All posts by Sean Masters

Shoulder Pain Exercises: Top 3

Shoulder Pain Exercises

If you are interested in restoring shoulder health through with targeted shoulder pain exercises, I am sure you have heard by now that the glenohumeral (shoulder) joint is the most mobile joint in the body. 

While it is a ball and socket joint, that comparison can be misleading and make the joint seems more secure than it actually is. 

The socket of the glenoid fossa is in fact not deep enough to allow for a stable and protected fit for the humeral head. 

In reality, the fossa is relatively flat, which means it is imperative that the four key stabilizers (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, teres minor) and doing their job, and the  prime movers, such as the pec major and bicep do not become tight and/or overactive leading to dysfunction and possible pain. 

From shoulder impingement, SLAP Tears, bicep tendonitis, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and many other afflictions, understanding the shoulders connection the scapular and rib cage is the first task. 

Exercises for Shoulder Pain

Below are the top three shoulder pain exercises. Are they right for you? The only way to know for sure is to consult our Seattle chiropractor team at Tangelo.

1. Wall Bug and Dead Bug 

The first thing that should always be looked at when addressing the shoulder is your breathing patterns. 

Are you taking 25,000 to 28,000 breathes into your upper chest cavity? Then you’re probably not allowing the thoracic spine to properly extend, which can lead to stiffness and potential scapulothoracic dysfunction. Bottom line, fix your breathing and use the Dead Bug variation to train correct rib cage position while refining active shoulder range of motion. 

2. Rotator Cuff External Rotation 

Do me a favor; put your phone down, stand up nice and tall and take a few deep breaths. Now look down at your thumbs. Are they turned in or pointed straight out in front of you? If you answered the former, this is probably a good exercise for you. 

If your resting position is an internally rotated humerus and shorted pec group, then you could be setting yourself up for injury or at least a hindered recovery. Exercise aside, you must become mindful of your thumb position from this point on. Starting right now, you are going to actively keep your thumbs forward. 

This is the single best thing you can do to improve posture. When your thumbs are forward, your shoulders go back and your back can straighten up. Once you have checked that box, you can now focus on building strength and endurance to support this position. 

3. Half-Kneeling Windmills 

Let me forewarn you that this exercise is pretty advanced. That being said,  if you can do it pain free then go slow and make the most of each and every rep. 

This exercise does a great job of using your body position and environment as a coach to ensure you are moving correctly threw space. To clear the wall, you better believe you will have to brace your core, set the rib cage, extend and rotation the thoracic spine and upwardly rotate the shoulder blade. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. If you live in the PNW and are looking for a Seattle Chiropractor or Portland Chiropractor, we would be honored to be on your team.

Shoulder Pain When Lifting Arm: Root Cause

Shoulder Pain When Lifting Arm

The first thing to know is that nobody’s impervious to pain. No matter how strong, mobile or how much you know or conditioned you are, pain will likely come knocking at your door. 

However, what matters is recognizing that pain is often a symptom of dysfunction that typically manifests over months, even years. Therefore, that injury that seemed to come out of nowhere is your body’s way of saying, “Sorry, I couldn’t support this bad position anymore”.

Shoulder Pain 

Shoulder pain is a very common way that this presents itself in the human body.

We spend most of our day in a position where our hands are resting on a keyboard (or holding a phone) with our shoulders rotated forward, mid back rounded and head jutted forward. 

Since it’s not realistic to quit using your phone or keyboard, it’s important to actively rest your shoulders when you stand back up and walk around. To do this, make sure your thumbs are pointed forward. 

Fixing the Posture

When your thumbs are turned in, guess what else is turned in? Your shoulders! When your thumbs are pointed forward, your shoulders now have the chance to retract back…and when your shoulders are back…your head naturally resets and VOILA, better posture! 

Overhead Press Shoulder Pain

In addition to being more mindful of your posture during the day, it’s important to know that any exercise can be modified so you can continue to enjoy all the fitness has to offer. 

On that note, let’s talk about the overhead press as is a common exercise that can expose underlying shoulder impingement. 

Don’t let the term “impingement” scare you. Shoulder pain when lifting an arm common issue with overhead athletes and is fixable. 

If you are currently dealing with impingement, or any other shoulder ailment that is not getting better, then it’s worthwhile to make an appointment with our Seattle chiropractor team at Tangelo so we can discover the cause of the pain, treat the issue and get you back to living your best life. 

Exercises for Shoulder Pain

Generally speaking, pain in the shoulder during an overhead press doesn’t entirely have to with the shoulder (glenohumeral joint) itself. In order for the humerus head (ball) to move freely within the glenoid fossa (socket), many things have to be in the right position.

  1. First, the thoracic spine needs to extend from its natural slightly rounded position. 
  2. Second, the lower trapezius muscles needs to contract while the pec minor relaxes, allowing the shoulder blades to posterior tilt. 
  3. Third, the upper traps needs to contract to allow for proper upward rotation of the shoulder when pressing overhead. 

Again, all of these things needs to happy harmoniously to preserve healthy space within the shoulder joint. Pretty cool how the body works, huh? 

However, keep in mind that before the pressing motion even begins, you first have to actively extend the thoracic spine and posterior tilt the shoulder. These are particularly tall orders to fill due to the aforementioned posture issues. 

It’s hard for the pec minor, which is a muscle that can pull your shoulder blade forward to relax when your shoulders are rounded. 

Therefore, it would be prudent to sub out the overhead press when an exercise that not only encourages the muscle to relax while still giving you the opportunity to refine your overhead mechanics. What is this magical exercise, you ask? Well it involves the TRX, which you have right next to you in the weight room.

RNT Overhead Press 

This is a wonderful exercise — here are the basics on how it works.

When you apply tension on the straps, the pec minor has to relax because the muscles on the back of the shoulder and lower trap have to turn on to keep the straps taught through the movement. 

Therefore, all you have to think about is keeping the “elbow under the wrist” and push through the good burn. You can also play with different pressing angels to avoid any position that might be causing you pain.

Golfer’s Elbow: Getting back in the swing of things

Golfer’s Elbow Treatment

Jack “Golden Bear” Nicklaus, otherwise known as the greatest golfer of all-time, said that if his forearms started to tense up when he was gripping the club, he knew he was gripping too tightly. 

Perhaps that’s one of the many insights that helped him avoid major injury during his illustrious career that concluded with a record 18 Major victories. 

Golden Bear never needed golfer’s elbow treatment, but if you do — that’s okay! We’re here to help.

What is Golfer’s Elbow?

Also known as medial epicondylitis, golfer’s elbow is commonly associated with pain along the inside of the elbow. This affliction which, left untreated, can cause additional discomfort in the forearm and even down into the wrist. 

While golfers are the athletes most well-known for experiencing this condition, golfer’s elbow can affect anyone who finds themself performing movements that loads and/or stresses the elbow. 

Do you think you have golfer’s elbow? Let’s look at how elbow pain treatment works.

Golfer’s Elbow Test

Testing is pretty simple. One simply has to look at their lifestyle and risk factors. 

For example, previous injuries and repetitive movements, such as the golf swing, are common contributors that can lead to medial epicondylitis.

Furthermore, limitations in shoulder mobility and wrist flexor flexibility can lead to increased stress into the elbow, as well. 

How is your shoulder mobility? Shoulders can have a downstream influence on the elbow. Having a Seattle chiropractor take a look at your whole body’s range of motion can be very useful.

Golfer’s Elbow Exercises

At Tangelo, we don’t just focus on the obvious symptoms of golfer’s elbow (or anything that ails you).

We look for movement breakdowns up and down the chain to see what caused the initial problem. 

We’ll take you through an extensive movement assessment to look at your body mechanics and to make sure that once you get out of pain, you stay out of pain. 

From your assessment, we’ll develop an active functional rehab program so you are able to get back out there and do what you love. 

Wanna play 36 holes or tennis with your significant other this weekend? We can help you live your best life. 

How to Treat Golfer’s Elbow

If you are currently experiencing medial epicondylitis, the best thing to do is to schedule an appointment with your Tangelo team

The longer you put it off, the more time you are giving your body the opportunity to compensate around the injury. 

This in turn can lead to additional problems down the road. However, if you perform a lot of the repetitive movements mentioned above and just want to be proactive, then good for you! 

Below you will find some helpful drills to promote healthy shoulder and wrist mobility, while keeping the forearm muscles strong. Enjoy! 

Side Lying Thoracic Rotation 

Bench Dowel Extensions 

Wrist Prep Routine

Wrist Flexor Rolling

Knee Pain When Bending? Learn Top Three Exercises to Prevent


Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to diagnosis or treat knee pain. This is for educational purposes only. If you are experiencing knee pain pain or other related pain, we recommend you seek out a thorough evaluation with a chiropractor, physical therapist or sports medicine professional.

If you want to successfully prevent or correct common knee conditions, you “knee-d” to first understand that the joint does more than just extend, flex and perform a limited amount of internal and external rotation.

Knee pain treatment is one of the most common reasons we see our patients here at Tangelo.

The knee is truly the monkey in the middle joint and it’s absolutely true that if there is any dysfunction is the foot/ankle of lumbopelvic-hip complex, the knee can become the victim of the aforementioned dysfunction.

Here is a good example of what I am talking about — take a second to slip off your shoes and socks and stand on one foot with the other foot floating in the air. Are your toes spaced or are they clutching the floor?

Is your knee positioned in line with the middle of your foot or is your foot turned out and your knee pointing forward?

Now, put your hips back and slight bend your knee. Are you in position and managing ok? Good!

Now, close your eyes for a ten seconds. Were you able to do it? Did you feel completely stable or did your foot shake and your hips shootout to the side?

If any those breakdowns happen, then it would be wise for you to work on single leg stability and improve reflexive control in your feet, ankles and hips.

Why? It’s simple, if you can’t balance with control for ten seconds with no joint impact, then what makes you think you’re going to be able to run or jump with perfect alignment and shock absorption? Think about that.

In addition to looking at the joints above and below the knees, you have to also understand the role the quads play in knee health. I have heard so many physical medicine providers demonize the quads as the crux to most overuse knee conditions.

Nothing could be further from the truth and not understanding the key role all muscle group play leaves us stifled in our ability others and ourselves. From common conditions like patellofemoral pain syndrome, suprapatellar bursitis, infrapatellar bursitis and even iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), the quads need to work in concert with hamstrings and glutes.

Below are the top three exercises for knee pain.

Are they right for you? The only way to know for sure is to meet with a chiropractor in Seattle providing functional rehabilitation.

Knee Exercise 1: Single Leg Balance

The only tried and true way to improve single leg stability is to train single leg stability. Take those shoes off, space out your toes (like you are wearing toe spacers), root the foot, push your hips back and then proceed to balance. 

Force your body to adapt to this unstable environment by engaging muscles that might have fallen asleep. Feeling the glute burn and foot nearly cramp? Good! We will take a healthy burn over bursitis any day.

Knee Exercise 2: Toes Up Glute Bridge

This is one of my favorite exercises, but probably not for the reason you think. Sure, it helps turn your glutes on and relax your quads. 

However, this exercise, when done right, really elicits an intense burn in your shins. Why is that a good thing? 

As mentioned before, how your ankle moves has a direct impact on the force your knee has to endure. 

A catalyst to excessive stress can be limited ankle dorsiflexion, which is the action that allows the top of foot and shin to move closer together.

This action is crucial, and in addition to calf stretches, foam rolling, etc, the toes up glute bridge is a fantastic exercise to improve ankle mobility for the benefit of your knees.

Knee Exercise 3: Ball Squeeze Wall Sits

(video coming soon)

I guess our PE teachers had it right when they had us do wall sits during gym class.

When reintroducing strength back into a muscle group, the safest approach is in the form of isometrics.

The wall sits are not only a great warm up before activity but an awesome reeducation drill to teach your adductors, quads and hips to work together to ensure proper alignment of the knee.

This is not a set and reps exercise; this a a “get in position and make it burn like crazy” kind of exercise. Enjoy!

Thank you for taking time to read this blog.

If you live in the PNW and are looking for Seattle Chiropractor or Portland Chiropractor, we would be honored to be on your team. Keep moving and #gotangelo


Lower Back Stretches: Relieve Pain After Sitting for Hours

We have all heard the phrase, “sitting is the new smoking.”

While I understand that both have environmental contributors that have an insidious effect on your health, I shy away from making this comparison and claiming apples to apples.

Maybe it’s because lung cancer strikes a personal chord with me as I have lost a loved one to lung cancer. Or perhaps it’s because more than 16 million Americans suffer from some form of smoking related diseases, according to the CDC.

Lower back stretches are vital to relieve pain after being seated for hours.

Lower Back Pain from Sitting

There’s no doubt that a sedentary lifestyle combined with poor nutrition and sleep can be a key factor in the obesity epidemic. This contributes to heart disease, which again, according to the CDC, is the number one killer in America. Lower back pain from sitting is something that Tangelo patients commonly self-report.

So is sitting the new smoking?

Smoking alone can cause cancer. Sitting alone will not cause obesity. Therefore, I believe a more accurate comparison is that a sedentary lifestyle combined with poor diet and lack of sleep is indeed the new smoking. Albeit, more wordy and far less catchy!

Additionally, this blog is aimed to clarify the correlations between sitting and lower back pain.

It is important to note that it is not necessarily sitting, but rather the act of being stationary for an extended period of time that has the potential to cause pain.

Lower Back Pain When Sitting

When you are sitting, your posture is usually like this:

  1. Your pelvis is likely rotated back
  2. Your spine is rounded
  3. Your core is shut down
  4. Your head is forward

That is bad news bears I tell ya. This all amounts to lower back pain when sitting, and probably even beyond.

When you are standing, particularly at a standing desk, you will naturally try to conserve energy by locking out your skeleton and shifting your body to one side.

Is this worse or just as bad? The answer is “No.”

Standing is still better because it naturally incentivizes you to leave your workstation and move around — and research shows that movement is a good thing!

Also, if you’re looking for even more movements that will make your low back happy and healthy, check out our guide on our other top exercises to relieve lower back pain.

Low Back Pain

When it comes to low back pain and sitting, it is commonly misattributed by healthcare professionals that your tight hip flexors are solely to blame for causing your pain.

Their logic is that if you stretch them, you will be good to go!

Now, I can’t argue that the hip flexors might be a contributor for some low back suffers. But I will say, however, it is more likely tightness in your hamstring and weakness in your glutes and core that is a more prevalent cause of this prolific ailment.

Think about it; when you are sitting, your hip is flexed at ninety degrees (stretched glutes) and your knees are bent at around nightly degrees (shortened hamstrings).

Your pelvis is probably rotated back (stretched lower back extensors) and your hip flexors are shortened (but maybe not as much as you might think).

This can create a muscle imbalance that can rear its ugly head and cause pain performing simple tasks like picking socks off the floor. I personally have been there and I’m sure you have too.

The key is to maintain muscle balance and stretch regularly. Particularly lower back stretches. This can require as little as a few minutes a day and pay for itself in:

  1. Reduced risk of pain,
  2. Non-missed days of work,
  3. Activities you enjoy
  4. And an overall more positive outlook on life

Sound good? Thought so! Below you will find four lower back stretches to relieve your pain.

The best part is that they all require ZERO equipment and only a little motivation and floor space.

Lower Back Stretches

Hip Hinge

From eighteen month olds to eighty-one years young, feeling physically competent and emotionally confident to pick something off the ground is crucial for lower back health.

The hip hinge might feel foreign at first, but it does a great job of re-educating your body to put the load into your hamstrings and glutes and away from you lower back.

If you are unfamiliar with this movement, start by using a dowel, golf club or broom stick.

This will help you be more familiar with where you spine moves in space and where you might need to adjust.

Push those hips away from your heels and hinge back until you feel tension in the hamstrings. Done correctly, it is a major whammy on the hammy and a savior for your spine.

Glute Bridge

Just because the glute bridge isn’t new, it doesn’t mean is extremely effective. This is a staple exercise here at Tangelo Health, and for good reason — it works!

This exercise puts you into an environment where you are relatively safe and can see if you can engage your glutes without compensation, or engage them at all.

If you’re unable to feel your glutes robustly contract while the floor is providing all the stability for you, do you think you’re going to be engaging the right muscles and movement with control when your hips are in the air? Unlikely.

Take this exercise slow and make sure your core is set first. Then your glutes are fully contracted before you bridge into the air.

Want to make it even more effective? Keep your glutes engaged as you slowly lower back down to the ground. Burn baby, burn!

Super Clam

The Super Clams are super spicey on the glutes if done correctly.

The great thing about this exercise is that you are using your down glute to stabilize the pelvis and lower back to ensure good posture, while the top glute is contracting to externally rotate the hip.

This exercise packs a punch, let me tell ya.

Make sure to go slow and fight to keep your hips and shoulders stacked the entire time. Oh, and keep a smile on your face or it doesn’t work. It’s Sean Science.

Front Plank

You will be hard-pressed to find another core exercise more powerful than the front planks.

I know that is a controversial statement and I’m sure many fitness experts are shaking their heads right now. Yes, I know the chop, lift, deadbugs and rolling patterns are super-duper but I am talking about the time and space efficient exercise intended to help drive relative stiffness through the trunk and light up the abs light the 4th or July.

If you have one better, let us know in the comments.

Try this exercise for ten seconds while you squeeze your glutes and pull your elbows down to your toes like never before. Don’t forget to breathe. Perform a few cycles of ten seconds while breathing fully and get back to dominating your day.

If you already have lower back pain, or if it hurts when you do these movements, they might not be appropriate for you. You may need to seek low back pain treatment.

Consider making an appointment with us here at Tangelo.

As a local Seattle chiropractor and functional rehabilitation clinic, we can assess your issues and create a custom rehab program just for you!

Top Three Exercises for Lower Back Pain

Let me address the first part of this blog to all the lawyers out there (my wife included, hi honey!) and mention that everyone is different and that two people with similar lower back pain symptoms might have two very different sources of pain. Therefore, if you are experiencing lower back pain, the most responsible course of action is to seek out a thorough evaluation with a chiropractor, physical therapist or sports medicine professional.

With that being said, now that getting into the blog…

You may have heard that lower back pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal afflictions in the modern age. If you are reading this, you may be experiencing discomfort at this very moment, or you are a health and fitness professional gaining new knowledge and perspective. Whatever you motivation, thank you for taking a moment to lean. I hope I don’t disappoint.

It’s true, sitting for long periods of time has a profound negative effect on the amount of pressure our disc has to withstand. Sitting also puts your hamstrings in shortened position, which can pull your pelvis into a posterior tilt, thus weakening your deep core and putting your lower back in a precarious position. A common misconception when it comes to sitting is that your hips flexors and lower back become tight, leading to what is termed as ‘lower crossed syndrome’. While, LCS is a real thing and should be assessed, there is very little correlation between sitting and the need to stretch out your hip flexors and lumbar erectors. In fact, I argue that if you sit a lot, it would be behoove you to build lower back endurance in addition to glute and anterior core activation. Think about it. For instance, if you are sitting down right now as you ready this blog, where is your lower back positioned? Is it extended, neutral or flexed? If it is neutral, just give it a few minutes. Your core will eventually fatigue and your pelvis will dump backwards and round your lower back, leaving your erector spinae group stretched and prone to weakness over time.

My point is sometime lower back pain can stem from weakness in your lower back. All lower back pain? Absolutely not. However, whether your suffering from sacroiliac pain, lumbar disc bulge or herniation, lumbar strain, facet syndrome, or many other common lower back ailments, there is very little downside to at least understanding principles of movement and roles muscles play in supporting good posture. If you suspect that you may need further evaluation, consider visiting our Seattle chiropractor and functional rehab center here at Tangelo!

Below are the top three exercises for lower back pain. Are they right for you? The only way to know for sure is to consult your chiropractic, physical therapy or sports medicine expert.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

As cliche as it sounds, movement does start with the core. However, maybe not the core muscle that get the most publicity like your obliques, rectus abdominis or even the multifidus. The muscle I want you to draw attention to is one that should be contracting and relaxing with each breath when you are cycling through your 25,000 to 28,000 breathes per day. That muscle is your diaphragm, a plunger shaped muscle that, among many things, helps preserve proper alignment and stability around your lower back.



Cat Cow

It’s a classic for a reason. The Cat Cow is a great exercise to draw brain-body awareness to any discrepancy that may be taking place between how your pelvis rotates forward (anterior pelvic tilt) and how it rotates back (posterior pelvic tilt). Restriction moving in any direction could have to do with muscular motor control, but it could also be a symptom of something not right within the spine itself. Regardless of the cause of dysfunction, this exercise draws awareness to the issue that can be helped with the assistance of a  medical professional.



Hip Hinge

Alright, now it’s time to make like a door…. and hinge. In the decade I have had the privilege of serving  patients, the reality is that for every one patient that has come in from deadlift related lower back pain, fifty have sustained lower back injuries from performing simple daily tasks such as picking laundry off the floor. The simple reason for this disparity is that when you deadlift, you naturally put yourself in the most optimal position to be stronger than the weight is heavy. In short, you are prepared. When it comes to normal simple tasks, you just do it with very little concern for proper form. That is when injury comes knocking at your door.

The hip hinge is a great way to help you become confident and proficient at the most functional movement you will need to perform your entire life. Whether you are 18 months or 81 years old, you need to know how to hinge. In addition to building endurance in your lower back, the hip hinge also helps reset the length-tension relationship in your hamstrings, which helps you weight shift properly so your lower back can remain healthy and happy.



Thank you for taking time for read this blog. If you live in the PNW and looking for Seattle Chiropractor or Portland Chiropractor, we would be honored to be on your team.  Keep moving and #gotangelo

So You Want To Pistol Squat?

by Tyler Wall

The elusive pistol squat. The bane of many a CrossFitter’s existence. One in very few can get them on their first try, but that most likely isn’t you.

Being able to squat on one leg is no easy feat. It requires balance, mobility, stability, coordination, and strength.

But with practice, it’s a fun and impressive movement. There are many benefits to the pistol squat; it’s a fantastic movement for the development of strength and balance through the leg and hips. You don’t need any equipment and you can literally do it anywhere. What more could you ask for?

NOTE: If you have any current injuries or issues at any of the joints in the leg, take care of those first. Heal yourself up before you dig a deeper hole.

First, the soft tissue areas to focus on:

  • Plantar Fascia

  • Anterior Tib

  • Calves

  • Hamstrings

  • Quads

  • Glutes

  • Thoracic Spine

Always test and retest after doing soft tissue work and mobility.  See what works and doesn’t work.  Give it some time, sometimes the results aren’t instant.

Next, take a look at the mobility requirements, from the bottom up:

  • Deep dorsiflexion of the ankle

  • External rotation at the hip

  • Extension at the thoracic spine

The Ankle

Often times, lack of ankle mobility can be tied to lack of stability in the foot.  Chances are, if you have flat feet, then you’ll have “tight” ankles.  Even if you don’t have flat feet, they can present themselves as tight.  If the body can’t find stability (and therefore balance) in the feet – our direct connection at the Earth at all times, then it will create stability elsewhere, oftentimes in the ankles.  Here is a foot strengthening exercise to get you started.



Spend some time every day, multiple times a day practicing your short foot.  Build those arches up.  If you are diligent with them, you’ll see results in a short period of time.

Think about the foot: it is under constant use and stress.  Therefore, it has to adapt quickly to the imposed demands placed upon it.  Walk around barefoot whenever you can and connect with your feet.  It will make a world of a difference.

If you already have great arches, you should practice some short foot anyway. In addition to that, you can also work on some banded ankle distraction.



Using a simple tool like a small band, you can distract the joint capsule at the ankle and work through some new ranges.  Make sure to drive your knee over the third and fourth toes.  Try 1-2 sets of 15-20 reps, both standing and kneeling.

The Hip

If you can’t externally rotate your hip to keep your knee over your middle toes, then you’ll quickly run into some issues and potential danger for your knee.  It’s key to avoid having it cave inside the toes.

This tactical frog mobility exercise will help with this movement. And, pigeon pose is always a good one too.



Another exercise to practice that will have a direct carryover is a simple bodyweight squat.  This will provide you some guidance as to your foot position, knee position and torso position.

“What about the non-supported leg?”

Oh yeah – that one.  Super important.  You’ll need to keep it flexed at the hip, and extended at the knee so it doesn’t touch the ground.

To insure you have adequate mobility, lie flat on your back and lift one leg straight up.  If you can’t get it to 90 degrees, you have an issue.  More than likely, this is due to a stability issue in the trunk. Remember earlier when I was talking about lack of stability in the foot creating stiffness in the ankle? The same thing can happen with the trunk and the hamstring.



When we are able to breath and brace, we’ll open up new ranges of motion through our extremities (shoulders too – we’ll discuss that another time).



Thoracic Spine

Lastly, we need to have adequate control and range through the spine to maintain balance and an upright torso for the pistol squat.





As far as building strength through the hip and legs, I recommend beginning with a 90/90 split squat.  Not only does the split stance help develop balance, it improves glute timing as well.



With that, you should work on your one leg hinge for balance, coordination and pure awesomeness.  When you conquer that, add some weight.

Lastly, you should train Heel Drops as they’ll teach you about body position awareness and strength through the full range of motion.



As always, focus on form.  Take your time.  Make sure that knee is tracking properly.  If you have access to risers, use those and build up the height over time.  If you only have boxes at your box, use those.  Don’t try to drop down all the way on your first time.  Take it slow.

This one will really build the necessary strength to get down to and out of the bottom position of the pistol.

There you go, folks.  Once you are able to master the pistol, go for reps.  Once you can get 10+ reps, add some weight like a kettlebell in the same side hand of the non-supported leg.

A group of joggers running a mountain trail

Trail Running 101: Pros & Cons

Trail running is a fast growing sport. As it gains in popularity, a lot of you are thinking about giving it a shot! But, where do you start?!? Different shoes, nutrition, training and gear – some may find this overwhelming! Or, maybe trail running seems like it would be just be too hard; “That’s cool but it’s not for me!”

What Makes This Guide Different?

We thought it would be good to put together a content series covering some of the questions people new to trail running may have, and to encourage those who don’t think can with examples of how it might be easier than you might think!

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be covering the pros and cons of trail running, trail running shoes, hydration, nutrition and training!

Just like anything in life, a balanced approach is key. Let’s go over some pros and cons.

Pros of trail running…

PRO: Enjoy Nature, Wildlife & Fresher Air (Duh!)

One of the best things about trail running is simply getting out and enjoying nature. The race is the result at the end of your training, but some of your best memories from trail running will probably be taking your time training and exploring new areas. As you get deeper into your training you will find that you can go out and train on popular hiking routes and finish them much faster than if you were hiking. Training on hiking trails can get you deep into National parks, forests and reserves. You will be treated to some great views, pristine lakes and forest and spectacular mountains.

PRO: Less Impact On Your Body!

As you train you will also notice that your body will feel better after a trail run than after spending a similar time training on roads. This is because the trails are generally much softer than running on hard asphalt, so you put less impact stress on your body. As a result you can recover faster and train more!

PRO: You Don’t Have To Be Usain Bolt.

When it comes to racing you don’t have to be a speedster, and you don’t have to run the whole race. Walking is totally acceptable and many of the top ultra-runners will hike portions of their big races, especially the hills when it can be more efficient.

PRO: Great Community!

The atmosphere at a trail race is one of camaraderie where the people are friendly and jovial. There is a great community and the races are a good chance to catch up with friends or make new ones. Everyone is welcoming so if you are new start up a conversation at race, you’ll probably get some great tips from experienced runners, or even find a new training partner. Another highlight of racing is the aid stations. When racing your body is mostly running on carbohydrates so there are plenty of simple sugary foods available. Some aid station staples are fruit, M&M’s, cookies, PB&J, soda, as well as water and electrolyte. I personally always look forward to watermelon and coke!

…cons of trail running

CON: “I’ll Get Injured”

Some newcomers may have some legitimate worries before start trail running. First, what if I get injured, roll my ankle etc? Well as with anything new you should start with moderation. Start with incorporating some easy trail runs into your training program. Get used to running on the trails which can often be slippery or contain hazards such as roots and rocks. As you spend more time on trails you will get better at identifying these hazards and planning your steps to best avoid them. You can also spend time preparing your body for the trails by doing exercises to strengthen your ankles, stabilizing muscles, and posterior chain. Doing these exercises will give you better endurance and make you less prone to minor injuries such as ankle rolls.

CON: “I’ll Get Lost”

Another worry is that you might get lost while training. There are a few ways to avoid this. First off preparation is key, it is a great idea to plan a route and take a map with you. As a fall back take your phone so you can access maps or call for help if needed. A great way to get oriented on the trails is to go with a knowledgeable friend or join a running group. Many of the local running stores and clubs will have organized trail runs that are always accommodation for newcomers. Lastly you don’t have to go out and run into the middle of a National park on your first run. Local parks such as Discovery Park and Carkeek park off some great trails to get started on.

CON: “I’m Not Fit Enough”

Finally you might be worried that you are not fit enough or not prepared. If that’s the case get out and train! If you want to lock in a commitment date then entering a short race in the future is a good idea, although this is not essential. Alternatively you could set a date with a friend to run a route you would find challenging. Once you are ready to start training lace up and get out the door! We will be putting together some content on how to put together a basic training program, but a good start is to aim to do 3 easy runs per week to start building an aerobic base. Easy runs should make up most of your training, up to 80%, and should be done at a pace where you can maintain a conversation with a training partner.

What I Love About Trail Running

Personally I love to get out on a technical trail and find the best sets of foot placements to maintain my pace. I love to hit a steep grinding climb that leads to an awesome summit, or hit a winding trail that follows the contours of a mountain side giving me time to check out the valleys below. At the end of the day trail runners and trail races are pretty chill. So we encourage you to get out there and give it a go, and find out what you love about the trails!!

But Who Am I To Be Giving You Advice? Well, Here’s A Little Bit About Me…

I moved to Seattle from New Zealand in 2014. While growing up I had done some trail races and Orienteering in New Zealand, but no long trail races. After spending a year in Seattle I felt obliged to start exploring the outdoors we have such great access to. With some motivation from Chris McDougal’s book Born to Run and the film “Unbreakable” I started to increase my training load, explore my local trails and get into the sport of ultrarunning. Early in the year I started working with Kinetic Sports Rehab to address tight areas in my legs that I didn’t want to develop into injuries. By working with Kinetic throughout the year, as well as doing my recommended home exercises, I was able to avoid any major injuries and increase my training load significantly on the previous year. I doubled my mileage and more than tripled my elevation gain. I completed my first three 50km trail races, averaging 5 hours per race and visited all the colors of the podium. With the help of Kinetic I have been able to change from a casual runner to an amatuer trail racer. I’m looking forward to what 2017 will bring.