Why Your Back Hurts After Rucking and What You Can do About It

Why Your Back Hurts After Rucking and What You Can do About It

Spine, Tactical
Why Your Back Hurts After Rucking and What You Can do About It This article was originally published February 2019. Updated November 2022. Featured in The Raider Patch: Magazine of the U.S. Marine Raider Association Rucking can be really tough on your back. All of our clients who regularly participate in rucking have experienced at least occasional back pain. Of course, some muscle soreness is to be expected; after all, carrying 90+ pounds is no easy task, even over short distances. It’s almost like carrying another person. And the fact of the matter is that your spine is only meant to bear your own weight. But some people experience pain that goes beyond the typical muscle soreness. If that sounds like you, you’ve probably wondered what causes that pain and whether…
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Hate Stretching? Stop “Shoulding” On Yourself and Start One of These Programs Today

Hate Stretching? Stop “Shoulding” On Yourself and Start One of These Programs Today

Lifting, Lower Body, Recovery, Running, Tactical, Upper Body
Hate Stretching? Stop "Shoulding" On Yourself and Start One of These Programs Today "I should stretch more," says at least one of my clients every week. While that statement may or may not be accurate, those choice words reveal a level of personal resistance that certainly doesn't help the cause.  Perhaps you "should" stretch. Stretching helps you move better in life and in your workouts. And a regular stretching routine can reduce that "old man" feeling when you get out of bed (by a lot). But suppose you're not naturally flexible, or you have nagging aches and pains. In that case, stiff muscles and joints are likely to protest your random stretching efforts.   In the same way that you might only eat veggies when trying to cut weight, stretching just…
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Missing mobility that can help boost your pull-up workouts

Missing mobility that can help boost your pull-up workouts

Lifting, Spine, Tactical, Upper Body
Missing mobility that can help boost your pull-up workouts Upper back, or thoracic, mobility is a key maintenance issue for the overhead athlete. The thoracic spine plays a vital role in keeping the shoulders out of pain and working correctly. A loss of mobility here can cause painful compression of the rotator cuff muscles or make your lat muscles have to work overtime for pull-ups. And if repping pull-ups isn’t your thing, consider the unattractive humpback you’re likely to develop if you neglect mobility work here! Assess While plenty of videos online show ways to increase thoracic mobility, it’s important that you first determine if you have a deficit. That way, you can monitor your progress and choose effective exercises. To measure your thoracic mobility, use the Seated Rotation Test.…
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Can you rebuild knee cartilage?

Can you rebuild knee cartilage?

Lifting, Lower Body, Running, Tactical
Can you rebuild knee cartilage? I worked with a Marine coming off a long deployment with poor gym access. An avid lifter with all things barbell, he mentioned that he had started to develop dull, achy pain behind both kneecaps upon return to regular gym workouts. He also reported that his knee joints felt “swollen” the day after a heavy lifting session.  “I had X-rays, and they said I had some arthritis, that my knees had lost some cartilage. Can we do anything about that? I miss lifting like I used to,” he said.  What does cartilage do? Knee cartilage is a network of tightly packed cells and water molecules that form a thick, dense cushion over the ends of bones. Strong cartilage is firm, smooth, and slick, like the…
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Are my shoes (or boots) causing blisters?

Are my shoes (or boots) causing blisters?

Ankle-Foot, Running, Tactical
Question: Are my shoes (or boots) causing blisters? A common cause of blisters is shoes or boots that are too tight or too loose. One of our clients is a "seasonal" runner who routinely starts training for his annual running/physical fitness test about two months out. This year, he began noticing blisters on his pinky toes.  Though he ramped up his miles abruptly (going from 0 to 15 miles per week…in 2 weeks),  he denied experiencing foot blisters since way back in boot camp. He had, however, bought a new pair of shoes for his upcoming physical fitness test. Answer: Check the shoe’s liner 1. Remove the liner insert from the shoe and stand on it. The size and shape of the liner should match your foot all the way around.…
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Want to crush your New Year’s fitness resolutions? Try a past year review instead.

Want to crush your New Year’s fitness resolutions? Try a past year review instead.

Lifting, Recovery, Running, Tactical
Want to crush your New Year’s fitness resolutions? Try a past year review instead. Well, it's almost that time again for New Year's resolutions. What's yours? Get stronger? Run a marathon? Look great naked? Stats on New Year's resolutions - especially those that involve fitness - are quite abysmal. According to studies, while 60 percent of us will make New Year's resolutions, only 8 percent of us will achieve them. You've probably seen it first hand: gyms that are packed on January 2 are ghost towns by March.  So, if you've got a fitness resolution - or one on repeat from years past - how can you follow through and crush it this year? Inspired by a practice by entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, try a past year review first. By identifying what worked…
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How to manage a twisted ankle even when you have to keep rucking: A first aid guide

How to manage a twisted ankle even when you have to keep rucking: A first aid guide

Ankle-Foot, Running, Tactical
How to manage a twisted ankle even when you have to keep rucking: A first aid guide If you’ve served in the military, there’s a decent chance you’ve twisted an ankle (or two) Ever twisted an ankle when you were rucking out in the field? The standard injury advice of rest and ice are generally incompatible with that environment.   Military members sustain up to five times as many ankle injuries as the general population due to the physical demands of the job.1 Combat boots and incomplete injury recovery (leading to re-injury) add to the risk profile. The problem? Just one ankle injury, such as a ligament sprain, sets a person up for more long-term issues such as instability, weakness, knee pain, or back pain.  While you might not be…
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A fix for stiff ankles – your knees will thank you!

A fix for stiff ankles – your knees will thank you!

Ankle-Foot, Lower Body, Tactical
A fix for stiff ankles - your knees will thank you! Originally published in: The Raider Patch: Magazine of the U.S. Marine Raider Association Do you wear boots for work? Have you been a member of the military? Have you rolled or sprained an ankle in the past? Have you rolled one ankle more than once, or rolled both ankles? Can you stand on each leg for 10 seconds with eyes closed and without falling over?  If you answered Yes to even one of these questions, Congratulations! You're likely the winner of some knee pain, compliments of stiff ankles. Everyday activities such as squatting, going up or downstairs, and running require full motion at the ankle to avoid compensation by other joints in the body. When the ankle doesn't move…
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Selection Injuries: The Good, Bad and Ugly, Part 3 (Shin and Ankle)

Selection Injuries: The Good, Bad and Ugly, Part 3 (Shin and Ankle)

Ankle-Foot, Running, Tactical
Selection Injuries: The Good, Bad and Ugly, Part 3 (Shin and Ankle) Originally published by SOFLETE. You can read the article on their website here. Shin splints are the worst! They are one of the reasons I became a physical therapist (to find a solution to my own problem), and are a leading, not-so-fond memory of boot camp for many a client through the years. The good news about shin splints is that once the cause has been identified (and eliminated), the pain disappears. The bad news? What if they’re not shin splints at all? How do you eliminate a problem if you don’t know what the problem is?  The importance of identifying the underlying problem - and not just the pain - has been a recurring theme throughout this…
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Selection Injuries: The Good, Bad, and Ugly – Part 2 (Hip & Knee)

Selection Injuries: The Good, Bad, and Ugly – Part 2 (Hip & Knee)

Lower Body, Tactical
Selection Injuries: The Good, Bad, and Ugly - Part 2 (Hip & Knee) Originally published by SOFLETE. You can read the article on their website here. I was screening a group of candidates after several weeks of running-intensive training. One candidate, a highly proficient collegiate runner who would routinely finish runs well ahead of his peers, mentioned a worsening ache in his right thigh and knee. For a skilled runner who knows what muscle soreness feels like, it struck me as unusual that he would volunteer a seemingly insignificant complaint to me in this public setting. After further interview and orthopedic testing, it was clear that this was not a muscle or a knee problem. The candidate had developed a femoral neck stress fracture, a high-risk hip injury that took…
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