed to in our environment, even if we try to control what we can control.

4) Trauma. This can be anything from chemical trauma, mechanical trauma, or emotional trauma. One of the biggest aspects of trauma is going to be stress. Stress is one of the number one things that contribute to inflammation in the body. There is also physical trauma.  You could roll your ankle or hurt your knee while you’re running, etc., which can cause acute inflammation. If your body can’t manage it, then it can become systemic inflammation.

5) Hormone dysfunction. Oftentimes we think of just the sex hormones when we think about hormone dysfunction. However, the hormone dysfunction that typically is the kick starter for most people is our stress hormones (think cortisol!) and especially right now in life. This is such a challenging time for so many of us that the stress hormones really can drive thyroid issues and other sex hormone issues such as estrogen dominance or progesterone and testosterone deficiency. Everything works in a hierarchy. Don’t forget about our hunger hormones, too. Leptin is a hormone produced by the fat cells in your body. Its main role is to regulate fat storage and how many calories you eat and burn but not if it’s dysregulated. Weight gain anyone??  If you are consuming too many carbohydrates and sugar, insulin can also become dysregulated.  Hormone dysfunction is complex, multifactorial, and can surface in many ways.

You will have a greater inflammatory response when more of these receptors from all these different categories light up. Think of this as molecular signaling. So if you are a person that is eating inflammatory foods, you’re under a lot of stress, you already have a thyroid issue, then your inflammatory response is likely going to be greater. Therefore, you will lose tolerance and you will have systemic inflammation which puts you at great risk for many diseases. This can range from heart disease to cancer to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, MS, and Alzheimer’s. You want to think about how you can manage these five categories, and looking at all of them clearly and carefully to determine what are the driving forces for you that are contributing to you not feeling your best.

At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about…feeling your best. How can you optimize your health, how can you take ownership of your health, and make sure that you are living with vitality and not just skating through the world? You CAN feel energized, motivated, and live you’re best life.

If you need help on your journey to better health, contact drarianne@themovementparadigm.com to schedule.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.



Are you in tune with your body? | INTEROCEPTION


Did you ever wonder why some people are so much more in tune with their emotions and their bodies than others? Did you ever wonder how in-tune you are with yourself? Interoception, otherwise known as your internal awareness is also referred to as the eighth sense, one that we’re a little less familiar with. It also tells us about our autonomic function, such as respiration, digestion, our heartbeat, and even our emotions. We have visceral receptors that are constantly giving us information about our internal senses, but often times we don’t listen to them. At the most basic level, interoception allows us to ask the question, how do I feel? Am I hungry? Am I safe? Am I full? Am I sad? Do I have to go to the bathroom? Being in tune with what is happening inside your body is an amazing skill to have and has been shown to improve emotional regulation.

Interoception helps us to be able to manage our bodies, listen to the signals,  and take action. Having this greater sense of internal awareness helps us to be able to manage our emotions as well. We often tend to stuff our emotions and push them away as if they don’t exist. When we can be in touch with our own body, emotions, feelings, and be able to learn how to express them; we can have a better quality of life. This also decreases our risk of chronic disease and illness that is associated with not being in tune with all of those things.

So you may be wondering, how can I test my interoception? A simple heart rate test:  You can do this by sitting in a chair with your arms down to your side.  Close your eyes or keep them open and without actually putting your hands on your body try to take your pulse. You want to attempt to sense your pulse, your heartbeat, for one minute. After you record your number, then you will actually take your pulse. To do this you will use your pointer finger and middle finger and put them on your wrist on the thumb side to feel your radial pulse. You can also use those two fingers and put them right behind your jawline to feel your carotid pulse. You want to use very gentle pressure, and you should not need to dig in. Take your pulse for one minute and record your findings. You’ll wait two minutes, and then you repeat the test. Then, average the results of both the actual pulse and the sensed pulse.

Now to complete the following calculation:

1-((Average heart rate- estimated heart rate)/ average heart rate) = _______

For your results: a result of .80 or higher indicates that you are very interoceptly aware. A score of .60 to .79 indicates you’re moderately self-aware. Lastly, a result of less than .59 indicates that you have poor interoception.

Although this is not the only way to measure your self-awareness, it is a good starting point. If you find that you have poor self-awareness that is okay, there are lots of ways that you can begin to improve your internal awareness. Mindfulness is one of the best ways to become more in tune and aware of your emotions, thoughts, physical sensations, surroundings, and become present in your own life. Many times we are anxious about the future or we may be depressed about the past, when in fact being present is actually a really wonderful place to be. Hopefully, you will appreciate how important it is to develop and integrate these interoceptive skills in your life so that you can be fully present and enjoy everything life has to offer.

If you need help on your journey to better health, contact drarianne@themovementparadigm.com to schedule.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.



HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR VAGAL TONE | 9 ways to stimulate your vagus nerve


Did you ever wonder how you can consciously tap into the power of your vagus nerve to trigger your sense of inner calm and reduce inflammation in your body?  The vagus nerve is also referred to as the “wandering nerve” in Latin because it begins in the brainstem and it has multiple branches to the heart, viscera, and many other organs. It is one of the longest nerves in the body and it is 80 percent of our parasympathetic nervous system, also referred to as our ‘rest and digest’ system. In 1921 a German physiologist named Otto Loewi discovered that when you stimulate the vagus nerve it triggers the release of acetylcholine. Why is that important? Acetylcholine is like a tranquilizer that we have the power to tap into at any point through slow, long, deep breaths. When we have a high vagal tone or healthy vagal tone that is indicative that when you inhale, you have a slight increase in your heartbeat, and when you exhale, you have a slight decrease in your heartbeat. It is also associated with better physical and mental well-being. Conversely, if you have a low vagal tone, this is associated with inflammation, heart disease, stroke, poor psychological well-being, and much more.

Now let’s get into nine different ways that you can stimulate your vagus nerve to improve your vagal tone.

1) Cold exposure: Research shows that acute cold exposure will activate the cholinergic neurons that are part of the vagus nerve pathways, and it stimulates the vagus nerve. Cold showers are the easiest way to integrate this into your life. At the end of your shower, lower the temperature for 30 seconds of cold water and aim to do that consistently over time. That will,  in turn, decrease your fight or flight or your sympathetic pathways.

2) Deep, slow breathing: Diaphragmatic breathing, that is. You’ll want to make sure that as you’re inhaling, you’re getting full expansion of your abdomen 360 degrees. The key is a slow breath with a long exhale. You could start with a tempo of three seconds in and three seconds out. Over time, you want to begin to lengthen your exhalation as well as your inhalation. As you progress with your breath practice, the slower the exhale the more you will stimulate the vagus nerve and also create that relaxation response that we’re seeking. Especially in times of stress and anxiety, this should be a go-to. For some that have experienced trauma, however, this may not always be a safe place.

3) Chanting, singing, humming, and gargling: These are great ways to stimulate the vagus nerve because the muscles of the vocal cords are connected to the vagus nerve. This is a great way to improve vagal tone and increase heart rate variability, which is a sign of a healthy nervous system.

4) Probiotics: There are two specific strains, lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium,  that are directly related to the gut-brain connection as it relates to mood, anxiety, and depression. This is directly linked to the vagus nerve as well. It has been shown that by taking probiotics, you can improve the vagal tone and stimulation.

5) Meditation: This is a great way to improve vagal tone, decrease your stress response, and improve your mindfulness awareness over time. Register here for free weekly mindfulness sessions.

6) Omega-3’s: This comes from your fatty fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, etc. These are great foods that can help with improving vagal tone, overall mental health, and cognitive decline if there is any. Make sure to eat your fatty fish regularly to ensure you’ve got the appropriate amount of omega-3’s.

7) Massage: Make sure you get regular massage, or perform self-massage, to enhance the vagal activity and improve vagal tone. Things like foot reflexology is a great way to stimulate the vagus nerve. At the minimum, make sure to get your regular massage.

8) Exercise: Movement is such a powerful way to improve your vagal tone, to be more connected, and to enhance your sense of happiness. Making exercise and activities that you enjoy a big part of your life will help to improve your vagal tone and overall happiness.

9) Socializing and laughing: It’s such a great way to improve mood and enhance overall well-being. That of course is happening by enhancing the vagal activity and once again improving overall vagal tone. Make sure that despite the current circumstances in the world, you’re able to connect with people, socialize and laugh, and enjoy life as much as possible.

So there you have it, nine different ways that you can improve your vagal tone to make sure that you’re more connected to the world, you’re enhancing your physical and mental well-being, and you’re living life to the fullest.

If you need help on your journey to better health, contact drarianne@themovementparadigm.com to schedule.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.



HOW TO GET YOUR FIRST PULL-UP


Have you convinced yourself that you’ll never be able to do a pull-up, or you’ve tried with bands and assistance, but you’ve been unsuccessful? With the right exercises, time, patience, dedication, and hard work, you can absolutely do a pull-up. Whether you’re a child, an adult, a man, or a woman, it doesn’t matter. You have the potential inside of you to do a pull-up. Pull-ups are one of the greatest human fundamental strength movements that we all can do. However, before you work on pull- up progressions, you do want to make sure that you have checked a few boxes. So, here are the boxes you need to check.

1) Do you have good shoulder and scapular mobility? To test this, see if you can get your arm completely overhead so that it is in line with your ear without pain or discomfort. If you can great, move on to the next box. If you can’t, that is what you want to start to work on first.

2) Do you have proper breathing mechanics? To test this, see if you can breathe through your diaphragm as you inhale. This means having 360 degrees of intra-abdominal pressure. When you inhale, your abdomen will expand like when filling a balloon. Then, as you exhale, you’re creating this abdominal tension as your ribs descend towards your hips and you’re actively pulling your belly button in towards the spine, thinking of it as a corset. If you are still breathing from your neck and shoulders, it will make it very challenging to do a pull up successfully.

3) Are you able to hold a hollow plank? Are you able to control your body weight in a closed chain position (hands connected to the floor) while breathing and creating optimal tension throughout the body. Can you be strong, but relaxed?

Once you check those boxes, now you want to make sure that you’re prepared for the pull-up. So, let’s start with shoulder CARS (controlled articular rotations). For shoulder CARS, you’ll want to have good tension through the ground, feet strongly connected and rooted in, and ribcage down. From here, starting with your right arm, taking a breath in, slowly bring your arm up, ribs coming down. When your arm is overhead, will first externally rotate, and then internally rotate keeping your arm as close to your body as you can, without losing this position.  Perform this next to the wall to maximize the effectiveness. The goal is to create this total-body tension to create active control of the shoulder. This will make sure your shoulders are prepped. Repeat for five in each direction.

Next, you can do the bear walk to make sure that you’re working on good scapular and shoulder control before pull-up progressions. Watch the video here to see how to perform this. Now, let’s get it to the five pull-up progressions you should do before completing a full pull-up.

Pull-up progression 1: Dead hang. For the dead hang make sure that your hands are in line with your shoulders when hanging from the bar, you’re in a slight hollow position maintaining your breath, and arms are in line with your ears. Aim to hold this for at least 30 seconds to a minute before going to the next progression.

Pull-up progression 2: Pull-up prep. This is a very key part of the pull-up. You want to maintain the same hanging position, and then lower your shoulder blades, and then raise them back up slowly with control. You want to make sure you are maintaining the same alignment the whole time with your head in between your arms. Repeat this for as many reps as you can with high quality.

Pull-up progression 3: Isometric hold. For the isometric hold, you’ll want to jump into the position by standing on something where you can reach the bar from. Once you grab onto the bar, pull yourself up using an underhand grip so your head is over the bar. (This grip is recommended to start before progressing to an overhand grip). You want to make sure you’re pulling the elbows down towards the ground maintaining that slight hollow position with a neutral head position you’re while breathing and head. Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute.

Pull-up progression 4: Eccentrics. To work on strength, perform eccentric pull-ups. To do this slowly lower all the way to the bottom of the motion completely finishing it, and then returning to the top by standing on your block, so you can grab the bar again. You’re avoiding the concentric portion and just focusing on the eccentric portion. Make sure to maintain your hollow position, breathe, and keeping nice control. Repeat for as many reps as possible with control. Progress to five sets of five for three to six weeks.

Pull-up progression 5: Bringing it all together. Now you’ll begin to put these together, starting with an isometric hold into your eccentric, and then a pull-up prep.

Now you’re ready to perform the full pull-up! Finish the motion completely and finish with the pull-up prep at the bottom.

This may take you weeks to months depending on your level of fitness. Make sure to master the progressions before moving on.  

Pull-ups require patience, hard work, time, and dedication. However, I’m confident that you will be able to perform this movement while doing all of these progressions. Remember you still want to build overall strength, so make sure to incorporate other types of total body strength training to enhance your progressions and performance with this movement.  A common question is “should I do assisted pull-ups with bands?” They are not recommended because they do not build the fundamental strength required for a pull-up. Please make sure to not take any shortcuts and work on the progressions.

If you need help on your journey to better health, contact drarianne@themovementparadigm.com to schedule.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel here.



IS YOUR IBS ACTUALLY SIBO?


Have you been experiencing abdominal symptoms? Bloating? Cramping? Indigestion? Abdominal pain? Or maybe you are experiencing anxiety and depression? If so, you should know about small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and how it is most often under-diagnosed as a source of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Many individuals have a diagnosis of IBS that they have been given at some point in their lives by a doctor and they are just trying to manage it on their own with no real solution to addressing the root cause. In most cases, IBS is in fact SIBO.  SIBO is a serious condition affecting the small intestine and happens when bacteria that normally grow in other parts of the gut, grow in the small intestine.  When you are diagnosed with IBS it’s really important to make sure that you get the proper testing and determine if this is one of your root causes. Let’s now talk about how you can tell if your IBS is actually SIBO.

Symptoms:

If you’re experiencing anxiety, depression, bloating, digestive issues, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, overall puffiness and discomfort around the abdomen, and even such symptoms as heartburn and acid reflux, it’s really important to get properly evaluated.

Testing:

You will have a breath test, which will determine if you have methane or hydrogen gas in your gut. The breath test will be over a series of a few hours.  After you ingest lactulose, depending on how it ferments in your gut, will determine what type of gas is produced and this will indicate whether or not you have SIBO.

Treatment:

If you have a diagnosis of SIBO or IBS, and you’re in the process of trying to determine how you can feel better, it’s highly recommended to go on a low FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, and polyols) diet.  These are hard to digest fibers and sugars, and therefore do not pass through the small intestine well. In the colon, the high FODMAP foods will ferment and cause gas, and in the small intestine, they will pull water causing bloating and stretch in the intestinal area.

The first part of the low FODMAP plan a complete elimination of any moderate to high FODMAP foods. After the elimination phase, which can be anywhere from two to six weeks, then you can begin a reintroduction. You would reintroduce one FODMAP food at a time and see how your body tolerates it. After you’ve done that you can personalize your plan, and determine what foods are aggravating you and contributing to some kind of bloating, flatulence, abdominal pain, etc. The first goal of the program is to decrease inflammation and symptoms and try to settle your system down. Once you do that, you can begin to transition into a personalization of the food plan.

After you’ve determined you may have SIBO and you have initiated a low FODMAP plan, you want to follow a 5R protocol for restoration. So, that would be removing the inflammatory triggers, replacing the digestive enzymes, reinoculating with good bacteria, replacing any nutrients that you may be deficient in, and also rebalancing your lifestyle factors. After you have worked through a 5R protocol, there is a chance that you may need to take an antibiotic, whether that’s herbal or conventional. The research shows that both an herbal or conventional antibiotic can be equally effective. It does depend on if your body is ready to support it, and if you are well enough to be able to handle the antibiotic.

Summary:

If you are a person that has had a diagnosis of IBS, or you’re dealing with a lot of abdominal symptoms and you really want to get to the bottom of it; it’s really important to consider SIBO as one of the possibilities. You want to make sure that you’re using this as a possible diagnostic tool to rule in or rule out, and to treat the root cause, as opposed to just treating your symptoms.

If you need help on your journey to better health, contact drarianne@themovementparadigm.com to schedule.

For more content, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel here.