All Posts tagged Exercise

Should I workout first thing in the morning or at night?

Personally I train in the morning. KNOW THIS: first thing in the morning we are up to 19mm taller in the seated position compared to the evening. This is due to the fact that during the night the disks between the vertebra in our spines become more hydrated with fluids. You literally are taller in the morning than when you go to bed at night. During the day we lose this liquid from or disks, in fact 90% of it is lost 60-90 minutes after getting out of bed.

Here’s how you can decide – if you perform a flexion movement of the torso (lean forward; touch fingers to the floor) as you get out of bed in the morning you will put up to 300% more pressure/compression on your disks. This can be disastrous for someone suffering from back problems. UNLESS you bend over and maintain a neutral spine.


People suffering from back problems should keep there backs in the “neutral spine” position as much as possible and avoid flexion and flexion with rotation of the torso, especially just after getting out of bed. Wait 60 – 90 minutes if you can’t bend without a neutral spine.

90% of back pain comes from muscle weaknesses and imbalances.


Lose weight – here’s how

I am so sick of clients doing excessive cardio – I mean mindless long runs, or bouts on the bike or eliptical. I hear about clients doing 60 minute cardio sessions and they are stiff as a board and in pain. The part that ‘kills me’ is that they won’t stretch or even listen to me when I talk to them about doing some weight lifting. I know cardio is one fat burning strategy, but it is time consuming and the reality is that aerobic activities burn far fewer calories than you think.  After doing 20-30 minutes of cardio you may feel as though you’ve burned 600 calories but the cold reality is far different. For example, researchers measured the number of calories burned when walking versus running. The study showed that the average man burns just 124 calories when running a mile and only 88 when walking the same distance. So by running three miles you can expect to burn about 396 calories and by walking three miles you will burn about 240.


Figures for other aerobic activities are shown below (these are calculated using a man who weighs 190 pounds).

·    Stationary bike (light): 474 calories per hour;
·    Walking uphill (3.5 miles per hour): 518 calories per hour;
·    High impact aerobics: 604 calories per hour;
·    Stationary bike (moderate): 604 calories per hour;
·    Jogging (light pace): 604 calories per hour;
·    Running (5 miles per hour): 690 calories per hour;
·    Stationary bike (vigorous): 906 calories per hour;

To lose one pound of body weight – you have to burn 3000 calories through exercise activity, or decrease your intake of food calories by approximately 3,000 calories. One strategy I use is to decrease 250 calories of food daily and increase your activity by 250 calories per day to reach the 3,000 calorie mark each week to lose a pound a week. Make sense? You can do 30 minutes of cardio (I prefer intervals = sprints) to burn body fat or  do some weight lifting to build muscle which automatically burns more calories during rest. I like to teach my clients to do a combo of cardio + resistance. That’s what I personally do.

Too much aerobic exercise will burn calories from fat but can burn fuel from muscle cells too – resulting in a loss of muscle mass – now you are screwed. The reason this happens is that periods of aerobic exercise cause the body to shift into survival mode. In this state, it strives to preserve access to fat cells by also burning fuel derived from muscle cells. It does this because the body is incapable of understanding our motivation for doing cardio. As far as it is concerned, it just needs to maintain fat reserves for any pending emergency situations where we might not have access to food.

By combining your workouts with resistance + cardio activities, you can burn up to 44% more calories. The bottom line is that resistance + cardio workouts burn considerably more calories and fat than ordinary cardio alone.

Just tell me what you like to do and I can turn any of your activities into a  cardio + resistance workout. For example, if you like to walk or jog you can pick up a set of dumbbells, some ankle weights or even a weight vest. If biking is your thing, just kick up the resistance. Whatever cardio activity it is that you like to do, I’ll show you how to add some resistance and not only will you burn more fat but you’ll also be able to maintain more of your hard-earned muscle mass


Want to stick to your diet?

The Interactive Healer 

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Febuary 7, 2011 

In This Issue
Want to stick to your diet?
Plank. A Better Abdominal Exercise
Weight Loss Training


Dear Dr. Jeff,
Dr. Jeffrey Tucker


I was at a friends home for a wonderful Valentine’s dinner last night. Among the guests were two incredible MD’s and another Chiropractor. We are all concerned about the future of health care in this country. We know the costs of health insurance is expensive and patients are not happy with the bills they get from doctors. Every doctor I talk to is upset about the current state of affairs in health care. I believe one thing is certain – each one of us has to “choose to stay healthy.”  This means watching our weight, exercising, not smoking, reducing stress, and watch our finances. Every day is sacred, and we can make a firmer commitment to our health. You have the power to do anything you choose to. Please enjoy my health letter and I hope somethings make positive changes in your life.



Click on  so I can keep you updated on important and valuable health information. 
If you have any questions, suggestions or comments, please feel free to email Dr. Tucker at:

Posture and Mobility: Nine Steps to Assessing and Improving Your Health available – order now!

In my e-book Posture and Mobility: Nine Steps to Assessing and Improving Your Health, you are taken through self-assessment tests, and then guided through a progressive and safe exercise format to increase your strength, range of motion, power and endurance. If you have been searching for a way to increase physical health, this book will help you.


A recent comment was “Working through your e-book. My glute medius has never been stronger!”

Order directly from and have this professionally-bound book delivered to your door for $37.75 or download the book electronically for only $18.75.

ant to stick to your diet? Start snacking

Snacking helps control hunger and rein in portion sizes at meals. Here are some of my favorite snack suggestions. Go ahead indulge! 


1) UltraMeal Bars. These are the equivalent of an UltraMeal protein shake. They have 190 calories each, 5 grams of fiber, 17 grams of protein, and they’re low-glycemic. And they actually taste good. The calorie range is right, and they are available in a variety of delicious, natural flavors.
2) Eat more peas (fresh or frozen). Half of a cup of peas has 55 calories and 3 grams of fiber; the same amount of corn contains 72 calories with 2 grams of fiber. I avoid corn most of the time. Corn is a grain, not a vege. The high-fiber and low-calorie-density combination of peas means they’re filling and satisfying, and the frozen part makes them interesting. They’re firm, but not rock hard, and they melt in your mouth. 
3) Fage Total Greek Yogurt. Avoid the fruit-on-the-bottom yogurts –  these are high in sugar. I’d rather you toss in chopped dates, figs, or apricots. This yogurt is fluffy, low in calories, and has good protein and fiber.
4) One of the best ways to lose weight is to increase consumption of vegetables. That increases volume and decreases calorie density.
5) Beef Jerky is high in protein and doesn’t raise your level of insulin-a hormone that signals your body to store fat. That makes it an ideal between-meals snack, especially when you’re trying to lose weight. And while some beef-jerky brands are packed with high-sodium ingredients, such as MSG and sodium nitrate, chemical-free products are available. Check the label for brands that are made from all-natural ingredients, which reduce the total sodium content.


Bonus: Order Metagenics at 10% 0FF UltraMeal Bars

Plank – A Better Ab Eercise

Start to get in a Pushup position, but bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms instead of your hands. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.  Pull your abdominals in;  imagine you’re trying to move your belly button back to your spine. Hold for 20 seconds, breathing steadily. As you build endurance, you can do one 60-second set. 1 – 2 reps, 1 set.

    The photo of the women doing ab sit-ups is NOT my favorite ab exercise.  I  prefer the plank over situps which may harm the lumbar spine.

Weight TRAINING for Weight LOSS

Over the years I have developed hundreds of workout routines for clients that come in for weight training to lose weight, improve performance, get a “6 pack abs,” tone, eliminate pain, prevent osteoporosis, and many other conditions. Here are some important tips I suggest: 

1) When I review clients current workout programs, I see too many people lifting light weights. Most of the time I have to get clients to use a heavier weight than they would pick. I pick a weight that is based on the strength level of the individual person. But the reality is if you are lifting a weight ten
times, numbers nine and ten should be difficult. If you can lift a weight 20 times but choose to do only ten, you are wasting your time. Period.

2) One of the first questions I ask clients is “How long have you been doing your exercise routine?” Often, I get answers like, “I’ve
done this two to three times a week for a year.” I go crazy when I hear that people do the same routine over and over for months on end. Programs need to be changed every 6-8 weeks. Each persons program needs to be progressive – that means the reps, sets, the load/resistance, and even the exercises need to be changed.

3) Be impeccable in your form. An all-too-common mistake is using such a heavy load that you lose proper technique and cheat in your form. Whether it’s dumbbells, kettlebells, bands or bodyweight, I teach good form and expect you to stick to it!  

4) Learn to use the foam roll, learn to stretch properly for your body, learn how to do bodyweight exercises, bands exercises, free weight and kettlebell maneuvers. You are never too old to start. You need to make working out a priority. You do not need to go to the gym…you do not need a lot of equipment!

Cheers to consistent basic training that makes you feel young and good. If you aren’t sure about your trainer, come in so we can discuss your personal program.

Order Metagenics UltraMeal shake 

Please forward my newsletter to your friends, family and coworkers.  And please feel free to contact me with your questions, comments and suggestions. 
Please stay committed to your health, fitness and nutrition efforts.
Warm regards,
Dr. Jeffrey Tucker
Functional Movement Screen (FMS). The FMS is seven tests that include a squat, hurdle step, lunge, shoulder mobility, active straight leg raise, push up & rotary stability test. The most recent research completed on the FMS was performed in Quantico, VA at the Marine Officer Candidate School. They screened over 900 Marines and followed them through basic training and found that the individuals who had a score > 14, were twice as likely to not graduate due to injury than those with higher scores. This goes right along with the previous research found in the NFL. Football players who scored less than 14 are more likely to be injured during the season. Are you at risk of injury from your workout? Come in for a Functional Movement Screen and find out! 
Call today to schedule your FMS Consultation:  310-473-2911
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Dr. Jeffrey Tucker | (310) 473-2911 | 11600 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 412 | Los Angeles | CA | 90025

Whiplash Trauma Exercises

By Jeffrey Tucker, DC, DACRB

When I was in chiropractic college more than 25 years ago, I was taught to use isometric exercises for whiplash trauma recovery. The technique was pretty simple: Place one hand on the back of your head and push the hand and the head against each other. Keep the neck in a neutral position and don’t let the head move backward. Build up to tension in 2 seconds, hold the tension for 6 seconds and gradually relax over 2 seconds, and then repeat for 10 reps. The exercise was also performed in flexion, rotation and lateral bending.

This form of exercise involves the static contraction of a muscle without any visible movement in the angle of the joint; the length of the muscle does not change. We’ll call that technique “old school” because the old German model (Hettinger and Muller) of 6-second actions was used in the original experiments and was adequate for strength gains, but was insufficient to cause hypertrophy in muscles. If you were looking to get big, this was not the technique.


In a rehabilitation practice, it is not our job to train muscles for the sole purpose of making them bigger. The contemporary approach is to help train clients to improve movement patterns. Patients notice benefits to strength and power of “movements” – this is called “functionality.” Functional training is any training that improves the ability to perform a target activity.

Enter “new school” isometrics or maximal intensity isometric training (1-5 reps with 90 percent to 100 percent of your max), using sets lasting 20-120 seconds. This will stimulate strength, endurance and hypertrophy. This technique can be used in the early stages of rehab and then combined with repetitive-effort isotonics (6-12 reps with 70 percent to 90 percent of your maximum).

As an example, consider a patient who was involved in a rear-end motor vehicle accident. We’ll say this patient is a 50-year-old female who sustained an injury to her neck, her right wrist is splinted due to carpal sprain, and she is deconditioned. In this case, there are numerous advantages of starting with isometrics in her rehab, along with a few disadvantages:

Isometrics: Advantages and Disadvantages


  • An injured or immobilized extremity can be tensed while in a cast or in a splint after the immediate pain has subsided.
  • Ideal for people with no exercise experience.
  • Can be used early in a rehab program.
  • Great way to teach proper biomechanics.
  • Helps prevent muscle and strength losses.
  • Achieves maximum muscular contraction and increases strength faster than any other form of training.
  • Builds strength in isolated areas or muscle groups without moving the joints (It may increase muscle size and develop more efficient muscle contractions).
  • Works muscles with more intensity in a shorter period of time.
  • Prepares the musculoskeletal system for more advanced activities.
  • Increases neurological strength, recruits more muscle fibers for each movement.
  • Good for enforcing movement patterns (especially in youth).
  • Isometric workouts can be fast and can be done anywhere.
  • Safer than conventional training (doesn’t involve movement).
  • Dramatically improves conventional training; improves lifts by as much as 14 percent to 40 percent.


  • Potential of reducing muscular endurance. (Progress patients to isometrics to avoid this.)
  • Potentially reduces speed of muscle response, which will slow you down.
  • Generally boring to perform.
  • Increases blood pressure, which could lead to ruptured blood vessels or irregular heartbeat.
  • Strength gains achieved occur only within 20 degrees of the angle; there is approximately a 10-degree overflow on each side of the muscle fibers being used.

This “everything old is new again” program still encourages active participation of the patient during recovery, provides patient education on proper posture and body mechanics, highlights proper nutrition, and teaches corrective exercise therapy the patient can do at home on her own.

Isometrics and Resistance Testing

Isometrics can easily become part of the exam process itself. You can test what you want to test and the tests are reproducible. The test and the exercise can involve the length of time the patient can hold a pose. As strength increases, time under tension will improve and this becomes an objective finding. For example, resistance in isometric exercises typically involves contractions of the muscle using the following (the neural patterns used in #2 below may have a bigger impact on concentric strength and #3 below on eccentric strength and muscle mass):

  1. The body’s own muscle (e.g., pressing the palms together in front of the body at varying heights).
  2. Fixed structural items (e.g., pushing against a door frame). You can push or pull against an immovable resistance (e.g., pushing against the pins in a rack). Thus, there is no actual external movement while you are attempting to move the resistance.
  3. The use of free weights, kettlebells, weight machines or elastic tubing (e.g., holding a weight in a fixed position). Hold a kettlebell weight in your hand with the weight at your side. Your objective is to prevent it from going down and avoid shifting your posture. Once again, there’s no external movement; however, your intent is no longer to move the load, but to prevent its movement.
  4. Pressure-type equipment that has a digital readout of maximal force (grip strength).

“Static hold” isometric exercises can also be included in patients’ isometric routines. For example, during a set of rows, I have some clients hold their shoulder blades together when the handles are closest to their chest to “squeeze” the interscapular muscle in an effort to further strain the muscle. Depending on the goal of the exercise, the exertion can be maximal or submaximal.

A Treatment Plan Based on “New School” Isometric

Let’s create a treatment plan for our 50-year-old patient involved in a rear-end motor-vehicle accident using “new school” isometrics. Here are some beginning exercises I use for cervical spine rehab patients who are deconditioned:

Stability Ball Bridge

  • Head and upper back on a stability ball.
  • Torso in a “table top” pose.
  • Contract the gluts to create a bridge.
  • The glutes should be the primary muscles recruited (also some abs and quads).
  • No low back discomfort and no hamstring cramps.
  • As the patient progresses, they can keep their head off the ball.
  • Build up to holding each “squeeze” from 10 seconds to 30 seconds. Perform five reps.

Supine Gut Contractions

  • Supine position, legs extended.
  • Contract the glutes to create a bridge.
  • The buttocks should be the primary muscles recruited.
  • No low back discomfort and no hamstring cramps.
  • Maintain the cervical spine in various angles of slight flexion and extension.
  • Build up to holding each “squeeze” from 10 seconds to 60 seconds. Perform five reps.

Sustained Wall Sit

  • Back/shoulders/head flat against wall.
  • Hip/knee/ankle flexed to 30 degrees. Progress to 60 degrees and then 90 degrees.
  • Progress to one-leg wall sit.
  • Maintain this position and add wall angels.
  • Build up to holding the wall sit pose with the thighs parallel to the floor for 2 minutes. Perform one rep.

Sustained Plank (Isolates pecs and core)

  • Use two 25-pound kettlebells or stands that are about 18″ off the ground. (Push-up bars work great.)
  • Slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Hands below the nipple line.
  • Keep back flat and cervical spine in neutral.
  • Keep body/torso in alignment.
  • Build up to holding the plank for 1 minute. Perform two reps.

Upper-Body Arm Hang (Advanced)

  • Pull up on the bar and keep eyes horizontal to bar.
  • Hand/wrist in neutral position.
  • Elbows at 90 degrees.
  • No movement in body.

Anterior Abdominal Wall

  • Supine, knees bent; strap legs in while leaning on bolster.
  • Must keep the ear/shoulder/hip in alignment.
  • Remove support.
  • Time begins when position can be maintained.
  • Make sure the lower back does not hyperextend and the cervical spine stays in neutral.

Other testing and exercise examples include: sustained side bridge (right and left)), sustain V sit (test) and sustained back extensor (test). Patients enjoy it when I instruct them to hold a weight at a certain position in the range of motion and time them for form; for example, holding a “heavy” kettlebell statically in the “rack” position (thumb pointing to the clavicle with the elbow into the body) for a certain amount of time. They then progress to walking around with the kettlebell in the rack position while maintaining good posture. The next progression is holding the kettlebell overhead and walking around. This builds core strength.

Other exercises include pushing or pulling against an immovable external resistance (e.g., heavy-band pulls/pushes). I try to get patients to hold the pose for 10 seconds and then 20 seconds, eventually getting to 60-plus seconds. Example exercises using bands or kettlebells include the following:

Overhead Reaching

  • Use a band with handles.
  • Stand in a staggered leg stance.
  • Grasp the handles at shoulder height with elbows bent.
  • Brace your abdominals as you push the band (tubing) upward, extending the elbows.The arms are angled in front of the ears.
  • Maintain proper cervical posture (do not allow forward head).

Overhead Pressing

  • Double-leg stance.
  • Grasp the handles at shoulder height with elbows bend.
  • Brace your abs as you push the tubing upward, extending the elbows.
  • Arms are hiding the ears (the movement is straight upward).
  • Maintain good cervical alignment.

Diagonal Lifting

  • Wide stance.
  • Grasp the handle with both hands.
  • Begin at the left knee level and rotate your trunk to the right.
  • Continue to look at the handles as you lift your trunk and rotate upward and to the right.
  • Stretch the tubing across your body.
  • Keep the elbows straight.
  • Keep your eyes and head turned upward.

Diagonal Chopping

  • Wide stance.
  • Grasp the handle above your shoulder by extending and rotating your trunk.
  • Continue to look at the handles as you pull the tubing downwards.
  • Rotate and bend your trunk.
  • Stretch the tubing across your body.

Dr. Jeffrey Tucker is a rehabilitation specialist, lecturer and healer best known for his holistic approach in supporting the body’s inherent healing mechanisms and integrating the art and science of chiropractic, exercise, nutrition and attitudinal health. He practices in West Los Angeles and lectures for the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American Chiropractic Rehabilitation Board. For more information, please visit


Functional Movement Screen (FMS)

The most recent research completed on the FMS was performed in Quantico, VA at the Marine Officer Candidate School. They screened over 900 Marines and followed them through basic training and found that the individuals who had a score > 14, were twice as likely to not graduate due to injury than those with higher scores. This goes right along with the previous research found in the NFL. This research is currently being written up for publication.


Chronic Pain Guidelines

In April 2010 a new list of  Chronic Pain Guidelines was published by The American Society of Anesthesiologists.

The new recommendations are designed to help clinicians who treat pain. The objectives are to optimize pain control, enhance physical and  psychological well-being, and minimize adverse outcomes.

The new guidelines appeared in the April issue of Anesthesiology. The recommendations apply to patients with chronic noncancer,
neuropathic, somatic, or visceral pain. The taskforce focused on interventional diagnostic procedures including diagnostic joint block, nerve block, and neuraxial opioid trials.

The key to chronic pain is creating an individualized treatment plan focused on optimizing the risk-to-benefit ratio. Treatment should progress from a lesser to greater degree of  invasiveness.

The new guidelines advocate for multimodal interventions for patients with chronic pain. The taskforce suggests that a long-term approach that includes periodic follow-up evaluations should be developed and implemented as part of the overall treatment strategy. In addition, when available, multidisciplinary programs may be used.

The new guidelines detail

* ablative techniques,
* acupuncture,
* blocks,
* botulinum toxin,
* electrical nerve stimulation,
* epidural steroids,
* intrathecal drug therapies,
* minimally invasive spinal procedures,
* pharmacologic management,
* physical therapy,
* psychological treatment, and
* trigger point injections.

Drugs for chronic pain include anticonvulsants, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonists,
nonsterioidal anti-inflammatories, opioid therapy, skeletal muscle relaxants, and topical agents. The taskforce discusses each in detail and recommends strategies for monitoring and managing adverse effects and patient compliance.

Anesthesiology. 2010;112:810-833.

Dr. Tucker comment: Over the years my practice has evolved to treating chronic pain patients. I work with my clients medical doctors to design personalized programs. My current approach to chronic pain is to use warm laser, physical therapy, breath and body awareness, gentle corrective exercises, natural topical agents, and nutritional therapy. The exercise rehabilitation approach I use is unique in that I blend several techniques to create a treatment plan that gives clients responsibility for participating in recovery. Clients particularly like the detailed nutritional information I provide.


Cardiorespiratory Aerobic Exercise May Be Helpful in Rheumatoid Arthritis

June 30, 2010 — Cardiorespiratory aerobic exercise may be safe and  modestly beneficial in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA),  according to the results of a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) reported in the July issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

“Several lines of evidence have emphasized an improvement in aerobic capacity and muscle strength after physical exercise programs in …RA patients,” write Athan Baillet, MS, from University of Grenoble Medical School in Grenoble, France, and colleagues. 

Benefits associated with the exercise intervention included improved postintervention quality of life, better HAQ score, lower pain VAS scores and less radiologic damage. 

“Cardiorespiratory aerobic conditioning in stable RA appears to be safe and improves some of the most important outcome measures,” the review authors write.

“Besides the positive effect of the intervention on patients’ psychological well-being, aerobic exercise should be considered as a safe therapy, the efficacy of which has been underestimated,” the review authors conclude.

Arthritis Care Res. 2010;62:984-992.

Dr. Tucker’s comment: In my experience in working with RA patients, the key to successful exercise therapy is training patients in low load body weight exercises – these are gentle repetitive movements. Proper training avoids overloading the joints and does not hurt. UltraInFlamX medical food shakes are part of the program when I work with RA patients.


Do I Perform Core Training?

Absolutely, positively. yes! A weak core makes you susceptible to lower back pain, poor posture and a whole host of muscle injuries. Strong core muscles provide the brace of support needed to help prevent such pain and injury.

Andrew van Rensberg states:

“By strengthening the core trunk muscles, we are, in effect, improving the efficiency with which sporting movements are carried out. Up to a 10% increase in efficiency has been noted in top swimmers. A 10% improvement in an elite athlete is a massive achievement – one that could take years of strength training and technique modification to achieve.

And all this can be achieved by a process as simple as allowing the correct muscles to carry out the correct tasks, without compensation.”

 I teach core training as part of my rehab protocols.

The benefits of core training include •Better posture More control Improved, more powerful performance Injury prevention and rehabilitation Increased protection and “bracing” for your back A more stable center of gravity A more stable platform for sports movements