Monday, May 18, 2020

Sand Training Part 1: Ladder Agility Drills

Cape Cod offers us some of the world’s best beaches and with almost 560 miles of coastline we can use these beaches to take our agility workouts to the next level.

Although research varies, training on sandy surfaces can have many benefits such as reduced impact during training on your joint surfaces, increased physical and metabolic demands, and increasing proprioception (understanding where your body is in time and space).

It is also important to understand that due to the unstable surface ground force production changes and alterations in form may occur. Some research has proven that sprint times have been shown to actually decrease due to altered running mechanics. It is highly important to start slow and to maintain proper body alignment if you want to reap the most benefit from your workout.

Clients should be primarily focused on explosiveness and strength of the movements as this is where the majority of benefits can be gained. With the exercises below, we are going to focus on Ladder Agility Drills that can improve lower body agility and explosiveness.

Forward 2 Feet In Each

Moving straight through the ladder quickly get both feet into a box before moving to the next one.

Lateral 2 Feet In Each

Moving to the right through the ladder quickly get both feet into a box before moving to the next one. Return back to the left.

Diagonal 2 Feet In, 1 Foot Out “Icky Shuffle”

Start with both feet out of the ladder to the right, step in with the left foot then the right foot as you cross to the other side of the ladder, touch the left foot outside of the ladder and return back touching right foot then left foot back into the ladder.

Lateral Step In, Step Outs

Leading with the left foot alternate stepping feet into the ladder and out of the ladder as you move to the left. Return back to the right leading with the right foot.

2 Feet Out, 1 Foot Cross Behind “Scorpion”

Stepping in place take your outside leg and swing it behind your body and tap the foot inside of the ladder as you move forward along the outside of the ladder.

Single Leg In Outs

Starting outside of the ladder on your left leg, perform single leg hop in and out of the ladder as you move forward. Return back on the right leg.

Single Leg Hop & Squat

Alternate performing a single leg hop into the ladder to hopping onto both feet outside of the ladder and performing a squat, return back into the ladder on the opposite leg.

Blog post by Craig Moody.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Top 3 Yoga Stretches for Tight Hips

If you are like me, someone who enjoys exercising on a regularly, if not on a daily basis, you may discover that you often feel tightness in your hips, hamstrings, and hip flexors.  Even if you do not exercise consistently, maybe you have a job that requires sitting, bending, or kneeling often, you are also subject to feeling stress in the central area of your body.  These muscles, these forever active muscles, are too often the cause of several ailments and set-backs to living an active and healthy life.

Going back to my exercising counterparts, the tightness you may experience in the upper section of your legs, lower back and abdomen areas, may lead to your not performing as well as you could with more flexible hips.  Because our hamstrings, major glutes and hip flexors tend to work in unison during activity it is extremely important that you take the time to tend to these areas with intention to keep them healthy, long-lasting and able to perform on the ready.

Each person may carry a lot of emotional stress in their hips.  Think about it. When we are sad, frustrated, or just feel ‘blah’ we tend to slump, slouch, sit or lay in awkward positions that place high demands on the areas of focus here.  Our low back curves excessively because we forget about keeping it even.  Our shoulders slouch forward as we forget to keep them back.  Our hips, well forget about it.  Our hips take on the demand of our torso weight in these unaligned positions.  This is how emotions cause stress on our body.  Emotions cause us to misalign our bodies or, on the more positive side, keep our bodies upright and in good form.  Everything we do impacts our hips. 

There are 3 exercises that you can do at home that will help any person, athlete or not, keep hips strong, flexible, and ready to take on the excessive demands of life so that injuries may be prevented, thwarted by the habit of maintaining good posture naturally, even during times we forget about our alignment.  We need to build muscle memory and these 3 exercises, added into your life regularly will help.

Child’s Pose

This relaxing posture is designed to stretch your hips, lower back and upper parts of the back of your legs.  Child’s Pose also, depending on the version of the pose, may help lengthen your side body and open your shoulders (when arms are extended out in front). 

  • First, come down onto your knees.  (If you have knee problems, place pillows underneath or perform this exercise lying on your back instead.  Just follow the same instructions).  Move your knees outward until they are a bit wider than your hips. 
  • Next, bring your BIG toes together.  This creates a base for your hips to sit back into, as well as ensure you stretch the appropriate muscles. 
  • After this, sit your hips back, toward your heels.  Some may be able to touch hips to heels while others may not.  It isn’t important to get your hips all the way down to your heels.  What is important is knowing your body’s limits and respecting them.
  • Lastly, once your find a comfortable placement for your hips, lean your torso forward, over your thighs.  The goal is not to get your torso all the way down to the floor.  In fact, if you are a beginner to this pose you most likely will not be able.  The goal is, however, to relax and try to keep your spine nice and long (no bending the spine).  To accomplish this, either come onto your forearms with your elbows under your wrist, or place a pillow or block beneath your forehead as you keep your chin slightly tucked to your chest.  Keeping your spine long will help you get a deeper stretch through your hips, glutes, low back and beyond.
  • Variations: Extend your arms our in-front of you with palms facing down to open shoulders, or bring your arms to your sides and truly relax into the posture.  Stay here for 3-5 minutes. 

Wide-legged Forward Bend

This is one of my favorite stretches because there are so many variations that help open those tight muscles even more.

  • First, step your feet out to the sides of your body, nice and wide.  Be sure not to step out so wide that you cannot keep your balance.  Keep your toes facing forward, pressing the outside of your feet down into the floor.  Squeeze your thigh muscles to keep your legs strong.
  • Next, standing with wide legs, tuck your pelvic bone by drawing your navel into your spine, sending your buttocks flesh downward to help flatten your lower back, protecting it from bending.
  • Moving on, squeeze your shoulder-blades into one another so that your chest pushes forward.  Now you are ready to bend.
  • From here, keeping your spine long, lean your torso forward, bending at your hips and not your waist.  Bring your torso down until parallel to the floor if possible.  (If not, only bend down to where you can keep a long spine and stay there.  Over time your muscles will stretch and you will be able to be parallel to the floor.  Don’t rush this process as it may lead to straining the muscles). 
  • Remember to keep pressing into the outside of your feet while you bend forward.
  • Lastly, if you are parallel to the floor, stay here for 30-seconds before slowly coming back upward to stand.  Keep your spine nice and long to get maximum benefit.  Repeat this slowly 5-10 times, remembering to pull shoulder blades into the spine while keeping pelvic bone tilted. 

Frog Pose

This is one of those stretches that you love to hate, hate to love, though the benefits of Frog Pose are absolutely wonderful for your tight hips.  You will want to give yourself enough time to really sit in this stretch for at least 3-minutes, gradually increasing to 5, 7, or even 10-minutes.  Frog Pose should be the last stretch you do if you are following this series of stretches.  This is not a comfortable stretch at first.  However, if you are willing to sit in this stretch you will find that the deep muscles of your hips will want to open and stretch, creating space in your hip joints.  I encourage all of my students to focus on steady breathing through the stretch to keep your mind off of the discomfort this may cause. 

  • To begin Frog Pose you will need to come onto all 4s on the floor.  For those with knee issues I recommend placing padding or pillows under your knees.  You will NOT be directly on your kneecaps but you will be on the medial (inside) part of the knee.
  • Start with your hips directly over your knees.  Come onto your forearms, shoulder directly over elbows. 
  • Make sure your feet are turned outward with your heels in-line with your knees.  Your legs create two 90 degree angles (hips/knees & lower knees/turned out toes). 
  • Slowly move your knees outward, maintaining alignment with your hips.  Your knees should move directly out to the sides, not forward or back.  Check to be sure you are maintaining two 90 degree angles in your legs. 
  • As you move your knees outward, draw your navel (belly button) up toward your spine slightly to keep your lower back from sagging too much.
  • Lastly, once you have moved your knees out as wide as you can, knowing this in and of itself may become uncomfortable for you at first as you stretch the inner part of your upper legs, slowly shift your torso and hips slightly back between your legs just to break the plane, causing your hips to be back further than your knees.  (!!Be sure not to sit your hips back too far.  This is only a slight movement back).  Once here, stay as long as you can.  Just don’t forget to breathe!

When performed correctly, each of these stretches has great potential to help you open your hips, relieving stress in tight muscles around the middle-section of your body, thus allowing you to continue move forward with your life, your exercise program, or whatever it is that keeps you going.  As with any exercise or stretch, if you experience pain in the joints or tearing than back out of the position until the sensation is gone.  Let this be your starting position and grow from there.  I encourage you to try these at least once each week, maybe more.  Over time the benefits begin to reveal themselves as you feel looser in your movements, less tightness and more mobility.  Enjoy!

Blog post by Jami Woods.

Monday, May 11, 2020

The Benefits of a Superset Workout

What Is a Superset Workout?

A Superset workout is comprised of two exercises combined into one full set with no rest in-between.

The Benefits of a Superset Workout

Supersets may provide a metabolic benefit. Researchers have found that participants performing supersets had a higher total energy expenditure compared to the participants who did not perform supersets. Additionally, post-exercise oxygen consumption and blood lactate levels were higher post-workout in the superset group, which suggests these subjects to have longer elevated energy expenditure meaning they will burn calories longer. Moving more in less time with less rest will often equate to increased energy expenditure by increasing heartrate and workout intensity.

Supersets can help keep your workouts shorter. Most of the studies on supersets are “super small” but according to a study published in The European Journal Of Applied Physiology supersets can cut down on training time without losing effectiveness and doing supersets of the same muscles led to a greater muscular effort and strength gain than working different muscle groups, per a Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research study.

Supersets can create an increased hypertrophy by providing an additional stimulus for muscle growth that single sets may not do.

Different Types of Superset Workouts

Things to consider when putting exercises together for supersets are the amount of weight and repetitions used as well as the exercises selected depending on goals.

Antagonist /Opposite Muscle Group Sets
Possibly the most common form of supersetting is agonist antagonist style training. This is the combination of two exercises that utilize opposing muscle groups. For example, you will pair a push with a pull exercise to work your anterior/posterior muscles in opposition. Another example would be a bicep curl followed by a tricep extension. An advantage to adding these to your workouts is that your muscles will recover faster in between sets. When one muscle group is being contracted (shortened) the opposite muscle relaxes (lengthens), reducing the need for a break or rest time between exercises.

Agonist/Same or Simular Muscle Group Sets
This is where both exercises work the same muscle groups. For example a push-up uses pectorals and triceps followed by a tricep extension or chest fly. This is great for adding intensity and volume to a workout as well as focusing on particular muscle groups. It is the most demanding type of superset. This type of superset may also be called compound sets.

Unrelated Muscle Group Sets
This is where the two exercises use totally different muscle groups.  Exercises may alternate a lower body exercise followed by an upper body exercise. An example of this would be Squats followed by Lat Pulldowns. The primary advantage of this type of superset is that there is no loss of strength in going from one exercise to the other. The muscle group rests while to are doing a completely different muscle group.

Blog post by Ally Wilson.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Fighting Falls: Changing Risk Factors

Let’s talk about falls. The World Health Organization defines falls as “an event which results in a person coming to rest inadvertently on the ground or floor or other lower level.”1 With that definition in mind, did you know that 1 in 4 adults in the United States will sustain a fall in a given year?2 In 2010, the United States spent approximately 111 billion US dollars addressing fall-related deaths, treatments, or hospitalizations in emergency departments.3 While falls can occur at any age, certain factors can increase your risk of falling. Some of you reading this may have never experienced a life-altering fall. Some of you have. But I am sure that everyone reading this knows an adult who has fallen.

As I mentioned before, there are factors that will increase your risk of falling. Some of those, like sex and age, cannot be changed. Other factors, like the home environment and activity level, can be changed. So if you are concerned about falling, or you are concerned of a loved one falling, read on to learn 4 things that can be done today to reduce the risk of falling.

Change your Home Environment

The first and easiest thing you can do is “fall-proof” your home.
  • Have clear pathways to prevent tripping over loose items or electric cords on the ground.
  • Mark thresholds and steps with a contrasting color so you can see where the floor level changes.
  • Get rid of rugs or secure them.
  • Wear shoes in the house (instead of slippers/socks).
  • Put non-slip mats in the shower/bathroom.  
  • Make use of night lights, especially if you make trips to the bathroom at night and need to navigate a dark room or hallway.
  • If you can, install grab bars in the bathroom

Get Active

Enroll in an exercise program that is right for you. Muscle weakness and poor posture increase your fall risk. While changes to your muscles, bones, and joints are a normal part of ageing, falling is NOT. Regular physical activity will help combat these changes associated with ageing. If you do not know where to start, start right here with Mashpee Fitness and Barnstable Fitness. We have plenty of virtual classes that have been carefully catered by our excellent trainers. Special mentions: Tai Chi with Ally, Chair Exercises with Erin, Burdenko Balance with Eric, Chair Stretch with Craig, and Flexibility/Mobility with Jami. Local senior centers also tend to offer balance and exercise classes.
  • Tai Chi classes are excellent for posture, balance, and joint mobility
  • Yoga or a stretching class can improve flexibility and balance
  • Strength/weight training will increase bone density and combat osteoporosis
  • Specific Balance classes and programs will lead you into balance exercises coupled with falls-related education and falls prevention tips.

Review your Medications

Polypharmacy is when you take multiple medications, usually 4 or more, and this can increase your risk of falling. TAKE YOUR MEDICATION AS PRESCRIBED but go over your medications, including over-the-counter and supplements, with your pharmacist or your primary care doctor if you are experiencing side-effects related to dizziness/light headedness. Ask your healthcare provider if all your medications are necessary and up-to-date.

Schedule an Eye Exam

Get your eyes checked regularly. The older we get, the more our bodies rely on its visual input to make balance-related decisions. Our bodies rely on information from our eyes for visual acuity, peripheral vision, depth perception, determine incoming/moving objects, and even perceiving changes to surface textures.

Blog post by Damaris Marques PT DPT.

About Damaris Marques PT DPT
Damaris ("Dee") joined Cape Cod Rehab in August 2017 after receiving both her Doctor of Physical Therapy and Bachelor of Science from Springfield College. She is certified in Part I and Part II of the Burdenko Method and believes in a patient-therapist partnership where both are working together to meet the patient's functional goals. Dee is bilingual (English and Brazilian Portuguese) and lists crocheting as a hobby along with singing and a little dancing when no one is looking!

3. Verma SK, Willetts JL, Corns HL, Marucci-Wellman HR, Lombardi DA, Courtney TK. Falls and Fall-Related Injuries among Community-Dwelling Adults in the United States. PLoS One. 2016;11(3):e0150939. Published 2016 Mar 15. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0150939

Monday, May 4, 2020


There are two types of dietary sugar:3
  • Naturally occurring sugars 
    • Found naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose)
  • Added sugars 
    • This includes any sugars or caloric sweeteners that are added to beverages or foods during processing or preparation. Added sugars and sweeteners can include natural sugars such as white sugar, brown sugar, and honey. They can also contain chemically manufactured sweeteners, such as high fructose corn syrup.

Where added sugar is hiding:3
Nutrition facts panels of food doesn’t make it easy to distinguish how much added sugar is in product. The line for “sugars” includes both natural and added sugars. Products that contain milk or fruit will contain some natural sugar (lactose or fructose). Reading the list of ingredients on a processed food’s label can tell you if it contains added sugars, but not the exact amount.

Names for added sugar:2,3
  • Brown sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Malt sugar
  • Molasses
  • Raw sugar
  • Sugar
  • Sugar molecules ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose)
  • Syrup

How much is too much:2,3
According to the American Heart Association, men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons or 36 grams of added sugar per day, and women should consume no more than 6 teaspoons or 21 grams. For reference a 12oz can of Coke has 44 grams of sugar or 12 teaspoons.

Benefits of Naturally Occurring Sugars:2
Most naturally occurring sugars are found in fruits and vegetables, these plants have high amounts of fiber, essential minerals, and antioxidants. The body digests these foods more slowly, so the sugar offers a steady supply of energy to the cells. A high intake of fruits and vegetables has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

Tips to Decrease Your Added Sugars:1
  • Choose water, unsweetened tea or coffee instead of soda or sweetened beverages
  • Choose fruit as a naturally sweet dessert or snack instead of foods with added sugars
  • Choose packaged foods that have less or no added sugars such as plain yogurt, unsweetened applesauce, or frozen fruit with no added sugar or syrup

Blog post by Erin Womboldt.

1. Added Sugars. (n.d.). Retrieved from
2. Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). The sweet danger of sugar. Retrieved from