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Posted by on Mar 20, 2012 | 0 comments

Work Out With Kettlebells and Deep Squats to Have Your Best Baseball Season Yet!


Springtime is now here in the northern hemisphere, and you know what that means? That’s right – baseball season is starting soon!

All over the country, both major and minor leagues have begun spring training and are warming up their throwing arms for this season’s games.

While baseball is not considered a contact sport, many injuries, both minor and serious, result from contact with the ball, improper form, or even one slight incorrect move of a limb. In fact, most of the common injuries include repetitive-use injuries in the shoulder and elbow, contusions, muscle pulls, black eyes, ligament injuries, lacerations, and even concussions.

Luckily, there are a two specific exercises baseball players can partake in to make themselves stronger, more flexible, and less prone to injury – kettlebells and squats!

Kettlebells, an all-inclusive exercise that originated from Russia, is a catch-all sort of exercise that benefits the entire body. Using kettlebells correctly can improve your strength, power, speed, and coordination all over your body, and it can also improve your performance in baseball. You can also increase the grip strength on the bat (which improves your speed), make your shoulders stronger, increase the mobility in your shoulders and hips, and decrease your chances of injury when you work out with kettlebells.

If you’re already familiar with the kettlebells, you can already start your workout! The best exercises to do to help you with your baseball performance include the power clean, front squat, kettlebell swing, shoulder press, and the reverse lunge.

Be warned, however – if you don’t know how to use the kettlebells, you should first consult with a professional on how to properly use them. Injury can easily abound from using kettlebells incorrectly, especially when picking them up and putting them back down. You can even check out our video of kettlebell exercises right here to see how it looks to use them correctly!

Along with upper-body injuries, knee injuries are also relatively common in baseball. In fact, some knee injuries can easily end one’s baseball career if they’re severe enough, so it’s exceptionally important to take care of your lower body muscles and joints.

One of the best ways to strengthen your lower body is by doing deep squats. This exercise, which we’re programmed to do properly from the time we were infants, strengthens the entire body. Sadly, though, as we age we lose the range of motion to properly execute deep squats because we stop doing them.

What’s worse is that we’re taught incorrectly on how to do deep squats using only a 60-degree range of motion with weights instead of the full 135 degree-range that the knees can handle. Using a limited range of motion will only cause wear and tear to your knees, ankles, and hip joints.

The proper way to do a squat, however, is actually to run through the FULL range of your knees’ bend and use the glutes to do all the hard work. If you do the exercise correctly, you will strengthen everything from your lower back to your ankles! Check out our video here to see how to properly do a full squat!

If you happen to not be able to do a squat in a full range of motion, there’s no need to worry (or avoid doing squats)! A physical therapist like Mark Slaughter can work with you and help you regain your range of motion!

Are you ready to get revved up for this year’s baseball season? Want to do the workouts, but you’re not sure how to start? No problem! Give us a call here at Fitness4Life at (618) 656-5433 or visit us at our website at to see what we can do for you! We’ll get you started on the right foot this baseball season!

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Posted by on Feb 22, 2012 | 0 comments

Keep Fit This Winter With These Eight Indoor and Outdoor Activities!


When we think of winter, we typically envision a cold, snowy night. The wind is howling outside of our home, causing the snow to swirl endlessly through the streets and ice to form slowly on tree limbs and power lines. Meanwhile, we’re inside, maybe watching the snow from the living room couch, curled up in a fuzzy blanket with hot chocolate. Or potato chips. Or cake. Or brownies…

The season of winter tends to bring out the primal instinct of hibernation even in the best of us. All we want to do is eat and snuggle in our bed until springtime comes. And really, who wants to go outside where it’s cold and wet?

In spite of the challenges that the season poses, winter is a time in which a new realm of possibilities to remain active presents itself to us. And you don’t even have to join a gym to get a good workout – you can still work out in your own backyard (or living room)! Check out these eight activities that you can still do outdoors or indoors!

Just Dance! – What more of a fun way to work those glutes, legs, and abs when you have to stay indoors than dancing! Break out some of your dance moves or freestyle to the Beatles (or another favorite band of yours). You don’t even have to be a professional dancer to shed some pounds; all you have to do is just get up and move it!

Fitness DVDs – Don’t feel like driving through the winter weather to go work out at the gym? You don’t have to! By investing in some dumbbells and some fitness DVDs, you can bring the gym home with you! All you have to do is roll out of bed, get limber, and press “play,” and you’re good to go!

Jump rope – Harken back to your primary school days, and get ready for an intense workout! Jumping rope is an easy way to burn lots of calories in a short amount of time. Better yet, jump ropes are inexpensive and can go with you everywhere. Just remember to wear a pair of shock-absorbent shoes when you exercise!

Mall It! – Love to shop? Good news, shopper! Walking around the mall not only helps you get your errands done, but it also helps you burn calories! To get the best workout out of this low-impact activity, intersperse 2-minute intervals of fast walking into your regular walking pace.

Don’t forget – you can still walk outside in the wintertime! Just remember to dress warmly, and you’re good to go!

Pilates – This mat-based exercise is popular for a reason – it’s a great way to sculpt your abs and back and strengthen your core! You can choose to take a class with others or to do the exercise with DVD instructions in the privacy of your home.

Running – Newsflash! You can still run in the winter! Just add some extra layers of moisture resistant clothes, put on a hat and gloves, and you’re set! Be sure to choose a safe, ice-fee running route, though. If you’d rather not get cold or wet, try running on the treadmill or indoor track at your local gym or rec center.

Ski or Snowboard – Why not take advantage of the winter weather while it’s still here? Skiing and snowboarding work all the major upper-and lower-body muscle groups and you prove to be a great workout! And better yet, you’ll get to play in the snow!

Spinning – Got the itch to go biking? Cycling indoors can help you shed pounds and trim up your buns and thighs! Crank up your favorite tunes or watch a favorite show and start spinning like mad! Try to keep the revolutions per minute high for an intense cardio workout.

Remember, winter is just like any other season when it comes to hydration. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workouts, and be sure to dress for the weather. It’s best to dress in layers as you can keep the heat in and you’ll be able to remove your clothing as your workout intensifies!

Want some more fitness tips? Why not check out our Facebook page or Twitter page? Better yet, call us up here at Fitness4Life at 618-656-5433, and we can show you how to effectively exercise! Get going, get out there, and get healthy!

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Posted by on Jan 19, 2012 | 0 comments

Sometimes You Get Worse Before You Get Better

It’s that same old pain again. When you sit down after a long, arduous day of work and finally relax, you feel the pain shooting through your knee. Why on earth is your knee hurting again? Maybe you did too much work today… or this week… or this month. Your knee has been hurting you for at least a week, so you think that maybe it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor to get it checked out.

Before you pick up your phone or turn on your laptop, wait a minute and listen up! Your knee very well might not be the actual problem. The issue could lie elsewhere, perhaps in your ankle or in your hip. But how can you find out exactly what’s going on?

Mark Slaughter, PT, has a unique approach when it comes to treating pain. He takes what he calls a “joint-by-joint” approach to the body and tries to find out what the REAL issue could be.

Did you know that pain doesn’t have to just stem from the source? Just because your foot hurts doesn’t necessarily mean that your foot is the culprit and is causing you the problem, believe it or not!

When it comes to joints in the body, there are two different types – those that stabilize you and those that bend and help you to move. And joints tend to work in pairs together, too. For instance, your feet are there to stabilize you, but your ankle is the joint that is responsible for moving you. Your knees help stabilize you while your hip does the moving and shaking. Moving higher up on the body, your lower back is there to make sure you stay stable while your mid spine helps you to move, and your scapula will stabilize you while your shoulder does the work moving.

Unfortunately, because of poor posture or incorrect movements of the joints and body, the stabilizing joints switch roles and become mobile, and the mobile joints become stiff and try to act as stabilizers. This odd role-reversal can cause quite a bit of pain and should be corrected!

Think of your body as a massive, intricate machine. If one cog wobbles, loosens, and eventually flies off into oblivion, the whole beautiful machine breaks down and falls apart, becoming useless.

Mark Slaughter doesn’t treat the symptoms you experience; he treats the PROBLEM. He looks at the whole body, not just the source of pain, to find what truly ails you. He accomplishes this because he listens to the patient and what he or she tells him about the pain they’re experiencing. By using cutting-edge methodology, Mark can pinpoint what ails you, and by training your MOVEMENT, not your muscles, you can help yourself avoid injury and pain more easily and more frequently.

Are you experiencing any pain? Call us up here at Fitness4Life at (618) 656-5433 and ask for Mark or Sharon! They will help get you on the right track to getting better!

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Posted by on Aug 8, 2011 | 0 comments

We’re Definitely Not Your Ordinary Physical Therapy Facility!

Fitness4Life is no cookie cutter physical therapy rehabilitation center. We are an independently owned physical therapy office in Edwardsville, Illinois. In fact we are one of the only physical therapy companies in the area that is not owned by a hospital or physician, and the owner and sole therapist, Mark Slaughter, has 40 years of exercise experience!

Our main goal is to get you back to doing the things you love quickly and safely by focusing on prevention and maintenance. Rather than taking a band-aid approach we focus on the cause and effect. We want to find out why the injury has occurred and prevent it from happening in the future.

We have many services that include, but aren’t limited to, treating all types of sports injuries, sports conditioning and training – which includes the prevention of ACL tears, as well as pre and post surgical therapy.

But wait…That’s not all we do! We also provide functional movement screenings to check for potential injuries for athletes of all ages, and we are the only one’s certified to do so in the Edwardsville area.

And…did you know that we offer personal training? Our reasonable rates and pay-per-visit plan will make it easy for you to get the training that you want.

Remember, you have a choice when choosing a physical therapist.  We understand that your choice may be limited to where your insurance allows you to go.  No worries, we accept most insurance plans and offer flexible payment plans for deductibles and coinsurance. No Insurance? No Problem! We also have reasonable rates for those who are uninsured.

We realize that it may be difficult to squeeze one more thing into your busy day, but we offer hours that will make it easy to find time to come see us! We are open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. four days a week!

Want to learn more?  Contact Fitness4Life Physical Therapy at (618) 656-LIFE (5433). We can’t wait for you to schedule an appointment and join the Fitness4Life family!

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