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Personal trainer Ben Barker does the Barbell Press With Deadbug at Little Rock Athletic Club. … Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/CELIA STOREY

For many years, I associated the field of physical therapy exclusively with rehabilitation.

As a fitness trainer, I focused my efforts on the preventive end of the health continuum and really never imagined my profession as intersecting with that of professional therapists. Boy, was I wrong!

After 20-something years in the health and fitness industry, I've made thousands of connections with fellow professionals all along the health care spectrum. My network includes medical doctors, chiropractors, professors, researchers, psychologists, entrepreneurs and many others. In most cases, I met those pros while trying to help a client I was training.

What I've realized is that all health care professionals are linked by this sole purpose — helping the client or patient.

Sooner or later, every American will use the health care system — most will have multiple contacts in preventive and acute care. No matter what your opinion is on the system as a whole, it's important to develop your own network of health-care professionals. Having a primary care physician who knows you, understands your needs and can refer you to other health care professionals is such an important part of the process.

As someone who has focused almost exclusively on preventive care, I've recognized that the line between prevention and rehabilitation is much grayer than people think. Many of the exercises I recommend were developed in a rehabilitative setting, and I'm certain that physical therapists use elements of prevention in their programs.

At the end of the day, we are all working toward the best solution for our patients and clients through shared information and techniques.

For those looking to build the best possible exercise program, it pays to use rehabilitation techniques. Core stabilization, postural improvement, rotator cuff training and lots of other exercise categories can be traced back to physical therapy. Without them, we'd be stuck with the same ol' bench presses and squats. Wow, we've come a long way.

This week's exercise is an example of a rehabilitative movement combined with traditional strength training. The Barbell Press With Deadbug is a challenging and effective way to build upper body strength while engaging the core.

1. Get a barbell loaded with medium resistance.

2. Lie on your back and hold the barbell over your chest with both arms extended. Position your knees at 90 degrees, as well as the hips. Both feet are off the floor at this point.

3. Lower the barbell to your chest by bending both arms.

4. As you press the barbell back up, simultaneously extend one leg out straight while lowering it to a few inches off the floor. Tighten the abdominals.

5. Once you begin lowering the barbell again, pull the leg back to the starting position.

6. Alternate leg extensions as you perform the barbell presses.

7. Perform two or three sets of 15 repetitions.

As with many exercises that include an element of rehabilitation, this one requires a specific focus or "feeling" to perform correctly. The abdominal muscles must be contracted — on purpose — to reduce lower back pressure. It's the key element that makes or breaks the movement. Enjoy!

Matt Parrott has a doctorate in education (sport studies) and a master's in kinesiology and is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Style on 11/05/2018

Print Headline: Press incorporates physical therapy moves for core


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