Band rotation exercises are quick, easy and most importantly effective exercises to help build up power, strength, and endurance for the core. One great attribute of doing effective core exercises is that you don’t need a lot of equipment. A lot can be accomplished with simple tubing. Begin by securing the tubing and then grab the handles at about shoulder height. You can start with your feet about shoulder width apart, although a wider stance will increase stability. You can increase or decrease the tension by stepping back or forward. Stepping back increased band tension and exercise difficulty. To begin you want to turn or really rotate your shoulders and hips away from the attachment of the tubing. You pull your arms across the body (Figure F and G). It’s important to remember not to place your feet and more specifically your heels planted firmly on the ground. Heels should come up as you rotate. This will alleviate possible back injury. Keep rotating until your shoulders are rotated. Return to the starting position. Repeat for 8 to 12 reps. You can start slow and then build reps as you get stronger.
Back rotations are essential and can be done very easily. Sit down in a chair and face forward. Cross your right leg over you left and place your left hand on your right knee. Now be gentle and using your left hand pull towards your left side attempting to slowly turn your head and shoulders all the way to the right. Rotate as far as possible and hold. This exercise is great for the lower back and muscles along the side of your core. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Start off with one set and as you progress move up to three times on each side.
Keep rotating as far as possible, with the goal of being able to turn until you can see over your right shoulder. You will feel a stretch in your lower back and through the muscles along the side of the body. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Relax and repeat on the other side. Start with one set and build to three times on each side (figure H).
Flexion and extension of the neck are extremely important and valuable. The same can be said for the upper body. As sonographers we do a lot of flexion and extension of our bodies. Just part of getting our job done. If you have more toned muscles with some flexibility you are much less likely to suffer spinal/back injury. Getting these muscles in a decent shape increases the chance that there will be pain and/or injury. The same can be said for abdominal muscles that we ask to do an enormous job every day. Strong abs and a strong back allow for a huge reduction in the pain and injury that plagues our profession. It’s also great to have other parts of your body assist the core to reduce/eliminate pain and injury. Legs that are in shape can assist the core and can also reduce the chance that a back injury occurs.
Stretching and flexibility also aid in the prevention of injury. Tight muscles alone can contribute to pain and ultimately injury. Obviously we want to maintain proper position and alignment as much as possible. In the everyday work situations where that may not always be possible, doing these simple stretches and exercises will exponentially increase the chance that the body will be able to handle the load and the work asked of it.
Here is another example of an exercise/stretch than can be done easily and quickly, yet is still very effective.
With the reverse crunch you will have to get down on the floor. Lay down flat on your back and extend your feet straight up in the air. As show in Figure I and J bend your knees to a 90 degree angle. Put your hands underneath your buttocks for support but still keep your lower back on the floor. Try and tighten your lower abdomen with the goal of lifting your buttocks off of your hands. Hold and then relax. Start off by doing 5 to 10 reps and increase when you feel you are ready.
If you want to ramp up the intensity put your hands on your stomach or on the floor (figure I and J) -- or you can make it easier by lifting one leg at a time (figure K)
The last and final exercise is called the ‘Alternating Superman’. It’s a great exercise for the lower back with benefit to other areas of your body.
With this exercise, you’ll need to get down on the floor face down. Put your arms outstretched above your head, as if you are flying like Superman. Raise up your right arm while simultaneously lifting your left leg. Hold this for 3 to 5 seconds and then relax. Do the Left arm and the Right leg also. Do 5 to 10 reps. Add more reps as you become more comfortable.
As you can see we have given you fairly simple, easy to accomplish exercises that you really can do anywhere, anytime, with very little equipment. Our jobs are too important for each of us as sonographers not to be on our ‘A’ game for every person that we work on. It is a tremendous burden and a huge responsibility but it must be that way. We have to be able to do our best on every person that we work on.
We have one more article in this series. We would love to hear from fellow sonographers on your story. Drop Rozy and I an email, let’s connect and learn and grow from each other.
Doug Wuebben BA, AS, RDCS (Adult and Peds) FASE is a registered cardiac sonographer who performs adult and pediatric echocardiograms. Doug is also a consultant and International Speaker on keeping Sonographers and Others doing their jobs at a high level.
Mark “Coach Rozy” Roozen M.Ed, CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT, FTSAC, FNSCA Mark has his Masters Degree in HPERD, with emphasis in Exercise Physiology. He is a Certiﬁed Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS,*D), a Certiﬁed Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) a Facilitator for Tactical Strength and Conditioning (FTSAC) and a Fellow of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (FNSCA). He has been in the Strength, Conditioning and Performance ﬁeld for over 30 years.
Mark is also Owner and CEO of COACH ROZY, LLC, his company that does performance training, a radio show, writes a column in the local newspaper and oversees his speaking and writing. He is also Co-Founder of LIVE PAIN FREE with Doug, which works with groups, teams and corporation to help their staff and employees achieve peak levels of performance.
His other business is 911 Tactical Performance where they work with First Responders; fire, police and military to help BE FIT FOR DUTY - FIT FOR LIFE.
They can be reached to email@example.com.