Please read the back pain section of this website before carrying out the following.
- Back pain is often caused by weakness in the muscles that stabilise your lower back and pelvis. Therefore the first exercise to start with is Number 7 and when this becomes easy progress to Number 8, 9, 10 and 11.
- Along side this one you add Number 1 and when this becomes easy Number 2, 3 and 4. It may takes days or weeks to progress from each exercise to the next.
- Another exercise that you can start with is Number 5 which explains standing and stepping posture.
- Only when you have completely mastered these exercises should you progress to planking as shown in Number 16.
- Also number 43 through to 46 to work the back muscles in sitting. Number 47 is good if you need to lean forward when sitting, for example if you are a cyclist.
- Upper back stiffness is another cause of back pain so incorporate number 48, 49 or 67 into your daily routine.
- Number 59 can help to loosen up the lower back, particularly first thing in the morning before you get out of bed.
- Breathing techniques are brilliant at releasing tension in the back so practice number 78. 79 or 80.
- Number 6 shows you how to bend or lean forward correctly from the hips which is important for lots of activities like walking up hill, going up stairs, standing up from sitting, bending down to pick things up and lifting and carrying.
- The correct lifting and carrying technique will enable your back to heal and reduce recurrence and number 19 explains how to do this.
- Leg strengthening and general body strengthening will help you to maintain your improvements so learn to squat properly in number 20 and 22 and, when you have no pain, you can progress to split squats or lunges as shown in number 23 and 24.
Please read the Static vs Dynamic stretching page to learn when these should and should not be done.
Static stretching should only be done after exercise, not during or before, and when the muscles are warm.
Please read the Static vs Dynamic stretching page to learn when dynamic stretching should and should not be done.
Dynamic stretching should be done before certain types of exercise when the body is warm.
Chronic or Complex Pain
Please read the chronic or complex pain page before considering the following exercises.
- Breathing techniques can really help your musculoskeletal system, circulation, heart, lungs and brain function when you are in pain so practice numbers 78, 79 and 80.
- Wherever you have pain in your body it is always good to make the movements as efficient as possible by strengthening your lower back and pelvic stabilisers which provide the foundation for all movements. Start with lying on the foam roller with exercise Number 7 and progress to Number 8 and 9.
- It is also important to work these muscles on your hands and knees so start with Number 1 and progress to Number 2, Number 3 and Number 4.
- Getting your standing posture right is key for most people and video Number 5 will enable you to do this.
- Likewise if sitting is something you do on a regular basis then Number 43 and 44 will be very helpful.
- The mid back is often the first to become stiff and you can release it yourself with numbers 48 and 49 and number 67 is particularly useful because you can do it sitting at your desk.
- Number 59 is great if you feel that your lower back needs loosening up, especially first thing in the morning.
- Correct lifting and carrying technique is essential to prevent low back pain in particular so check out Number 19 if this is you.
- Add Number 20 to start to address your leg alignment and you can incorporate this alignment into any squats, knee bends and leg press exercises you do.
- If you have upper back, neck or shoulder pain shoulder posture is important so Number 12 and 13 are useful for you as are the neck stretches in Number 69.
- Likewise if you have any foot, ankle or knee pain number 40 gives you an exercise to strengthen your feet and ankles.
These are just a taster of the exercises – please click on the area(s) of the body in which you feel pain to learn more exercises that could help you.
Foot & Ankle
Please read the foot and ankle pages of this website before watching these videos.
Foot and ankle problems can be very varied but there are key exercises that can help.
- Balance and proprioception are nearly always affected when the foot or ankle are injured so exercise Number 70 is essential and you can progress to 71 and 72 when this is easy.
- Static calf stretches are useful after exercise involving running or jumping so learn how to do these properly in Number 56.
- Good foot and ankle strength and alignment is important for all weight bearing activities and can be improved by doing Number 40 followed by Number 41.
- Calf strength is key to most weight bearing activities but particularly with impact or jumping so make sure you do numbers 42, 35 and 36. High repetitions of these exercises are important for Achilles tendinopathy (previously known as tendinitis.)
- The alignment of your hip and knee has an impact on how your foot and ankle are loaded so improve this with Number 37 and then 38 and 39.
Please read the headache page of this website before reading the following.
- Gentle neck stretching can help headaches so carry out Number 69.
- Correcting neck posture as shown in Number 66 can have an effect on headaches because of the nerves and blood vessels that come out of the neck and supply the head.
- Breathing exercises have huge benefits in getting the ribs and diaphragm moving and therefore increasing circulation and movement right up to the base of the neck and the nerves and blood vessels that come out of the neck and supply the head. They also help relaxation and therefore release of tension. Start with Number 78 and progress to Number 79 and Number 80.
- Number 7 is great for opening the chest and releasing the neck and upper back to reverse the effects of being slumped over a lap top, phone, PC, steering wheel or desk.
- Training your lower abdominal muscles in a kneeling position strengthens the foundations on which your spine and head rest as well as working your neck muscles against gravity. Start with Number 1 and build up to 2, 3 and 4.
- Shoulder posture can have a significant affect on the neck and therefore headaches so train the shoulder postural muscles in Number 12 and then progress to Number 13.
- If you have no pain or other symptoms you can start to introduce neck strengthening exercises to prevent recurrence of your headaches. Start with Number 68 and progress to Number 81.
Hip & Groin
Please read the Hip and Groin pages of this website before you do the following.
- One of the things that can make an immediate difference to hip and groin pain is the correction of standing posture. Number 73 is therefore the best starting exercise.
- The socket part of the ball and socket joint of the hip is located in the pelvis. Therefore the muscles that provide stability for the pelvis (and lower back) are essential for healthy hips. The first exercise you need to do to work these is Number 7 and 8 followed by number 9, 10 and 11 although it may take you a number of weeks or months to progress through to Number 11.
- The ‘superman series’ also works the stability muscles of the lower back as well as the buttock muscles and general body strength so this is your next priority. Start with Number 1 and progress to 2, 3 and 4. Only when you have completely mastered these exercises should you progress to planking as shown in Number 16.
- Once you have got your standing posture right, you can practice Number 5 and Number six which trains your body how to bend properly from the hip joints.
- The muscles that lift the leg, flexing at the hip are often a contributing cause of pain at the front of the hip or groin. Learn to train them with Number 73 then 74, 75, 76 and 77.
- If you sit for significant periods of time training your stability muscles in the correct sitting posture is important so start with Number 43 and progress to 44, 45 and 46. Number 47 teaches you how to bend from your hips in sitting and may be painful for a while so avoid it if this is the case.
- The hip has muscular connections with the back so keeping it moving can help the hip. Do exercise Number 48 or 49 to release the upper back. Number 67 is particularly useful because you can do it sitting at work.
- Getting your leg alignment right is important to get the right muscles and tendons taking the weight and forces they are designed to. Start with number 20 and then number 22. When these become easy you can do single leg work as shown in Number 37, 38 and 38.
- When you have got your lower limb alignment sorted you can start to work on balance and proprioception as demonstrated in Number 70, 71 and 72.
To learn how to stretch before and after sports please go to the static and dynamic stretching series which covers the quads, hip flexors, hamstrings ,gluts, adductors and abductors as well as whole body dynamic stretching and hip opening.
Please read the knee pages in this website before watching the following exercises.
- Knee pain is often caused or contributed to by the alignment of the whole of the lower limb. Exercise Number 20 is therefore the best starting point followed by Number 22.
- After a few weeks when these beome easy you can start to introduce Number 21, 23 and 24. However, if you can’t do a single knee bend with perfect alignment as described in Number 21 you need to do Numbers 37, 38 and 39 first.
- Numbers 37, 38 and 39 are important in their own right, especially if you have any problems with your knee cap, ITB or patella tendon so do make sure you master these.
- Understanding and practicing the correct foot movement through gait (walking) can also help knee pain so watch Number 29 to learn how.
- If you are a runner or simply if walking is painful Number 25 is brilliant at enabling your body to encorporate the muscles and movements you have trained so far into your walking and running technique.
- If you are returning to running and your physio has said it is time to introduce impact start with Number 26 and 27 and then progress to Number 28. It may take a number of weeks to build up through these levels.
- If walking downstairs is painful and you have mastered lower leg alignment then it is time to practice Number 30 and 31.
- To train correct alignment and strength for walking upstairs practice Number 32 and, when you are ready, Number 33. Once you have mastered these, for more advanced exercises, practice Number 33 and 34.
- Number 36 strengthens and lengthens the calf muscles which can help to reduce knee pain.
- Balance and proprioception are key to recovery and injury prevention so make sure you incorporate Numbers 70, 71 and 72 to your routine.
For videos of knee stretches please go to our Dynamic Stretching and Static Stretching series which include stretchs of the quadriceps (front of knee) hamstrings (back of knee) calf muscles (both gastrocnemius and soleus) and the hip musculature.
Please read the neck pages of this website before reading the following.
- Start with Number 69 – gentle neck stretching.
- Now learn the correct neck posture in Number 66.
- Breathing exercises move the ribs and diaphragm, increasing circulation and movement right up to the base of the neck, aid relaxation and release tension. Try number Number 78 and progress to Number 79 and Number 80 if they are comfortable.
- To open the chest and release the neck and upper back to reverse the effects of being slumped over a PC, phone, steering wheel or lap top carry out Number 7.
- If your upper back is stiff the neck will have to move more causing more pain. To release the upper back use exercises Number 48, 49 and 67, the latter can easily be done at your desk at work.
- Training your lower abdominal muscles in a kneeling position strengthens the foundations on which your neck rests as well as working your neck muscles against gravity. Start with Number 1 and build up to 2, 3 and 4.
- Shoulder posture can have a significant affect on the neck so train the shoulder postural muscles in Number 12 and then progress to Number 13.
- If you have no pain or other symptoms you can start to introduce neck strengthening exercises to prevent recurrence of your headaches. Start with Number 68 and progress to Number 81.
Please read the shoulder pages of this website before watching the videos.
- Correct shoulder posture is key to reducing shoulder pain as described in Number 12 and you can progress this to add movement in Number 13.
- Learning how to move your shoulder blade can be assisted by the exercise in Number 14 and this exercise will also strengthen the shoulder blade muscles which are essential in shoulder function and recovery. You can progress to exercise Number 18 and Number 18.2 particularly if you have pain with your shoulder out to the side or above your head.
- The rotator cuff muscles hold the ball in the shoulder socket through range of motion. You need to train them in whatever range of movement is painful, although the exercise itself should be completely pain free. Exercise Number 17 shows you how to do this.
- The shoulder blade sits on your rib cage and end of range shoulder movement is reliant on the upper back joints moving. Therefore mobilising your upper back can help shoulder pain as described in Number 48, 49 and 67 – the latter being particularly useful because you can do it at your desk.
- When you know how to stabilise your shoulder blade it is time to work your rotator cuff muscles in standing as in Number 82. This exercise should be done in whatever range of motion is weak or painful but the exercise itself should be pain free.
- Core muscles have been shown to be key to reducing shoulder pain so carry out exercises Number 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and Numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 to achieve this.
- Press ups done correctly can aid the recovery of the shoulder but done badly can damage it. Watch Number 15 to learn the correct technique.
- The buttock and leg muscles also play a role in shoulder function so Number 22 (squats) Number 23 (split squats) and Number 24 (advanced split squats) are worth incorporating as soon as possible.
- Your neck and shoulder are directly connected with muscles, nerves and other structures so correcting neck posture is important with shoulder pain – check out Number 66 to learn how and Number 69 to learn stretches to release the neck.
- To strengthen the neck use exercises Number 68 and then 81.
Please read the Work and Stress sections of this website to learn how to set up your Work Station to reduce and prevent pain as well as tips on stress reduction.
- Get your sitting posture right at work by watching Number 43 and train your stability muscles either sitting on a ball or sitting at your desk using Numbers 45, 46 and 47.
- Number 68 pays closer attention to your neck posture and Numbers 12 and 13 your shoulder posture, both essential when sitting at your desk. Carry out some gentle neck stretching first to loosen your neck as demonstrated in Number 69.
- To strengthen your neck muscles Number 68 can easily be done at work.
- Number 67 – the best exercise you can do at your desk are chair twists that mobilise your spine, release tension and can treat and prevent back pain, neck pain and headaches. When you get home you can release your upper back further by carrying out Number 48 and 49.
- Likewise, in order to reduce the effects of being slumped over your desk, phone, PC etc all day is to lie on a foam roller as shown in Number 7 and then progress this to training your deep abdominal muscles in Numbers 8, 9, 10 and 11 if you wish.
- Standing up at your desk and doing some squatting will help to keep your legs strong and circulation going as well as reducing the risk of back, knee and foot pain – learn how with Number 22.
- Learning to breath properly is an excellent and versatile way of reducing stress and tension at work. The breathing exercises in Numbers 78, 79 and 80 are performed in lying but once you have practiced them there is no reason why you cant adapt them to do them sitting at your desk or on your commute.
- If you do any bending, lifting or carrying at work then Number 19 is essential for you but few people don’t do this kind of activity at some point in their day.
Please check out the information on cycling training, alignment and injury prevention on this website as well as the videos below. Our cycling specialist physio carries out Cycling Assessments so please do use the website search tool or get in touch to find out more.
- Exercise Number 83 is without doubt your most important starting point: How to get your body into the right position to optimise performance and prevent injury. The exercises following this break down components of this alignment to equip you with the strength and the mobility to get into this position.
- It is always important to build from the foundations which are the stability muscles of the lower back and pelvis so once you have got the basics on the foalm roller in Number 7 and 8 you can move to the superman series Numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4.
- Once you know how to activate these deep muscles you can practice them in sitting using exercises Numbers 44, 45 and 46.
- A fundamental part of cycling is to able to flex deeply into your hips which will help to avoid back and neck pain. Learn how to do this in standing with Number 6 and in stiing with number 47.
- Another common correction is neck posture so learn in more detail how to correct this using Number 66 and how to strengthen your neck muscles in number 68. If your neck feels tight carry out these neck stretches – Number 69.
- Number 50 – if you have a tendency to let your knee drop in when you cycle and/or have knee cap or tendon pain then foam rolling the outer side of your thigh can help give relief to these symptoms.
- The upper back can become stiff in cyclists causing neck, shoulder arm or low back pain so keep it loose by carrying out Number 48, 49 or 67.
- Numbers 54, 55 and 58 show you how to correctly stretch our quadriceps, hamstrings and buttock/glutes muscles respectively all of which can get tight when cycling. Number 59 demonstrates how you can release your back to prevent or treat pain or stiffness.
About 70% of our patients are runners. The expertise of our specialist running physiotherapists and the huge amount of information on this website on running and marathon training reflects this. Please use our search tool have a good read of it as well as checking out these videos.
- The running man exercise in Number 25 practices many of the components of running alignment together so you can try this out. However, it is advisable to practice components of this alignment first.
- The stability of your low back and pelvis is essential in efficient running technique and Numbers 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of our foam roller series along with Numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 of our superman series work these muscles – you can start the first exercise in both series at the same time.
- To learn the correct running posture first practice correct standing and walking posture as per Number 5 and then flex from the hips slightly. This hip flexion in standing is trained by Number 6.
- To more closely assess and correct your lower limb alignment for running practice Number 20 and 21. Lots of people struggle to achieve the correct alignment in a single knee bend and this is absolutely essential for pain free running. Carry out the wall/ball series – Numbers 37,38 and 39 and in the meantime continue to carry out squats on both legs as shown in Number 22.
- When you can maintain the correct alignment doing a mini knee bend (Number 21) then check out Number 29 to learn about normal foot pronation and then go back to running man (Number 25) and progress to landing – Number 26, jumping – Number 27 and hopping – Number 28.
- To strengthen your legs further carry out split squat – Numbers 23 and 24, eccentric step downs – Numbers 30 and 31, step ups – Numbers 32 and 32.3 as well as stepping up and over – Number 33.
- If you struggle with foot posture or have foot, ankle or lower leg pain then train your foot and ankle posture using exercises Number 40, 41, and 42.
- Decent calf muscle strength and flexibility is super important in performance and injury prevention and these exercises are the best way to achieve this – Number 35 and 36. Make sure you get your ankle alignment right when you are doing them bu checking out Number 42 first.
- Hip flexors lift your thigh upwards and drills involving these muscles can help running technique – Number 77 shows how you can strengthen these muscles.
- To avoid shoulder, neck or arm pain when running make sure you pay attention to your shoulder posture as per exercise Number 12 and 13.
- The upper back can become tight when running putting undue pressure on the low back and neck and reducing arm swing so release this area out with Number 48, 49 or 67.
- Massaging your outer thighs with a foam roller after exercise can help to alleviate knee pain – see Number 50.
- Balance and proprioception have been shown to prevent injuries in athletes and is particularly important if you have had any ligament injuries or you are running on uneven surfaces – practice Numbers 70, 71 and 72.
- Learning how to breathe properly when running will keep your body relaxed and your muscles and brain well oxygenated – practice in lying first – Number 78 – then incorporate into your running technique.
Finally don’t forget to static stretch AFTER running while your muscles are still warm: quads – 54, hamstrings – 55, calves – 56, adductors 57, glutes – 58, back – 59, hip flexors – 60.
Do not do static stretches before or during running. A decent warm up is most important but if you are doing a sport involving a larger range of motion than simply long distance road running then dynamic stretching is advisable: quads and hamstrings – 61, hip adductors and abductors – 62, hip and rotation and opening 63, arms – 64, upper back and body rotation 65.
Skiing & Snowboarding
We have a whole DVD dedicated to ski technique and alignment as well as the videos below and a large amount of information and advice on this website. Our Specialist Ski and Snowboarding physios carry out assessments and provide tailored advice and exercises to improve your technique on the mountain.
- Start with these two clips from the BodyTechSki DVD on knee alignment – Number 84 and fore-aft alignment – Number 85.
- One of the most useful muscle groups to work for skiing are the muscles that stabilise the lower back and pelvis and exercises Numbers 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 along with Numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 achieve this.
- In terms of the legs you need to get your alignment right. You need to carry out the following exercises as described but with your feet completely parallel not slightly turned out – exercise Numbers 20, 21 and 22.
- If you struggle to maintain this alignment then carrying out Numbers 37 and 38 will work the buttock muscles that enable the correct alignment.
- Once you have the correct alignment you can progressed to strengthening the quads with Numbers 23, 24, 30, 31, 32, 32.2 and 33 all with your foot pointing forwards not outwards.
- If your physio says you can do impact then introduce Numbers 27, and 34.
- Balance and proprioception are the most important element of ski and snowboarding performance and injury prevention so make sure you at least do Number 70 and ideally 71 and 72 too.
Finally don’t forget to static stretch AFTER skiing and boarding while your muscles are still warm: quads – 54, calves – 56, adductors 57, glutes – 58, back – 59, hip flexors – 60.
Do not do static stretches before or during skiing or boarding. A decent warm up is most important but dynamic stretching is also advisable: quads and hamstrings – 61, hip adductors and abductors – 62, hip and rotation and opening 63, arms – 64, upper back and body rotation 65.