A Better Way To “Stretch” Your Pecs

As the theme has been for the last few weeks, I want to bring some pieces together from rolling out to active stretching to loaded stretching to show you some ways that will get you thinking beyond just holding a static stretch as the answer to all ‘stretching’ needs.
The Pec Flow:
For 8-10 minutes:
20-30 seconds roll out your pecs with a lacrosse ball
We are doing this to decrease muscle tension, not ‘break’ anything down
10 reps active pec stretch
We are doing this as a way to do an active, unloaded stretch of the pecs
5-10 reps either dumbbell fly or deficit push up
Here we want to do either a dumbbell fly or deficit push up. I understand some gyms just aren’t going to do flys and that is fine, but if I had a choice given what I am trying to accomplish, I would do the fly. I want to really focus on the negative aspect of the rep and use a light weight.


Written/Created by Dr. Ryan DeBell of The Movement Fix

Looking to see more pec stretches,

Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Basic Anatomy Of Stretching The Pecs

This week I want to take a look at the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor aka pecs more in depth to help understand why tightness or stiffness in these muscles can create shoulder issues as well as why the stretches are they way they are.
The pec major attaches from your collar bone, your ribs, and your sternum and attaches to your arm bone. When it is tight, it will pull your shoulder into internal rotation. This makes it mechanically more challenging to lift overhead easily.
The pec minor is deeper than the pec major and travels from a few of your ribs onto your scapula. when it is tight it will pull your shoulder blade into a position that isn’t advantageous to good overhead lifting.
So combined, if both the pec muscles are tight or overly developed compared to your upper back muscles, it will make it more challenging to externally rotate your shoulder and position your shoulder blade in a position that supports your overhead lifts.
Point being, they are muscles that frequently do well with stretching / rolling / mobilizing but their anatomical attachments make them function differently. They don’t attach to the same bones and they don’t create or prevent the same motions.
The angles and motions you would use to stretch them are a bit different, as discussed in the video.
I also prefer to stretch them more actively, in that when I am stretching them, I try to use my upper back muscles to assist. Check the video for more details on that.




Written/Video by Ryan DeBell of The Movement Fix

Looking to see looser pecs,

Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

The Best 5-Minute Shoulder Warm-Up

Warming up the shoulders and upper back for working out, especially if lifting overhead or doing anything intensive with the shoulders, requires a legit warm up.
Rolling out on a ball or foam roller for 10 minutes and then passively stretching your shoulders isn’t a good shoulder warm up.
You need a rolling out component and then methods to increase blood flow into your shoulder and upper back muscles.
This 5 minute-ish warm up is a great way to get those things accomplished.

What we have is:
Rolling out the posterior shoulder muscles
Banded Face Pull
Band Pull Apart
Lateral Banded delt raise
Incorporate some pressing or pulling lift for a few reps
Complete the above for around 5-10 minutes as a circuit and you will have one of the best shoulder warm ups out there. Nothing fancy, just get the right areas rolled out, pump some blood into your muscles and get them working, then integrate it into a lift.
After doing this for 5-10 minutes, get into your lifting for the day and see how much better and prepared your shoulders feel vs doing just passive shoulder stretches, which quite honestly, I think there is a 99% chance you shouldn’t be doing those anyway.

Check out the link below for the video detailing the shoulder warm-up.



Written/Video by Dr. Ryan DeBell of The Movement Fix

Looking forward to seeing more shoulder warm-ups,

Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

One Out Of Three U.S. Adults Has Pre-Diabetes

Nine out of ten of them don’t know it! 

People have prediabetes if their blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes puts you on the road to developing type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease and other health problems.

Not sure if you have prediabetes? Only a blood test can tell for sure, but to get an idea you can calculate your risk by going to doihaveprediabetes.org.

The good news: a healthy diet and exercise can cut diabetes risk in half. And that’s for people whose risk is already high.

So what’s the evidence, and how do you do it?


The Diabetes Prevention Program study

“It’s amazing that a study on lifestyle, not medication, has changed the way we care for patients,” says Judith Wylie-Rosett, who heads the division of health promotion and nutrition research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

She’s talking about the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) study, which randomly assigned roughly 3,200 overweight people with prediabetes to take either metformin (a drug that lowers blood sugar) or a placebo or to a lifestyle (diet-plus-exercise) group.1

In 2001, researchers halted the study a year early because the difference between groups was so stark.

“The lifestyle group had a 58 percent lower risk of diabetes than the placebo group,” says Wylie-Rosett, who was one of the DPP investigators. Results were similar in trials in Europe and Asia.2

Metformin cut the risk of diabetes by only 31 percent.

“And the risk dropped by 70 percent among people in the lifestyle group who were over 60,” notes Wylie-Rosett. “It was really dramatic.”

What mattered most: whether the participants lost weight, even though they didn’t lose much.

“The weight loss was 7 percent of their body weight at six months, and by three years it was only 5 percent,” says Wylie- Rosett.

The exercise goal—150 minutes a week—mattered, but not as much.

“Weight is the dominant factor over time. But if you look at people who didn’t meet the weight-loss goal, physical activity had an effect. The takeaway is that even if you don’t lose much weight, you may reduce your risk of diabetes if you’re physically active.”

What’s more, since the study ended, many participants have regained much of the weight they lost. But if you count the number who now have diabetes, it’s still 27 percent lower in the lifestyle group than in the placebo group.3

“That suggests that there’s a legacy effect, so that if you lose weight, even if you regain it, there’s a positive long-term impact of that period of weight loss,” explained Rena Wing, a DPP investigator at Brown University, to members of the National Academy of Medicine in October.

“We investigators were probably as surprised as others that the program had a long-term effect even after people regained weight,” says Wylie- Rosett. “The bottom line is that a healthy lifestyle may lower the risk of diabetes even if you can’t see it on the scale.”

How to find a DPP near you

Are you interested in trying the DPP? You can join programs offered online or by local groups across the country.

“It could be anything from a church to a health system to the YMCA,” says Wylie-Rosett. “As long as programs meet standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they’re covered by some insurance plans and, starting in 2018, by Medicare.”

Click here to find a program in your area.


  1. N. Engl. J. Med. 346: 393, 2002.
  2.  Ann. Intern. Med. 163: 437, 2015.
  3. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 3: 866, 2015.


Written by Caitlin Dow for Diabetes and Diet


Looking to decrease diabetes,

Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC


Opposing The Anti-Menu Labeling Law

The anti-menu labeling bill, the so-called Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act (S.261/HR.772), is neither common sense nor provides more nutrition information.  The industry-backed bill would make it harder for customers to understand and obtain calorie and other nutrition information at many restaurants and similar food establishments.

Menu labeling is a tool intended to help Americans make informed food choices at a time when obesity and other nutrition-related health problems are at crisis levels, adding significant fiscal and health burdens on the American public, businesses, and federal, state, and local budgets. Email your Congress members here: CONTACT

Written by the Center For Science In The Public Interest

Looking forward to seeing calories on menus,

Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Kill The Filthy Food Act

The Center For Science In The Public Interest is asking you to contact your Senators in opposition to the “Regulatory Accountability Act” pending in Congress. Already passed by the House, this reckless legislation would threaten every existing and future law protecting consumers from unsafe food, dirty water and air, unsafe toys, and toxic chemicals.

It is being called the “Filthy Food Act.”

The bill may come before the Senate Homeland Security Committee as early as this week. They are activating our grassroots networks in key states to make sure Senators know exactly what kind of damage the Filthy Food Act will do. And, they are working with a broad coalition of public health, consumer, and environmental groups so that Senators are hearing from their constituents via phone calls, emails, and Tweets.

The Filthy Food Act requires federal agencies to seek the least costly regulation—even when the benefits to the public far outweigh the costs. If it passes, our modern microbial meat inspection system could be tossed out in favor of last century’s “poke and sniff” methods.

Donate to the Center For Science In The Public Interest to help stop this reckless legislation: DONATE

Written by the Center For Science In The Public Interest

Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Having Patience With Your Health Goals

There are too many quotations and clichés about time. Philosophers ponder the subject and we all watch the seconds, minutes, hours, and days tick by. One of my favorite sayings about time comes from the Star Trek movie Generations: “Time is the fire in which we all burn.”

What does that line conjure in your mind? Is it a positive or negative? Or are you wondering what on earth the Chief SFG is thinking by quoting Star Trek?

Let’s start first with the concept of “fire.” Fire can reduce some things to ashes or provide light and heat for survival. Iron is melted by the heat of a flame, but the same iron is tempered by heat. So, “time is a fire.” These words are asking us to consider that time will consume us in the end, but before then will we be melted by it or tempered by it? And how do we determine whether we will be melted or tempered?

Time, Training, and Patience

I believe that we can apply the practices of training and patience to the time we are given to determine our path. First, let me define time, training, and patience:

Time is a construct of how we measure our experience of life. Seconds, minutes, hours, and days have meaning because we put a construct on them. We schedule our lives and our training within certain measures of time. Eight to twelve weeks would be a familiar mesocycle in periodization terms. A year could make up a macrocycle and so on.
Training is what we do to accomplish a goal. That goal may be a half-bodyweight military press or successfully completing an SFG Certification or participating in a powerlifting meet or ______ (fill in the blank, even if it just to “be healthy”).
Patience can be the glue that helps you transition from the early “easy” progress to the sustained march of training and accomplishments over time. Patience is defined as an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay. Strength requires patience. Power requires patience. Raising a teenager requires patience. Years ago, I came across the saying: “An overnight success takes ten years.” Do you have the patience to sustain the work to have that “overnight success”?
So, time, training, and patience—are we using them to our advantage? Let’s break this down into some components, concepts, and steps that allow us to build some patience into accomplishing our goals. Here are the basic steps, then keep reading for further detail and instructions on each:

Pick a goal.
Work backward from the date you’ve set for your goal to set your training time-frame.
Do a needs analysis. Where are you now and what do you need to accomplish?
Define your weak links.
Re-evaluate your stated goal with your time-frame and needs analysis in mind.
Program your training accordingly.
Plan for detours.
Pick a Goal

This is up to you. Running a 5K, competing in your first powerlifting meet, or achieving the SFG Level I or II could be a great goal to focus on. You must also consider what you “need” to accomplish versus what you “want” to accomplish. An individual may want to lift in a powerlifting meet, but she needs to achieve an SFG Certification for her business.

Work Backward to Set Your Time-frame

If your goal provides you with a set date, like the day of a race or meet, then this is an easy step. An SFG Certification will also certainly provide a specific date, but some goals do not come with a deadline. Achieving the Simple standard from Simple & Sinister does not come with a date to be completed by, but you can set a date for yourself. Setting your own date must be done with some care and bit of realism, but once you set a goal and a date you simply count backward to set the number of training weeks/days.

Do a Needs Analysis

“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”—Yogi Berra

And that is why we set a goal/destination. But at the same time, if you don’t know where you are starting from, then any route can get you lost. Once your goal is determined, you still need to know where you are now in reference to that goal.

Want to run a 5K? How far can you run now and how long does it take you? If the answer is something like, “I walk a 5K, but have never run a 5K,” then you should plan for there to be a few intermediate goals between the initial needs analysis and the event. For example, an intermediate goal may be running the first half mile of the 5K walk. This may be the first two weeks of the programming with the next intermediate goal being running the first half mile of the first and second miles for two weeks and so on until the main goal of running a 5K is accomplished.

Want to press a half-bodyweight kettlebell? What is your 1RM now? If your half-bodyweight goal is the 44kg kettlebell and you are currently at a 1RM of a 28kg kettlebell, then we can begin to look at programming percentages, volume, frequency, and intensity to create training cycles designed to increase that 1RM and narrow the gap.

It is always better to build from success and not try to take on the whole goal at once but rather address it in “pieces.” But that is only part of the needs analysis, in my mind. Other aspects include:

Movement Ability and Screening—I recommend an FMS screen to look for painful patterns or patterns that you have difficulty accessing.
Lifestyle—As the old saying goes, “You can’t hoot with the owls at night and soar with the eagles in the morning.” Your lifestyle must support your goals, rest, and recovery.
Time Constraints and Commitments—Scheduling yourself for two hours of training a day when you work ten hours, sleep eight hours, eat two hours, and have four hours of school work because you’ve gone back to earn an online MBA means you have to create two hours that don’t exist. Or you have to adjust the schedule to allow for an hour of training out of the four hours of school work.
Family—Accomplishing a goal should not hurt your family and relationships. In an ideal situation, it should improve them. Scheduling yourself for two hours of training during family dinner time is a sure way to cause stress and strife.
Nutrition—It is hard to optimize performance when the fuel you’re putting into your body doesn’t support it. Jet engines require jet fuel.
Coaching—You may need a running coach to help you with the skill of running. Or you need an SFG to assist you in learning the skill of swinging a kettlebell.
Once you do a proper needs analysis, it may turn out that the roadblock to your goal is related to a lack of sleep and recovery, not a technical flaw or programming issue. Needs analysis should include many aspects of life, training, and recovery.

Define the Weak Links

What did your needs analysis tell you? Do you want to run a 5K but a movement analysis discovered you have an ankle restriction? Do you want to press a half-bodyweight kettlebell but an assessment has shown your shoulder mobility is lacking? If a movement issue is found, then take the time and get the proper help in addressing it before launching into a training program. This will be time well spent and can make a tremendous difference in succeeding in the longer term (remember the whole “patience” thing?)

Weak links can happen outside your movement, too. Are you grabbing fast food for breakfast and lunch and going out for drinks in the evening, but trying to support five days a week of training for an SFG Level I Certification? How do you think that’s going to work out? If the SFG Level I is your goal, then your nutrition will need to be priority.

Are you only sleeping four or five hours a night but trying to prep for that 5K? Sleep needs to become a priority for you. Recovery is important to making forward progress and preventing injury.

What did your needs analysis tell you and what weak link needs to be addressed?

Re-evaluate the Goal and Time-frame

If after your needs analysis and examination of your weak links you realize you need three months of work to get ready to begin the running for a 5K training program, then you’ll need to bump your race date back three months. Find another race and sign up for that one instead.

If the needs analysis and weak links sent you down the path of needing to achieve the Simple goals with a 20kg kettlebell before moving on to the 24kg kettlebell, then you need to accept that and work toward each intermediate goal along the way to your ultimate goal.

Patience is needed. Exercising patience and mapping out your intermediate goals actually shows commitment to the big goal and wise planning for what is more likely to be a successful program. You just cannot allow this to become a delaying tactic by continually finding a reason to push back a goal or time-frame on a whim.

Plan Accordingly

Fit the plan to your life and plan accordingly. If you do shift work, like three twelves, then on those days your training may only include soft tissue and mobility work. You’ll be better off using other days for your training time.

Do you prefer to work out in the afternoon or evening, but work and family obligations regularly occur during those times? Then you need to adapt to a morning exercise routine so nothing can’t prevent it. This may also mean deleting an exercise or adapting a part of your program that doesn’t fit into a morning routine. So, plan ahead and plan accordingly.

Plan for Detours

As military strategist Helmuth von Moltke stated in the mid-nineteenth century, “No operation extends with any certainty beyond the first encounter with the main body of the enemy.” Which has been shortened over the years to: “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” Or as Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” The “enemies” for you are the potential roadblocks, detours, and life events that will “punch you in the mouth.”

Headed for a snatch test goal, but your shoulder starts to hurt? Working toward a 5K but your knees are getting painful? Does a shift change at work mean you have to completely revamp your program? Welcome to this thing we call “life.” Go head and set a date for your goal, but be aware that any number of events may force a recalculation of your timeframe. Being in denial and failing to adjust to the realities of life can result in problems achieving your goal or an increase in your risk of an injury.

Because pain is not to be ignored. Period. It is not to be ignored and you should seek a medical professional you trust to work with to address the acute issue as well as any underlying issues. At this point, you should also have your plan re-evaluated by a fitness professional who can help you refine your plan based on your new circumstances. Sometimes it is as simple as deleting a couple of exercises or rotating the intensity or volume in a different manner. Or it could be as simple as changing your running path to avoid repeating the same slope of the road or turn directions. Sometimes it is something you wouldn’t think matters and having the insight of a professional can make that difference.


“Patience is a virtue” might be one of the most famous quotations on patience. Patience applies to everything—from the timing of a swing or push press to being able to accept a detour due to injury that adds months to your program.


Written by Brett Jones for the website StrongFirst.com


Looking to help create a better idea of patience,

Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC

Should Everyone Be Deadlifting? How Do We Deadlift?

Many people have called the deadlift, “the king of all exercises.” And rightfully so, as there may not be a bigger bang-for-your-buck exercise out there.

In my opinion, the deadlift is the most underutilized exercise in rehabilitation. Perhaps the move is intimidating? Perhaps people are afraid of barbells? Perhaps people are worried patients may hurt their backs? Perhaps rehab professionals don’t know enough about strength and conditioning?

I always say that I am a much better physical therapist because I am also a strength coach, and always keep learning from many great strength coaches.

As the gap between rehab and performance continues to narrow, the deadlift may be the final exercise to cross the chasm. We shouldn’t be afraid of the deadlift, however, we also need to understand the the conventional deadlift is not for everyone.

Why Everyone Should Deadlift

One of the most important trends in rehabilitation and strength and conditioning over the last decade or two has been the move away from muscle-based exercises and shift towards movement-based exercises. Rather than work on quad strength, work on squatting, for example. (Photo credit by the man, the myth, and the deadlift legend Tony Gentilcore)

The deadlift is essentially a hip hinge pattern, which is extremely functional and equally elusive for many people.

Put simply, people can’t hinge anymore! It’s amazing.

As our society changes and relies more on poor posture patterns, prolonged seated periods, and things like excessive use of smartphones, I’m amazed how it seems even kids can’t touch their toes anymore.

Working on a poor hip hinge pattern is extremely helpful for so many different issues that I see every day. From back pain, to knee pain, to even poor sport performance.

We have become so anterior chain dominant. Luckily, the deadlift hits the entire posterior chain in one big lift.

So the the deadlift really helps with the hip hinge pattern, but there are so many other benefits including working on better posture, glute development, lower extremity power development, a stronger core, stronger lats, and even enhanced grip strength.

You can see why it’s such a big bang-for-your-buck exercise.

Why Everyone Shouldn’t Deadlift
Wait a minute…

I just spent the first half talking about how beneficial the deadlift is for so many people. Why shouldn’t everyone perform a deadlift?

Let me clarify – I’m talking about the conventional barbell deadlift.

Take a step back and remember that we are more concerned about movements, than muscles, right? So luckily there are many variations of hinging, and even deadlifts, that can be utilized to achieve all the above great goals.

Perhaps the deadlift is so underutilized in the rehab setting because everyone just looks at the conventional barbell deadlift. That’s like going straight to the top, saying that there is no way you can perform that exercise, then just scrapping all forms of deadlifts and hip hinge exercises.

Most people that walk into the door at Champion have no chance at being successful at a conventional barbell deadlift. Among other things, you need:

Good mobility
An understanding of the hinge pattern neuromuscular pattern
The ability to load, essentially lift a weight with intent
Most people don’t have at least 2-3 of these qualities.

We’ll try to get them there with the right blend of mobility drills, corrective exercises, and manual therapy, but that doesn’t mean we have to wait to start deadlifting. We just need to start at a more regressed level.

So, don’t immediately scrap the deadlift, find a way to incorporate it. Work within your mobility and limited range, try a variation using a kettlebell or sumo stance, and use submaximal loads until you can groove a proper hip hinge pattern.

For a great resource on deadlift technique and variations, check out Mike Robertson here: TECHNIQUE

Written and published by Mike Reinold, DPT, for MikeReinold.com.


Looking for great deadlifting technique,

Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC



How To Prep The Hips For Deadlifting

This week I want to show you a way you can prep your hips before deadlifting.
To prep the hips for deadlifting, I will do the following (as shown in the video)
Straight leg raise (5-10)
Hip Circles (5)
Modified Hip Airplanes (3-5)
Banded pull through (10-15)
Rep schemes are based on feel, but a recommendation is listed in parentheses above.

Watch this video for the visuals of prepping your hips for deadlifting: DEMO

Written and Published by Dr. Ryan DeBell of The Movement Fix.


Looking to help folks with their hip preparation for deadlifting,

Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC