Lower Body Revolution
with Dr. Bookspan
Syllabus for Healthier Lower Body Training In Two Formats:
1 - Quick skill training sets for individual and groups
2 - Fast moving fun group exercise classes with music
Jolie Bookspan, MEd, PhD, FAWM
Welcome to my Lower Body Healthier Training Class Syllabus, on my large, no-charge web site Dr. Bookspan.com. Each of my classes has its own syllabus page. See all class descriptions, times, and links to those syllabus pages on the Classes page.
On THIS page: Info about my fun active Lower Body workshop that provides a workout at the same time that you learn better bio-mechanics for healthier daily life.
We retrain movement habits that you need for stronger, pain-free everyday life, and for exercise from easy to the hardest - all your bending, walking, jumping, stepping up and down, and moving habits for your knees, back, legs, abdomen and core, ankles, and feet.
Studies tracking outcomes of standard training programs show that core and leg programs are not stopping injury as hoped. It is no mystery. Common core and lower body exercises often add to injury and are done with in positions that are not the way your body needs to work in real life. Even with good exercise rehab for lower body injuries, people return to unhealthful movement habits the rest of the day. We change that.
I spent years in the lab collecting results from many hundreds of students and patients doing standard exercises, tried to see what would work better, and developed methods from those results, then tested and retested to find better, healthier ways. You can learn these fun exercises from simple to challenging in this class and my other classes and in private appointments, with certification possible for top students from my Academy. A little about me is on the Adventure Medicine page.
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What We Do | What You'll Improve | How We Do It | Scientifically Tested | Student Comments | Fix Pain Summaries | Fitness Fixer | Gifts and Books
What We Do
We use weights, bands, body weight, and your brain to learn healthier movement skills from simple to challenging to learn to:
- Use your body and muscles the way they actually work in real life - functional (useful) exercise.
- Prevent pain and injury.
- Evaluate body mechanics and habits.
- Retrain good bending using healthy lunge and squat for daily activities.
- Retrain healthful knee and leg positioning and movement mechanics, and increase stability and balance, for real life activities.
- Use body and leg muscles instead of stressing back, hip, knee, and ankle joints.
- Retrain positioning of lower back, shoulder and neck for healthful reaching overhead, for real life activities, while increasing strength and endurance.
- Use abdominal and core muscles the way they actually work in real life while standing & exercising instead of stressing low back joints - functional movement.
- Learn neutral spine as scientific study has shown is optimal - vertical pelvis (not tilted) and upright upper body (not leaning back).
- Learn to notice the unhealthy habit of standing bent at the hip where leg meets body. Learn healthier straighter position which gives built-in anterior hip length and stretch.
- Burn more calories for real life activities.
- Learn healthy fun movement patterns to use for all daily activity, not only "a workout."
You Will Learn How To Improve
- Muscular strength, endurance, and good movement habits for your entire body and brain too.
- Range of motion and flexibility and how to apply them doing things you ordinarily do
- Muscle length for neutral spine instead of standing and moving with bent forward hip
- Gait mechanics for healthy knees, ankles and feet
- Posture, movement skills, confidence, and appearance
- Overall conditioning the way you need for real life - functional conditioning.
Using the the middle drawing, learn to notice bent forward angle where the leg meets the body. Using the right-hand drawing, learn to notice when the upper body is leaning backward instead of upright. Left-hand (first) drawing shows vertical pelvis and upright upper body of neutral spine.
Lower Body Training While Standing?
- Most of our class moves are taught standing and moving so you can practice your new healthier spine, leg, ankle, foot, and whole body positioning during class. Then you apply it the same way after class for all your other standing and moving, for injury and pain prevention during real life, and better use of all your muscles.
- We directly increase strength and flexibility so that most kneeling poses are not needed. Why add to knee compression when you can exercise your leg, arm, and core muscles by getting off the knees.
- The moves we learn while lying down, or horizontal for plank retraining, or inclined for wall handstands, directly teach how to transfer the knowledge and muscle use of being straightened out (legs flat on the floor not bent) and still maintain healthy spine position, the way you need for standing and most life activity while upright.
How We Do It:
Can be learned in a group exercise class format with (or without music) and without a group or music, as a personal training format, in individual retraining knowledge and skill sets. The following is one sample class format:
- Brief introduction from the feet up in healthy body mechanics - starting with neutral arches, then good squat with neutral neck spine and healthy knee placement, neutral spine for standing, bending, and reaching overhead. All this takes 3 to 5 minutes at most to guide students through a practice of each.
- If conducted in a group exercise format, music starts: fun energetic, upbeat, rhythmic music. Latin works well.
- The class is asked to pick up their hand weights. Here is the fun - See if students return to bad bending. Have them squat over again with good bending to get their weights. Teach that this is real function for all bending in real life. Healthy squat - both heels down, knees back over feet, upright torso, neutral neck.
- To the music beat, begin squats to pick up the weights, lift overhead without swayback, put the weights back on the floor to the beat (or for more exercise, touch down and lift up again to the next beat), continuing for a large number to get practice at the same time as exercise. State the function each time, for example: This is how to bend to make the bed, to pick up laundry, to pick up the baby (or pet), retrieve your shoes, and so on (or if students understand the point already, then enjoy the moves and good movement practice).
- Make sure students do not lift overhead in swayback (increase lower back arch to offset the weight). They do not need to lean back to balance the weight. Their abdominal muscles are supposed to do that. It may be human nature to make it easier, but illuminate your students that means to do less work, meaning burn less calories. They go to a gym in order to use the fewest calories possible?
- Repeat with good lunges, down and up without moving or changing foot position. With each lunge downward, state a function being practiced - "This is how to bend to pick up laundry, to pick up the baby (or pet), retrieve your shoes, start the chain saw, get the newspaper..." Upright torso, neutral spine with vertical pelvis during each downward and upward portion of the lunge.
- Instructor asks the class to put their hand weights back down on the floor. We notice if they return to bad bending. Remind them and let them see that they may have just done 100 squats and lunges to practice healthy bending, but many bent over wrong to put down their weights. Teach them that this is real function for all bending in real life.
- Pick up the weights again Lift weights overhead and back to your sides (a variety of arm lifts) in neutral spine while standing on one leg. Pay attention to kneecap position of the standing leg - teach and understand to keep it facing straight ahead, the same as the standing foot. Notice if the person allows the upper leg to rotate inward. Teach them how to use thigh muscles to support in healthy alignment. Then practice the same while standing on the other leg.
- Do wrist curls with straight arms standing on one leg while rising to the ball of one foot repeatedly to the music (to half-toe). Pay attention to ankle position of the standing leg - teach and understand to keep stable, not tilting the foot and ankle to the small toes. Notice if students allow the kneecap to rotate inward. Teach them how to use thigh muscles to hold straight forward (same direction as the standing foot) in healthy alignment.
- Vertical Jumps and side/lateral stepping and jumping are trained, according to Bookspan Basics.
- Resistance Bands are used while standing on one foot for increased lower body stability and balance training.
- Step benches can be used for training ascending and descending stairs. Conventional step classes avoid stepping down forward from the front of the bench, citing knee danger, Yet you need forward stepping down for normal daily life from stairs to curbs to getting out of vehicles. Slowly, intelligently, repeat retraining drills, first without then with hand weights, graduating the skill to lunge, rise from lunge to rise to the step on one leg, step forward and down to the lunge on other side. Repeat switching starting leg, and so on.
- Moving forward, side, back, diagonals by marching or walking, while lifting hand weights up and down in a variety of arm exercise. Use neutral spine and good gait dynamics to practice moving with weights, as needed for variety of work and home needs.
- Stretches are done standing - first all on one leg without stopping or putting the foot down: hamstring stretch (lift one straight leg, no wall or support), lift same leg to side with body parallel to floor, "shoe" stretch, neutral spine standing quadriceps stretch with acknowledged feel of change to the stretch with changing to neutral, then same on other foot.) See me for details of what this all means.
- This class has many more fun and functional exercises from easy to strenuous, with many fun innovations using bands and personal daily objects like bags, gardening and home chore tools. Come to my class to learn this breakthrough in having a real life that builds in your movement, health, and fitness - directly with me, the scientist who developed it. See the CLASS page, or though an appointment.
- This method can be learned as individual movement corrections without a class or group, and without music, as a personal training format.
- Of course this is whole body exercise. It is silly to exercise "body parts" when you need the whole together for real life.
This is not an ordinary exercise class. Be prepared to exercise your brain:
- Arrive before class to get your equipment, using good bending and lifting mechanics. Are you taking this class to improve lower body strength and function, and then bend wrong so that you don't use your legs? Think. Smile.
Be ready to begin on-time.
- Eat enough before class, and drink water to have energy to work
- Bring water and needed items, for example, asthma inhalers
- No chewing gum
- We warm up first before stretching.
- Advise Dr. Bookspan of medical conditions so you can suit the class to your needs
- If you feel sick, don't leave the room without notice
- Enjoy class. Ask questions. Contribute your perspective. Smile
The rate of poor outcome from standard knee, ankle, and hip pain treatment alarmed me. People weren't getting better enough and still had pain after much time and money on all kinds of medical and alternative treatments. I wanted to find out why, and what would work better instead. I found that how people move (biomechanics and ergonomics) that were already known to be related to lower limb pain, were not well addressed by conventional strengthening, and knee, hip or ankle rehab programs (often not addressed at all).
I applied sports medicine and healthy joint placement techniques to daily life, recreation, and exercise - those are the times people need them most. My patients got better. I tracked results carefully. I got good results of knee, ankle, and hip pain reduction. Not a lot of my work is published in journals. I am busy trying to get work done and don't present or publish all (or even much of ) my work (Publish?? I'm trying to accomplish something here!) For the many who have been asking, I put the results of my studies of my patients with knee pain here:
- In formal research over eleven years, I studied six hundred and nine male and female participants age 18 - 81 with chronic knee pain. One third of the total learned this Lower Body method consisting of functional lower body retraining of activities of daily living (ADL) and recreational activity. Another third went for conventional physical therapy and strengthening. The final third served as control without intervention. Lower body participants attended six one hour classes. All participants were were assessed at six-weeks, six months, 12 months, and 2 years post. Results showed knee pain was significantly reduced in the Lower Body Revolution (tm) group (P<.0001 both male and female) over both the PT and control groups at each measurement stage and for years in follow up. Number of participants with increase or no change in knee pain was significantly higher in the conventional PT and control groups over the Lower Body training group (P<.0001) at each measurement stage. In research, the term "significant" only means "different from chance." It does not mean large. My results were different from chance and repeatable, meaning patients got consistent improvements. The good news is that the difference of using this functional method was large too. Many more patients got better and stayed better longer, by a large margin.
- Study publication: Bookspan, J. Comparison of Functional Lower Body Retraining and Conventional Strengthening in Knee Pain Resolution. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Volume 43:5, Supplement 2011.
- Study presented at the 58th Annual Meeting and 2nd World Congress on Exercise is Medicine of the American College of Sports Medicine at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado, May 31 - June 4, 2011.
Related Studies I Have Been Working on:
Abdominal Muscles - Studies of functional methods to stop back pain that occurs during standing, walking, running, and exercise are on my Ab Revolution (tm) Syllabus page.
Hamstrings - I did studies that found no relation between hamstring flexibility and lower back pain (except for all the people hurting their back by DOING hamstring stretches). Click Hamstrings to see why it is so often mistakenly prescribed for back pain.
Hip Flexors - Conventional "fitness" assertions are that tight hip flexors come from sitting. Is that really true?
Preliminary data from studies I am doing show a stronger correlation between tight anterior hip muscles (flexors) and people who do mostly flexion based exercises - most conventional exercises of leg lifts, pilates, yoga and other forward bending systems.
I am collecting hundreds of test results from groups of people. First is the easy to find group - people who sit all day and don't exercise. So far, they don't have high correlation to hip flexor tightness compared to other groups of people who don't sit and also don't do flexion exercises - (that means, a group of people with regular busy lives). One of the experimental groups is also easy enough to find in high numbers - people who spend a lot of time doing flexion exercise systems. So far, the biggest devotees of bending the hip and leg for "core" training, like Pilates and yoga instructors, and avid students, seem to have the most tightness and hip dysfunction. (Next is to include elder populations. Current work is age range 21-67 so far.) This work has been interesting and I am continuing to collect scores from real people living their lives the way they want. I get to see the results:
The slouch of anterior hip tilt was a fitness fad for several years (and persists). People were (and still are) taught to stand that way in pop exercise classes for a variety of moves. Often words of "protect the back" were used without understanding that this posture is not healthy for any part of you.
I have seen people jumping rope in this bent posture, do jumping jacks, arm curls, all kinds of gym exercises where they are never lengthening their hip flexors even to needed length to stand without a bent (flexed) pelvis. If they cannot even stand with hip flexors allowing straight hip, imagine the problem when they walk - the leg needs to extend behind the body. The hip cannot even extend enough to stand, let alone walk. Where does the length and motion come from? From increasing swayback.
I am finding that the main thing related to tight front hip is all the time spent bent forward with shortened hip flexors for exercise, for daily activities, for standing and walking. This is a bad habit. Learn to notice a bent hip. Learn to straighten the front hip. My work shows many ways to practice and stretch.
The drawing above shows bad posture of anterior tilt of the pelvis (hip tilt).
Sometimes a person tilts the pelvis anteriorly because they are slouching. They can fix that immediately by changing their hip tilt to vertical (neutral spine).
Other times the front hip muscles (the hip flexors) are too tight. They do not lengthen enough to allow upright standing.
My Lower Body Revolution class includes an entire section of hip flexor stretches and anterior hip drills to notice and change tilt to neutral.
What Students Say
The course exceeded my expectations.
Dr. B. showed everyday actions to strengthen,
to improve posture, and relieve lower body pain.
Gotta love Dr. B's commitment to helping people gain health.
- Alfred J. Baginski, Chemical engineer, EPA team advisor
I like class because of application of moves/exercises to everyday activities.
There is emphasis on how all the parts of the body work together.
- Julia Chapman, Attorney
I learned a lot of new things that I can do all the time - very useful.
I'm already showing other people the things I learned. I want to come to other classes.
- Masako Akiyama
The class is fun and you learn about your body and how it works. I plan on taking more classes.
- David Stockett
My life will be better - I won't be doing harmful/ non-beneficial exercises.
The class is different from ordinary exercise classes because it teaches
body mechanics to use muscles and body correctly.
The class helped me figure out how not to hurt joints.
- Karen Sharrar, M.D.
Class Textbooks by Dr. Bookspan
Information and exercises. Available at discount for class participants. Click links for more information and anyone else who wants to learn this information:
- Dr. Jolie Bookspan is The Fitness Fixer From 2006 to 2010, I wrote Healthline.com's Health Authority Fitness Column. When they ended the column in 2010, they first removed most of the needed illustrations and all the movies that I had created for it. Then they removed the articles but left many of my links pointing to their own articles that sell products You can still see my interesting (at least to me) information here on my web site, and on Twitter - www.Twitter.com/TheFItnessFixer
- My Fitness Fixers don't repeat popular fitness. I research fun healthy ways (real laboratory research) and give the first-hand information - When exercise and medicine aren't healthy - We Fix It! Fun, intelligent information to change exercise into health.
- Fitness Fixer articles show how to be healthy in body and spirit as a lifestyle. - It's not fitness as a lifestyle if you have to change clothes and go somewhere else to do it.
- Does Your Top Site Want To Have This Top Feature? Contact me: TheFitnessFixer @ DrBookspan DOT com.
- Here is the Fitness Fixer Index. Click to see almost 800 articles alphabetized into fun topics.
- Twitter: www.Twitter.com/TheFItnessFixer - Quick updates, class dates, reader successes, contests, invitations to World Health projects, more.
Click for updates, quick & short @TheFitnessFixer
Fun Gifts For Healthy Movement
Genius is one per cent inspiration
and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.
- Thomas Alva Edison
Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.
- Howard Aiken
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