What to do when you have shoulder pain

Do you have shoulder pain? You may have a diagnosed injury such as a rotator cuff injury or frozen shoulder. Or you may feel pinching or strain around your shoulders affecting the range of movement of your arm. You may experience tightness in your shoulders contributing to neck pain.

In my Pilates studio in Lennox Head I work with clients with shoulder issues to improve the way they move and reduce pain and the likelihood of injuries recurring.

High intensity exercise can exacerbate an underlying condition so my approach is to work gently to learn correct technique before levelling up.

Signs your shoulders need care:

  • Tight neck and shoulders
  • Pinching or clunking of the shoulder as your arm moves
  • Rotator Cuff injury
  • Reduced range of movement of your arm

Why are you getting pain

Our shoulders are designed to move in a certain way. When we have movement habits that wear and tear one muscle or tendon over others this results in pain in the shoulder complex.

Pilates Lennox Head

There is a lot going on in a shoulder. There is one thing that will always help your shoulder complex. The position of your arm. With exception of bone spurs, all shoulder issues are improved by proper humeral head (top of the arm) position. You will avoid developing bone spurs by improving your arm position while resting and during movement.

When the humeral head (top of your arm) is being pulled up by tight Trapezius muscles that join up into your neck this puts strain on the rotator cuff muscles. Or if your pec muscles at the front of your chest are pulling your humeral head (top of your arm) forward this will strain the rotator cuff muscles.

Rotator cuff injuries

The job of your rotator cuff muscles is to rotate the top of your arm bone and lift it away from your body. If the position of the head of your arm bone is ‘off centre’ this will wear one or more of your rotator cuff muscles more than the others.

Shoulder bursitis

Bursitis is another common shoulder complaint. You can see in the image above if the arm bone is pressing up and the bursa between the arm bone and the clavicle is getting squashed, over a long period of times, this leads to inflammation of the bursa or shoulder bursitis.

Frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder also known as adhesive capsulitis is characterised by stiffness and pain in the shoulder. Starting gradually and progressing to limit virtually all movement of the arm. If you think you may have frozen shoulder definitely consult a manual therapist as well as trying the moves below.

Simple moves to improve your arm position

While standing

How you stand can make a difference to the position of your arms in your shoulder joints. If you habitually stand with rounded shoulders this can impinge on the bursa in the shoulder, lengthen and weaken the rotator muscles that attach to your scapula at the back. A good tick is to roll your palms out when standing. This helps to roll your humeral head (top of your arm) and place it back into your shoulder joint.

Pec stretch against the wall

Most of us have shoulders that are rounded forward. You can blame sitting a computer, driving, watching TV, most of what we do involves this rounded forward posture. As a result the muscles at the front of the chest that join to the top of your arms known as the “pec” muscles tend to get tight and short. In order to get the top of your arm back into your shoulder joint you may have to stretch these pec muscles. Try this stretch below.

Band rotations

Pilates Lennox Head

Arm lifts with bar

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While driving

Pinkies lead the way

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While sleeping

Your position while sleeping can negatively impact your shoulder. If you side sleep on a flat pillow your shoulder can get squashed underneath you as in the image below on the left. Try a higher pillow that keeps your neck in line with your spine and takes this weight off your shoulder as in the image below right.

While lifting

I can never let an article go by without mentioning the hip hinge! Hip hinging is a great way to approach lifting in everyday life and this really applies to shoulder position as well. We want the arms to be supported by the back when lifting. If your back is over arched then the arms won’t get the support they need from the back muscles. A quick trick is to tuck the chin when you hip hinge to lift something (see images below). The image on the left shows me popping my chin forward and my back arching as a result. In the image on the right I am tucking my chin and my spine is neutral to allow the full strength of my back to support my arms – a better position for lifting.

A little every day

The important thing for shoulder care , and really any new movement pattern you want to learn, is to practice a little everyday. Try these moves above everyday for at least 2 weeks to see if your shoulders start to feel better. Or better yet get in touch to schedule a session that is tailored for you.

Pilates Lennox Head

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, Pregnancy and Post-natal Exercise Specialist, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online.

5 reasons to look after your pelvic health (at any age)

Pelvic health is usually not your top priority, I get that, but pelvic health actually gets you closer to your health goals than you think!

At my Pilates studio in Lennox Head I work with clients to improve movement, reduce pain and build strength and flexibility. The goals that my clients have range from “improve my core strength” to “being able to walk the coastal walk without pain”. Pelvic health play a role in achieving both these goals plus a few other like:

  • reducing lower back pain
  • having better posture
  • treating incontinence
  • improve leg strength

If you are interested in improving these things read on to find out why good pelvic health will help you with these things and how to get it!

1 Your pelvic position determines your posture and your pain

Your pelvis attaches to your spine at the top and to your legs (femurs) at the bottom. It is wrapped in layers of muscles. The length of these muscles determine to position of your pelvis, whether it tilts forward or back, or whether it is twisted.

The image below shows how tight leg muscles at the front pull the pelvis forward and tight leg muscles at the back pull the pelvis back. This image also shows how the pelvic position affects the position of the spine. If your pelvic position is too far forward or pulling too far back this can cause chronic back and hip pain.

Knowing your resting pelvic position and how this influences the alignment of your spine (your posture) is the first step in understanding how your pelvic health is affecting the rest of your body.

You can assess this yourself by standing side on to a mirror and observing if your pelvis is tipping forward (belly hangs forward) or tipping back (bottom tucks under).

Pilates and pelvic health
Leg muscle length and pelvic position

2 Know the difference between pelvic strength vs pelvic tension

Clients will often come to me wanting to improve their core strength. When I dig a bit deeper to understand why they will often tell me they think they have a weak pelvic floor and they need to “tighten things up”. It is important to understand that tight muscles are weak muscles. It is often (but not always) that when people say they have weak pelvic floor they may have symptoms such as incontinence (leaking) or prolapse. These conditions often (but not always) indicate tightness in the pelvic floor muscles that cause pelvic floor dysfunction (including leaking or prolapse).

In order to strengthen your pelvic floor you need to be able to relax it. WAIT WHAT? Yes. Simply focusing on tightening your pelvic floor will usually make your symptoms worse over time!

To relax your pelvic floor it can be helpful to sit on a rolled up towel to bring your attention to the area. On your inhale focus on letting your pelvic floor muscles drop into the towel. Or try this. The more they drop the better they will lift on the exhale, this flexibility and movement of the pelvic floor muscles builds strength over time. If your pelvic floor muscles are unable to relax and move they are not able to get stronger.

3 Pelvic movement for pain free walking

Understanding your pelvic health is essential for pain free walking. We have already discussed how the pelvic is wrapped in muscles and depending on which muscles are tight and which ones are weak influences the position of your pelvis. Similar to the movement needed in your pelvic floor to build strength, the same can be said for your hips. The muscles in your hips each attach to different parts of your pelvis and your legs, as the bones move the muscles support them. There is an interplay between the muscles and bones. If the bones of the pelvis are fixed and don’t move then the surrounding muscles get weak.

Pelvic health

Check out this video showing the movement of the pelvis and legs during walking and what happen if one part of the pelvic girdle gets stuck.

4 Pelvic balance for strong legs

Your legs start where they join to your pelvis. The top of your thigh bone (femur) sits in the bottom of the pelvis. If the position of your pelvis is being tugged by tight leg muscles, then the muscles on the other side are going to be weak and long. This is why the position of your pelvis is important for building leg strength. If you do a lot of leg work without paying attention to the position of your pelvis your progress will non existent at worst, slow at best.

Achieving pelvic balance is about balancing core (abdominal) strength with leg strength to support good pelvic position. This often involves glute stretching and hip flexor stretches to get the balance right for each person.

5 Relaxing pelvic floor for breathing

Your pelvic floor functions as a diaphragm, that means it mirrors the activity of your thoracic diaphragm (under your ribcage). Your pelvic diaphragm moves up and down with your breath just as your thoracic diaphragm does. If your pelvic diaphragm is tight from excessive training or holding on then it will not move with your thoracic diaphragm and this will limit the capacity of your breathing which will, in time, result in a less mobile ribcage.

We all know that breathing is important to supply our bodies with oxygen. It is also important to keep the muscles around our ribcage strong and supple. If they move less because the lungs take in less air these muscles get weaker. They are then less able to support our arms and neck for standing and walking.

In summary…

Your pelvic floor is right in the middle of your body. Every movement you do requires coordination and support from your pelvic floor with other muscles in your body.

Your pelvic floor is the foundation of your core strength. To build core strength without a healthy, functioning pelvic floor is like building a heavy building on the sand. It won’t hold.

For long term independence, continence and mobility, work with a movement professional who understands pelvic floor health to get the most out of your movement efforts and your body.

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, Pregnancy and Post-natal Exercise Specialist, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online.

Pilates near Ballina

Why you need to stop judging your body

It doesn’t matter what exercise you are doing, or not doing, stop judging your body and you will get so much more out of it!

I hear it from clients a lot, “this is my bad hip”, “this is my ‘lazy’ leg”, “my knees are atrocious”, “my back is a mess”, “I have no core”. Just harmless comments right?

Wrong. Being in a habit of judging your body can really get in the way of your health goals.

Here are some reasons why you need to stop judging your body. Body judgement is not helpful to anyone. Here are some of the things you miss out on if you are in the grip of body judgement.

Judgement kills curiosity

Curiosity is one of the greatest tools you have to build a loving relationship with your body. If you are judging one body part or your whole body, this can really kill your ability to be curious.

For example “I have atrocious knees” is a judgement. There isn’t really anywhere you can go from that judgement. If we reframe that thought to:

“I have pain in my knees when I bend them like this, I wonder why they hurt when I do that?”

This gives us an opportunity to learn more about our body. It opens us up to trying new things that might change how we experience our knees.

Sitting in judgement of our body makes discovering new experiences in our body more difficult.

Mind body connection

The mind body connection is the link between a person’s thoughts, attitudes and behaviours and their physical health.

In movement practices like Pilates, Yoga and TaiChi, the flow of the movement and our focused intention creates a deeper sense of connection of the mind with the body.

Awareness of breath is a part of these practices, calming the nervous system, helping to quiet mental chatter by focusing on the movement, bringing us into the present moment.

Judgement of our bodies can really hold us back from this wonderful inner connection with ourselves.

If we are constantly worrying if our leg is high enough or we are doing the exercise exactly right, we can miss what’s going on inside.

Seek out a teacher who holds a safe space for you to stop judging your body, connect with you breath and get into flow.

Developing self esteem

Self esteem, or feeling good about yourself regardless of your outside achievements is a foundation of wellbeing. This foundation is there for you if you are injured or you lose a loved one or life deals you a blow completely outside of your control.

Developing self esteem does not come from working really hard for your dream body! It doesn’t come from working so hard that everyone in the office can’t do a thing without you.

Self esteem comes from appreciating what you have and who you are, and that includes your body. As she is today. Self esteem is the understanding that you are worthy of being here in the world without having to prove a thing.

For women self esteem can get very tangled with body image issues. I know because I have had this confusion myself. Since I could remember I have wanted to be a different shape than I am. I was taught to diet early on and I have confused developing self esteem with trying to have a different body many times.

I now know, I have the body I have. I am better able to care for the body I have if I feel loving towards her.

Role model for the next generation

Learning to appreciate and love our bodies as they are isn’t just good for us, it’s good for everyone around us. Especially our children. Children learn pretty much everything from us so we are in a great position to model love and appreciation of our own bodies to instil that in them.

When young women see older women of all different body types continuing to be physical as they age, a world of possibilities is delivered to them. Embodied women change the world just be connecting with their own bodies exactly as they are right now.

I am deeply passionate about supporting women to find a way to build strength and mobility by connecting deeply with their own body as she is today. Through Pilates, Yoga and functional movement I love to teach women about the miracle of their body and help them see themselves with new eyes.

Pilates near Ballina

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, Pregnancy and Post-natal Exercise Specialist, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online.

Tips for starting a new habit

Starting a new habit can be tough and now that our New Years resolutions are distant memories it’s a good time to check in with how we are tracking towards our health goals. We all have new habits we want to make a part of our lives!As a Pilates teacher teaching Pilates near Ballina, as a mum juggling business and family and as a partner I rely on healthy habits and routines to support me EVERYDAY.

I want you to have the support of healthy habits so I have collected my best tips for starting a new habit in your life. I draw on lots of experts for my approach: BJ Fogg and his Tiny Habits work influences me a lot, Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield and The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor are books I have read and reread to help me develop my approach to self care.

Tip 1: We change by feeling good

This is number one for a reason. It’s important. Everything we know about brain function tells us this, we change by feeling good not bad. This means when we choose our habit and follow the steps below to support ourselves for success, we cannot beat ourselves up when we forget to do the thing or when things don’t go to plan. It’s all feedback especially ‘failures’ and if we use them to learn and to tweak they are valuable!

Changing by feeling good can also mean changing our self talk. Berating ourselves for starting small or for needing to work on this habit in the first place is very unhelpful. So if you have this kind of self talk going on it’s important to shine a light on it, see this pattern of self talk, thank it and ask it to quiet down and move aside for some more helpful thoughts like. “Starting small sets me up for success” and “This is what I need to work on right now, no judgement”.

Tip 2: Observe your daily habits

You already have habits. They may not be ones you have consciously chosen but we all have behaviour that we repeat without thinking. What do you do when you get out of bed? What are behaviours you repeat everyday and in what order do you usually do them?

Take a few days to become very observant about your own repetitive behaviours at different times of the day. Do you always reach for something sweet after lunch? Or turn the radio on when you walk in the door? Do you always brush your teeth just before bed? Be observant over a few days and then write down these repetitive behaviours in the order that you usually do them through the day.

Your list of repetitive behaviours and their order is the blueprint for your life. These are the behaviours that set your course towards (or away from) your goals. Notice we are not judging the behaviours, just listing them and noting when in the day we do them.

Tip 3: Choose your new habit

There are a couple of important things to note about starting a new habit. It needs to be something you really WANT to do, not something you think you SHOULD do. Just roll that around your head for a moment. Something you really WANT to do.

The other thing to consider when choosing your new habit is the size of the behaviour. You want your new habit to be TINY. I know you are super excited about doing 50 push ups a day and you are feeling really motivated BUT I want your new habit to be something you can do on your worst day. Even on your worst day you can have a go at 5 push ups, but 50? No too much, it’s too hard, I have a headache. It’s not to say you can’t do more than 5 push ups on a good day but you commit to doing at least 5 everyday no matter how you feel.

So you have chosen something YOU really want to do and you have shrunk it down to a tiny behaviour. Time for Tip 4.

Tip 4 Find a prompt

To find a prompt, I want you to pick up your list of repetitive behaviours and look for a logical, convenient place to slip in your new habit. For example if your new habit is to drink more water and your tiny version of that is to fill your water bottle everyday, maybe when you take your dish back to the sink in the morning, you put your new habit in here. Your prompt would be when you put the dish in the sink, you find your water bottle and fill it up.

The key here is for the prompt to make sense, it puts you in the right place to do your behaviour and acts as a reminder to do it. If you find that you forget your new behaviour it may be because you don’t have the right prompt. Trial and error with prompts can teach us about how best to support ourselves.

Tip 5 Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate!

I said that 3 times because this is the step that everyone skips. And this bit is essential. Every time you do the new habit, you have to celebrate! In a way that feels good for you. I like a good fist pump in the air, but some prefer a discrete nod of self satisfaction, others like a victory dance. Whatever makes you feel well pleased with yourself!

This goes back to Tip 1 We change by feeling good. The positive feelings we get from the celebration capture the attention of our brain. Our brain takes note of what happened just before we got that flood of good feeling! The brain takes note and will want to repeat the behaviour that led to the good feeling.

Celebrating needs to happen straight after you do the new habit so your brain associates the good feeling with the new habit. This is the way to anchor a habit loop in your brain.

Tip 6 Review

Now when things don’t go to plan or you forget to do your habit here are some important steps. Celebrate when you remember! This is usually when we like to give ourselves a big judgement kick. Resist the urge to judge yourself right now, take the moment to celebrate that you remembered your new habit, yes fist pump, victory dance what ever is your thing. Then go and do your new habit right away and celebrate again!

If you find yourself forgetting a lot it might be that you don’t have the right habit, either it’s not something YOU really want to do or it’s not TINY enough to do even on your worst day. Or it might be that you don’t have the right prompt so go back to your list of repetitive behaviours and see if there is a better spot to link in your new habit.

Staying out of judgement and seeing all outcomes as feedback is the way to review. Never forget Tip 1 We change by feeling good. As soon as we are judging ourselves we are making it harder to make a new habit stick.

Starting a new habit can be daunting but if we take the self judgement out of it and use what we know about our brains it can really help us to succeed. If you need more help check out my free Tiny Self Care course. This course steps you through the process above with video prompts and support to ask questions. So you can move closer to your health goals.

Pilates near Ballina

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, Pregnancy and Post-natal Exercise Specialist, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online.

Will my pelvic floor ever recover?

If you are wondering what happened to your pelvic floor strength and if your pelvic floor will ever recover, this blog is for you. You may feel pressure down whenever you use your abs, you may leak when you sneeze, jump or cough. You may just have no idea whether your pelvic floor is working at all but your lower back gets sore a lot.

These are common symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction (including pelvic floor weakness). Unfortunately if the symptoms have been around for more than 6 weeks it is unlikely they will resolve on their own.

The good new is that it is likely your pelvic floor will recover by working on your alignment, breathing and the coordination of your muscles. This is non-invasive treatment that you can do with the guidance of a Pelvic Corrective Exercise Specialist and potentially a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist. This is the path to getting your confidence and your life back!

How do I know if I have pelvic floor issues?

Some signs you have lost pelvic floor functions are:

  • Leaking under pressure
  • Pressure down into your vagina
  • Pelvic pain, hip pain or lower back pain
  • Painful sex

Whilst these symptoms are common, they are not normal. Not due to age or having babies. These are signs that your pelvic floor is not functioning well.

How did this happen?

Factors that contribute to decreased Pelvic Floor function are:

  • Pregnancy 

Carrying and growing a baby in your abdomen places extra pressure on your pelvic floor. Hips spread to make room for baby ‘flattening’ pelvic floor muscles making them less responsive. 

  • Hormonal changes

Hormones can influence the quality of soft tissue (muscles) in your body. During pregnancy and postpartum, hormones makes ligaments and muscles for ‘stretchy’ to allow for birth. During menopause hormonal fluctuations can change muscle mass and hydration.

  • Pelvic floor trauma or injury

Tearing, bruising and scar tissue from any incident but most commonly childbirth (vaginal and cesarean) can cause damage to pelvic floor muscles and interrupt function.

  • Faulty pressure management (alignment and breathing)

As part of the ‘core muscles’, pelvic floor muscles help to manage pressure in the body and keep the spine safe. Prolonged issues with alignment can affect the function of both the diaphragm and the pelvic floor muscle group, resulting in poor pressure management.

What’s actually going on?

A common pattern for women (but won’t be correct for everyone) is that they may notice decreased Pelvic Floor tone. They start to hold their pelvic floor tight in order to strengthen it more.

Instead what happens is the pelvic floor muscles become tighter and less responsive. This makes the symptoms worse.

TRY THIS: Can you relax your pelvic floor? Can you feel the muscles drop down? I find it easier to find this at first on the INHALE. As you breathe in relax your pelvic floor and feel it descend. I have heard this described as a sensation of the pelvic floor muscles ‘blooming open’. Can you feel your pelvic floor muscles let go? If not you may have pelvic floor tightness.

Pelvic floor tightness goes hand in hand with pelvic floor weakness. Imagine if you held your arm up in front of your body to get it stronger. You hold it up all day. The muscles fatigue and become shorter and tighter. If you did this for days you would not get a strong arm but a weak, tight arm and a sore neck!

Your pelvic floor is no different. The muscles need to be able to relax and lengthen before they are ready for strength building.

If you think you may have pelvic floor tightness, get assessed by a pelvic floor physiotherapist. This will take the guess work out of your recovery and they will help you understand what is going on in your body.

What helps your pelvic floor recover?

Here are x great things you can do help your pelvic floor recovery:

  • Relax your pelvic floor muscles on your inhale, focus on letting them go and letting them descend on your in breath.

Doing this many times through the day will help with lengthening your pelvic floor muscles. Remember if your muscles can lengthen and relax then they can lift. A tight pelvic floor means a weak pelvic floor not a strong pelvic floor.

  • Spend time in positions where you can spread your sits bones

Childs pose and happy baby pose are great positions to support natural pelvic floor function. Use these positions to practice relaxing your pelvic floor on your inhale.

Ten to fifteen minutes of brisk walking 4-5 times a week is great for your pelvic floor. Remember not to be holding tight, allow your breath to descend into your pelvic floor muscles as you move around

  • Get assessed by a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist and find out what is going on for you

Everybody is different and if your symptoms are impacting on your life to the point where you feel less confident, you are in discomfort and pain everyday, your relationships are suffering, it’s worth taking action because you don’t have to live like this!

What doesn’t help your pelvic floor recover?

  • Doing kegels everyday even if you are not feeling any improvement

Kegels will not work for everybody. If they are not working for you go to the list above and start working through it.

  • Become aware of whether you are holding your pelvic floor up during the day

It can become an unconscious thing where we hold tightness in our pelvic floor to ‘keep it strong’ or to ‘stop it from dropping’. This will make it difficult for your pelvic floor to function and get stronger – see the analogy of the arm above. Start with awareness and then you can start practice relaxing.

  • Strong core work outs

It’s common especially for post-natal women to feel like they have to get back into intense abdominal / core workouts to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles. Unfortunately if you have issues with pelvic floor function this will only make things worse. Beginning with restoring function and learning good pressure management is the best approach for long term pelvic floor strength.

  • Pancake bum or tight, weak glutes

If you are wondering where your butt muscles went, this will not be helping your pelvic floor. We need good strong glute muscles to support our pelvic position, without this our pelvic floor takes up the work of other muscles by gripping tight. Then everything gets weak and tight together. Release, lengthen and strengthen your glutes to support your pelvic floor function.

Why haven’t I heard about this from my doctor?

Women’s health is definitely playing ‘catch up’ when it comes to supporting women to enjoy healthy pelvic floor function. The primary focus for our health system is reducing maternal morbidity, keeping mums and babies alive. And rightly so! The focus is not on helping women maintain a healthy pelvic floor throughout their lives, even though the impact of pelvic floor issues can be debilitating.

I think the lack of focus on this area of women’s health is also related to the invisibility of mothering and menopause in our society and a belief that women just have to put up with pelvic floor issues as they have children and age. But the truth is women without children and men also experience pelvic floor issues.

Pelvic floor issues can affect your confidence (incontinence and pressure down), give you pain and discomfort everyday (constipation, low back pain, hip pain, pelvic pain) and put strain on your relationship (painful sex). Pelvic floor issues are preventable through good assessment and targeted release and training. Imagine your life without these issues, it’s possible to get there!

For regular movement and mindset tips for pelvic floor recovery sign up to my (mostly) weekly email newsletter.

Post-natal movement & Pilates

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, Pregnancy and Post-natal Exercise Specialist, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online.

Postnatal recovery – what does it look like?

Are you a mum and feeling wobbly in all the wrong places? Maybe you’ve tried a new fitness routine or a boot camp or just a few crunches at home. If that didn’t feel good, you’re not sure how to move forward and get stronger.  After having a baby there is the 6 week check up from a doctor before you are cleared for exercise. This is an important moment. Unfortunately GP’s often don’t have the time to fully investigate any symptoms and lots of women are cleared for exercise before their postnatal recovery is complete.

What does postnatal recovery mean? That you have your pre-baby body back? No! That you can do 50 sit ups? No! Postnatal recovery means that you regain the basic functions of your body after having a baby. That your breathing is deep and relaxed, that your continence has recovered, that you feel no chronic back and hip or pelvic pain.

What happens during pregnancy?

There are a lot of changes that happen in our bodies during pregnancy. 

  • Your ribcage spreads flattening your diaphragm and making your breathing more shallow. 
  • As your baby grows your abdominal stretch and become less efficient , your back starts to take over the hard work.
  • Your pelvis relaxes to make way for the weight of the baby and puts pressure down on your pelvic floor muscles, sometimes other muscles have to compensate and start gripping to support the pelvic floor
  • The hormone relaxin in your body means that your ligaments will be more relaxed than usual. 

These changes are why it is so important to start gently and build strength carefully after having a baby.  

The pressure to get your pre baby-body back is very strong. And not very helpful when you are recovering from a hugely traumatic event in your body. 

If you didn’t see yourself as a fit, strong person before you had your baby it can feel overwhelming to know where to start with movement and fitness and lets face it, with all the other things on your ’to do list’ it is so easy for taking care of your to be pushed to the bottom of the list.

Why is it important to reconnect with your postnatal body?

  1. Connection with your body improves your mental health, releasing stress, getting good endorphins flowing and giving you a moment to be present with yourself.
  2. The Pelvic floor muscles are put under a lot of strain during pregnancy. If you have symptoms such as pressure down into your vagina or incontinence these will not resolve on their own. These symptoms are normal not necessary, they can be resolved and you deserve the care to help your body recover properly.
  3. Connection with your body helps you keep up with your kids as they grow. Learning how to lift and bend in ways that make you stronger, rather than in ways that cause you pain, gives you the confidence to be a physically active mum.

How to reconnect with your postnatal body

1. Patience:

Be patient this is less about fitness, and more about reconnections and recovery. Be willing for your movements to be precise and small, targeted to your own needs and your own body and you will progress more quickly than if you go big and fast and risk injury and setbacks.

2. Breath:

Focus on your breathing first. Your core muscles are deeply connected to your breathing system. If your breath is shallow or your ribs are stuck this will be an issue for building strength. Be prepared to work with your breath, sometimes this can take some focus. Once your breathing is optimised you will feel great and you will have a stable base to work from.

3. Get Assessed:

If you have symptoms, pelvic pain, incontinence, pressure down into your vagina, get assessed by a pelvic floor physiotherapist. Then you know what you’re dealing with and we can target your recovery. There are so many symptoms that women are left with after childbirth that are normal but not necessary but they won’t go away on their own.

4. Improve Everyday Movement:

The movements that you do everyday matter most for your strength and sense of confidence in your body. How you hold your baby to feed. How you pick up the laundry, how you lift your baby up and down out of the bed or the cot will all influence how your body recovers, how much pain you have and how long it takes to reconnect with your body and feel strong and confident

5. Scar Massage:

If you have had a Caesarean birth then scar care and scar massage is important for full pelvic floor and core recovery. There is not a lot of information on this, but personally I have had amazing results from massaging my scar. I will do another post on this. Basically as soon as your scar has healed up GENTLE pressure, rubbing and massage over your scar will reduce scar tissue forming that can affect your organs and the layers of your deep abdominals.

These steps are all included in the Post -natal program I am developing. For more information on any of these steps sign up for my Post Natal Movement and Pilates group to receive weekly tips on post-natal recovery.

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, Pregnancy and Post-natal Exercise Specialist, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online.

Are you a mum with back pain?

How do I reduce back pain as a new mum? Back pain is common as a new mum. There’s more lifting than you expect. Your body has been through a lot. You may not have as much core strength as you did before you were pregnant. And you now have a little bundle of joy to lift with you as you do everything. Plus doing the extra laundry and other domestic work. That comes with being a mum.

I hate the idea that new mums are really struggling with back pain on top of everything else. It is exhausting. And it makes you less resilient for dealing with caring for another very vulnerable human at this really special time. Back pain can also persevere. So what starts as a niggle early on postpartum doesn’t always go away by itself and by the time your baby is eight months, there’s regular pain, slowing you down and affecting your ability to be a good parent.

What kind of back pain?

First things first, when you have back pain as a new mum is to rule some things out. How does the back pain present does it flare up after a particularly vigorous movement and are you immobile from the pain? Or is it a low grade pain that increases through the day from being on your feet and bending and lifting? This distinction is important. If you have immobilising pain that is triggered from sudden vigorous movement, I would suggest to go and see a physical therapist and get checked out for disc injuries or nerve damage.

It is important to know what you’re dealing with. Exercise is essential for both situations but it will be different exercise. This article will focus on back pain that is muscular. If you have the sort of pain that is low grade, it’s usually pretty good in the morning and then after a day of activity, lifting carrying moving about the pain is more pronounced and get worse through the day. You have muscular strain that’s occurring through your back and if that’s what you’re dealing with, then exercise can be really effective to just reduce this pain and not ever have it again.

Connecting to your core:

To address muscular back pain we need to address core strength. If your core muscles are weak and not coordinating with each other your back muscles (para spinals) will take over. If this is your pattern getting back into intense exercise can only make things worse. Can you connect with your core muscles? Try the hug the belly breath (below) to find out.

Next, we are going to focus on relaxing your butt as you contract your core. As a new mum it is very common to make up for lack of core strength by tucking your bottom under and gripping. It is usually a totally unconscious action that can really aggravate back pain. This 90:90 breathing exercise helps you connect with your core and check out whether you are a butt gripper!

Loading your core, keeping you back safe

Once you have connection with your pelvic floor again, you have your abdominal muscles firing and you are aware of any butt gripping, you can start to add load. If you have any trouble with connecting to your pelvic floor or your abdominal muscles I would recommend going to see pelvic floor for physiotherapist, sooner rather than later to help you get that connection really well before you start adding load.

Once you’re ready to start loading your abdominals, we need to really focus on form. The last thing we want to do is to get into an exercise routine where you are going to be loading your back when you want to be working your abdominal muscles and giving your back a rest. The dead bug exercise is great for this (below). I would recommend folding a tick towel in half or quarters and lying on it, as you lift your leg to load your abs imagine your back relaxing and ‘nestling’ into the towel. If your back gets tight reduce the load or reach out to a movement professional for help.

Bending and lifting to reduce back pain

Finally, it is very important to learn how to bend down to pick things up and lift things safely. Come on mamas how many times a day are we bending down and lifting a day? A LOT! Instead of this movement being a reason why you are getting sore, these movements can get you strong, if you are moving well and with awareness.

The general lifting instructions don’t go quite far enough. To really protect our low back it is well worth learning how to hip hinge to bend down. Use this technique for bending and lifting anything from a toy to a child and especially something heavy like a basket of wet washing.

Learning to lift and bend properly will protect your lower back through the day. It will help your core muscles get stronger and it will improve your posture as well. This is a really important part of postnatal recovery that is often forgotten. If you are not bending and lifting properly in the months after you have had your baby, you will likely continue to have back pain and to have more serious injuries down the track.

Frequency is everything

To reduce your back pain work through this flow at least 4 times per week, for the first week just do the first 2 exercises and then add the others as your time allows. Doing a little more often is more important than doing all the exercises once a week. We are retraining the soft tissue in your body and it needs regular training to respond the way you want it to, it is like learning a new skill. A little practice everyday is the best way to get results.

I hope you have found these ideas for dealing with postpartum back pain helpful. If you have any questions please contact me or comment below. New mums have enough to deal with, you shouldn’t need to cope with a sore back as well!

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, Pregnancy and Post-natal Exercise Specialist, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online.

How do I build core strength fast?

You need to build your core strength fast. You may have lower back pain, you may have shoulder and neck pain or you may just know your core is “weak as water” as a client recently said to me. Weak core strength can affect your body negatively in so many ways:

    • Hip instability and pain
    • Shoulder instability and pain
    • Neck pain
    • Lower back pain

I seriously love the question ‘ How do I build core strength fast?’ After several abdominal surgeries and pregnancy I have had to rebuild my core strength many times . I love helping people to regain their feelings of strength, energy and confidence.

If you struggle to stand or walk for any length of time it is likely you have a weak core. If after doing any lifting or exertion of any kind you feel sore in low back it is likely you have a weak core. If you struggle to lift the shopping from the car or pick up your child or grandchild it is likely you have a weak core. If you find getting up and down off the floor difficult you probably have a weak core.

Easy does it

Core strength is so important for everyday movement. This article covers my approach and I have one word for you that you may not be expecting – GENTLY. Going too hard too fast with core strength just leads to other muscles compensating resulting in a sore neck or a sore back for your efforts. This is why you will not see crunches, burpees and planks as part of my approach. These exercises can be great but they take a lot of core strength. If you are not there yet it is best to start gently to build your core strength quickly.

This article will outline what’s going on (or not going on) when you are suffering from weak core strength. We will cover some anatomy of your core, the muscle groups and how they work together. Then we will look at a the best approach to building core strength fast both from a mindset and movement approach so you are clear on what you are trying to achieve with the exercises. You will find some of my ‘go to’ exercises further down that I introduce to my clients and include in my mat classes. They are here in order and the idea is to master one before you move onto the next one. Finally I will cover how and when to progress to harder things and how to monitor your progress over time.

Why don’t I have core strength?

There can be many reasons why you have lost core strength. You may have had an injury or surgery that laid you low and you stopped doing physical activity. You may have been pregnant and had babies and your core muscles became stretched and never really reconnected. You may have had abdominal surgery and the layers of core muscles may have not regained their function as well as before.

Another very common reason for lack of core strength is lack of alignment when moving. If your back is stronger than your belly, your back will often take over, this will leave your back feeling tight and your belly feeling under worked. Lack of alignment will affect all your movement through the day for example the way you get down to a chair or the toilet, the way you bend down to pick something up and how you might stand to was the dishes or brush your teeth.

Everyday alignment matters because if your alignment is good all your movements will help to strengthen your core. If you are out of alignment all your movements will reenforce the muscles that are already compensating, usually your back, shoulder snd neck.

How to build core strength fast – mindset

Mindset is important for building core strength because your mindset will determine how you approach the challenge. When we want to build strength often we start with a ‘go hard’ approach, thinking that the harder we work the stronger we will get. For core strength especially this is not the case for two reasons:

  1. If the exercise is too hard for you, other muscles will compensate and this will reinforce the patterns in your body that are causing your core to be weak
  2. We only need the right amount of core strength to support our skeleton, if we ‘overwork’ our core muscles this can cause issues for our pelvic floor system and our digestion

Working your core muscles gently so you become very aware when you are fatiguing and other muscles start to take over from your core is an essential mind body connection that needs development when core muscles are weak.

Once you can sense that your core muscles are properly engaged and coordinated (through the layers) and you are aware when and how you compensate when your core gets tired you can then build core strength fast.

It is by going slowly to develop your body awareness that you can know how to level up the load without your core muscles skipping out and other muscles taking over.

Breath is the key

Breath is the key to core strength. Just like a key it can unlock the door but once the door is open it becomes less important. We use the breath to learn to coordinate the many layers of muscles in your core. We pay particular attention to habits like bearing down to get stability and clenching glute (butt) muscles. Once we unlearn these habits and have deep core muscles firing then we can start to activate the core independently from the breath.

The next two videos demonstrate helpful breathing exercises to reconnect with your core muscles. The first video demonstrates ‘Hug the Belly’ breathing. This method helps coordinate the pelvic floor and core muscles with the breath. Before we can load your core muscles we must be able to coordinate them to work together, this breath exercise gets all your layers of muscle in your core working well together.

The next video is 90:90 breathing, with legs up the wall. The purpose of this exercise is to get the core muscles coordinating with your breath without the front of your legs and your butt muscles switching on. If you want to get your core strong, you have to be able to stop using stronger muscles that ‘help out’ when ever your core muscles are on. They have other important jobs to do like give you power and strength, but they can’t do that if they are busy compensating for your core muscles. So give this a go, yes it is subtle, it is as much about what is NOT working as about what IS.

Adding load

When you are able to coordinate your core muscles with your breath we can start to add load. This can be done slowly and mindfully and still get great strength building results. When we load your core muscles we want to get the load just right, too much and other muscles compensate and we don’t get the results we want.

The first video shows a classic exercise in Pilates and general fitness called ‘Dead Bugs’. A number of variations are shown here with attention to form so you can feel out the right level for you.

This second video is called the Elbow Slip, it is a simple, challenging core exercise to try when you have mastered the others. Attention to form is everything, minimising any movement in your hips, protecting your neck by tucking your chin and planting your feet firmly on the ground.

Making Progress

If I haven’t said it enough already, go gently. Get your muscles coordinating with the breath first before you start adding load. When you do add load check your form and how it feels. If the front of your legs are screaming then that’s what is working, not your core.

Also, frequency is everything. You will get better results from doing 5-10 minutes everyday than an 1 hour every two weeks. If you are starting from a low base of core strength frequent short sessions focused on quality movement will be most effective to get your muscles connecting again. Once you are able to do all these exercises with ease you will definitely be ready for a Pilates roll up and from there a teaser.

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, Pregnancy and Post-natal Exercise Specialist, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online. To receive regular body wisdom sign up below.

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, Pregnancy and Post-natal Exercise Specialist, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online.

To receive your Safe After Baby Guide to Core Strength enter your email below and select the Post-natal option.

Post-natal movement & Pilates

From tired and stiff to energised with 2 moves

Feeling tired and stiff in your body? There are so many reasons why we feel like this. Lots of sitting, a level of background stress, lack of circulation to name a few. When I feel like this, it is overwhelming. It’s hard to get moving and I feel like I need a big workout to feel better. This means a lot of time, which I often don’t have! This can often add more stress, knowing that you can’t make the time for what you need, and the tiring cycle of stress continues! But I am a Pilates teacher so I have to find ways to get movement into my day. And I have learned that small moves can add up to give you big results.

In this blog we will explore what is going in our bodies (and minds) when we feel tired, stiff and sore and what we can do about it. Then we go into exercises you can do when you are feeling tired, stiff and sore to feel better quickly. We will discuss frequency and how to approach building a new habit and how to monitor your results over time, so you know you are feeling better!

Why am I tired, stiff and sore?

When we feel tired and stiff there are two major things going on. We aren’t getting enough blood circulation and we aren’t getting enough oxygen. The good news is we can change these two things in our bodies very quickly! And if you are not a person who loves to run up and down the stairs I have other ideas for you.

Shallow breathing is a major cause of tiredness during the day. If you are spending hours sitting at a desk, or in meetings, it is likely that your ribs are not moving much so your lungs are not expanding properly and you are not getting enough oxygen. When you are in this state going into high intensity exercise doesn’t necessarily move you into a deep breathing pattern, although it can. I prefer to include some specific rib mobility drills throughout my day or during my exercise warm up to get my deep breathing pattern back.

Lack of blood circulation can be another major cause of tiredness during the day. When our blood is moving more slowly around our bodies this in turn slows our lymphatic system. Pilates exercises are designed to maximise your circulation to clean your blood.

As a result, the bloodstream carries and discharges from your system more of the accumulated debris created by fatigue. Pilates exercises drive pure, fresh blood to every muscle fiber of our bodies, particularly to the very important capillaries which ordinarily are rarely ever fully stimulated once we reach adulthood.” Joseph Pilates, Return to Life.

There are a number of conditions that can contribute to chronic tiredness such as diabetes, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and adrenal fatigue to name a few. If tiredness is stopping you doing the things you love, see your doctor for a check up.

What to do about it – mindset

If you are battling with feeling tired, stiff and sore regularly then it’s worth taking a moment to acknowledge the mental strain of this. Our mind-body connection is present whether or not we are present to it. When we are caught up with ‘to do lists’, tasks, thinking through work issues or just overthinking things this can often impact on our breathing. Our breath is the most powerful way to reconnect to the present moment and to our bodies.

If you are in a habit of being over-busy, placing unreasonable demands on yourself to be super productive at work AND a great parent AND a good partner AND a good friend, then the best thing you can do is take a BREATH. I know it sounds simple, it is. Taking a moment to take a conscious breath is a powerful act. A breath brings you present in your own anatomy. A breath gives your blood what it needs to nourish your body. A breath expands your rib cage, taking pressure off your spine. A lot can happen with one breath.

The key mindset shift to know is

  1. Becoming present in your body is where you can turn your tiredness around.
  2. The beginning can be tiny (one breath) and still be effective.

What to do about it – movement

We know exercise is essential for physical and mental wellbeing. But what if you are not a huge fan of exercise? Or what if “exercise” feels like it will take too much time or require special clothes or be too hard or may cause injury. What if we swap out “exercise” for movement?

We all move everyday in all different kinds of clothes. Mostly though we don’t think about it. So what if you thought about taking moments in your day to move mindfully? That means you could do it in what ever you’re wearing. It could be short, as short as it needs to be and still help you feel less sore, tired and stiff.

When you sprinkle movement though your day it helps maintain your mind-body connection, it helps maintain your deep breathing pattern and it helps release tension. This all helps you to build strength through all your activities.

So if you are ready to move here are some ideas below, some are super subtle, some are an all over work out. There is one here you can do on a chair at your desk. Try them out and tell me your favourite. Each video has suggestions for different levels of mobility and strength.

Exercise 1 – Shoulder bridge / tendon stretch – spine stretch

This series give a few different levels. In all the exercises we are waking up the back of the body, particularly the back of the legs. Most of us spend a lot of time sitting and the front body get tight and the back body goes to sleep. This series is fantastic for balancing awareness and strength between the back body and the front body. This series also works the core muscles at the same time as the larger muscles of the arms and the legs. It’s an allover work out all at once. Keep your head lifted for tendon stretch variations. Enjoy…

Exercise 2 – Mermaid series

The mermaid series is an all time favourite Pilates exercise for many. It’s a lovely stretch that helps us to deepen our breathing. And it feels wonderful. The series presented here is modified to do on a chair so you can do it whilst working. It is also matched with a glute (or butt) stretch, because believe it or not a lot of sitting makes our glutes very tight. The more you can stretch them the better. Breathe deep with this one and let me know how it feels below in the comments.

How often do I need to move?

So, this should really be up at the top because it is important. Frequency matters! The more frequent the better. Humans have not evolved to sit still for hours at a time. Our bodies need to change positions regularly to maintain strength and flexibility. It is just as good (if not better) for your body to move mindfully for 6 lots of 5 minutes throughout the day than to do 30 minutes of exercise and sit for six hours straight.

This is where starting tiny comes in. It’s about training your brain to reconnect with your body often. Once you are wired to connect in with your body the moving will come more naturally. For more about starting tiny sign up below to join my FREE monthly ‘Tiny moves to feel good’ email coaching program.

I am Brigid Pearse a certified Pilates instructor, Pregnancy and Post-natal Exercise Specialist, an ex-dancer and a mum. I run a fully equipped Pilates studio from my home in Lennox Head and I run community Pilates mat classes in Byron Bay, Ballina and online. To receive regular body wisdom sign up below.

You need to strengthen your gluteals?

So, you need to strengthen your gluteals (your butt). You may have a sore back, a sore hip, you may have mild incontinence, you may have sore knees. You may have gone to Chiropractor, Physiotherapist or Osteopath or even you GP has told you, you need to strengthen your gluteals. There are many reasons why you need to strengthen your gluteals. We will look at some anatomy and some common body patterns that cause weak gluteals and then cover simple exercises and alignment tips to get you started.

Why strengthen your gluteals?


Let’s start with some anatomy. The image below shows the 3 muscles that make up the gluteals. Each one has a slightly different function but of course they work together. Let’s start with gluteus minimus, it sits deeper than the other gluteal muscles and is responsible for abduction of the thigh (moving the legs apart) and hip stabilisation especially when supporting the body on one leg (eg whilst walking).

Next is Gluteus Medius, the front part is responsible for internal rotation of the thigh and the contraction of the whole muscle abducts the thigh (moves it away from the other leg). And last not not least Gluteus Maximus, responsible for hip extension (bringing each leg behind the body) and works with other muscles to externally rotate the hip. All three of these muscles have a role to play in maintaining optimal position for the pelvis in order to support the spine.

The Gluteus Maximus is also a bit special in that it provides the power for forward propulsion.

Strengthen your glutes with Pilates

Gluteus Maximus is the largest muscle in our body. And so, it is a muscle that has tremendous power. It is where we get our power for forward propulsion when we’re walking or running. If we aren’t using the glutes properly for this forward propulsion, we will be compensating with pressure through our knees, or using our quads, which then lead to tight quads and tightness in the front of the body.

Common signs you have weak gluteals

Common issues that emerge when the gluteals are weak are disc bulges, low back pain, mid back tightness, knee pain, shoulder pain and poor posture.

Compensations – Knees

When our gluteals are weak and tight, we have an increased risk of injury to our knees because often the front of our legs and our the muscles around our knees start to take on some of the work of the gluteals, this impacts on the knee joint requiring it to take much more pressure and load than it was designed to take. and the functioning of the joint, lower back injuries, much more common with people who have weak and tight gluteals.

Compensations – Back

If your core and lower abdominals are weak it likely that when you bend down to pick something up or sit down, you will unlock and bend through your spine, rather than at the pelvis and legs – see image below. This habit creates a gripping in the gluteals so the thigh bones cannot slide back in the hip socket and the gluteals get shorter and weaker.

Two images of a woman bending to pick something up

Pancake butt

The flattening on the bottom is often happening as a result of lack of core connection and strength. After childbirth many women have stretched out abdominals. As a result the gluteal muscles start to grip to take on the work of the deep abdominals and pelvic floor. This gripping tends to pull the pelvis into a posterior tilt (or tucked under position).

When glute muscles are gripping like this, it’s really hard for the muscles to lengthen, to get long to allow movement, but also to strengthen, because the gripping activity, makes them tight. This then tends to get exacerbated during menopause when there is some loss of muscle mass. This results in a further reduction of the gluteal maximus and an enlargement of the gluteal medius and you end up with a very flat or non existent butt.

What to do about weak gluteals?

When, when I’m working with correcting these kind of patterns in the body. There’s always three ways that I go about it.

1) Releasing tension

2) Building strength with correct alignment

3) Muscle lengthening to allow optimal pelvic and femur positioning

It’s good to understand what’s going on in your body. So ask some questions. Do you have a gripping pattern that’s going on? You can also assess if you in a pelvic tilt or tuck, take a photo of yourself from the side just standing normally and assess you posture.

To release, lengthen and strengthen your gluteals at home, here are some suggestions and ideas.

Release tension in your gluteals

You could get a tennis ball, look at doing some knee drops with the tennis ball under the outside of the hip.

This video shows how to release tension in your gluteals using a tennis ball.

Strengthen your gluteals

Lengthen your gluteals

You could do some pull backs to assess your gluteal length by observing the position pelvis in relation to your legs as you pullback.

This video shows a simple pullback to assess your gluteal length and to gluteal length, pelvic positioning and femur placement.

Lengthen your gluteals
Lengthen your gluteals

If you find that you have tight, short gluteals by doing the pullbacks then try this classic gluteal stretch that is done lying down so your pelvic position and spine is supported.

Lengthen your gluteals
Classic gluteal stretch

Another classic gluteal stretch.

Lengthen your gluteals
Lengthen your gluteals

Strengthen your gluteals

The two videos below show bridges and clams, both are common exercises for gluteal strengthening. The videos cover common mistakes people make with their alignment when doing these exercises and how to correct these.

Strengthen your gluteals
Bridges to strengthen your gluteals
Strengthen your gluteals
Clams for gluteal strength

The exercises above are both done whilst lying down. We need our gluteals to be functioning and firing when we are upright and when we are load bearing. Once you get the gluteals firing and you can sense them working in these positions try some hip hinges which prepare us for everyday movement where you need your gluteals to be showing up.

The thing to remember with gluteal strengthening and lengthening is that our lifestyles really work against us on this. The more sitting in chairs, cars, sitting to watch TV all mean that your gluteal muscles are pretty much asleep. Whereas the front of your legs are tightening up, the glutes are wasting away when you’re sitting down.

If you lack core strength and lower abdominal strength then you may be gripping your gluteals whilst standing. The gluteals end up being tight and weak and short, which does nothing for your posture, or your power.

Follow the protocol above, assess your posture, release tension, lengthen and then strengthen. Do this for at least 3 weeks at least 4 times a week for 10 – 20 minutes each time and notice the change in your body! I look forward to hearing what you discover.