Clam Shells…..The exercise that just keeps returning

Clam Shells are probably one of the most common exercises handed out over the years.  And I must admit, I have tried to get away from them so many times.  One of my biggest pet peeves is having a client come in who has been doing Clam Shells for months…….with a band around their knees……wrong!

There are a ton of different variations of Clam Shells, but the most important key is maintaining posture and range of motion.  Since so many people are lacking mobility in their hips to begin with, it is really easy to compensate.  This is one of the main reasons I have taken a detour many times looking for other ways to engage the glutes.

But at the end of the day, sometimes there is no better way to engage the glutes.  This past week they came to my rescue when my back flared up and I needed a safe, stable way to reinforce my pelvic position.

So here they are again for a quick review!

A few keys to success:

  • Put a pillow under your head to provide better spinal alignment
  • Keep your shoulders and hip stacked on top of each other
  • Think about keeping your core engage and a neutral spine
  • Maintain the space between your rib cage and hip
  • When range of motion decreases, exercise is over!

Happy Glutes!


Friday Inspiration

“Don’t live down to expectations.  Go out there and do something remarkable.”

-Wendy Wasserstein


I love this quote because so often people talk about living up to expectations.  But I believe putting expectations on yourself only serves to drag you down.  This is something I am trying to keep in mind lately as I navigate the waters of my ever changing golf game.  By the way, this peacock walked right up to me on the golf course today!

See you all tomorrow for 1700 punches, my arms are tired just thinking about it!


Thursday Wrap Up!

I’m on the Big Island for the next few days hanging with my family and celebrating my sister and new bro-in-law! 

What an awesome day it was seeing them tie the knot!  

Early this morning I went out on an adventure with them hiking the Captain Cool Trail.  It’s roughly 1300ft in elevation change and just under 4 miles round trip.  

We followed this up with a 30min workout of bodyweight upper body exercises and 1500 punches!  

Who needs a gym when there is so much to be discovered out there and your body can provide all the challenge it needs!

Congrats Anne and Dave!!


P.S. How cute is my nephew Max?!!!

Warm Up Wednesday: The Power of Getting Help!

Instead of posting an exercise today, I’m going to give you a little follow up from yesterday.  Basically I overdid it this past week and my SI Joint and T/L Junction locked up on me really bad.  Probably the worst it has ever been!  I couldn’t even lean forward without my back spasming at me.

In the past I would have just ignored it.  But thanks to having a team of medical professionals around me, I have learned that the sooner this issue gets dealt with the better!

The first step was using the inferential unit and some ice.  IF sends a continuous stimulation to the muscles and has been shown to help reduce pain and swelling.  I did a second treatment of this early this morning followed by a few exercises to see how I was moving.

It was clear that something was really off still, so the next step was getting evaluated by Dr. Joe.  Thankfully he has treated me regularly over the years so is very familiar with this issue and what causes it.  He started by palpating the muscles and seeing what the response felt like as well as checking my leg length.  My left leg was a1/2 inch shorter than my right today, ouch!  Here’s the key though, this is going on due to the muscle spasms so instead of going straight to an adjustment (which my body would not respond to anyway because it was in protective mode), Dr. Joe did some ART work on my glutes and TFL.  By just doing that work, my legs evened right back out.

Next step was to reinforce the pelvis not that it was back in the correct position.  I started by doing some basic bridge patterns focusing on glute activation.  Once that began to feel more engaged, I went to a side lying position and did some clam shells.  It was also important to engage my core so I ran through some dead bug sequences as well.

I cannot stress enough how much of a game changer it is reinforcing the soft tissue changes from a treatment with exercise.  Once the body is aligned and responding better, that is the time to build on it.

The end result of all this today, I am about 95% right now and managed to survive a 6 hour flight to Kona for my sister’s wedding!

I made sure to pack my foam roller and an exercise band so that I can continue to help my condition.  Hopefully I will be back to normal and ready to hit the golf course by Friday!!



Over Doing it

Apparently I have to learn this lesson over and over and over.  At 35 years old sometimes I believe I can continue to push through pain and workout every day, multiple times a day as hard as I can!  

Shawn, repeat after me….you can’t!

These are not words I like to use often, but the bottom line is with 3 bulging discs in my lower back and chronic SI joint issues, too much exercise leads to my current state.

I am alternating between the inferential unit, ice, wine and lecturing myself on my limitations.  

It’s hard to pin point what put me over the edge, but chances are it was a combo of trying Barre Method, hiking and then spending 4 1/2 hours putting an IKEA bed together yesterday.  

Punches and kicks still happened though, just in a modified position.

I’m off to ice again, goodnight!


Serenity Now!!!!!

On a day like this where the universe kept throwing me curve balls, I like to reflect back on one of my favorite podcasts of all time.

Bhrett McCabe’s Mindside Podcast is by far one of the best out there, and he has one in particular I return to constantly.

It’s called Your Are Your Own Worst Enemy, and it is a great way to get perspective.

Do yourself a favor and have a listen 🙂


Barre Method…..the good, the bad and the “holy crap my glutes are still cramping 5 hours later!”

This morning I decided to try something completely out of the box for me, Barre Method!  Athleta in Bellevue hosted a Pop Up Barre class today and it seemed like a perfect opportunity to give this workout that I hear about all the time a try.

It’s a weird feeling going into a workout with absolutely no expectations and just rolling with it!  But so many people I know love Barre and are religious about attending the workouts.  My mind however has been a bit clouded about it because we’ve seen so many injuries in our office from people overdoing it.

So in my post today I’m just going to lay it all out, my first impressions of Barre Method!

*First, I will start by saying the instructor today were awesome!  Great in their delivery and coaching.  They also seemed to share my love for muscle pain 🙂

*Barre Method uses isometrics mostly to target the muscles.  This is something I can definitely get on board with.  Studies have proven that in the world of asymmetrical athletes, isometrics are a much more effective way to bring more balance to the body than trying to do more reps on one side verses the other.  Many of the moves we did today were very similar to the Tom House protocols we use in our office!

*I was also a huge fan of how the workout addressed different joint positions.  Pointing the toes inward and outward, even rotating hand positions in the pushup.  These are all awesome ways to work on better mobility will asking the muscle to exhaust.

*One of the biggest takeaways for me today was how weak my big toes are!  Sounds strange but there were so many moves where we needed to go on our toes and I felt so incredibly weak.  Note to self, must build stronger feet!

*There was an emphasis on natural spine during the workout, and that was awesome!  I love seeing that prioritized especially when hip extension is involved.  Now, I spend everyday hyper focusing on spinal positions, so it did occur to me that this could be really difficult for some people to do.  And as I looked around, you could tell there were some people really struggling to keep lumbar spine stable especially as fatigue set in.

*And on the subject of fatigue, that was one of my only big concerns today.  At points my muscles hit a point of exhaustion that I have never experienced.  I don’t mind the feeling, but when it leads to altering ranges of motion because of the pain, I get worried.  It’s so important to work the muscles in a full range in order to promote mobility, but if your muscles are on fire and you start cutting it short, it only emphasizes a shorter range of motion.

*The glutes were the star of the workout today.  In fact, I felt areas of my glutes I didn’t know existed.  As a coach that spends a lot of time strengthening this muscles group with my clients, it was awesome to experience a level of fatigue this intense!  The funniest part was attempting to stretch the glutes at one point and I couldn’t even do that because it just kept cramping!

*My body was shaking all over and was still shaky for several hours after, but it didn’t stop me from doing a 2 hour hike this evening.  That folks is a plus!  I will say that when I realized there was still 200 kicks and 1100 punches on the docket today, my body finally said enough.  I just had to walk down stairs and almost sat down to take a break.

*And finally, while I found there to be a lot of awesome today and just a few concerns mostly for myself personally because of all the previous injuries and issues I have, the most important aspect of today was the importance of trying something new!  Wow was this a challenge, and I’m sure I will find out just how much in the coming days as soreness sets in.  But I did win a month of unlimited Barre Classes, and I’m just crazy enough to switch up my workouts and see what happens!


See you all tomorrow, I’m going to go pass out!