Ironman Italy 2017

Ironman Italy Emilia-Romagna.

It had never been my intention to do an Ironman in September in 2017 as I had wanted the late summer off. However the Lanzarote experience (food poisoning) had forced me to seek another one out and as it was the first event in Italy, and the food is so good, Karen was keen to get me to sign up.

So we arrived a few days before and settled into the hotel and the great atmosphere these events generate. Despite my gastronomic disaster last time I still played shellfish roulette at dinner. It wasn’t much of a risk as you could toss the shells and hit the fish market behind if you wanted.

The day of the race was perfect. Smooth warm water and a gentle breeze. I had sought out my first ever swim lesson 2 weeks before and this paid dividends as I was 3 minutes faster than my PB. So I was up for it, the target was a sub 10:30hr race, previous PB was 10:53. However the transition was over a kilometre long and the bike was 5k longer than usual so that was a big ask. Still nothing ventured nothing gained.

The longest Transition In The World

As I had exited the swim fairly quickly I found myself in a fast group of riders who initially worked together within the rules (no draughting) and the pace was high. However some soon started to realise that two brits, me and a chap called Duncan were pushing on and they started to draught. In fact there was a lot of draughting. This is very annoying as it wears you out but rests the opposition. So I had to pace myself to not be spent when the marathon started.

Making it easy for those following illegally)

To make matters worse the top of my water container popped off and I was getting covered in sticky drink which should have been going into my stomach! Any small loss of hydration can have serious effects on performance. It also makes it hard to eat your food. This cost me time and I lost the quick group.



By the time I finished the bike I felt as if I had made up the deficit and my legs felt good as I ran up T2 with the bike. A quick change and I was off on the run with an expected finish time of sub 10 hours. I was feeling great and stoked by the time. Karen was cheering me on fervently and we were in for a good one.



That is the biggest mistake Ironman Triathletes make. They get carried away and run off too fast. First 10k, flying along (for me) at 8 min miles, next 10k just a little slower then BOOM my quads went tight and I was struggling to run. Stretching nearly gave me cramp so I gave that a miss and it was shuffle, jog, walk, curse, question my sanity at doing something so crazy such as entering and then being stupid to not run enough in training.

Back In Form, at this point

It’s tough being in the mind of an exhausted person when you still have a half marathon to race. You want to stop and give up. You want to swap places with the person being pushed around the course in a buggy. Wait a minute. Did I just see that or am I about to collapse? No I was not hallucinating.  There really was a team who had swum with a less abled chap in a rubber dinghy for 3.8k, then towed him on a bike for 185k and now there they were, on the run smiling. Yep, smiling. I couldn’t give up now, so it was gels and flat cola by the bucket load, plenty of thigh slapping, swearing and gradually my legs returned.

With a huge effort I started to run continuously and pick up the pace again. I was hopeful that my target of 10:30 was still on but as I got to the final 5k I realised that was long gone. The next target was a PB of sub 10:53 and I managed to get to the line (which you feel may never come) in 10:42. Respectable, but could have been a lot better if I had paced my run. The run came in at 4:05 which was only 4 minutes slower than last year when I ran all of it. So I really had been the hare when I should’ve been the tortoise.

I am not doing a big one next year as life is likely to get a little too busy, but I can manage a couple of middle distance Tri’s and may have a pop at Time Trialling on the bike.



Triathlon season 2017

A Year in Triathlon.

I had trained all winter, braving freezing dark evenings, plus bleary eyed pre dawn starts in the pool. May had come round all too quickly and it was time to head off to Lanzarote for the Ironman. Unfortunately, some under cooked chicken put me out of action for 5 days and so the less said about that the better. To rub salt in the wound it was my Birthday too, so not a great trip.

That left me eager to make amends at the Titan Brecon. This is a race in the Brecon Beacons and a half distance but a tough one.  So I was ready for it, however it was also the hottest day of the year which proved a problem on the run.

Starting to feel the heat








I was doing pretty well overall, lying in 19th place after the bike.  The heat meant that I ran out of fluids just before the big hill climb with a further 10miles of the bike to go. This left me dehydrated for the start of the run. The result was cramp setting in hard in both legs at mile 3 out of 13. Add in shade temp of 33c and you had a recipe for a true endurance test.


No shelter from the sun

The result was that I had to keep stopping to gulp down lots of water at every chance plus pouring it over myself. In the end I gave up on a PB time and ended up getting to know some of the helpers quite well. So another disastrous race, only plus side was the pro female winner was also 15 minutes slower on her run than usual too.




The next big one was Weymouth Middle, after a bit of argie bargie in the swim that nearly saw my goggles go floating off it was onto the bike. My glasses rapidly misted up and I was riding practically blind up the first big climb. I managed to pick off quite a few of the faster swimmers and was well placed on my return to T2. It’s always a good feeling to see the leader still only just on the run as you come back into town. I also had my number one support crew of Karen and our friends’ dog Hero to encourage me.

The run went quite well and I managed to overtake a couple of runners ahead of me but was past by one other. The aim then was to keep him in sight and hope he fatigued. It was close at the end with him only 40m ahead of me. However I just didn’t have the legs to catch him in the final sprint so finished in 11th place overall, just 1 minute off 5 hours overall. So close. Still the home made organic speciality ice cream after was a real highlight!

July saw me fall off my MTB and slice my knee so the next race suffered from lack of training, less said the better. August was back to Swanage where my lack of training showed and I came in at my usual time of 2:30. A week later was a trip to Weymouth for the classic Tri. Despite my running being off parr I managed to go 4 minutes faster than 3 years previously, so I was quite please with that. The next step was Ironman Italy which you can read about here.




Dizziness at Christmas?

Not all dizziness at Christmas is about over-indulgence….!

If you were asked ‘how is your sense of balance?’ how would you reply?

For many people their idea of good balance would be whether they are good at walking along a wall or narrow beam, or if they are comfortable to go up scaffolding and clamber around on a roof.  Indeed, these things do require a good sense of balance but day to day we all need our balance systems in order to know where we are in space when just sitting or standing still.  Even more so to stand up from a chair and simply walk across a room, let alone turn around.


Now, when our balance is acutely disturbed we can experience a feeling of spinning (vertigo) or falling.  There are various different reasons for this including alcohol, which is particularly toxic to the cerebellum, (the area that is associated with balance and co-ordination),  is just one reason. Think of the clumsiness , slurred speech and stumbling of someone who has had a few too many.

When those changes are more gradual or a subtle loss of balance we may not even realise we have a problem.

Our brain and body will do its upmost to compensate but these adaptations can result in changes of posture and maybe spinal problems.  Slowing of general movements occurs. Walking speed is a common sign as are changes in tolerances of movement around you, this can manifest as travel sickness or feeling uncomfortable in supermarkets and busy streets.

Another common complaint of people with giddiness, dizziness or balance issues is anxiety and nausea.  It is estimated that 15-35% of the population will experience a complaint of dizziness and at least a third of those will develop a secondary psychological disorder.  (Ref: Susan Herdman PT, PhD  Vestibular Rehabilitation 2nd Ed)

Are you noticing these changes in your balance, co-ordination, speed of movement or someone else’s .

Do you think you might benefit from having your posture, balance and co-ordination checked?  Chiropractors at Back In Form are trained and practiced in looking at the integration of these systems and may be able to improve or resolve your complaint with treatment and ‘vestibular rehabilitation’. If you’d like to know more then please call the clinic for further advice or to make an appointment.


Christmas Related Injuries

Christmas Can Be Dangerous.

What, are you kidding? No it really is a busy time at A&E. In the US there were on average 17 hospital visits each year in 100 hospitals surveyed. That doesn’t include those people who didn’t bother to go or sought help somewhere else such as the Chiropractic or Osteopathic clinic.

I clearly remember the Christmas I got my first pen-knife. To test how sharp it was I ran my thumb along the direction of the blade instead of running my thumb across it. Well those Swiss know how to make blades. It was immediately confiscated and I didn’t get it back for a couple of years!

Christmas really can be a dangerous time. So here’s a breakdown of the types of injury, when they occurred, the ages of the injured.

Image from Quartz qz.com

Click here to enlarge

Obviously the peak day was Christmas day and that was due to the big increase in scissor related injuries. Probably as the sherry had been opened a little while earlier. So go easy on the Sellotape to protect the ones you love.

The biggest injury cause was decoration related, with a few keen beans getting them up in early November.

Careful though, the peak of Xmas tree related injuries comes in the next two weeks.

If we look at breakdown of ages there is a big spike at 0-5 years old as the excitement all gets too much and the little ones run into the stocking hooks or poke their eyes on the tree branches. The rest of injuries were spread fairly evenly through the parental 25-55 years. The older wiser age group must have stayed seated out of the way.











Types of injury of injury varied considerably, but I clearly read the textbook as lacerations were number one. That was closely followed by strains and sprains, contusions and fractures. If you bunch the last 3 injury types together those groups make up over half the injuries.












So be careful out there and if you do get hurt give us a call so that our Chiropractors can give you advice. In the meantime have fun and enjoy the time together.






Back In Form are delighted to welcome Chiropractor Susan Hill DC, DACNB to the Poole Clinic

Susan Hill Joins the team at Back In Form.

Susan has been practising Chiropractic for 28 years and has worked in many locations before settling in Dorset. She has been working at Casterbridge Chiropractic Clinic for many years but has now decided to work closer to home.

Susan has a particular interest and experience in Functional Neurology and has attended and qualified to Chiropractic Board Certified level in Neurology. This puts her in an exclusive club of specialising Chiropractors. She is also a contributing author to Chiropractic textbooks.

Susan’s approach looks at the whole nervous system, particularly brain function. The brain controls how we function and interact with our perceived environment. Weaknesses result in patterns of weakness which can eventually manifest in functional problems.

Using standard Neurological tests and Optokinetic (eye movements) evaluation it is possible to identify weaknesses that could easily be overlooked. A program of exercises to strengthen the weak areas is then devised and if the problem is functional, positive changes will occur that help to rebalance the reflexes that control us. You can find out more from Sue by following this link. 

We will be updating topics regarding this in due course so if interested please follow us through facebook and we will post links to them there.



Triathlon 2016 season

After an encouraging 2015 coming on the back of glandular fever the year before I was keen to step it up and start to become competitive. I learnt a lot the year before regarding nutrition, preparation and recovery and was itching to get going again. The problem was I’d been injured from attempting to kite surf since October. A few months of DIY hadn’t helped the recovery and so when I had an MRI  of my right knee in Feb I had tough choices to make.

I wanted to revisit Mallorca and go sub 11 but I had a tear in my lateral meniscus, mild bursitis and tendon damage. Not from running I hasten to add. From failing to release from my binding when I wiped out mildly. So come the end of Feb I decided to take a gamble and book Mallorca. I also invested in a new bike to help trim some time of the ride. There could be no excuses then.

Training started slowly, mainly building up the bike which I hadn’t been on for 4 months. Running started slowly too but soon I was doing 50 mile rides without a sore bum and getting off feeling reasonably Ok. The running built up steadily to 7k over 3 weeks but then I stupidly went back to 10k followed a week later with 15k. That irritated the knee and I had to ease off. Rule of thumb 10%-20% a week from base of your normal run. Not 50% each time. Come April I was feeling good and took part in a tough sportive in Pembrokeshire. An upset stomach and back ache from the 7 hour journey to get there put paid to any decent time. I was disappointed but it was good base training. I didn’t feel ready for the first middle distance in May so booked up to the Breacon race again.

BRECON TITAN (Middle Distance)

So in mid June I headed off to Wales again hoping for a better journey. I got there in plenty of time and familiarised myself with the course again. This time for breakfast I had cold porridge (as they don’t do brekkie at 4am) with plenty of low fibre carbs. I had my bike loaded with gels and three water bottles as there aren’t bottle replacements on that race like Ironman. However it is half the cost and just as much fun. So the swim went OK, it was a better field this year, the lake is shallow so the weed was a problem until towards the end I realised it was quicker to pull myself along on it!

The bike started well passing a lot of better swimmers early on, including one who stopped for a pee. All that training ruined by a full or nervous bladder! The big descent was a little slower this year due to bigger profiles on the wheels making the handling a bit dodgy in the crosswind but the flatter sections were a breeze until a lorry coming the other way nearly blew me off the bike. Going back up the hill was much faster as I stayed seated this year. It’s much more efficient and shaved a lot of time. So I arrived back in T2 in a good position.  The run this year didn’t start with a cramp as I had trained a little better, but I had forgotten my salt caps so started to tighten up. The only solution was eating some crisps at a fed stop. Here’s a big tip, remember your caps, crisps aren’t easy to breathe. Mild choking over I continued on and nearly got to the end without cramp. It got me on a downhill about two miles out. End result over 37 mins faster than my first year, 6th in my age group. So getting closer to the silverware.


My next race was Swanage Olympic which went well apart from nearly crashing on loose gravel on a dangerous corner (that should have been swept). At T2 I was 4th overall for the first wave of athletes, I was holding my own and eventually overtook the chap in front. Stupidly though I let him pass me on a steep narrow section. I hate steep downhills as they hurt me behind my patellae. If I had kept him behind I would have been able to stay with him till the end. So I assumed I was 4th in my age group and went home disappointed. However I forgot that there were younger ones running with us older folk and I was actually 3rd. So I missed what would have been my first trophy presentations. Dumpkoff!


All of 2016 had been building up though for another shot at Ironman Mallorca. This time I was better prepared with my feeding strategy and had support with nutrition for the run. In hindsight I hadn’t done enough run training again.

The day started with thunder and lightening off to the East in the pre dawn sky. Adding to the nerves was a late announcement allowing us to use wetsuits as the sea had cooled from the day before. This lead to mass stress and lots of haunted looks as people ran around trying to get back to cars to get kit. Not the best preparation but with about 15 minutes to spare I was at the start and ready as I’d ever be.

The swim started in calm waters and I found myself in the usual washing machine wondering why on earth I do this sport. That was soon followed by me repeatedly trying to sight the turning buoy which seemed to be off in infinity somewhere. After an age we were making the first turn and heading back to shore only to do it all again. From there it was off to T1, at this point I was 1 minute down on 2015. Thankfully I had been given a good spot in transition and didn’t have to run the bike too far. The bike leg was a breeze to begin with and I made good time until unexpectedly (and it’s never happened since), the chain came off and jammed in the back brake. Thankfully a support mechanic was passing at the time on a motorbike and assisted me. I then got cramp in my thigh getting back on the bike. He gave my leg a massage, which was very kind and off I went to catch up the 100 people who had gone past!

As the bike leg went on thunder clouds started to build and the main worry by this point was how I would survive slick tyres and carbon rims in heavy rain coming down the mountain. Having had a similarly traumatic experience earlier in the year I was pushing hard to get down from the mountain before the rain came. Thankfully I made it down in the dry. By this time the wind was picking up and heading back to Alcudia where it all started was hard work into the wind. I was very annoyed by some cyclists who were grouping together and draughting. This makes it a lot easier and is illegal. There were no Marshalls in sight which was equally annoying as there should have been penalties aplenty. Anyway as I headed back to T2 the sky was black as ink and riven with flashes of lightening, the second time up the high street to T2 there was hardly anyone in sight and it was all a far cry from a couple of hours earlier. The bike was over 30 mins faster than the year before.

T2 went well, a quick stop for necessities and I was on my way to great encouragement from my wife Karen who was there in the rain trying to give me fluids and gels. I was fully loaded so declined and splashed my way round the first 10k in good time. The run was 4 laps of about 10k plus a little bit. At lap 2 Karen was still there getting wet and I still didn’t take on some fluids and gels. That was a mistake. I soon started slowing my pace and no matter how hard I tried couldn’t get faster. This was partly due to fatigue but also down to lack of nutrition. Lap 3 I took some on board as it was need badly, but also Karen was going to murder me as she was still in the rain and feeling like a spare part. I trundled o and got steadily slower, but importantly I didn’t walk. Last year I had walked at the feed stations as it was the only way to get fluids down. This time I carried mine round and it made a big difference to my time. Eventually I was on my last lap and running faster than those around me. It was still slow though and I had run out of salt caps. When that happens cramp is far away. So with just 2k left out of the 42 I got a twinge of cramp, slowing didn’t help and it grabbed me hard in the hamstrings as usual. Trying to stretch just set of another and I was immobilised. Lots of panting and swearing at my legs later I managed to shuffle along and eventually got back my pace. So finally after what seemed an age the finish line was in sight and I put in one last sprint to overtake a bearded chap ( Karen wanted me to beat the beards) and virtually collapse over the line in 10:53 hours. My marathon time was 4:01 so I was gutted that it wasn’t sub 4 due to the cramp.

I was overcome with emotion and had to have a lie down for 30  mins while I recouperated. That helped me feel better but I had stiffened up significantly in that time. The lessons I learnt this time round. Run more as it gets hard on the run when you pass your normal training distance of 15 and there’s still 27 to go! Take on fluids when you feel you don’t need them on the run. Don’t stop moving when you finish.



Triathlon 2014-5

“I like a challenge”. That would probably be the best way to explain why I have found myself doing Triathlons. That and the inevitable accusations of being in the grip of a perpetual mid-life crisis!

Triathlon keeps me fit and helps me feel good about myself. It helps me understand the needs of athletes and the training methods to stay faster for longer. To be fair I’ve always liked cycling. Mainly mountain biking really as a kid and young adult. I used to be good at cross country at school, until I hit my late teens then got distracted by the bright lights and excitement of going out.

Following a fairly significant car accident I started swimming to strengthen and rehabilitate my injured neck and upper body. Then I just decided it would be good to tie them all together and do a triathlon. A patient of mine talked me into it and so a motley crew, with me being the youngest, headed off to Mallorca for my first attempt. I had my heart set on sub 2hours 30mins for my first one. I finished in less than 30 mins! Lack of preparation and a complete failure to realise that I was in the company of some serious international athletes lead to me running into the fairly rough sea with the top boys who were all there for some pre season training.

I’m not ashamed to say that I was swamped by what seemed like those scenes of wilderbeast crossing a crocodile infested river. Every time I tried to get a breath I was under again. Add in the espresso coffee, tight suit and rough seas and it rapidly went to disaster. Trying to breath a good part of the salty Mediteranean lead to my first and hopefully last ever panic attack type experience. I simply couldn’t breathe. A brief stop on a kayak followed and then on I went. Only to be offered a rescue from a rib. It was too tempting and I abandoned as I wasn’t going to get my time and all rational thought had gone when I couldn’t breath without coughing due to a mild bronchospasm. Not being allowed back in to get my kit from transition meant I had to stand in my revealing Triathlon suit in the middle of a foreign town. That was enough to make me think more carefully about how to achieve a better result.

So having been told I had a talent by one of our fellow competitors ( before nearly drowning ) I thought I’d have to prove him and me right. The following year, with a little more training I started my Olympic triathlon events with a nice hilly one in the Purbecks at Swanage. I got off to a good start coming out of the water in around 23 minutes. Then I was off on my bike and managed to stay ahead of those following who didn’t have Time Trial bikes. Things were going well and I started the run in a good position. However…I hadn’t done enough running. After climbing the big hill at the Obelisk on Ballard Down and stretching out for the descent, Hamstring number one cramped. It was like being shot! A quick stretch from some passing walkers and I was off again…..for 20 yards, bang the other one went!!! Further stretching, lots of swearing and I was off again, albeit slower. People soon were passing and I couldn’t do a thing about it. The end result 2hours 32  minutes, Dammit!!

A month later I got cramp at the second transition and that was after a fast bike where I lost my chain. I then tripped on my kevlar laces and bashed my knee. Bloodied but undeterred I hobbled round the course and finished in 2 hours 30mins and 11 seconds. Gutted. So next stop Portsmouth, flat course and closed roads helped me complete in 2 hours 27 and a few seconds. Not bad.

Next stop half ironman, however Glandular Fever got me last year and I couldn’t compete at all. So now I have the big year of doing two half ironmans and the full monty in Mallorca, plus Portsmouth where I would like to be at least five minutes faster. Hopefully, if I just follow my own advice that can be done, the question is will I keep coming back for more?

2015 Season Update.

Over the winter I struggled to get up in the mornings for a swim but I did manage to get out on the bike several times for long rides, even on icy roads in January. So the base level was good for my first half-ironman in the Brecon Beacons. I expected a cold swim in a lake but it was a balmy 18 C. The swim went OK except the lake was shallow and two laps meant you got a good mouthful of muddy water! Then onto the bike which was pretty chilly initially. The wind was a bit tough and the large 400m hill towards the end had to be hit hard as thats what I like to do on hills. I overtook a lot of guys but paid for it on the run. My old nemesis cramp got me again with only 12.5 miles out of 13 still to run. So I didn’t do a blistering pace but finished the event in a reasonable position.

A week later it was off to Ironman UK 70.3 in Exmoor. It was bleak weather and blowing a hooly. The swim went well and it was onto the bike. I managed to keep up a good pace for the first lap but slowed a bit on the second. So my pacing was out. The course was tough. Very hilly so as I started the run my legs were already quite tired but I set off at a good pace. Then once again as I started to go downhill my right Hamstring cramped again! It was then the usual story of managing cramp which set off every time I went downhill, and there were a lot of hills! So my target had been sub 6 hours. I was still on for that time until the last lap when my legs just seized. I couldn’t even move for a minute. I managed to gradually nurse the legs back and made it home in 6:02. Disappointing.

So the main problem for me was cramp. I had 3 months before Ironman Mallorca to work out how to stop it. As everyone knows a lack of salt leads to cramp, but how to judge how much to have. Time to bring in some Chiropractic and Nutrition knowledge to banish this demon.

Mallorca Ironman 2015:

Woke up to dry conditions after fitful sleep. Partly due to the awful hotel entertainment keeping me awake. A mistake not to be repeated. The swim was a rolling start so managed to stick with a good pace. No repeat of the previous Mallorca Triathlon this time. I exited the water in 1:06 then remembered to start my Garmin watch! Teething problems again. Transition was relatively smooth and off I went. I was managing to stay ahead of most of the normal bikes but there were some amazing bikes passing which would have helped. Sticking by the rules and not draughting I used my knowledge of the mountain part of the course to good effect but was starting to fatigue towards the end. However this time I was taking the salts on board as well as the home made granola flapjacks. That wasn’t such a good idea. The bag became a big blob of sticky nuts and seeds and eating it slowed me down. I also needed back pockets to keep it in. Not very Aero. So overall an amateurish approach. More lessons learnt. T2 was a slow affair, I didn’t want to forget anything and needed a bit of time. Then it was off on the run in 28 degree heat in the shade. It was hot. I tried to stay in any shade I could find and bouyed on by the support of the crowd who were quite entertaining at times I ran, jogged and then shuffled my way round. There’s a small bridge on the course and by lap 3 and 4 I was walking up and down that. Eventually when you felt you couldn’t take anymore the finish came in sight and I got over the line in 11:40. Not bad and ahead of my target of 12 hours. So I was very pleased and encouraged to keep going.


Selection of Core exercises for Low Back pain.

Core exercises have been the buzz word for well over a decade now and there’s good reason for this. They help to stabilise your lumbar spine and keep you free of back pain.

To find out more on why go the end of of this post. In the meantime here are some to be getting on with in increasing order of difficulty.


Seated Core Exercise

Balancing on a wobble cushion

1. Using a wobble cushion or gym ball to sit.

This exercise makes you engage your core muscles as you balance on the slightly unstable surface. It is suitable for all ages and abilities if using the cushion.

You can progress to the ball (if you have room for one). Word of warning;  small children like to bounce them around.






Core exercise for Transversus Abdominus

Knee lifts for Transverse Abs

2. Quadruped Knee lifts.

Go onto all fours keeping your low back in a neutral position (not arched up or down too much, somewhere in between). Then very carefully lift your knees slightly off the floor by tensing your lower stomach muscles as shown below. Hold for anywhere between 5-30secs and repeat. The number of reps is up to you but it is best to work until you feel that the muscles are getting tense and a little tired. Progress this number steadily to your goal.


Easy Plank Core exercise

Half Plank on Knees

3. Half Plank:

This is basically a plank which is detailed below, but you can either do it on your knees or against a worktop, desk, sofa or bed. The lower you go the harder it is. You can rest on your elbows or straight arms, it’s up to you. The important thing is that it should not be straining your low back.




Dead Bug Core exercise

Dead Bug Start Position

4. Dead Bug: Lie on your back with your arms and legs above you like a dried out bug! Have your knees bent. Slowly while tensing your stomach muscles lower an arm and opposite leg. Keep control of your core, make sure you keep hips and pelvis level and do not let the lower back arch more. If you feel you can’t stabilise then stop before that point and work the exercise up to there. Over time you will get better at this and be able to go further. Alternate until you feel you’ve done enough.


Dead Bug Core exercise

Dead Bug

Core exercises for low back

Dead Bug Opposite side








Core exercises for low back

Plank (straight Arms)

5. Full Plank:

Lie face down on the floor and keeping your body in line push up onto either your straight arms or bent elbows. Keep looking down with your chin held into your neck in a neutral position and your neck elongated. You should feel a slight stretch at the back of the neck.




Core exercises for low back

Plank on Elbows

Hold this position for however long you feel comfortable with. You may want to do lots of short holds or go for the endurance one. I would suggest somewhere in between rather than trying to break the world record which at time of writing this, was an incredible 8 hours plus.





Tougher Core exercises

Plank with leg raise

5. Plank with alternate leg raises.

As above but this time you lift one of your legs off the floor. Make sure you keep your pelvis and hips level.






6: Plank on a wobbly surface. Such as a wobble cushion / board or gym ball.

These are enough to be getting on with but you can progress to doing standing bodyweight exercises such as squats or weights on a wobbly surface. This is probably only suitable for athletes or show offs.


How these core exercises help stability.

Imagine trying to bend a barrel… It’s impossible. Now imagine a flexible egg timer. It is inherently weak at it’s narrowest point…easy peasy.

Your spine is like this too. In order to have flexibility at the low back and neck you have a column of bones. The pelvis and rib cage are different and go all the way round. So they are a lot less mobile. Take away the muscles form the abdomen and low back and you will have a floppy but tough structure. Add in the back muscles and hip flexors and these act as guys, similar to those supporting a flag pole. That helps stability but it is still vulnerable to big loads. Imagine now placing that pole in wall of a circular large wrapper that tenses and shortens. Now you have stability and the pole won’t move much even with large loads.

This is effectively what your abdominal muscles do. They spread forces around the body and help the lumbar supporting muscles to move the spine in a controlled way. The stronger the muscles the longer you can support. Weak muscles result in increased movement of the low back joints and the increased chances of developing injuries and subsequent arthritis as the spine lays down bony spurs to stabilise itself.


Inspired By Our Excelling Olympians?

Then Join In On The Fun The Next Time You Watch Sport.


In August our amazing Olympic team brought home life time best performances and medals galore. The joy and delight on their faces was moving and something you can share to an extent by joining the para-olympic athletes as they inspire even more through their heroism in the face of adversity.

The common theme from the Rio games is one of inspiring the next generation to compete, but what about the current and former generation? Yes that’s us lot, who have probably been mainly sat on the sofa while watching, possibly with a glass of wine and a few crisps and nibbles. Well, we all need a break from the usual bad news don’t we?

But why not participate yourself next time you settle down to watch some sport. You could do a stretching routine or even some floor exercises and feel the burn with those on the screen. I’ve been doing it for F1 for years as it stops me falling asleep, even on the highlights program!

If that seems a little too much there are exercises you could do while barely leaving the sofa. Here are a few to help you.

Hip Hinge, Hip Hinge 2, hip-mobilityhip-mobility2, Cat-stretches-and-bridges



Back Pain Exercise, How To Get Up From A Chair.

Hip Hinge A Practical Exercise For Helping Back Pain.

We all get up and down from chairs regularly through the day. How many of do so with a groan due to back pain? Following this simple back pain exercise will help strengthen your thighs, Buttocks and spine. The end result stable and stronger low back, hips and knees.