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strengthen your hips and pelvic floor
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This Livestrong article by Greg Presto, CPT discusses several reasons why you might want to try some variations of the well known wall sit exercise to strengthen your hips and pelvic floor. I really enjoyed this conversation with Greg, and here are some of my takeaways from the article. There is also a link to the full article below.

Heather Jeffcoat

There are a number of reasons why you might want to include the classic wall sit into your exercise routine

But did you know that there are variations that can really target certain muscle groups to strengthen your hips and pelvic floor?

Here are some of the facts and science that can really help you maximize the effectiveness of this simple exercise.

1. It Can Train Your Pelvic Floor

The article begins by highlighting some reasons why adding a resistance band into your routine can help:

If you're ready to take the classic wall sit to the next level, try adding a resistance band around your thighs while opening and closing your legs. Also known as a banded wall sit with hip abduction, this variation targets more of the smaller muscles in your glutes, and with the right focus, it recruits your pelvic floor muscles.

When doing a wall sit with a resistance band, engaging your pelvic floor also ensures that your spine stays in a neutral position and remains stable, says Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, founder of Fusion Wellness & Physical Therapy.

That's because when your pelvic floor is contracted, your transverse abdominis (deep core muscle) is also engaged. Your transverse abdominis creates stiffness throughout your core and stabilizes your trunk, which can help protect your low back.

Also known as the "corset muscle", strengthening and toning the TA can really go a long way toward reducing "muffin top" or "mommy belly", as so eloquently stated over at the Moms Into Fitness website. Here at Fusion Wellness we always have resistance bands on hand, and our trained therapists can guide you through proper techniques to get you on your way to reducing or even eliminating "mommy belly".

2. It Strengthens Your Smaller Glute Muscles

When you think of your "glutes" your mind probably goes directly to the gluteus maximus muscles, but there's much more to a toned butt and hips and stong core than just targeting the largest muscles in your body. Fine tuning your routine to include the gluteus medius can yield results that go far beyond the norm to strengthen your hips and pelvic floor.

... targeting your gluteus medius — the smaller glute muscle that wraps around the outside of your hips — as you do in a banded wall sit with hip abduction is just as important.

The gluteus medius also plays an important part in daily activities, like walking or climbing stairs, by keeping your pelvis and hips level and stable.

3. It Activates Not Only Your Transverse Abdominis, but Your Obliques TooExternal Oblique Muscles

Toning your core involves not only working on the glutes and TA, but also your oblique muscles. Here I refer to the Biology Dictionary for their definition and the accompanying image to the right:

Oblique muscle refers to two abdominal muscles – the external and internal obliques. These provide trunk flexion and rotation. The external oblique is the thickest and runs from the lower ribs to the iliac crest. The internal oblique lies under the external muscle and also originates at the iliac crest before reaching the pubic bone. Here, it joins a sheet of connective tissue shared with the transversus abdominis muscle.

So how do we make wall sits affect the obliques? The answer lies in how much attention you pay to your spine during the exercise:

Wall sits are basically wall squats with an isometric hold. In a wall squat, you slide your back down against a wall until you're in the wall sit position, hold for a few seconds, then press back up.

These deep core muscles stabilize your spine to keep it upright. Without them, your back could sway to the sides, Jeffcoat says. So when you're keeping your spine stiff during this exercise as you lower down into a squat, your obliques are working. And by engaging your pelvic floor muscles, you train these deep core muscles even more.

4. It Gets Your Heart Rate Up

Our last tip is a nod to looking at the body as a whole system, rather than isolated parts. Anything you do to get your heart rate pumping is going to have beneficial effects on your overall wellbeing.

Because you're sitting still, you might not think of wall sits as a cardio exercise. But in a July 2013 study in the ​Journal of Sports Sciences​, when people held isometric wall sits for bouts of two minutes, their heart rate soared to 139 beats per minute — as high as it might get on a light jog.

Adding a resistance band to this move makes it even more taxing and can help drive your heart rate even higher. So you could incorporate the resistance band wall sit into a heart-pumping circuit of other moves and get your cardio fix, too.

Click here for the full article on how to strengthen your hips and pelvic floor with these exercises.
Click here when you are ready to schedule an appointmet with one of our trained therapists.

Causes for Lower Back Pain
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This Livestrong article by Christina Vogt was published on April 9, 2021 and discusses the many causes for lower back pain and lower stomach pain. Here is a brief synopsis with a link to the full article below.

Heather Jeffcoat

Causes for Lower Back Pain and Pain in Your Lower Stomach

Here’s What It Could Mean

If your stomach is churning or cramping and your lower back is aching, it's important to know that the causes for lower back and lower stomach pain can range widely. Depending on your pain level, you may benefit from ringing your doctor's office to figure out what's causing it and get relief.

Read more: Exploring Causes for Lower...

Livestrong: 6 Portable Pieces of Outdoor Exercise Equipment That Let You Work Out Anywhere
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Livestrong Asks Heather Jeffcoat About Outdoor Exercise Equipment

The best workouts are ones that feel more like play than hard work. And you can make your workouts more fun with some light-weight, portable equipment you can throw into a backpack or duffle back and bring with you just about anywhere.

Running Parachute

A running parachute is a great training device for stamina, muscular endurance and acceleration. Heather Jeffcoat, a physical therapist and owner of Fusion Wellness and Physical Therapy in Los Angeles, recommends using the parachute to help you perform fun and challenging resisted sprints. The faster you run, the more resistance you will feel.

Read more: Livestrong | 6 Portable...

Is it hard to get down on the floor?
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This Livestrong article by Amanda Capritto, CPT, CF-L1 was published on May 3, 2021 and includes some of my input on the best ways to improve your ability to get down on the floor - and back up again! Here is a brief synopsis with a link to the full article below.

Heather Jeffcoat

Is it Hard to Get Down on the Floor?

Here’s What Your Body is Trying to Tell You

Sitting on the floor probably isn't your first choice, but sometimes you need to get down there to clean, play with grandbabies or make space for someone else to sit on the couch. No big deal — until getting down on the floor becomes too tough to manage.

Read more: Why Is It So Hard to Get...

seated strength workout
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Livestrong has once again reached out to our own Heather Jeffcoat for her expertise, this time on the best seated strength workout.

In this latest article by Amada Capritto, Heather reveals some valuable tips on how to get your reps in even if your mobility is limited.

Having limited mobility can be frustrating — it might even feel fruitless to attempt strength training. But it's important to exercise regardless of your ability level, says Heather Jeffcoat, Los Angeles-based physical therapist. With the right fitness programming, it's totally doable.

Read more: Livestrong | A 20-Minute...

One Shoulder Is Stronger Than the Other
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Livestrong reached out to Fusion Wellness' own Kasia Gondek, a physical therapist and certified strength and conditioning specialist, for some tips on how to determine if one shoulder is stronger than the other, and how to keep your shoulders in balance. Here is a brief synopsis with a link to the full article below.

In an ideal world, we would all have perfectly balanced strength and crush workouts left and right. But here in the real world, however, many people struggle with muscular imbalances that make certain movements extra challenging.

Shoulder imbalances are particularly prevalent, says Kasia Gondek, physical therapist and certified strength and conditioning specialist at Fusion Wellness and Physical Therapy. It's common — but not normal — for one shoulder to have less strength, activation or coordination than the other, Dr. Gondek says.

Read more: Livestrong | 2 Tests to Help...

Best Pilates Reformers
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The Best Pilates Reformers for Your Home Gym was founded by world champion cyclist Lance Armstrong. In their own words the site "provides the blueprint to simple healthy living", and it covers a wide variety of topics that help people make better choices about their health and wellness.

While compiling information for the article linked below they reached out Heather Jeffcoat for her opinion on several topics, including the best options for Pilates reformers. To quote Heather:

Read more: Livestrong | The Best...

Exercise After 50
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The following excerpts are from an article about 9 Amazing Things Exercise After 50 Can Do for You on the highly regarded website Livestrong. They reached out to Laureen McVicker and Heather Jeffcoat for their advice on this vital topic for all of us who have reached the half century mark. A link to the full article is below.

By Amanda Capritto, CPT, CF-L1

While exercise is important at all stages of life, it may have the most significant effect on older adults, especially those 50 and above. As you age, your body undergoes several changes, many of which are degenerative and can be debilitating to your health.

But exercise can help slow these age-related health issues or even prevent them in the first place.

Read more: Livestrong | 9 Amazing...

Best Sex Positions
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The Best Sex Positions for Any Kind of Lover

The popular health website Livestrong reached out to Heather Jeffcoat for her expertise in overcoming sexual pain and discomfort due to vaginsmus and other diagnoses. Penned by none other than August McLaughlin of the popular Girl Boner Radio show, you can be sure that this read will be time well spent.

There is Poetry in Variety

McLaughlin begins with an analogous reference to the late William Cowper:

When poet William Cowper said, “Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor,” he may very well have been talking about the bedroom. A little (or a lot) of variety can make sex more fun and pleasurable, but when a physical condition makes certain positions challenging or painful, finding safe, creative alternatives is important.

August turns to Heather for some insight into what positions to avoid and (better yet) which ones to enjoy to not only minimize your pain but maximize your pleasure.

Read more: Livestrong | The Best Sex...

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