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Alleviate Back Pain with some simple moves!

I’ve worked with many people who have come to me via the Physio & the doctor in the last 12 months with differing levels of back pain. There seems to be a constant diagnosis of weak core, weak glutes & tight hamstrings! Ok, so as far as some of that may be relevant, the most commonly overlooked factor is tight hip flexors.

From my work as a T.P.I Golf Fitness Pro, I have learn’t that with any injury, you must first diagnose whether it is Joint mobility dysfunction or Tissue extensibility dysfunction and once you have done that, you can set about trying to heal yourself.

If your injury is skeletal, i.e a joint issue then of course you will need to seek assistance via the Medical Team, Doctors, Physios & Chiropractors etc However if the condition is a Tissue issue then a good PT should be able to take the shackles off.

Unlocking the Hips:

As you can see in the image, there are a lot of area’s where pain caused by hip issues can manifest itself, in time, leading to severe referred back pain. I’d have to say that 9/10 people that I have dealt with have not had hip joint issues but tissue issues around the joint, that prevents the hips range of motion. I have found that the key to good hip health is a combination of foam rolling combined with mobility & flexibility exercises. The hip is a ball & socket joint and it is has multi directional planes of movement and therefore should be trained in that way. Leg swings across 3 planes (Front to back, Left to Right and diagonal) are fantastic mobility exercises for the hip, moving the hip in a circular motion also. Multi directional lunges are preferred to same plane weighted lunges and an overhead lunge will help to break down the fascia in the front hip & quad area. Internal & External rotation of the hip is of a massive importance to Golfers as they turn in & out of each hip simultaneously during their Golf swing and exercises focussing on that motion are vital. The hip flexor, or Iliopsoas is the only muscle that links the upper body to the lower body and the welfare of this muscle is a major player in allieviating back pain. If this muscle is weak or tight, the motion of the hips can be compromised thus affecting the knees and/or the back. Oftentimes people mistake a lack of mobility in the hip as a strength issue, it is massively important to point out that strength is reduced with a lack of mobility in the joint so focus more on mobility first rather than strength! The hip flexor can become shortened with increased periods of sitting or driving etc so it is wise to stretch & mobilise following these periods. Certainly if you’ve been sitting at a desk all day and then head off to the gym for a stint on the bike or treadmill or a squat session, you’re going to feel that the next day!


Releasing the Hams & Strengthening the Glutes:

Ok so another problem with sitting a lot is the shortened position that you take the hamstrings into and whenever the hamstrings become tight the poor old back often gets lumbered with the pain. Stretching the hamstrings is easy enough to do with a resistance band as shown below:


The Glutes can also be stretched off to ease tension with pigeon stretch:


The glutes can often lose strength and exercises to assist their performance such as Bridges 1 & 2 leg, Hip Presses & single leg deadlifts will really hit the spot. The Glutes are the largest muscle in the body and when they are strong they massively assist the body’s performance both in Sport and daily activity.

Loosening the Erector Spinae & strengthening the core:

For loosening the back I prefer to see the use of rollers, this helps the individual to locate the area’s of tension for themselves and teaches them how to deal with it. However lengthening the spine is also worthwhile with total body extensions either standing or prone. Curving and arching the spine is a worthwhile daily movement as are rotary motions and sidebends. These are all motions that the spine should undertake when mobile and if you struggle with these movements 9/10 times it will be because of the restrictions that tight, matted down muscles are placing on the spine rather than the spine itself. Obviously another reason why the back may be overloaded could be due to a weak or disengaging core, again this is simple enough to work on once muscular tension has been released with the use of core exercises that keep the spine in extension such as mountain climbers. Although this seems to be a simple motion, full concentration is required to engage the core rather than to simply pump the legs forward with a rounded back. You can progress to doing this in plank on a stability ball. Crunches need not be frowned upon as a poor selection of core exercise, they just need to be performed correctly.


Remember, the easiest way to deal with back pain is with the correct diagnosis, once you’ve discovered whether you have a tissue or joint issue you can set about a healing pathway, if its joint then bring in the medics, if not set to work on regaining mobility with a few simple 30 minutes of mobility, flexibility & strength exercises.

For any assistance with aggravating or persistent injuries, get in touch, I’ll be happy to help.




If you have been avoiding Potatoes because you think they’re fattening then you can stop right now. If you’ve been told that they’re empty calories, then you’ve been lied to. So, are they bad for you or are they an quality food? A food that has been vilified as a devil Carb for years?

In the last 20 years or so Potatoes have received a growing bad press as a contributor to the obesity crisis that we are now in the midst of as well as the associated health complications that go with it. A conclusion has been drawn that Potatoes are empty calories and therefore over that period, Potato consumption has declined. With hindsight we can now see that Potatoes were not to blame for our rapidly altering average human physique.

Lets get to some facts, first off, how can a Potato be empty calories? If they were then they’d provide ZERO nutrients. In fact that statement could not be further from the truth!

Potatoes ARE rich in Carbohydrate and Carbs ARE a vital nutrient group that should be included in our diet! They also provide a concentrated source of Vitamin C, Dietary Fibre and Potassium. Incidentally all of which are nutrients which are nutrients of concern in todays obesity crisis. Fibre is lacking massively in the Western diet, a massive shame as it is a 5 Star nutrient that has a positive effect on the bodies blood sugar management levels, Heart health, Body composition & better digestion. Potatoes are high in soluble fibre which lowers cholesterol and is associated with leaner stomachs.

A Potato contains up to 3 times as much Potassium as a Banana and Potassium contributes to Heart , Bone and Kidney health. They even contain good amounts of Magnesium, Phosphorus, Iron, Zinc & Vitamin B6.

That demonised Potato also contains Resistant Starch which can: Increase Metabolic Rate, Reduce Insulin response to a meal, Improve Insulin Sensitivity, Reduce hunger, Increase Fat Burning & Decrease Fat Storage, Preserve Muscle Mass & Promote Weight-loss. It also acts as a pre-biotic fibre & thats a good thing! (Cooking can reduce the resistant starch level but that raises once they have cooled down).

Potatoes contain less than 1 calorie per gram although if you can only eat them as French Fries that calorific value increases dramatically. Of course boiled potatoes or a plain jacket will provide you with some decent calories however stuffing the jacket with Cheese, Beans, Sour Cream etc rockets that but in truth, the humble potato is not to blame!

So to sum up, Sugar is an empty calorie, Potato isn’t! Scientists now claim that the Potato is a forgotten source of nutrients and the potato is a fine source of Fibre &Potassium.

Eat them as a Carb component to your meal but eat them clean rather than ladled with excess calories!

Double Whammy! Lose your Christmas stomach & create Golf or Tennis Power in one exercise.



Ok lets face it if you’ve had “Plank 3×60″ written on your program for a month or more you need to ask why. There are many ways to jazz up a plank or a side plank with a few simple additions but there is an even better way to hit the obliques whilst working the Glutes, Shoulders & Triceps at the same time, The Kettlebell Snatch. Planks are limited anyway, where do you take them? 5 minutes? 10?

I like to see the Kettlebell Snatch implemented with clients of all ages and abilities, its great for power development in athletes (Golf & Tennis particularly) and general strengthening & core development in others. It’s also a massive calorie burner due to the muscles recruited & effort required. As with every exercise it’s form first so start with a comfortable weight, once you have that down, play around with your rep range whilst staying within yourself with weight, 6 reps with a heavier load and up to 15 reps if you want to work on reducing Fat but with a lower load. If you’re a Golf or Tennis Athlete working on Power this exercise needs to challenge your strength capability and be done at speed. If you have existing shoulder conditions I recommend The Pull Apart Shoulder series and Trigger Pointing to solve those issues first.

To get fitter for the February Snow slopes, Hit the Golf ball further, Condition for Tennis or Torch Fat at as Fast a rate as is humanly possible… Email, Call or Text me! MW