Maintenance tool kit

I’ve been talking about the importance of good posture recently and figured discussing the tools that might be worth investing in in order to help maintain it. The maintenance of good posture comes down to having our skeletal structure correctly aligned. For this to happen our soft tissues must be balanced so that we aren’t getting any asymmetrical pulling from any one structure or number of different ones, think about the effects of sitting and how it affects the front and back of our bodies differently. Once we have balance in terms of the “pull” between opposing areas we need to have the strength to maintain this good position. So my list would include, though not be limited to:

Heavy resistance bands

Foam roller

Rubber ball

Plate loading dumbbell or Kettlebells

You can do a lot of mobility work without the use of a resistance band but they give us the ability to really help work around capsular issues that they are, in my opinion, a must have. Sometimes it is the tissue around the joint capsule that is the problem, all the other soft tissues are in good repair, and when we address this part of the problem the movement restriction disappears. The use of bands also allows us not just to target the joint itself but also to emphasise certain positions, as when doing work on the hip flexors where the use of the band really adds an extra dimension as we use the band to pull the hip forward and seems to let use get to “more” of the tissue.

Foam rollers are a great tool for dealing with fascial restrictions at home. When using it is best to move very slowly trying to create a pressure wave of tissue as you move along the area you are working. Fascia does not release well when attacked quickly but move slowly allowing yourself to relax as you move will make a big difference, 3 or 4 slow runs over an area will make much more difference to tissue quality than zipping over the area quickly. A hard rubber ball compliment to the foam roller as it can be more effective in certain areas that the roller doesn’t really get to, such as the glutes, rhomboids, pecs and plantar fascia.

I’m always preaching to my clients of the need to get stronger, that it is fundamental to their goal of pain free movement. From combating the effects of aging to helping make you a better athlete being stronger will help. The stronger you are, to a degree, the more room for error you have in everything from your diet to your ability to deal with injuries. Now you don’t need to develop the strength of an Olympic level weightlifter but with a couple of dumbbell handles and plates or a couple of Kettlebells to can go a long way to achieving a very good level of strength that will allow you to be more injury resistant. With a set of dumbbells you can do things like goblet squats, deadlifts, swings, rows, presses, farmers walk to name but a few exercises and it will only cost you about £60-70, or the cost of 1 months gym membership in some places, to buy enough plates to cover your needs. A couple of Kettlebells will cost about the same amount.