Simple Ways to Feel Better: Aligning your Core

When I taught science, we always did a lab (disclaimer: it was middle school, so “lab” consisted of any fun, hands on activity the students did) where we constructed a “skeleton” out of toothpicks, and added “muscles” made of rubber bands.  Then of course I gave all of the students candy, so I could continue to be their favorite teacher, and moved on with my day.

Years later I still utilize that image when explaining anatomy to people.  Think about rubber bands, the more you stretch them out, the more tense and stable they are.  Stability is the key feature to focus on today.

In our body, our rubber band muscles provide balanced stability to our skeletal structure.  Ideally two opposing muscles balance each other.  However, if one muscle is compromised in any way (think weak or short), it means another muscle has to stretch out to provide stability.  This often results in one of the muscles being loose and weak, while the other is over stretched and tight.

Unfortunately, for years we have been told we need to “stretch” tight muscles. 

To go back to the analogy, what happens when you further stretch a rubber band that is already fully extended?   Often that is what you are doing to certain muscles in your body.

This is often seen in the hips and hamstrings.  People who sit much of the day (in a car, in a desk, on a couch watching tv), develop short hip flexor muscles on the front of their hips, and have over stretched hamstrings.

It takes a combination of things to fully improve movement in your hips.  Especially if you sit for hours a day.  One thing that helps improve muscle tissue quality is Foam Rolling.  Another you can do is to strengthen and stabilize your core.

By making those rubber band muscles stronger and more balanced, they can hold your skeleton in place without getting over stretched or taxed as easily.  Two great foundational exercises for hip mobility and core strength are Planks and Floor Bridges.  You can put these in at the beginning of your workout, or even do them at home on the floor while watching TV.


Lie on your back.  Pull your feet up close to your body.  Line up your hips, knees, and feet.  Make sure your knees stay in alignment with your hips and feet, and don't wobble in or out.  Press up through your glutes.  You should not feel it in your hamstrings or lower back.  Raise yourself to where your body forms a straight line.  Make sure not to over extend or arch your back.  At the top position, flex your glutes and hold for 4 seconds.  Lower yourself to the ground for 2 seconds.  Then repeat.  Aim for 12 reps.


Lie flat on your stomach.  Pull your elbows in next to your body.  Make a fist.  Rock back into the plank position, leading with your core and glutes.  Most people push up from their shoulders, then pull their core up.  It is more effective to tighten your core, and rock back forcing your core to rise first.  Hold at the top for 4 seconds, flexing your core and glutes.  This will make sure you maintain a flat back.  Also, resist the urge to let your head hang or to look up.  Rather, keep your head and neck in alignment with your spine.  Rock back down smoothly to your starting position, then repeat.  Again, aim for 12 reps.

Simple Ways to Feel Better: Foam Rolling

One of the first questions I always get as people walk through the gym is “What are those for?”.

My immediate response, “that is the best 5 bucks you will ever spend”.

Why do I have PVC pipe in the gym? Did I forget to throw it away from when we were building the showers?

What if I told you it was the most affordable masseuse you had ever met?

Actually, for those who have heard of it, we use them for “foam rolling”. Google it, it can become your new best friend. The technical name is “self-myofacial release”, but ultimately it is a simple way to massage out the soreness and knots in your muscles.

We've had a lot of people come through just starting up their workout routines again. One of the most difficult things about pushing yourself is that next day soreness. This can unhinge workout plans in a hurry. It's tough to muster up the motivation to go to the gym when sore muscles make getting out of bed difficult.

Stop on down and ask, I'd be glad to show you how to foam roll, speed up your recovery, and keep you moving along the way to your goals.

Making Fitness Simple (or why I opened Glassworks Fitness)

Living a healthy lifestyle is a tricky thing. So often the messages that float around the media and our lives promote how “easy” it is to go on a quick diet, or complete a quick exercise program. But, if this was so easy then everyone in the world would be losing 5, 10, or 100 pounds in a matter of days, or maybe weeks, and achieving all of their life goals in the process.

In reality, it can often be difficult to start on the road to your healthy lifestyle, or maybe starting is easy, and it becomes difficult to stick with it. We beat ourselves up.  We tell ourselves that we are just making “excuses”. Then, there is a “motivational poster” telling us that we need to be strong, resilient, and persevere at all costs. However, our “excuses” are actually legitimate reasons, more often than not. Family, work, kids, social obligations, education, and myriad other aspects of our life compete with our desires and ability to eat right, exercise, and live a healthy lifestyle.

Attaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is “simple”, but difficult at the same time. How is this dichotomy possible? Many of us know the basic components: eat right, exercise, sleep well (recover), and repeat. However, in order to be able to accomplish our goals, many of the barriers that make fitness difficult need to be overcome, lessened, or removed: inconvenience, time commitments, cost, false/misleading information, and lack of knowledge or confidence about how to be successful.

I opened Glassworks Fitness to remove many of these barriers. My goal is to apply my training in Biology, Education, and Public Health to create an environment that makes it possible, fun, and convenient for you to achieve whatever fitness goal you may have.

Glassworks Fitness is located in Downtown Louisville in order to create a convenient location, that can save you that 10, 15, or 30 minutes per day you spend driving to and from a fitness center. Glassworks Fitness is located where you (well many of you) work. This convenience can save you a couple hours per week just in travel, valuable time you can spend with your family, pursuing your career, or in leisure.

No knowledge about fitness is necessary (that is why we are giving away classes with top-notch instructors for the first month). The fact that you are reading this indicates you have all the motivation you need to begin the process towards success. Take a chance, stop by, and let me help show you how to meet your goals.  Bring your workout attire.  Your first workout is FREE!