When I first injured my right shoulder in 2010 I joined the ranks of circus performers, acrobats, dancers, and athletes with shoulder injuries. I was bummed out, but far from alone. It is one of the most common sites for pain and injury for anyone who engages in vigorous upper body activities from aerial arts to lifting groceries out of the trunk. And it’s no wonder. Shoulders are a complicated piece of equipment and, even though most of us have them, they didn’t come with an instruction manual. When I started

The swim through splits (not sure where this term originates, I may have made it up but I don’t think so), are a beautiful transitional movement requiring advanced hip flexibility, strength, and control. I love this transition which can quickly and dramatically take you from sitting on your rump to laying on your belly and, with a little more effort, back again. Below please enjoy a tutorial that breaks this movement down into stages, demonstrating the swim through both with and without assistance from the arms. I only recommend this tutorial to

Middle splits can be beastly. Often we push too far too fast, going past our body’s limits without the proper strength and control. Sometimes this means that we just hate middle splits, but it can also lead to pain and injury if we push too hard. One of the most common places to feel pain from middle splits is in the knee joint. There are a few common reasons why this position can have a profound effect on the knees: 1. A lot of folks do not have strong knees when they are

The straddle split and the middle split are similar, and there can be some confusion between the two. However the relationship with gravity makes these two splits feel very different, especially for newer benders. Knowing the difference is very important for ensuring proper form and developing the strength, flexibility, and control in your lower body. The primary difference is in the position of the pelvic bones. Pay attention to the alignment of those bones and you will know whether you are in a straddle or a middle split. The Straddle Split In a

  I’ve often said that if I were stuck on a desert island and I could only bring one exercise, the humble clamshell would be a strong contender. This exercise is gold for targeting one of the most important and under-utilized muscle groups in our lower body: the deep butt. The deep butt are six little muscles that run horizontally under the gluteus maximus, connecting the head of the femur to the pelvis at various points and angles. These muscles (the obdurator internus and externus, the gemellus superior and inferior, the quadratus