personal trainer downtown memphis

January 17, 2020

Do you ever feel like your energy is just stuck? Seem like you’re in a rut and can’t seem to find your way out? Ever consider that maybe it’s not just the season or your mundane routine but that you may have stagnant energy or taken on the negative forces or energy from a space, place or individual(s).

The past few years since I have been more open and present to my intuition. I have always had but squashed it. I have become very open to healing the body using holistic practices that can help bring the body into whole self-alignment and have been slowly sharing this knowledge with others. After being introduced to energy work from Mae our LMT ,ngetting certified in Reiki combined with my spiritual upbringing and studying other religions I feel calmer and able to deal with stress much easier. Of course having young kids may have a wearing down effect as well….lol and just getting older and wiser is helpful also.

Some of you may think this post is hokey and maybe I’m oversharing a bit but so what I’m gonna be me and pass on my knowledge so you can keep your aura clean as well so you can be ever present and more in tune with your body’s needs to reach optimal health and wellness.

When I first met Mae our massage therapist she had mentioned I had so much fire as part of my aura and that she could feel when she would massage me that I just wanted her to just rub out the tight areas and stop touching me. I worked on this between mindfulness, meditation, Chakra therapy with food and colors and just learning to keep my bubble of protection around me from being penetrated with the negativity of others. What’s my energy is mine and what’s yours is yours!

What is aura you ask? It’s the distinctive atmosphere or quality that seems to surround and be generated by a person, thing, or place. You aura has colors as well and these have meaning. As children mature and their thinking processes and personalities become more defined, they add colors to their auras. Most adults have an aura about 2 feet (60 cm) wide.

Here’s 7 Ways to Clean Your Aura

Image result for free picture of human aura

  1. Take a Walk in The Rain or Take a Bath – There’s nothing like running water and it’s healing properties to rinse away all the stress and troubles flowing out of your mind and body either back to mother earth or down the drain. This is my favorite and so much so that I have now told my husband that when we book hotel rooms when traveling I must have a bath as a shower isn’t the same as my hot soaks!
  2. Sweep or Comb Your Aura – I use a short hand towel which is especially helpful for the back of your body not easy to get with your hands alone. Combing your aura with open fingers and blowing the energy back to mother earth or whatever force you believe can dissolve it.
  3. Mental Cleansing – Breathing and visualization: sit in a comfortable position for 5-15 minutes and focus in a distraction free environment. Take long cleansing breaths and with each breath imagine all the negative energy or thoughts leaving your body.
  4. Sun – Wind – Play – This is pretty much eco-therapy aka nature therapy and research proves outside time really is healing. We need more parents to tell kids to go outside and play these days. Just get out there and move with gentle exercise, yard or garden work or just enjoying nature.
  5. Feather Whisk – cleanse your aura are feathers, particularly owl or turkey feathers. Begin at your feet and work upwards, much like a bird would fly from the ground to the top of a tree. Ask a friend to assist by sweeping your backside or any areas around your physical being that you cannot reach easily.
  6. Smudge – Herbs that are helpful to use for aura cleansing can include sage or lavender. Bundles are available of sage to burn and smell the incense. Just open a window or door and let the bad energies flow out. Lavender is available in essential oil and can be added to lotions or sprayed on. 
  7. Create a bubble of protection – now that you have cleaned your aura you must keep it that way. Work on staying away from energy vampires or negative people that always seem to keep something stirred up.Image result for bubble of protection against negative energies free images







Tonya Tittle, M.S., ACSM, TPI Level 1 Certified, Rock Tape, Rock Pods (cupping therapy), FMT Basic, Metagenics FLT
Owner/Dir. of Training, Energy Fitness (established 2002)

GIVE US A CALL AT 901-466-6242

Click  here for information on our Healing Arts Services (Massage, Body Wraps, Reiki, Chakra Alignment, Crystal Therapy
We also have all natural spray tanning, facials & KT/Rock Tape taping, Rock Pods (myofacial release). 

October 25, 2019

Are you getting the most out of your strength training workouts? Can you take any shortcuts and still get results? If you are reading this and not working out at all then the answer is a resounding no of course. What if you could get stronger, lift heavier and build more muscle faster?

Personal training our clients at Energy Fitness downtown Memphis for over 17 years we have really learned to teach good form and movement. Each person’s body is so different in either range of motion, body awareness, fitness level, injury management, discomfort level in muscle burning as well as personality so this topic or type of training will determine which exercises may be best for  you.

Let’s talk about slowing down what people think traditionally as the second phase of a movement. This is the eccentric/negative/lengthening of the muscle fibers which is opposite of muscle contraction.

This post is about going SLOW on the eccentric phase only which is moving faster to get into position/concentric phase and execute the lengthening /eccentric phase for 6-10 seconds. Think the down movement on a bicep curl for going slow. I’m not suggesting you do eccentric only training, though. I’m suggesting you take advantage of your body’s potential to handle more weight while still doing the full movement.


Now…anything truly worth the work will require mental effort and focus. If you are wanting to be mindless in the gym, blow off steam  and not be on a program to get results then by all means do it! For those interested in pursuing a transformed and stronger body listen up.





Slow eccentric movements I find to create an intense muscle burning sensation, create more soreness, can be mentally taxing and boring at times.

How you might feel during eccentric training for some muscle groups.  If you can get through those pesky side effects of slow eccentric training you may find that the results produced are remarkable. the way don’t forget to BREATHE!

Why so slow it down? 

  • In the lengthening/eccentric phase also known as the negative that studies have shown that you can tolerate 1.75 times more weight than you can concentrically (examples: lowering bar on bench press, lowering dumbbell on bicep curl, lowering yourself into a squat). If you emphasize the eccentric portion of your lifts, then you’re certain to increase muscle growth. Guess what more muscle growth is going to get you?That’s right, more strength and that means greater potential for hypertrophy (which is always a bonus) and greater potential to develop power.
  • Some lifts you will have to have a spotter or use lifting aids such as elastic bands, chains or eccentric hooks. Emphasizing the lowering portion of your lift while still doing the full lift will lead to even greater muscle growth and in turn strength, power and connective tissue development.
  • The stronger your connective tissue (ligaments and tendons), the greater your immunity to injury.
  • This one is hard to believe, but there has been a ton of research to show eccentric training actually increases your flexibility. No way, right? Here’s how it works. The negative portion of the lift causes growth of your muscle fibers, which increases the length of your muscles by increasing the sarcomeres in series within the muscle. Point in case…client just had knee pain and went to doctor and verdict was tight hamstring in which he prescribed for us to work on eccentric exercises.
  • more potential there is for greater power development which means explosive movement.  great way to ensure you remain explosive is to super set your heavy negatives with something fast. Here are two examples:
    1. Heavy eccentric squat with low rep box jumps (hold on if necessary as this can be a high injury exercise).
    2. Heavy eccentric bench press with low rep explosive push ups or med ball tosses (spotter advised)
  • Here’s a great article from West Point in which you can see they advise negative exercises when someone isn’t strong enough to perform typical exercise:


6 benefits of eccentric reps:
  • Strength is Important For Everything. Studies have shown that your body can tolerate up to 1.75 times more weight eccentrically than it can concentrically. …
  • Greater Muscle Damage. …
  • Stronger Connective Tissue. …
  • You Use Less Energy. …
  • Greater Flexibility. …
  • Greater Power.



Tonya Tittle, M.S., ACSM, TPI Level 1 Certified
Owner/Dir. of Training, Energy Fitness (established 2002)

GIVE US A CALL AT 901-466-6242

Click  here for information on our Healing Arts Services (Massage, Body Wraps, Reiki, Intuitive Healing, Astrological/Birth Charts).
We also have all natural spray tanning, facials & KT/Rock Tape taping. 


September 7, 2019

Our clients both female and male at Energy Fitness, personal training studio in Downtown Memphis have simple and complex goals for their body transformations.Many of course just say I want to be stronger and more tone (If I had a dollar for every time I heard the word tone in the last 26 years in the fitness industry I could own my own private island 🙂

I’ve been personally incorporating more functional movement testing with our clients since my Titlest Performance Level 1 certification as well as the most recent Rock Tape certification. We’re currently in process of overhauling our fitness assessment for all trainers and clients.

Simply asking you or our clients to move the body in different movement patterns and looking for tightness, weakness and limited range of motion is a key to customizing the core or other exercises we choose as part of a personal training program. Tightness or lack of range of motion in one or more areas of the body may lead to injuries and pain in other areas of the body which is known as referral pain.

This post is about engaging those glutes!’s a real thing or gluteal amnesia, is a condition that occurs when your gluteus medius gets inflamed and forgets to function normally.

Access or Measure what you wish to improve. Can you pass or fail the below assessments? Look at the pictures and try it.

1 Leg bridge test (Accesses the ability of you to engage or activate your glute muscle.)

Can you do the below exercises without your hamstring cramping? You should be able to hold for up to 20 seconds or longer.







Standing 1 Leg Balance eyes open and then closed Can you hold your leg at 90 degree flexion and hold for 20 seconds with and without your eyes closed? 


correct position







How did you fare? Did you have airplane arms or have to put the other foot down or wiggle it around to not fall down?

If so, maybe you need work with those glutes or balance or just want to improve the overall look of your backside and keep darn gravity from making you have saggy or flat butt.




incorrect position


Try these exercises to teach your body how to use those butt muscles. Hold on it you need to and yes, actually touch your butt to bench or chair. Lean forward as necessary to get up. Use a dowel, golf club or broom handle for assistance if needed. Master your own body weight first before adding weight. For an added challenge try G3 below without weight and the back leg not touching the floor, in fact hold it off the floor and in front of your body the whole time. You may need to hold your arms out in front of you for balance.

How many times should I do the exercises? 1-2 times per week, 1-3 sets of 10-15 reps


h20 is a great exercise as you get a hip flexor stretch also. Especially great for runners or those with excessive curve or sway back as it help the pelvis get back into posterior tilt which can also help make the stomach smaller.

This exercise is a great one to separate the feeling of “Am I using my hamstring or my glute to execute each movement?” as you get instant feedback especially if you are only using your hamstring then cramping. Try 20 reps.

Below is one is a tough one. No problem? First you have to be flexible enough to even get the leg across your body then attempt to lift your butt off floor.  Put your elbows on floor to help if you additionally which to work on posture. Make it harder by keeping the bottom leg off the floor while lifting butt and leg up and down. Try 15-20 reps.






Adding a band for resistance for the 1 Leg Heel Pushes is a great way to overload the muscle and get more results. Try 20-50 big range or small pulses reps.







Happy glute work. Keep that butt high and engaged so all your movement patterns are in sync.



Tonya Tittle, M.S., ACSM, TPI Level 1 Certified
Owner/Dir. of Training, Energy Fitness (established 2002)

GIVE US A CALL AT 901-466-6242

Click  here for information on our Healing Arts Services (Massage, Body Wraps, Reiki, Intuitive Healing, Astrological/Birth Charts).
We also have all natural spray tanning, facials & KT/Rock Tape taping. 

February 3, 2019

With high fat low-carb lifestyles on the rise, it’s important to get enough sodium & potassium. Here at Energy Fitness, Downtown Memphis, nutritional coaching is a huge part of what we do to compliment our personal training. In keeping with our mission to inspire optimal health we must educate you on nutritional science.

On a low-carb diet, your insulin levels will go down and your body will start shedding excess sodium and potassium. This causes people to get rid of excess bloating within a few days of low-carb eating. Sodium is a crucial electrolyte and low sodium levels can become problematic when your kidneys dump too much of it. Feeling lightheaded, fatigue, and headaches are a few of the side effects. The best way to alleviate or avoid these side effects is to add more salt to your diet. Here are a few good options below that pack more punch than your average table salt.

Don’t just load up on sodium alone you need the potassium along with it to avoid bloating. Potassium can help you to avoid muscle cramps and is also essential to muscle contraction.

Science: If you don’t have the right balance of sodium/potassium aka electrolytes then what needs to get into the cell can’t and what needs to get out can’t. Electrolytes are a carrier of nutrients!

  • Pink Himalayan Salt- Contains over 84 minerals and trace elements, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron.
  • Sea Salt- Is produced through evaporation of ocean water or water from salt water lakes, usually with little processing. This leaves behind certain trace minerals and elements.
  • Vegetable or Vegan Bouillon (Rapunzel or similar brands)

Often we see clients come in for their sessions fatigued and just not inspired to work out that day, in which we recommend a vegan vegetable bouillon or broth (even bone broth) but you will never hear me personally recommend bone broth. In fact, I keep the bouillon cubes on hand at Energy Fitness and make up a hot cup on the spot for these such clients. Sometimes they instantly feel better, but definitely the next time I see them the remark that it made a world of a difference in their energy level.  This is a much better option than chugging a sugar or artificially sweetened electrolyte sports drink.

*If you have high blood pressure issues always consult your Dr. before adding extra sodium to your diet. 


Interested in the services at Energy Fitness? 

Click here for a FREE consult (value $87)

Want to check out or purchase Energy Fitness meal plans from $3.99-$19.99
click here: Meal Plans


Below are a couple of Tonya’s certifications that compliment her Master Degree in exercise science and ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and over 25 years experience in the fitness industry.



July 14, 2017

I challenge you to make a list of your habits based on a daily, weekly or monthly timeline. Chances are that you have a different set of habits you may need to adjust or adopt to begin getting your right-size body.

As a fitness professional at Energy Fitness in Memphis for over 20 years I realize that I have created automatic habits that allow me the ability of fitting in my clothes all seasons and feel great as well as slow the aging process. Having these set of habits leaves my willpower refreshed as it just becomes “who I am and what I do.”

How many of my habits below can or should you adopt and make automatic for you?


  • feel responsible for my own food and drink choices
  • plan ahead if I know I will be somewhere for an extended period of time without “my food options”
  • drink water with or after meals and snacks
  • pack protein shakes and shaker cups for travel
  • have a protein shake post-workout (within 30 minutes)
  • pack my supplements for travel
  • make sure I have a two weeks supply of supplements so there is no time without
  • find the nearest grocery store near lodging when traveling
  • mentally make a note before I eat if I’m hungry and look at clock
  • am aware of hormonal fluctuations which affect my meal and appetite
  • put my exercise clothes out the night before, as well as clothes for the day
  • pack my lunch for work night before
  • make sure i enough tap water in my refillable bpa free water bottles for the car
  • make sure there is enough eggs, almond milk, and green veggies for at least two days ahead
  • buy at minimum 4 (1.5 dozen) egglands best eggs during a shopping trip
  • put lotion on my skin within 10 minutes post shower/bath
  • use coconut oil as a face moisturizer before bed.
  • put sunscreen 50-70 spf before exercising outdoors or for extended periods of leisure time
  • take my waist water bottle container during runs even as short at 20 minutes
  • if i exercise more than 45 minutes of long cardio then I take more branched chain amino acids and/or sodium/potassium capsules.
  • wear polarized eye glasses
  • stretch dynamic and sport specific pre-exercise minimum 2 minutes
  • re-evaluate as needed my nutritional & supplement needs based on what body feedback signs I am experiencing


  • sit down or stand in same area to eat meals
  • am aware of times during my athletic training schedule in which I need to consume more or less calories as well as when racing at what points in the race I need to replenish via food or supplements.
  • plan my binge “doughnut or cake” days, weeks, and months in advance (must be vanilla cream filled doughnut)
  • take a digestive enzyme during the doughnut or cake day
  • add sea salt to my meals since I’m so active and don’t consume enough sodium from food (I watch the color of my urine and if clear to pale yellow i know i need more sodium)
  • prepare extra at meal times to have food available later that is ready to go
  • make a list for the grocery store and categorize by the different areas items are located (I mostly shop the outside isles)
  • eat my veggies raw or slightly steamed or pan cooked in healthy oils
  • eat out of the same lunch dish or plate for my meals
  • eat 1-2 hours before bed
  • avoid TV and screen time 1-2 hours before bed (stimulates brain hyperactivity-blue light)
  • stretch about 2-5 minutes right before hopping into bed – use as transition activity
  • place prepared dishes or leftovers  in a clear glass container to remind me of what’s available to eat and ready to go for the next meal.


  • drink wine or alcohol
  • serve my children fruit drinks or sodas
  • eat pasta or rice (only on re-feed days post race and if feeling exhausted)
  • eat bread (must be van’s gluten free waffle that I use as bread or another gluten free alternative)


  • skip meals
  • eat fruit with meals or within 4 hours post improperly combined meal (causes bloating & gas for me)
  • eat chicken, pork, red meat or bottom dweller (fish)
  • drink beer
  • drink soda pops
  • drink coffee or caffeinated drinks
  • drink carbonated beverages
  • eat cheese or drink milk
  • eat pasta with gluten or wheat
  • buy things that have a food label and not read ingredients
  • take and eat food from a “food pusher” without knowing ingredients
  • feel obligated to eat someone’s cooking just to be polite and not offend
  •  think and get excited about “all the new restaurants that will be available” during travel
  • workout on a full stomach

For a pdf version of this click here.

Not a client yet and live in the Memphis area? Click here for a FREE Consult (value $87) or call 901-466-6242.

Check out our customized online training ($40-$80) here:  Online Customized Training




June 19, 2017

Many clients at Energy Fitness, a personal training studio located Downtown Memphis, come to us with a list of previous injuries, current injuries, or illnesses and we design workout and nutrition programs to help get them get back to optimal health.

In this article we share two such cases with the aim to inspire you & have you question your excuses not to exercise or follow through on your healthier eating. See why clients like to refer to Energy Fitness as a being a functional health and wellness leader in the Memphis area.

Adam Cruthirds, which we met through training his mother Connie, was undergoing chemo treatments, finishing his Senior year in High School and then completed his Freshman year at Rhodes 2016-2017.

Chemo treatments made him weak as well as some new medicine gave him some brain fog which made it difficult to concentrate in college. Test taking was difficult due to the medicine affecting his memory. His cancer (Leukemia) started and was fed by a supplement which seemed innocent–folic acid.

Adam, during his last few months of chemo, starting weight training with us even on days in which he felt weak or stayed up late studying. We would hear some of the excuses a few other clients would give us as to why they couldn’t make their workout and think that their excuse was just not up to snuff as they weren’t battling cancer. We are so proud of Adam & his brain telling him to keep going…eat healthy…get gentle exercise.

Below is what his mom wrote at my request
as well as a quote from him:

“A year ago, during the toughest time of my life, I discovered Energy Fitness. We moved downtown to be closer to St. Jude when my son had 18 months left of 2 and 1/2 years of almost daily chemo treatment. My body was exhausted and just a few steps left me out of breath and a bit hopeless physically. I feel so much stronger, but what I never expected from this gym was the community of folks there becoming friends and supporters of our family. Many members have joined “Adam’s Army” St. Jude Marathon and Bike Teams to support Adam and St. Jude.

Lisa Sanchez-Sullivan now trains Adam 3 days a week to help him rebuild his body post-treatment. And owner and nutritionist, Tonya Tittle, took on the challenge of helping find a protein powder without ingredients that could cause issues for Adam’s health in the long run. We had nutritionists all over the southeast looking for the right formula which was not to be found until Tonya decided to design a new protein powder tailored just for Adam’s needs! Adam is 19 and just finished his freshman year at Rhodes. It wasn’t that long ago that his body at 6 ft tall only weighed 100 lbs. Both of his hips have been rebuilt due to steroid damage, but last week he ran his first 5k without stopping. Lisa is helping him prepare to run the 1/2 marathon during the St, Jude Marathon on Dec. 2. We are so thankful for Energy Fitness. When Adam returns to St. Jude for his next remission check on June 21, St. Jude will be very surprised to see how well and strong he is now in great part thanks to the specialized teamwork of Lisa and Tonya and the support of the people who workout along side of Adam.”

Energy Fitness was the only one on his team of health professionals to find him a protein shake that did not contain methionine (a form of folic acid which he needs to avoid post chemo). This was not an easy task. He is happily putting on weight and says the protein shakes taste like dessert.

“Chemo the night before & studying late into the day can’t keep me from waking up early and getting stronger with Lisa and Energy Fitness. The way y’all meet my needs effortlessly is so awesome!” Adam Cruthirds

 Michele Squires’ mental fortitude to return to good health & retain vibrant energy is inspiring.

Michele made me cry when we were filming her testimonial video above as her story is one of strength and courage. She is introspective and just has a “get it done” attitude by not accepting traditional doctors telling her not to workout. She now runs races and is kicking aging on its butt.

As my own boss I don’t get written performance reviews, but consider client success stories a much better version as they are life changing and the whole reason I entered the functional health and wellness arena and the reason that Energy Fitness personal trainers have continued to serve Memphis area residents for 15 years and counting.

Are you ready to train your brain and body to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime? Not a client?

Give us a call at 901-466-6242 or click here to opt in for a
FREE Consult (value $87)

Don’t live nearby or travel a lot? Check out our customized online training ($40-$80) here:  Online Customized Training

May 18, 2017

Do you have low back pain with tingling, burning or numbness

that may at times reach all the way down to your feet?

Most people will tell you that you have Sciatica. Don’t just accept that answer!

This post is about Piriformis Syndrome & very briefly discusses Sciatica pain. What’s the difference? (Scroll down to see the video we did we Mae, our massage therapist, on this issue, as well as 5 great stretches to help with the pain.)

Sciatica is more commonly diagnosed than Piriformis Syndrome, but the symptoms of the two are almost identical. Sciatica pain is typically caused from a disc herniation–spinal degeneration–in the lower lumbar area.

Where is this fancy-named muscle?

It is deep into your gluteals/butt and at the top of your hip bone.

It is one of the few conditions which causes posterior hip pain. When it is overused it becomes tight & can compress the sciatic nerve causing low back, buttocks, and radiating leg pain. This muscle does not like prolonged periods of sitting.

This syndrome may get pain relief by walking with same side of foot (where the pain in the butt is) pointing outward. This is because externally rotating the hip reduces the stretch on the piriformis and relieves the pain slightly.

Where is the pain more precisely?

  • Tightness in the lower back or buttocks
  • Large painful knot in the buttocks
  • Burning pain in posterior legs and buttocks
  • Aching lower back and/or Pain radiating down legs
  • Back or buttocks discomfort while sitting
  • Low back pain, buttock pain after walking or running
  • Muscle imbalance, fatigue, inflexibility, soreness

As Mae discusses in the video below, Piriformis tightness or syndrome can be caused or aggravated by sitting on a large wallet in the affected side’s rear pocket. Some fitness and health care professionals call this “fat wallet syndrome” or “wallet sciatica.” Try switching to a front pocket wallet.

Who needs to stretch this muscle?

  • Anyone having the pain described in the area(s) above
  • People with poor or limited flexibility
  • People who are sitting for extended periods
  • People with high body fat, stomach, thigh girth
  • People who have neck or shoulder tension (tends to go up the chain of the body)
  • Inactive people who would benefit from exercise programs
  • Weekend athletes (runners, cyclists, golfers, paddlers, dancers)
  • ages 35 and up

Live in the Memphis area and want a FREE Fitness Consult
(value $87)?
Click here or call us at 901-466-6242.

Interested in our Massage or Body Wraps? Click here.

Energy Fitness, 552 South Main Street, Memphis, TN 38103

Don’t live nearby or travel a lot? Check out our customized online training ($40-$80) here:  Online Customized Training

5 Great Stretches!

Hold each one for 30 seconds to 3 minutes. For true physiologically lengthening of a muscle you need to perform the stretch every day for 3 minutes for 6 weeks (for this one if both of your sides are affected that means 3 minutes on each side).






April 28, 2017

Working with our clients at Energy Fitness over the years our personal trainers discover how limited most of the population is in spinal flexibility once we get them moving and doing functional and balance exercises. Your thoracic spine is the middle section of your vertebra between your neck and lower back and composes 12 thoracic vertebra and your rib cage.

Modern lifestyles and certain sports can lead to stiffness and poor movement which increases the natural “kyphosis” (rounding curve in upper back as shown in picture to the left) of the thoracic spine which can lead to decreased sporting performance, injury, and pain.

One new area that is becoming more researched, and is linked to thoracic spine stiffness, is changes to breathing.  Normal breathing requires the ribs to move like a bucket handle (they lift to the sides). The stiffer the rib joints are where they join at the spine means less movement can occur at this joint and this can make it more difficult to take a breath when higher breathing rates and breath volumes are required, meaning potentially less air breathed.

In part 1 of Spinal Rotation for Golf & Life blog post we showed you how to test your upper spine flexibility (your thoracic spine) by trying to rotate the spine and not move the hips. We gave you a few exercises to help improve range of motion.

In this blog post we show you examples of poor upper spine flexibility as it relates to the golf swing as well as a lunge with a twist that also helps improve balance and give you 2 great stretches.

Try the exercise below. Lunge! Once you have lowered yourself as far as your hip flexibility and balance can take you twist your body left as pictured rotating your spine completely.You may find that you need to use a faster speed to get into position to get that extra stretch. Now repeat on the other side by bringing the back leg (right leg) forward into the lunge position and twist to the right.

The client below performed the lunge twist first for about 8-10 reps in each direction before we moved to putting a golf club in his hand. (See video at the bottom of this post).

My analysis: his follow at the top of the golf swing has room for improvement in flexibility of the upper spine. 





Now look at the pic below. See how once the back leg is behind the buttock the body is forced to rotate in the upper spine. This client struggles to rotate and it looks as he feels he’s going to fall over? He benefits from balance and spinal rotation exercises.








Now, I’m going to throw myself under the bus and analyze my form in a left handed golf swing and right handed (as I can do both and need to just pick a side already!).






Left Handed Golf Swing Analysis: smallest picture on left is during a lesson with golf pro instructor Doug Barron in Memphis, TN.

1st pic: Rotation is great looking at my right shoulder lined up with my left foot “at the top”

2nd pic: Two weeks later (pic in the middle) I’m back to my bad habit of taking the club back too far & being more upright to try and compensate for my lack of upper body spinal flexibility. (I tend to do this weird thing with my wrists.  I know that my foot is not lined up with the ball correctly in case you observed that as well.)

3rd pic: my follow through is terrible as you can see, my left foot doesn’t rotate because I didn’t rotate my hips or keep my weight on my front leg heel.

Right Handed Golf Swing Analysis: For kicks on the last hole, 2 weeks after the golf lesson with Doug, I borrowed a friend’s right handed golf club and hit a few balls right-handed.  I took 2 shots and killed it with a straight line drive.

4th pic from left: Rotation good “at the top” as left shoulder lined up with right foot.

5th pic-last pic (far right): Observe the terrible follow through with the back foot not getting up on the toe just like the left handed golf swing. This was a 150 yard shot!

Here are 2 stretches for you to improve upper spine flexibility! Chair stretch and triangle pose stretch. Hold each direction for 30-60 seconds.










Go be fit to break par, breathe stress free & improve daily activities.

Live in the Memphis area and want a FREE Fitness Consult (value $87)?
Click here or call us at 901-466-6242.

Interested in our Massage or Body Wraps? Click here.

Don’t live nearby or travel a lot? Check out our customized online training ($40-$80) here:  Online Customized Training

April 21, 2017

How often do you perform exercises in a twisting motion? Let’s take it a step further… how many do you perform without rotating at the hips? Without rotating my hips…huh? Often times I see clients, as well as myself, doing an exercise and letting the hips open to avoid working on the flexibility of the upper spine.

Test yourself…. Stand up with your feet shoulder width apart and place your hands on your hips. Now try to rotate through your lower back without allowing your hips to move. Not as easy as you thought it would be, huh?

If you don’t have the best posture rotating the spine correctly can be challenging.

Think about your lifestyle and exercise routine if you have one. Do you rotate your spine during a strength training session, during sports play, stretching routine or a cardio session? If you run, cycle, walk, jump rope, run stairs, do machines such as elliptical or row machine you are using your body in only one plane (frontal).  You may be creating weakness in muscles and tightening others by avoiding moving your body in different directions.

The 2 exercises are below as pictures & video. They will help you increase spinal flexibility. Make sure to prevent any motion in your hips and lower back.

Towel Low to high Notice I put my knees in to avoid rotating hips. You can see I lack upper body rotational flexibility and need to work on. Try 10 reps each direction. The stability ball is a great way to see improvement as it also works on weight shifting.








Low to High Chop/Twist (use either towel or if more advanced use medicine ball or cable as pictured left). If it is too hard to stabilize your hips then widen your stance a bit and/or lower the weight.



Outer Thigh presses /Hip Abduction Working the abductors is helpful to help keep the hips open and strong.

Try a moderate resistance band and do 2 – 4 sets of 50 reps. Make it more challenging by not sitting and be more in a squat position so the quads (front of the upper thighs) can feel the added burn. This exercise is great as it adds that lateral component and can make your golf swing more powerful and runners can feel their hips more open leading to a more efficient running gait. I always have a great run the day after walking 9 holes of golf.









How often should I do these exercises? 

2-3 times per week

See if you notice a difference in your golf swing on on the back swing and follow through. How many of the exercises or sports below can you add to your lifestyle or routine that require some degree of spinal rotation?

  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Tennis
  • Soccer (with the lateral running)
  • Golf
  • Badminton
  • Bowling
  • Racquetball
  • Rollerblading or skating
  • Baseball or Softball
  • Ice Skating
  • Taekwondo / Marital Arts
  • Basketball (lateral running combined with running forwards & backwards)
  • Weight training – chop squats, ball knee rotations, lateral shuffles and leg raises

In blog post Part 2 of Spinal Rotation for Golf & Life, I will include pictures and video of me demonstrating a golf conditioning/spinal rotation exercise while a client follows my lead, as well as 2 stretches. You can do these as a warm up before golf or running.

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January 30, 2017

The McKenzie Method is a reliable assessment process intended for all musculoskeletal problems, including pain in the back, neck and extremities (i.e., shoulder, knee, ankle etc.), as well as issues associated with sciatica, sacroiliac joint pain, arthritis, degenerative disc disease, muscle spasms and intermittent numbness in hands or feet. Developed by world-renowned expert physiotherapist Robin McKenzie in the 1950s, this well-researched, exercise based approach of assessment, diagnosis and treatment uses a comprehensive and clinically reasoned evaluation of patients.

Developed by a New Zealand physical therapist named Robin McKenzie, this method emphasizes self-treatment for pain in the back, neck, and peripheral joints. In 1980, he published his first book, “Treat Your Own Back” as a self-help guide to relieve low back pain caused by spinal misalignments and over-stretched ligaments. The McKenzie Method, also known as MDT (Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment), is a system that includes assessment (evaluation), diagnosis and treatment for the spine and extremities.

image from:

These exercises would be great for runners as they tend to have tight hamstrings, hip flexors, lower back, and abs. Performing stretches that bend the body backwards (the opposite way runners tend to bend) can help counteract the effects if done on a daily basis. Try a couple for a few minutes each day and let us know how you feel!

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