Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope you enjoy my video demos of stretches & exercises for common injuries and syndromes. If you have a question, just ask! Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.

Knee Isometric / Knee Setting Exercises

Sometimes you are not ready to perform strengthening exercises with full movements because you don't have enough strength yet, or because it hurts too much. This video will show you isometric or setting exercises for your knee that will help strengthen your muscles before you are eady for big movement exercises.

The first exercises are quad sets. Sit in long sitting with your legs straight out in front of you. If you want, put a rolled towel underneath your knee to give yourself a target. Then squeeze your knee down into the roll towards the ground. Hold it for 3 seconds, and do ten of them. Next is a hamstring set. Bend up your knees in a hooklying position. Push your heel down into the ground and hold it for 3 seconds, do this 10 times.

The next two are hip adductor and abductor isometric exercises. First take a belt and wrap it around your thighs just above your knees. Push outwards toward the belt like your legs are opening up like a clamshell. Hold for 3 seconds, and repeat 10 times. Then take a ball or pillow folded in half, and put it between your knees. Squeeze into the ball and hold for 3 seconds, repeat 10 times.


Shoulder Isometric Exercises, Against Hand or Wall

Sometimes you are not ready to perform strengthening exercises with full movements because you don't have enough strength yet, or because it hurts too much. This video will show you isometric shoulder exercises that will help strengthen your muscles before you are ready for big movement exercises.

You can use your other hand to push into, or you can do these exercises against a wall. For the first two exercises, put a rolled up towel between your elbow and your side. This will help you keep your elbow by your side. Bend your elbow with your fist out in front of you. Push your fist into your other hand gently towards your stomach and hold for 3 seconds. Then put your other hand on the outside of your fist, and push out gently for 3 seconds. Next, put your other hand in front of your fist and push forward for 3 seconds. Finally, put your other hand behind your elbow, and push backwards for 3 seconds. Do these 10 times each.


Core Exercises in a Pool with Toys

Aquatic therapy can be a great workout for your core. Many times with back pain, you just can't handle exercises on land. The water helps take gravity out of the picture so you can focus on your exercises.

It is really important to make sure you have good posture when you are in the pool. It is really easy to move your upper body a lot, but you want to try to keep your upper body straight and upright. Squeeze in your abdominals to help keep that upright position. Using ankle weights can be very beneficial.  Not only do they give you some extra resistance, but they also keep your feet on the ground while doing the exercises.

Pool equipment, or pool toys as I like to call them, can range from very simple and cheap to very elaborate and expensive. Today I am going to show you some simple toys that you can find at most pools and not have to purchase on your own. The first set of toys is called paddles. These work well because you can open and close the slits to make more or less resistance. The next set is dumbbells. These are not like land dumbbells. They are very light and made of foam. So they not only give you good resistance in the water, but they also make it hard to keep them down in the water. The final one is a kickboard. This can really give you resistance in the water by pushing and pulling it halfway in the water. The faster you push with all these toys, the more resistance you will get.

The first exercise shown with the paddles is a gait exercise. You want to push out with the opposite arm of the leg that goes forward. This is how we walk normally on land, and is only difficult when you think too hard! Try not to let the resistance push you around. If you cannot stay upright, then you are not ready for equipment yet.

The next exercise, shown with the dumbbells, is in a staggered stance position. This is with one foot in front of the other. It is almost like you are in a lunge position. Bend down a little into the water to help keep your position. Start by alternating one arm in front and one arm in back. Keep your arms straight and push and pull through the water. Don't bring the dumbbells out of the water. Then switch feet, and push and pull both arms together.  If you feel like the paddles or dumbbells are too much resistance, you can do these just using your hands. Try each of these 15 times, and then work your way up!

Finally, with the kickboard, put it about halfway in the water. Simply push and pull the board towards and away from you while you are walking forwards and backwards. Then turn to the side, and put your arm straight out in front of you. Put the kickboard out in front of you and step sideways. 

Always use CAUTION with Exercising in a Pool:

If you can't swim, don't do these exercises unless there is a certified lifeguard on duty. Working out in a pool can be very deceiving. Many times you will feel great while in the pool because gravity is taken away. It feels easy and you want to do a lot, but always start at a baseline. If you have not performed aquatic exercises before, you have to let your body adapt to it no matter what your fitness level. Pool workouts should only start at about 40 minutes, and you shouldn't be in the pool longer than an hour especially if it is a heated pool. Don't let the water fool you.


Knee and Hip Stretches & Exercises, Seated

If you have graduated from your knee and hip exercises lying down, but you are not quite ready for standing exercises, these are for you. This video will show you knee and hip exercises sitting down. When you are sitting, make sure you either have a back support or try to keep your back upright. If you are swinging your back, then you are not working your leg muscles.

For the first exercises, keep your thigh on the chair, kick your leg straight out until your knee is as straight as it can go, slowly lower it. This is knee extension. Next, slowly bring one knee up toward the ceiling until you can't lift it anymore, then slowly lower it. This is a hip flexion exercise. If you can do 15-20 without getting tired, add some weight. Finally, take a resistive band, while holding the band in each hand, wrap it underneath your foot. Bring your knee straight up again, and slowly push down. This is hip extension. Make sure you control the band in both directions, and don't let the band control you!


Shoulder PNF Exercises

Once you have mastered strengthening your shoulder in one single plane (flexion/extension, abduction/adduction), you can challenge your shoulder with PNF exercises. PNF stands for Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation. This is when you challenge your muscles in different ways and different planes.  

The first motion is called a D2 pattern. Cross your arm over your body and turn your hand like you are grabbing an imaginary sword out of your pocket. Pull your arm up and across your body while turning and opening your hand until it is up in the air on the same side as the arm with your hand and fingers fully open, like your are throwing the imaginary sword up and away from you. Now reverse that pattern going back down.

Then you will perform a D1 pattern. Make a fist with your hand, put your hand across your chest, almost like you are saying the Pledge of Allegiance with your fist closed. Now bring your arm down and back across your body while twisting and open your fist behind you. Then reverse the pattern back upward.

Once you have mastered these, you can add in a resistive band, but remember, these are very difficult, so don't do these until you are ready!




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