How To Gain Muscle In Less Time

If you want to gain muscle, you don't need to spend hours in the gym, regardless of what you've been told. 

You just need to make sure that you're spending your time in the gym wisely, and working really, really, really hard. 

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Truth be told, most people don't know how to train really hard, so instead they think they have to spend hours and hours in the gym to go beast mode. 

Instead, I would much rather you spend way less time in the gym, but make that time count. Here are my tips for anyone who wants to add muscle with less time in the gym (Hint: these tips apply if you want to lose weight too. Only diet has to change.).

1. Perform Nearly Only Compound, Multi-Joint Exercises

-If you want to gain muscle fast without wasting away in the gym, you have to be efficient. Doing 30 sets of different kinds of curls and tricep extensions will take you forever, and it's not even effective for most people. Instead, focus on multi-jount exercises like pull-ups, rows, presses, squats, and deadlifts. This will not only save you tons of time in the gym, but it will also be more effective. These should be the meat and potatoes of your program anyway. If you can't do any pull-ups, spending time on curls is a waste of time. Instead, get strong and add reps with multi-joint exercises, and watch your muscle gains soar through the roof.

2. Perform Less Overall Exercises

This goes along with the point above, but by simply performing less exercises in the gym, you can save time and get a great muscle building workout in. Total volume (sets x reps x load) is what matters, but we can equate volume with less exercises. If you were going to 3 sets of 6 different exercises, instead try 6 sets of 3 different exercises like squats, rows, and lunges. This will save you a lot of time setting up the equipment and warming-up for each exercise. 

3. Shorten Your Rest Times

Most people that want to get stronger and gain muscle spend several minutes between each set resting because they think they need to rest to get stronger. However, resting and making sure you are fresh might get you stronger but it won't do too much to gain muscle, and it will make your workouts take forever. Instead, carefully monitor your rest times between each set. Some of my favorite for building muscle are density sets where you set a timer (say for 8 min) and try to increase rounds, or reps each week, and supersets where you work for about 15 or 20 seconds and rest for 45 or 40 seconds while aiming for 8-10 reps each round. Once you get all reps, you can go heavier the following workout. 

If you're looking to gain muscle, make sure your diet is on point with plenty of protein, and work hard to get stronger in the 5-12 rep range, with moderate rest periods.

If you'd like to talk about you might be able to gain slabs of muscle with minimal time in the gym, please give us a shout or inquire today. 

Why Can't I Feel My Abs When I Workout?

One common question we get all the time from clients is "Why Don't I Feel My Abs When I Workout?"

Most people know they should be feeling their abs when they workout, however they usually feel the exercises in the wrong places, or they just don't feel it working at all. You should ideally feel all exercises in the abs, but some people don't even feel "ab exercises" in their abs. 

First, let's understand why it's important to feel abs. The abs and hamstrings hold you up against gravity and help you maintain proper posture, or alignment. They are actually designed to resist movement and maintain structure, rather than create it. So we recommend ditching things like sit-ups and leg raises in favor of things like planks and dead bugs. 

When most people try do do planks and dead bugs, they make a few critical mistakes that prevent them from feeling it in their abs. 

Primarily, most people live in what we call an extended position. Their backs are arched, ribs are flared, and their pelvis is tipped forwards. When this happens, the abs actually lengthen, so they are in a position where they cannot contract optimally. Instead, most people stabilize their spine and hold themselves up with their hip flexors. 

So most people try to do their ab exercises in this arched, extended position, which is why they never feel it. 

So how do you know if this is you?

There are a few ways. First, lay on your back. Do your ribs poke up in the front a lot, and if there is a large space between your lower back and the ground?

If so, we've found the main reason why you can't feel your abs when you workout. 

You can also look in a mirror from the side. Does your nose rest right on top of your hips, which is over your knees?

If your head or hips are forward, like in the picture above, you also live in this anteriorly tilted state, which can make it more difficult to feel your abs. 

So How Does This Impact How Your Planks And Other Exercises Will Look?

Let's start with the plank. Most people set up with their hips very low, and their back arched (pictured below). In this position, the back and hip flexors are actually getting worked, and the abs are lengthened. You can hold a long time here, but the abs aren't really in a position to perform. 

The Fix

So now that you know what your planks currently look like, what should they look like?

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Your hips and head should be in line. So pull those hips up, and reach towards the ceiling with your forarms. Imagine as if someone has a string on your upper back, pulling you up towards the ceiling. (This helps to put the abs in the right position).

The Final Step

Don't just hold your breath and turn bright red. You need to breathe to feel your abs. Your abs are actually responsible for exhaling, so make sure you are exhaling. (This also helps you to get your ribcage and pelvis in the correct position). 

Imagine that you have a balloon to blow up. Take long, forceful exhales that should take 5 seconds. 

For planks, aim for 5-8 breaths, and if you can maintain proper position while you do this, I guarantee you will feel your abs next time you workout. 

If you want to watch a video of how we coach these exercises,  click here to watch our newest video

If you still can't feel your abs, you might need some more specific exercises to shut off some undesirable muscle tightness in your quads, hip flexors, or back. We would be able to show you which exercises would be best for you after an initial assessment. 


What Your Doctor Won't Tell You About Getting An MRI



I want to start by saying that this article is for people who need help determining if imaging is appropriate for their ORTHOPEDIC condition.

If you are battling a condition regarding any other system in the body (Circulatory, Digestive, Endocrine, etc.) please see a medical specialist in the respective field.


Medical Decisions Can Be Stressful

In today’s society, most people are faced with a decision, at least once in their lifetime, about whether or not they need imaging to treat their orthopedic injury.

We also live in a world where surgeons are gaining a strong reputation for being ‘quick to cut.’ And often, getting an MRI is the first step a surgeon might take to convince you of getting surgery.

In fact, this is now becoming the topic of many popular publications. Please see the following: 

If surgery is not on the table, should we bother getting imaging first? Or should we instead use our resources to get the best, most qualified, physical therapist to help manage our injury conservatively? The choice is entirely yours.


On A Personal Note:

A few years ago, my father underwent a surgery to remove a small tumor from his spinal cord. His Neurosurgeon came to update us after the surgery. He told my family that this particular type of tumor is likely to be cancerous as its location, type and size all match a specific condition. 

I asked, “is there a chance this type of cancer may have spread (metastasized) from another place in his body.” I asked if it would be worth getting imaging to determine this.

He responded, “your father doesn’t have symptoms indicating this would be the case. But bad things tend to occur when you go searching the body for conditions that may not even be worth treating. The option to get imaging will always be there in the future should he start to show symptoms.”

As a Physical Therapist, I knew exactly what he meant. He was referring to something commonly seen in the medical world.

Did you know that a large part of the U.S. population has no pain, yet a moderate to severe classification of arthritis in their knees? Also, roughly 60% of 50 year olds (with no pain) have bulging discs when imaged?

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It is important to know what this means.

Don't give your MRI too much power.

Just because an MRI revealed that you might have an issue, it does not mean that it needs to be surgically corrected to get rid of your pain.

In fact, what's shown on the image may not even be contributing to your pain. 


With the growing rate in which medical imaging is prescribed, I’m sure you can imagine how often I am asked about its necessity. This can be tricky and should ultimately be determined on a case by case basis. However, here are some general guidelines to follow to see if you would benefit from having imaging.


Imaging May Be Beneficial If:

  • You've experienced direct trauma
    • Ex. Car accident, falling down stairs, head-on sports collision
  • You've been experiencing pain for multiple years
  • You did not receive pain relief with prior Physical Therapy
    • This only counts if your therapist was thorough and spent adequate 1:1 time with you
    • If you did not get this level of attention, feel free to contact us and we can guide you in the right direction
  • Your pain is consistently high and now affects your everyday living
  • You had positive results with special testing from a licensed healthcare provider
    • These positive tests can indicate whether or not you've torn or broken something that needs immediate surgical repair

Pros To Receiving Imaging

  • Ease of mind
    • Simply knowing if there is any structural damage
  • Can help you decide if you might benefit from surgery
  • If you are looking to avoid surgery, it might help your therapist better direct your treatment

Cons To Receiving Imaging

  • Results will not account for pain caused by faulty biomechanics
    • Given that most imaging is simply a still image of your body, it will not take into account if you're having pain from poor movement
  • Price
    • Mostly all imaging, aside from X-Rays, can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars and do not provide a guarantee of answers 
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Can delay the start of treatment
    • It can take weeks to get an appointment with your orthopedist, another 1-2 weeks to schedule your MRI, and another week to receive the results. By the time this process is over, if you are not planning on scheduling a surgery, you could have waited close to 5 weeks to start physical therapy for conservative management. 

As always, if you are unsure if getting medical imaging is right for you, you may certainly schedule a FREE 30 Minute Discovery Consultation with our Doctor of Physical Therapy.

The therapist can take a look at your injury, perform a thorough screening and advise appropriately based on the results. If you need to see an orthopedist or sports medicine doctor, we can then refer you to the best in the area. We will make sure to reach out, on our end, so that your appointment takes place as soon as possible. 

Feel free to leave your comments, questions and concerns below in the comments section. We'd love to hear from you! 

How And Why Should I Workout In-Season?

Should I Workout During My Season?


We work with a lot of lacrosse and baseball players at Adapt, so a very common question we get this time of year is “Should I Workout During The Season?” or something along those lines.The answer is emphatically yes.

I get it. There are so many obstacles when it comes to in-season training, including lack of time, energy, worried about fatigue, and even costs, but I wholeheartedly believe that athletes should continue strength training in season if they can. Working out during the season has, in my experience, led to many athletes having their best seasons ever. If you stop working out during the season, you may miss out on having the best season of your career for a number of reasons, which I’ll explain below.

First, The Why

Reason 1: Reversibility

If you stop training, all the progress and strength gains made are going to be lost. It takes about 4 weeks, give or take,  to lose any progress you have made. What this means is once you start your sport, by the time you get to mid-season or end season, you will be no better off than before you started training if you only trained in the off season.  The middle/end of the season is often the most critical part of the season because of playoffs and conference matches. If you want to feel the best during this period, you owe it to yourself to continue training throughout the season so you can be at your best when it really counts.

Reason 2: Injury Prevention

Strength training is the #1 way to stay healthy during the sport season. There is a quote which is love, which is “Your best ability is your availability”. If you are constantly hurt, you won’t be able to help your team. You might be the most athletic, agile athlete on the field, but if you are always hurt you will never be able to play when it counts. Strength training will help keep you healthy so you are able to showcase your talents all throughout the season. Ample research shows that strength training in the off-season and in-season periods is the best way to prevent injuries on the field.

In addition, maintaining strength training helps athletes do other stuff well that they might not otherwise do. Before a workout, they will be foam rolling and performing joint mobility and activation work, which can help to maintain range of motion throughout the season. Athletes will also usually have better sleep, recovery, and nutrition habits when they are in the habit of going to the weight room during the season.

Reason 3: Long Term Athletic Development


The third and final reason that I urge you to continue training in-season is for the long term athletic development aspect. For young athletes and those aspiring to compete at the college level, it is especially crucial to keep in mind you are still growing and developing and will be playing for many years to come. Don’t just think about this season right now, but rather, take some time to think about long term goals for your athletic career. Understand that only training during the offseason will put you at a disadvantage because you can only train 3-6 months out of the year. However, if you continue during the in-season period, you now have 12 months in the year to develop and if you consistently do this for 4 years throughout high school, you have 1 extra year of training under your belt compared to someone who only trained during the offseason.

Don’t you think that is a huge advantage come recruiting time when you know that every little bit of edge can help you get that scholarship?

How To Train During The In-Season Period

In-season training is a different beast than off-season training. The good news is that it is not an all or nothing mentality. You can continue to maintain, or even make progress in minimal time if you structure your workouts properly. I will say that you are at a big advantage if you’ve laid out a nice foundation in the off-season period.

Focus On What You're Not Getting

1.     Focus on what you’re not getting out on the field. If you are a lacrosse or soccer player, and you run a lot, you don’t have to do too much  sprint work because you should already be doing enough to maintain your speed and agility. If you’re playing a good number of minutes during games, it is probably also unnecessary to do much, if any, conditioning in the weight room. Instead, focus on what you’re not getting on the field. Things like strength training through full range of motion, mobility work, core and joint stability work will all go a long ways to keeping you healthy and strong throughout the entire season.


Decrease Frequency Compared To Off-Season Training

2.     Decrease frequency compared to off-season training. In the off-season, I’ll recommend that most athletes should train between 3-4 days a week. 2 is the very minimum. However, 1-2 is the range for in season athletes. If you can get in 2, please try. However, 1 day a week is ALWAYS better than nothing. You won’t be able to make much progress on 1, but you will be able to maintain most of your progress, which is way better than nothing.

Intensity Over Volume

3.     Finally, focus on intensity rather than volume. Intensity is the weight on the bar, or intent of the exercise. Volume is how many sets and reps you do.  Higher volume can help to pack on muscle and build strength in the off season, but this will also fatigue your body in season.  Instead, focus on higher intensities with less sets and reps. You shouldn’t be training to failure. Leave 2-3 reps “in the tank” in-season, but lift decent loads with less volume to keep you feeling strong and fresh for games.

If you want more specific advice on exactly how frequently or intensely you should be working out during your season, you can CLICK HERE to chat with a world class performance coach about your individual needs.

In addition, we've also got some great free PDFs that have more information about in season training. Check out THIS PAGE to download the best one for your sport. 

Why Stretching Doesn't Work To Relieve Tight Muscles

Quick Question:

How many of you have previously googled “stretches for tight hamstrings” or “stretches for tight hips?”

Right… that’s what I thought.

Stretching is a largely discussed and somewhat controversial topic in the health and wellness industry. With a simple google search, you’ll start to hear a million opinions on whether or not stretching is good for you. By the time people get to us, we’ve heard it all. “I was told to do dynamic stretches.” “I was told to stretch only after working out.” “I was told if I stretch before working out I’ll get weaker.”

These are all opinions. There is no research supporting these claims. Instead, we’re writing this blog to show you exactly what the research DOES tell us.

Overall, stretching should not necessarily be the thing to jump to when you’re trying to relieve tightness. We feel very strongly that it is often thrown around as the go-to intervention because people just don’t know better.

Best case scenario: after stretching, you’ll feel an immediate release in tightness. However, because there is an underlying reason for that tightness, this will be short lived. What might happen is, in the next 2 to 3 hours, the tightness might come right back and you’ll have to stretch again. Temporary relief doesn’t take you very far.

Worst case scenario: you can wind up overstretching the ligaments and joint capsules that hold our bones together. Overstretching these can cause long lasting damage in the body and is not a forgiving process. This will create laxity in all the wrong places, causing our muscles to stiffen up further to guard the instability in our joints. (Trust me, it can get bad.)


Let’s first examine why muscles get tight. Muscles just don’t wake up and decide to be tight. The body is much more complex than that. In fact most muscles aren’t truly short, but they feel very tight because the brain is perceiving a lack of stability. Therefore, it sends a signal to our muscles to put on the brakes, creating lots of tightness and stiffness in our muscles. The brain’s job is to keep our body safe, therefore it will continue to create neurological tension or tone as long as the need for extra stability is present. This could end up feeling like years of built up tightness and tension, seemingly worsening with age.

One common place people feel tightness is in their hamstrings. The perception of tightness is, in fact, most often caused by long and weak hamstrings. Most people do not have a good stability mechanism in the area of our pelvis and core. The core extends from our ribs to the pelvis, including our spine and hips. Limitations in stability here can cause an increased amount of tension in the back of our core to compensate for a lack of stability in the front of our core. At this point, the tension in the hamstrings is the only thing that allows for some people to stay upright, keep stability and not suffer debilitating back pain. So, in fact, stretching can actually make you worse because you are over lengthening and weakening the muscles that are helping keep you stable and upright against gravity. Stretching can be a quick fix to release tension, but it won’t address the underlying problem which is a lack of stability.

Another example is the calves. Many people turn to stretching their calves in an attempt to make them feel less tight, with no success. A more nuanced approach is necessary for long term relief. Most people actually carry their center of gravity forward and the calves are the only things holding them up to keep from falling forward. Therefore, overstretching them won’t be dealing with the reason the calves are tight in the first place.

Improper alignment and position of bones can be another contributor to muscles feeling excessively tight.

Position of Bones

If your bones are in a poor position, this will close down the range of motion in your joints. Hips tilted too far forward will lead to a decrease in range of motion in the hip joint and consequently, the muscles attached will become poorly positioned and lead to a lack of stability. Hamstrings will automatically tighten up in this non-optimal position to fight back and provide more stability. The second we start to influence where the bones are positioned, it is possible to open up the joint and put it back to a neutral position. Once achieved, the muscle tension around the joint will subside.

As you can see in the following pictures, a person’s hip position can influence hamstring tightness and how changing the position can relieve this tension.


Arching His Back And Holding An Inhale (Pelvis Tilts Forwards)

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In this picture, Cody came into an extended position, letting his hips roll forward with his back arched. After taking a deep breath in, we checked his hamstring length by lifting his leg straight up. As you can see, he is incredibly limited when his pelvis is rolled forward like this.

This next picture was taken after he gave a huge exhale and tucked his pelvis up and ribs down. This allowed him to change the orientation of his spine and hip socket. Upon re-checking his range of motion, you can clearly see he has more hamstring flexibility here. However, we didn’t stretch a thing!

Exhaling To Get The Ribcage And Pelvis Into A Neutral Position

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This demonstration should show you that if the joint is positioned outside of neutral range, the muscles around the joint will feel unevenly tight. A good way to get your pelvis into a more neutral range is to strengthen the muscles that help with this movement. Two key muscles that help with this would be your hamstrings and abdominals. Once these muscles are stronger, your bones will sit in a better position, and the improvement in stability will allow for brain to release the tension in muscles surrounding the joint.

By now you should have an understanding as to why stretching is not always the answer to relieving tension and tightness. Remember, don’t always go to stretching a tight muscle first, but rather think about improving stability and the position of the bones around the muscle to help improve the range of motion.

If you’d like more specific examples for your muscle aches and pains, please leave a comment below, or send us an email and we will show some examples of what you can do to help solve the problem.

If you live locally, feel free to come in for a free consultation with Dr. Payal. She can evaluate how your bony alignment and joint position and give you a recommendation of what you can do to improve your position, mobility and stability.

Are You Likely To Re-Sprain Your Ankle Next Season?

Did You Know?

Ankle Sprains account for 25% of all sports-related injuries.

The peak incidence of ankle sprains occurs between ages 15 – 19.

22% of athletes that end up in the Emergency Room are there for severe ankle sprains.

A history of ankle sprain is the highest rate risk factor to experiencing a future ankle sprain.


How Do Ankle Sprains Occur?

Ankle sprains are also referred to as a rolled ankle (rolling your ankle). They occur when you plant your foot in the ground with poor contact, causing your ankle to twist either inward or outward.

More often than not, they start off minor. In mild ankle sprains, symptoms may last for about 1 week. You may feel off balance, experience an immediate shock of pain and lingering soreness, and possibly swelling/inflammation. After a brief rest period the pain may go away. 

However, if the force is great enough, and we are unable to control the motion properly, we are likely to end up with severe injuries that can often become season ending. A simple ankle sprain could then become an ankle dislocation or fracture. 


Take Our Mini-Quiz To See How Likely You Are To Re-Sprain Your Ankle In The Future

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Side Note: If you've recently sprained your ankle and are looking for the BEST way to manage swelling, pain, inflammation, loss of motion, loss of strength, and loss of balance... 

Check out our FREE video tutorial for an exact step-by-step guide on managing your injury and quickly getting back to your sport/lifestyle. 



Mild To Severe Ankle Sprains

Any athlete with a history of ankle sprains will tell you that each subsequent ankle sprain has been more severe than the previous.

Why is it that ankle sprains get more and more severe each time you sustain one?

Are we just waiting on a huge, full-blown ankle injury, landing us in the hospital like the 22% of other athletes that end up there? (Not if we have anything to do about it...) 

If you've recently sustained an ankle sprain, find yourself having multiple of them, or are worried about sustaining another ankle sprain in the future, come see us for a FREE consultation. 

During the free consult, we'll go over exactly where your ankle's strengths and limitations are AND what to do to address the issues. 

Why Your New Years Resolutions Often Fail...And How To Not Fail This Year

Most new years resolution fail for a number of reasons, none of which are a lack of wanting them to succeed. Are you making several critical mistakes that prevent you from reaching your goals year after year?

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It's January, which means new years resolutions are a hot topic right now. For most, motivation is at an all time. You're determined and very confident that you are going to achieve all of your goals this year. However, many were just as determined this time last year, and how many didn't end up achieving their goals?

It's so easy to have motivation in January, so we can tell ourselves that this year will be different. Who still has the same motivation in April though?

Most who fail end up doing so because they make several critical mistakes that sabotage their progress and leave themselves no better off than  they were last year. If you want to learn how to finally break free from this frustrating cycle and make 2018 your best year yet, we've got you.

 Most People Rely Too Much On Motivation To Reach Their New Years Resolutions

Motivation will leave you. I promise that. It's probably really easy right now to do all of the right things. Going to the gym is still enjoyable and easy. You've been killing your diet this far. You've cut carbs way down, and you haven't had any drinks or desserts yet in 2018. If you keep this going all year, you're going to be in the best shape ever! You're motivated because it's January, and you've set some big goals. 

But what will happen when you're not as motivated? There will come a day soon where you just don't feel like going to the gym because you'd rather  get drinks with co-workers, or you're just tired after work. So you skip it, and then you skip it the next day. Before you know it, we're in March and you haven't worked out since late January. You've put back all the weight you lost, and then some. 

"Why does this keep happening to me?"

You've been using the wrong "fuel source" to fuel your new years resolutions every year. When you're very motivated, you can do anything. It's like a turbo boost. You can suddenly start working out 5 days a week, cutting out all "cheat foods", and overall you just feel unstoppable. This is because you get a really big dopamine rush when you're motivated. Motivation is like a giant shot of espresso, but one that leaves with a big sugary crash.

When you're motivated, you don't just do the bare minimum. You go full Rocky and start training and dieting like you've been doing this for years. You don't just workout one or two times a week, when you weren't working out at all before. You workout hard and as often as you can now. And you went cold turkey on your diet real quick, because why not?

But then motivation starts slipping away...

You can lose motivation for any number of reasons. I'll give examples of the 2 most common we see. 


You start training really hard. You go to the gym and do "high intensity" training 4 to 5 days a week. The pounds start coming off, and you're loving this honeymoon period. However, about 3 to 4 weeks into it, things start to change. Number 1 is you stop losing weight, although you're killing yourself in the gym and you're barely eating any carbs. 

So why aren't you losing any more weight? You've simply done too much. You've functionally overtraining, and you are starving yourself. Your body knows it, so it's holding on to any calories for dear life. Can you blame it? 

The other common scenario that we see is similar. You see, it all starts with trying to do too much, too soon. You might even know that motivation will leave you some, so you try to cram in as much training before than as possible. You train like a madman, and you're getting so much stronger, leaner, and more confident. All is well and good, until you wake up one morning and you notice it. 

By it, I mean the pain. Your knees hurt, your back aches all day, or your shoulder hurts every time you go overhead now. You can't go from being sedentary to training hard 5 times a week in a manner of a month. Your body just can't catch up in time, and even if it could, you most likely have movement dysfunctions from sitting at a desk and not being active that are contributing to placing too much stress on certain structures. Instead of progressing slowly and taking the time to improve technique, you threw caution to the wind and went all in, because you had so much motivation.

In either scenario, motivation has now left you, you've stopped making progress, and I guarantee this is where most new years resolutions end. You've treated a marathon like a sprint, and you've gassed out.

So in 2018, I encourage you to treat your resolutions and goals less like January Resolutions and more like year long resolutions that they are. 


Do this by focusing on creating small, long lasting behavioral and lifestyle changes that you can implement one at a time, and stick to them. Only implement one at a time, and once you feel like you don't have to think about it, then you can implement the next one. 

Not working out right now? Go for a walk twice a week to start. Only when you are consistent doing that can you begin doing some strength training or higher intensity cardio on two other days a week. 

Diet nothing to write home about? Don't go from typical American diet of pizza and Coke to Paleo or low carb right away. Instead, change 1 thing at a time. Maybe switch your regular Coke to Diet Coke for the first week, and aim to get a serving of vegetables in with each meal in week 2. 

This method of focusing on long lasting behavioral and lifestyle changes might not be sexy, but I guarantee you will be at the end of the year if you follow it and don't fall prey to the heaps of gyms and advertisements that guarantee they can help you lose 10 pounds a month. You have my word. 

If you want a guide to show you exactly how to implement new behaviors to succeed with your goals this year, click here to download our free guide that will walk you step by step through how to implement AND stick to new behaviors so that you can make 2018 your best year ever!

Send Me The Guide

Running Well In 2018: Hamstring Health

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Hamstrings injuries tend to run high in runners, especially long distance runners. And over the course of a few months to a few years, injuries can become chronic, severely painful, and disheartening.

I’d like to offer you some helpful advice for your Hammies to ensure a happier and healthier 2018. No more "rest is the best!" Let's get you moving!! Keep reading to see what you might be missing...


Quick Anatomy Recap

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The Hamstring Group is comprised of three large muscles in the back of your thigh. It originates at the lower part of our pelvis (attaching along the sit bones), travels down the back of the thigh and inserts along the outsides of our knee.


How Do Hamstrings Work When Running?

Running, especially long distance running, naturally places a great deal of stress through the hamstrings. Hamstrings act as a decelerator during each stride. Therefore, with whichever force you accelerate at for each stride, your hamstrings are responsible for decelerating that same force to bring you back into a neutral position for the next stride.


In order to stay happy and healthy during long distance running, hamstrings must meet four main criteria.


1.     Hamstring Position

Position matters a great deal when it comes to having well-functioning hamstrings. If they start off in a disadvantaged position, there’s no chance it will self-correct once you start running. Positioning has a lot to do with where the hamstrings start. If your pelvis, where the hamstring starts, is pulled forward in an anterior pelvic tilt, you’ll find that your hamstrings are already starting out lengthened and weak. Therefore, when you take a stride, that hamstring is going to become longer and even weaker. In turn, this could cause it to break down much quicker than a properly positioned hamstring would.

Try These Exercises To Improve Your Hamstring Position

Hamstring Bridge With Reach

90-90 Breathing R Arm Reach


2.     Hamstring Strength

Mainly every runner knows strength is important for running. However, do you know why?? Without appropriate hamstring strength, you could find it 10 times harder to run pain-free as the year progresses. Lacking strength in the Hamstring muscles or tendons will cause those microscopic strains to turn into much larger, more problematic strains.

Try These Exercises To Improve Your Hamstring Strength

Nordic Hamstring Curls

Straight Bar RDL


3.     Hamstring Stability

Running requires a great deal of single leg stability during each stride. Not only are you balancing your body weight on one leg, you’re adding the added force of acceleration. The largest muscle group in charge of controlling this motion is your hamstring. Hamstring strains most commonly occur on the outside of the muscle near the IT Band, known as the lateral hamstring. This is because, due to asymmetrical positioning, most runners have a hard time engaging their inner (medial) hamstring. This causes most of the stress and deceleration strain to be placed on the lateral end. The best way to improve our overall stability is to make sure we are engaging the entire hamstring during each stability exercise. You may also need an exercise or two solely focusing on improving your ability to engage your inner (medial) hamstring first.

Try These Exercises To Improve Your Hamstring Stability


Zercher Single Leg RDL


4.     Core/Ab Strength

The front of our core, where our Abdominal Muscles are, is responsible for helping our hamstrings out when we run. If properly stabilized, they will keep our pelvis and hips in a good position, which in turn will definitely help our hamstrings out when running. Runners must be able to stabilize their core properly in the sagittal plane prior to working on more dynamic stability in the other planes of motion. The first exercise shown below must be mastered before moving on to the second exercise.

Try These Exercises To Improve Your Core Strength

Prone Stability Ball Roll Out Iso

Bear Crawls


Without a proper assessment, it is hard to say where your Hamstring Health currently stands. If you want to ensure you stay ahead of pesky hamstring injuries or fix an ailing one, feel free to come see us for a FREE 30 minute Discovery Consultation with a Doctor of Sports Physical Therapy. 

At Adapt, we offer FREE Discovery Consultations prior to beginning treatment to lay out a plan and ensure 2018 is your healthiest year yet. 

No more, "I think I have enough this," or "I believe I need more of this..." Be sure of the game plan you are setting forth come new year. 

Come see us TODAY to make 2018 a year of PRs!!! 

Happy Running!!!

3 Exercises To Improve Speed, Agility, And Quickness

If you play a field sport like Lacrosse, Football, or Soccer, you already know speed is the name of the game.

All things being equal, the athlete with the best speed and agility will be the most dominant athlete on the field.

Running is literally the one similarity between every single field sport like lacrosse, football, and soccer, so athletes should spend considerable time learning proper speed and agility techniques so they can maximize their technical talents.

Here are three exercises you can do to improve your speed, agility, and become a more dominant athlete on the field. 


Improve Your Agility

To improve agility, athletes need to be able improve how quickly they can change directions. To change directions quickly, you have to apply very high levels of breaking forces in a very short matter of time. To make a quick cut, you first have to de-celebrate and absorb force, and then turn that stored energy into force produced to get you out of that cut quickly. Nearly all high school athletes weak link is in their breaking (eccentric phase for science geeks), so this first exercise is designed to improve your breaks in a very specific fashion to your sport.


Shuffle To Fake MB Throw


What It Does

This exercise improves your lateral  and change of direction by improving how quickly you can decelerate.


How It Works

By applying the “fake throw”, you force your body to align itself well and create deceleration forces in a short time period.


How To Perform

·      Begin in an athletic position with a 4 to 6 pound medicine ball in your hands

·      Shuffle a few steps to either side, and “chop” across your body with the medicine ball very quickly as you come to a quick stop

·      Shuffle to the other side and repeat



·      3-4 sets of 3 reps each side

·      > 60 seconds rest between sets

·      Perform this exercise at the end of the warm-up or beginning of the workout


Improve Your Power

Now that you’ve established a great set of breaks to improve how quickly you can get in and out of your cuts, we can focus on getting your legs more powerful. This will further improve your agility AND your straight ahead speed (called linear acceleration). Aside from basic strength training like squats, split squats, and deadlifts, jumping variations are excellent ways to improve your lower body power in a way that will directly make you faster on the field.


Kettlebell Squat Jump


What It Does

Improves your speed, agility, and explosiveness by improving how much power your lower body can produce


How It Works

Jumping requires very quick, fast twitch contractions to produce a lot of force quickly. When we add the weight of the kettlebell, your legs are forced to produce more force in the same amount of time, which will improve your power.


How To Perform


- Begin with your feet shoulder width apart

   -  Grab a kettlebell between 15 and 25 pounds (depending on how strong you are) and hold it by the horns

  - Squat down, change directions as quickly as possible, and jump as high as you can

 -  Land soft and repeat, with a full reset between each rep



     3-4 sets of 4-6 reps

-     90 seconds to 2 minutes between each set

-      In the beginning of each workout



Improve Your Straight Line Speed

Acceleration is much more important than top end speed for field sport athletes. Over the course of a game, most athletes will need to accelerate over 5-20 yards many times, but they might only hit their top speed once or twice at most. Therefore, considerable time should be spent on improving your linear acceleration capabilities.

Loaded Sled Sprint


What It Does

Improves your speed on the field by improving both your sprinting technique and force production during sprinting. The sled forces you to get a proper body lean that is necessary for accelerating. This improves your direction of force application. The weight on the sled also increases how much force you impart with each stride, which improves your magnitude of force application. Improving your magnitude and direction of force application will increase how much ground you can cover with each stride, thus making your newfound ability to accelerate past a defender look almost effortless.


How It Works

The weight on the sled is impossible to pull without adopting a horizontal body angle. This angle ensures you strike the ground away from you to propel yourself forwards. The weight on the sled makes you create more force on every step, which helps you cover ground.


How To Perform

·      Load a sled with between 25% to 50% of your bodyweight and hook yourself up by the waist

·      Start in a 2 point stance with a little bit of tension on the rope

·      Sprint out 10-20 yards, focusing on striking down and away aggressively and long, powerful arm actions



·      Perform 3-8 sets of 10-20 yard sprints

·      Use rest periods of 90 seconds to 2 minutes

·      Perform at the beginning of the workout up to 2 times per week


If you want to be a better athlete, you should consider spending more time on your physical attributes such as speed, agility, power, and explosiveness. These three exercises that nearly everyone can do can help improve your speed and agility in only a matter of weeks.

If you want to ensure that the exercises are perfectly tailored to you, or just want an evaluation of where your speed and agility levels lie compared to your peers, you should consider signing up for a FREE PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT



Or, If You're Still Not Sure, But If You Have Some Questions About Performance Training And Want To See If It Is Right For You, You Can: