There are tremendous benefits to patients doing band work. For years we have had tubing, tubing with handles, Thera-bands, loops, the Stretch strap, and now the Consecutive Loop (CLX) Theraband. In my office patients are being introduced to the CLX along with bodyweight exercises before using free weights or Kettlebells. Patients are instructed to perform bodyweight workouts and then they try doing it with the new CLX Thera-bands. There is a difference between the CLX movement and bodyweight only maneuvers and I notice patients are surprised at the difference between the two sensations. The obvious things patients notice when training with CLX is a difference in the sensation of more muscle recruitment, breathing becomes deeper, and heart beats go up. The CLX creates more intensity and it seems obvious that the energy expenditure of the CLX workout is greater than the bodyweight workout alone.
One of the biggest advantages of using CLX is the way I can cue patients to apply compressive forces (increases muscular response and promotes stability) as well as traction (increases muscular response and promotes movement) forces to act on the body while having it wrapped around a foot or hand. Wrapping a CLX band around the feet and hands while performing a squat or lunge is a fun challenge and causes the body to increase more muscle activation.
All rehab and exercise tools are not the same. If space is an issue in your office, all you need to get started with the CLX is about a 6’x 6’ space. Patients can benefit from CLX training without ever graduating to free weights or Kettlebell drills. One-arm CLX training is great unto itself. Further, many classic band exercises, such as pushes and pulls are great for flexibility, strength and cardio fitness. Static holding of poses with CLX resistance is a great way to increase strength through the upper body and trunk.
The new CLX Theraband is different and it provides patients with the variety they need to stay engaged in therapy. After a few sessions you will see very different results and realize the unique attributes the CLX can bring to your in-office rehab training. CLX bands are absolutely the first place Doctors and patients can apply themselves to learning proper band technique. For in office training and at home follow up therapy the CLX is definitely the way to go! Bottom line? You can certainly get fit and strong with one single 3-5 foot long CLX Theraband.
Dr. Jeffrey Tucker on the new Thera-band CLX:
“I like CLX bridging for the glut muscles, at least 3-5 times a week. If you have back pain, sit-ups are taken out of the program and I teach patients exercises that do a better job of ab work anyway, like planks or core engagement leg raises with the CLX. These get the job done!
With CLX, patients gain decrease pain, increase flexibility and gain strength. They understand that it requires lots of reps and volume. In my class we do bouts of 30-60 seconds. Athletes understand they need volume if they want to build endurance. My patients in pain understand movements with CLX improves recovery ability. A little soreness and stiffness after the first CLX workout is normal. That’s normal in any new training – it eases in a few days and then you are ready for more reps and sets.
I highly recommend you add CLX to your regular training. Try it as part of your correctives or dynamic warm up. Start with your bird dogs, squats, pushups, and knee raises.”
Doctors and patients will not be disappointed. You’ll enjoy time-tested “old school” movements with a new twist – the CLX band. I am all in!
CLX workouts are completely complimentary and synergistic with all other training approaches and styles such as yoga, free weights, kettlebells, ropes, and cardio. CLX bands provide flexibility and conditioning that are another Thera-band tool at my disposal.
If you are currently working out through an old injury, or feel injured after a workout, or experiencing pain with certain movements l recommend improving flexibility, building core strength, and neuromuscular control using the new CLX.
Dr. Tucker focuses on the basics. Planks, pushups, and squats. Lots of variety with the CLX! These three will go a long way to strengthening your entire body. Dr. Tucker’s approach is hands on, your bodyweight, consistent short work outs that stress the “core”.
In January 2015 Thera-Band will launch the CLX.
Dr. Jeffrey Tucker requested that Thera-band make a continuous loop band like the Stretch Strap and in 2014 they gave Dr. Tucker a prototype. He has been beta testing the CLX for a year before the ‘launch’ in his private practice in Los Angeles, CA. He put together routines based on traditional band and bodyweight training.
Dr. Tucker says “I combined my knowledge of anatomy and movement into progressive CLX training” for my patients”. Dr. Tucker has 30 years of experience teaching patients flexibility and strength training. CLX represents an evolved fusion of the Thera-band Stretch Strap and Dr. Tucker’s fascial knowledge and bodyweight strength methods.
Many techniques are combined using the CLX – fascial stretch, PNF, muscle release techniques, static stretch techniques along with proper form and progressions.
“Those doctors, patients and athletes familiar with CLX will be ahead of the pack. Come in and visit me to learn bleeding-edge exercises, new approaches, next-gen thinking in band training and therapy.”
by Jeffrey H. Tucker, DC, DACRB
My background is in Chiropractic, helping people get out of acute and chronic pain. I have spent twenty five years in private practice teaching clients how to decrease pain and improve their health. It has been a great job, and it is something I see myself going for the rest of my life and career.
About fifteen years ago I started taking a post graduate program at my Chiropractic College to pursue my first passion, which was musculoskeletal rehabilitation. I continued to work as a Chiropractor, but I started including more exercise therapy and nutritional therapy into my practice. In essence, I strive to become a Wellness Consultant rather than just dealing with people in pain.
Many of my clients are not ready for the gym yet and need a program that could transition them to the gym. Many of them get injured while working out and training. Sometimes clients have to take a step backward to move forward and sometimes their voyage is not so much about discovery as rediscovery of lost flexibility, strength or speed. I developed a progression of core exercises that I was teaching to my patients to help them get out of pain, create muscle balance, symmetry and strength. Eventually, I started teaching an exercise class at Dance Studio No.1 in west Los Angeles. Many clients needed a class to progress to stronger levels. I started teaching with the intention of preventing future back problems and prepare them to get into better shape and fitness. The people that came for help in improving their fitness levels for everyday life really liked the way that I presented things. So, I have continued with this program over the past four years.
There are two distinct yet interdependent muscle systems in the body, the stabilization system (stabilizers = local muscle) and the movement system (mobilizers = global muscle). Both the local and global muscle systems must integrate together for efficient normal function. Neither system in isolation can control the functional stability of body motion segments (vertebrae and bones). The stabilizers assist postural holding, anti-gravity, and joint stability (support) function. These are prone to inhibition and weakness. The mobilizers assist rapid accelerated movements like we use when training with Kettlebells. The mobilizers are large and superficial muscles (the ones we see on our body). They provide range of movement, and produce high force or power. The mobilizers are prone to over activity and tightness. Once a movement segment has lost functional stability and has developed abnormal compensatory motion, stabilizing structures (both connective tissue and contractile) around these joints become less stiff and more flexible, more lax and have more “give” thus making these segments at risk of abnormal stress and strain.
There are specific indications for low load training of the muscle system. Clients will present with mild discomfort to intense pain during normal daily functions; unguarded movements cause sharp pain; they have very specific pain and/or stiffness in muscles and joints; symptoms associated with static positions and postures (sitting, standing and lying). Some clients come knowing they have unstable backs; some have a history of bad backs. The name of my exercise program is Progressive Body Movement (PBM). PBM is actually a priority system of building strength and flexibility. It’s a very rational method for getting people out of pain, and keeping them out of pain by creating spinal stability and strength.
Many of my clients need to learn what exercises they can do without hurting themselves. As soon as they would start yoga, or Pilates or weight training exercises, they would get a flare up in there low back, shoulder or neck. They had become afraid to exercise because they always hurt themselves afterwards. These clients needed to exercise just so they could get ready to exercise. I learned how to progress people from low load body weight exercises to bands and free weights and Kettlebells.
My tag line is, “We were all given a lifespan, let’s create a healthspan.”
My clients enjoyed the way that I was teaching because it was very much back to old school stuff, low tech floor work, bands, balls, and bodyweight maneuvers. I don’t use any fancy gadgets or machines. I progress them to free weight and Kettlebells. They really liked that, and I made it fun for them.
The key to helping clients and what you can do on your own is practice form before function, and uni-planar motions before multi-planar motions. I have learned to see simple compensations when evaluating client’s movement patterns. I use isolation for innervation of the system and to improve function. But, isolation is great for testing & rehab, not training.
We need to physically train the stability muscles. Strengthening exercises alone will not likely affect the timing and manner of recruitment of muscles during functional activities. With proper stability it makes using heavy weights such as Kettlebells safer and enhances performance.
Recently, a band exercise device called the Gymstick has come in to my rehab and wellness practice. I was in San Francisco at a workshop on the hip, being taught by a British instructor. I asked him if he had any new equipment that he was using in his rehab facility. He said that they were doing a lot of creative exercises with a device called the “Gymstick” and that it was great for core training.
So, when I got home I did my research and ordered the Gymsticks on-line. When they came I started using it for five to ten minutes as part of my own workouts. The Gymstick came with a visual poster of exercises, and I ordered a DVD. I liked it so much I ordered more for my clients and to use in my classes. My clients and students really like it. So, I thought, “I want to become a distributor of this and create an opportunity for groups of people to have Gymstick classes.”
I have been to many workshops and conferences over the years. I have heard some of the best trainers and coaches in the U.S. and none of the presenters I met ever mentioned the Gymstick. It is popular in Europe and just not known here in the United States yet.
To have a great foundation for weight lifting I recommend band work as well. I recommend slow, low effort repetitions and only move through the range that the weak link can be actively controlled. Perform 20-30 slow repetitions or approximately 1- 2 minutes of a given exercise. Initially, when these low load exercises ‘feel’ difficult or high-perceived effort is used then it is likely that that muscles slow motor unit is inefficient and you need to do these maneuvers. If an exercise with body weight, Gymstick, or other bands looks easy and feels easy, then it means there is better facilitation of slow motor unit recruitment. It is best to do local muscle dominant recruitment (Gymstick) on different days than strength training days. This makes it a good tool for rest days.
I have personally taken it on to get the word out there and really promote Gymstick, and the way of training with them. In fact, I don’t feel like I have to sell Gymstick. They sell themselves. As soon as you get someone to come to a class, they are hooked. It’s amazing. The results are quick and fast for stretching, strengthening, and functional training!
One of my clients, she came into my program a size 12 and she’s an 8 now. She feels very happy wearing clothing she hasn’t fit into in a long time. She enjoys feeling healthier and more flexible.
Gymsticks are going to be a great tool for me to make a niche in the market and offer new classes among those training in Los Angeles. It has always been my passion and goal to educate people about diet, nutrition, body work, and training. Los Angeles is very much a Pilates and Yoga town. We have lots of hard core gyms as well. I applaud all of these, but I think the Gymstick offers a good balance for motor control training and increasing a muscle recruitment challenge, as well as improving flexibility, thus increasing the potential to generate force and power.
I am into minimal equipment and basics. I like floor work, Kettlebells, dumb bells and bands for overload training, power and endurance.
Why am I hoping to go to get people more into Gymstick and kettelbells or even body strength training, opposed to using machines? I have never been a proponent of weight machines. I encourage people to get off the machines and get into functional fitness where you are standing and you need to ground yourself and you need to use your core strength and stability. It’s NOT about sitting in a machine and pressing as hard as you can, because that’s not going to do anything except if you are sitting down and pressing against somebody. That’s not real life. Real life is: you’ve got to chase a child around a park or mall; you need to lift and carry heavy objects; and you have sit to long in awful chairs. Gymstick provides low load training and exercises that can optimize slow motor unit recruitment; efficiently teach you to really internalize your power and bring it out when you need to.
Gymstick will help you activate the deeper, more local muscles of the body that help you achieve increasing the segmental stiffness of the spine and decreasing excessive inter-segmental motion and maintaining muscle control during low load tasks and activities. In contrast, using the Kettlebells will help you achieve high physiological load. Both the local muscles and the outer muscles contribute to both stability and mobility roles. The combination of Kettlebells and Gymstick repetitions will help give you endurance and stamina. There is no longer a need to rely on machines, every training session can be done at home.
I think the combination of Gymstick and Kettlebells is so functional. Clients are creating their own drills that are sport specific.
“Gymsticks are here and you don’t know what they are right now, but I am an instructor and I will show you!” (See info for class schedule)
Dr. Jeffrey Tucker: “I have studied with some of the best teachers in the musculoskeletal and nutrition world. I continue to take post graduate courses and seminars and get some more certifications.” You can visit Dr. Tucker at www.DrJeffreyTucker.com where you can purchase the Gymstick he mentions.
My classes have progressed to a more general fitness population that wants to have a more challenging work out. They know that I push them quite hard, but with what I call “my watchful eye” making sure that they maintain good form. They know that I want them to succeed at their goals. Whether their goal is to get out of pain from a sports injury, loss weight, or to become fit, I am going to give them my undivided attention in getting them their safely and uninjured, but I don’t expect anything less than one hundred percent of their effort.
by Jeffrey H. Tucker, DC, DACRB
The product is great for rehabilitation, functional movement training, sport-specific conditioning and group classes.
Sometimes patients have to take a step backward to move forward, and sometimes their voyage is not so much about discovery as rediscovery.
Stiffness is not the major chief complaint I hear from clients, but it is often checked off on their intake forms. Stiffness can be associated with pain, inflammation, fatigue, and any other complaint that bring clients in my office. The most common reason for stiffness is the effects of immobilization of the joints and muscles. The spinal joints, hip joints, knee joints, shoulder joints, and ankle joints are the most commonly involved. Muscle and joint pain commonly originates from bad habits of sitting, standing, sleeping, and walking. Stiffness has real consequences if ignored.
A Functional Workout
It doesn’t matter if my client is young, middle-aged, or a senior citizen; I use the functional training approach as part of my treatment, especially for relief of stiffness. I start my rehab recovery teaching patients body-weight maneuvers and floor exercises. Then, I progress patients to use bands. I incorporate resistance bands from Thera-Band for rehabilitation, functional movement training, sport-specific conditioning, and group classes. The next progression I use is to free weights and Kettlebells. Last year, our profession was inundated with laser therapy and decompression tables, while the strength-training world was invaded by Kettlebells. I like to think that I have access to every kind of equipment, but through it all, I am still a proponent of the minimal and inexpensive need for equipment in “authentic” functional training, like the bands.
The bands can provide the basis for an authentic functional workout limited only by the imagination and knowledge of the practitioner. Functional exercise is based on its outcome, not how the exercise looks. Don’t ask me how to activate specific muscles (that question was answered years ago). Instead, ask: “Why did this person lose the movement pattern in the first place?” The bands help me get rid of stiffness and improve functional strength, which is usable strength. Functional strength is hard to measure. That’s why I attempt to identify it by using many unorthodox movements, such as assisted posterior reaches.
This exercise is one of the best methods of developing functional abdominal strength in overhead athletes, or athletes in sports that bring the arms overhead, such as tennis and basketball. Stand on both legs (eventually progress to one-legged stands) facing away from a band firmly held in place. Hold the band in both hands, and extend your arms straight up above your head. Bring the hips forward and the hands back. Lean backward as far as you can without feeling pressure in your lower back. Engage the lower abdominals to return to the starting position.
Using the bands, I teach movements that train the body to do what it was meant to do. These can simply be broken down into four pillars:
- Standing and locomotion (gait). One of my favorite exercises that improve the hip rotator stabilizers (gluteus) is to have clients wrap the Thera-Band (usually the green band) around the ankles and walk sideways across the room or down a hall to activate the gluteus. This one maneuver alone has helped more patients improve altered gait than any other.
- Movements that lower or raise the body’s center of mass, such as squatting, lunging, and climbing. I have clients stand on a band and hold the ends of the band in their hands while doing squats, and perform an overhead press on the way up.
- Pushing and pulling, such as standing rows and pressing maneuvers.
- Rotation. These are changes in direction. For example, torso rotation and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) band chops are a functional way to train the abdominals. Everyone talks about the core, which includes the major muscles attached to the trunk, above the ischial tuberosity, and below the superior aspect of the sternum. Approximately 87% of the core muscles are oriented either diagonally or horizontally and have rotation as one of their actions. Our bodies were made for rotation, yet very little rotational training is addressed in today’s standard training protocols. The bands make rotational training easy.
The most annoying things about the bands is getting the latex powder on your clothes and occasionally the bands break while you are in the middle of a set. An advantage to band assessing and training is the observation of symmetrical or asymmetrical movements. The link between uncontrolled spinal and joint intersegmental translation or uncontrolled range of motion, and the development of musculoskeletal pain and degenerative pathology, is well-known. Often, patients are not even aware of the bad movement pattern that they are doing over and over that is causing the stiffness. Sometimes, it is only clearly seen when the muscles fatigue and pain sets in.
The inefficient control of muscles and bones, poor movement habits, and poor posture give rise to very subtle and unique imbalances in the body-stability system. This puts mechanical stress and strain on the joints; and the muscular, neurological, and connective tissue systems of the body. This leads to cumulative microinflammation, which leads to pain and pathology. This predisposes joints to early aging and stiffness. A significant amount of injuries and stiffness occurs in clients with right- to left-sided strength and flexibility imbalances. My recommendations with the Thera-Band are to put the core first and to look for the following asymmetries:
Everyone has heard about core stability and realizes how critical it is for the inner core of the body, namely, those joints closer to the spine, to be supported by the postural muscles designed to do so. Core stabilization was originally referred to as “low load motor control training of the trunk while progressively adding a limb load and proprioceptive challenge while maintaining a neutral spine.”
|Assisted posterior reaches using the Thera-Band develop functional abdominal strength in overhead athletes.
It’s more about learning to move than about strength. Stability is about keeping the spine still while you move the arms or legs. For example, can you independently move the hip and not the lumbar spine while on your hands and knees, and raise a single leg out behind you (with the band wrapped around the bottom of the foot and the ends held in your hand)?
The purpose of flexibility varies for the different muscles around the joints. For the major power muscles, it is important that flexibility allows freedom of movement for the pelvis, hips, trunk, scapula, and humerus. Freedom of movement needs to be symmetrical.
General Muscle Strength
Once the foundational issues of consistency, core stability, flexibility, and balance control are being implemented, I then look at the bigger picture of the “outer core.” The rest of your body will need strength to carry you into your 80s and 90s. Performance as you age will be improved with strength. You can create strength using the tubing made by Thera-Band. If you don’t tend to strengthen, the natural progression is for the body to lose it.
I usually recommend that stretching is the last thing a person does once he or she is pain-free. I see many patients that injure themselves from overstretching in yoga class and with Pilates. Stretch to increase flexibility, but don’t overdo it. I encourage patients to feel the muscle barrier and don’t go past that point. Otherwise, you start pulling on the ligaments, and these were not meant to be pulled apart.
Neuromusculoskeletal function involves a complex integration of proprioceptors facilitating; muscles reacting and joints moving simultaneously in sagital, frontal, and transverse planes of motion in a ground-force kinetic chain-reaction response.
This is facilitated by the moving body in relation to the ground and gravity. Use the bands to put patients through movements that let you see how an individual can control outside forces that are irregular in intensity, speed, load, symmetry, and direction, like sports and real life.
The factors that may play a role in avoiding overtraining are variety and the integrated manner of training. Since there is no isolation of muscle, no one particular muscle gets an inordinate amount of volume. So less recovery time is needed. Start clients on the four pillars and stabilization training as soon as they can.
Is having the bands useful? You bet. Even though I had to get used to how to give directions to patients, and sometimes it takes a while for patients to get the movement pattern correct, bands are still more versatile than machines.
Jeffrey Tucker, DC, DACRB, has been in continuous private practice for 24 years in Los Angeles. His practice includes yoga, Pilates, and Gymstick training. He teaches courses in rehabilitation.