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GymSmarts Community » Kris Robinson

Archive for the ‘Kris Robinson’ Category

Kris Robinson

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

headerkmr.jpg From the computer of Kris Merlo Robinson, “The Posture Lady,” choreographer and physical therapist… while she is receiving medical treatment in Germany:

Kris was diagnosed with breast cancer on December 23rd, 2009.  She had a routine mammogram that looked fine but then two ultrasounds with the second showing a suspect spot.  A biopsy confirmed the cancer and a MRI and a PET scan showed an 8×3 cm mass.  She handled the situation well and researched her disease extensively.  The type of breast cancer was invasive lobular carcinoma, HER2 negative, 89% estrogen receptor positive, grade 2, stage II B.  On January 29th, she had a bilateral mastectomy, with all the lymph nodes in the left armpit removed, 4/14 cancerous.  No other organs have metastases and everything seems clear, but doctors fear the unknown spread.
Instead of 6 months of the recommended American chemo. and 7 weeks of daily radiation, Kris decided instead to seek out immunobiological treatment in Germany at the Hufeland Klinik for 6 weeks. Treatment is gentle and immune system-based and the philosophy is positive and interesting, treating the mind, body and spirit.  The German Klinik physicians are extremely positive and the patients are inspirational. 
The stay and treatment in Germany is expensive and insurance may or may not cover part of it.  The plan also involves ongoing prevention of the spread of cancer by receiving regular fever therapies in Germany (not available in the US) and other immune system builders.  Kris plans on starting gymnastics choreography in mid-June after a restful month of May and one more chest surgery.
Any amount of money that you are able to donate to her family of 9 would be greatly appreciated.  Kris has 5 kids and 2 step-daughters.  Jeff, her husband, still works at Disney as a stuntman and coaches gymnastics after work to try to make ends meet.  They added a “nanny” for their 5 year-old boy and twin 2 year-old boys while Kris had surgery and went through recovery and while she is in Germany for the 6 week stay.Please consider a donation to Kris for direct help with medical expenses by sending a check to the following:
Kris Merlo Robinson
8815 Conroy Windermere Rd      
Orlando, Florida  32835
Kris is very positive about her treatment and recovery and has also set-up a trust named “Treasure Chest for Health” in which gymnasts with mothers going through a life-threatening illness can get help with choreography needs and kids can be educated on posture, muscle balance, healthy lifestyle, breast health and holistic care.  You can also make a donation to “Treasure Chest for Health” at 8815 Conroy Windermere Rd, Orlando, Florida 32835 in order to kick-off her trust fund for others.
Thank you very much for your help and support!

The Curve in Your Lower Back

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

 Kris Merlo Robinson, “The Posture Lady:” Here a very important quick test and exercises to help the gymnast improve their alignment and prevent injuries. This article will help identify lordosis (too much low back arch). And give 3 quick exercises to improve posture. If you would like more information on posture, you will probably find Kris’ DVD: It’s About Posture helpful.

Have you ever wondered how much curve your low back should have? Well, it shouldn’t be flat and it shouldn’t be too arched. A flat-back position is simply called “flat-back” posture. Most gymnasts don’t have this problem. A low back that is too arched is called “lordosis,” and this problem is seen in too many gymnasts! A physical therapist has special skills to check the amount of curve in your back, but you can check it to some degree on your own.

 When testing for normal curve of the lower spine:-         Stand with your back to a wall, heels two to three inches from the wall.-         Place one hand behind your low back. -         If there is too much space between your back and the wall (if you can easily move your hand back and forth more than an inch), you need to correct your posture. CORRECTING LORDOSIS:Again, lordosis is when you have too much curve in your low back. Lordosis  makes you look like your belly is sticking out and it makes your buttocks look big. You may be experiencing low back pain and your coaches may be bugging you about your gymnastics positions – that you just aren’t making a straight line! Get to work on your posture by giving lordosis a 1-2-3 punch!  Try the 3 exercises below.1. FLATTEN YOUR LOW BACK AGAINST THE WALL First of all, try standing against the wall again, and pull UP and IN with your abdominal muscles (keep your shoulders relaxed and your chest lifted).  You should be able to use your abdominal muscles to get your low back to touch the wall. Hold this positionfor 5 seconds or so and try to do this at least once a day. To make this exercisemore difficult, try placing your arms up straight against the wall and pull your abdominals UP and IN. 2 - PRESS YOUR LOW BACK AGAINST THE FLOOR Next, lie down on the floor and press your low back against the floor, by pulling your abdominal  muscles UP and IN.  Hold this position for 5 seconds or so and be sure tokeep your shoulders pressed back against the floor. Try this exercise after a good workout, when your muscles are warm and relaxed. Just make sure your abdominal muscles wake up and work!3 – PULL UP AND IN WHENEVER YOU CAN Finally, you must learn to tighten up your external oblique (lower) abdominal muscles, by pulling UP and IN without the wall or the floor.  This simple exercise can be done when you are standingaround, when you are sitting at school or at the computer and when you are doing gymnastics.

Tired of hearing that you have too much arch in your low back or that your line isnot straight? Do these exercises (1-2-3) to help increase your abdominal strength and straighten your low back spine so that there is only a little curve.  Your abdominal muscles will look nice and flat and your buttocks will be tucked under to help make your bodyline straight.  Go for it! 

Kris Robinson - A Greater Understanding of the Shoulder Joint

Monday, January 8th, 2007

This article contains a collection of information that I presented at the “Future Stars Championships and Coaches Workshop” in Colorado Springs (United States Olympic Training Center).  When looking at the shoulder joint, it is imperative that one studies it from both a muscle strength and muscle length perspective, as well as a posture and muscle balance viewpoint.  Below is an overview of this opinion.

 The pectoralis minor muscle becomes very short and causes a rounded shoulder position in certain athletes (i.e. gymnasts) and in those that slouch.  This muscle is in the chest area and originates on the third, fourth, and fifth ribs and attaches at the coracoid process (a projection coming forward from the shoulder blade).  When it tests short, it causes the shoulder girdle complex to remain 200701kr1.jpgforward and sets up poor mechanics during arm movements.  This can cause shoulder pain, nerve and blood vessel impingement and create movement problems such as inability to move the arms above the head.  The coach, parent, and/or teammate must passively stretch the athlete’s shoulder down on a daily basis to prevent or improve the pectoralis minor muscle length.

 The lower trapezius muscle is the antagonist of the pectoralis minor and must be strengthened in most cases.  If an athlete slouches, has a short pectoralis minor and/or carries a heavy backpack on one shoulder he/she may have a long, stretched out lower trapezius muscle.  The lower trapezius muscle can be strengthened with correct sitting and standing posture and with strengthening exercises (facelying, shoulder blades pulled back/down/in, arms overhead and lift).

 If the athlete has short pectoralis major, latissimus dorsi, and teres major muscles, it will be difficult for them to reach their arms above their head without arching their back or having their arms up, but too wide.  Keeping the lower abdominal muscles contracted, the low back flat against the floor or wall, and the arms held overhead, can stretch the above named muscles.200701kr2.jpg

 The rotator cuff muscles include the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis muscles.  These muscles are an intrinsic part of the shoulder capsule and if these muscles are stiff, the capsule is probably stiff.  The athlete can be assessed for correct shoulder lateral and medial rotation.  When the biomechanics of the shoulder joint are incorrect, microtrauma can occur and lead to rotator cuff tears.  If the tear is severe, the athlete cannot hold their arm up or out to the side (positive drop arm test).

The athlete must be aware of their posture and muscle balance and how this affects their shoulder health.  Activities of daily living (sitting, standing, arm movements overhead, and repetitive activities) must be monitored for correct technique. 

200701kr3.jpgWORDS TO THE ATHLETE:  Many athletes wear a very heavy backpack (or gym bag) on one or both shoulders and it seems that they shrug their shoulders just to keep the backpack on.  Other athletes tense up when they study or perform certain skills and their shoulders elevate and get sore and tight.  You and your teammates have the potential to look relaxed, sleek and confident when you perform, so follow the guidelines below. 

  • Remove unwanted heavy items from your backpack or gym bag. Try a backpack on wheels for school and a suitcase with wheels for travel.
  • Test yourself on activities of daily living. Make sure that you keep your shoulders relaxed when you do simple things like fixing your hair, working on the computer or reaching up high to get something out of a cabinet.
  • Practice pulling your shoulder blades gently down, back and in toward your spine whenever you are sitting, standing or doing most skills. This will increase the strength in your lower trapezius muscles. Stretch your neck muscles by relaxing your head to one side and keeping the opposite shoulder pulled down.

Final Note:  Besides the potential of improved performance, you will have increased chest expansion and the ability to breathe more comfortably, as well as, less pain and stiffness in your shoulder region.  Good Luck!

For more information on Kris Robinson, and posture, buy her DVD: It’s About Posture, from GymSmarts.

Kris Merlo Robinson - Posture Alert

Monday, May 1st, 2006

 POSTURE ALERT from “THE POSTURE LADY”:  I have some very important posture tips to help gymnasts improve their skills and presentation and to help them prevent injuries.  Share the information below with each and every gymnast that you work with! 

The Posture LadyHello. My name is Kris Merlo Robinson, PT, better known in the gymnastics world as “The Posture Lady.”  Posture is the way that you hold your body as you sit, stand and move.  It is the position of all the joints of the body at any given moment.  My friend Florence Kendall, a well-known physical therapist, said, “Good posture is a good habit.”  Have you ever noticed that when you stand slouched in poor posture, it’s like a habit that you have?  It may feel comfortable to you, but it’s not correct.  I will teach you more about correct posture, so that you can make good posture your habit!

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) states that good posture is important because it helps your body function at top speed, with efficiency and endurance, without fatigue, muscular strain or pain.  For the gymnast, this m2006.3Kriseans performing at a higher skill level with poise and confidence.  Furthermore, a gymnast with good posture may prevent injury to his or her body.

A physical therapist has special skills to test and treat problems with posture, but you can check your own posture to some degree.  You may need help from your coach, parents, or teammates to check your side view posture.  A photograph in this position would give you immediate feedback about your posture.  How do you line up?  Correct posture while standing means forming a straight line between your ankle, knee, hip, trunk, shoulder and ear.  There are three normal curves in the back:  1) the cervical spine (neck), curving slightly forward, 2) the thoracic spine (upper back), curving slightly backward, and 3) the lumbar spine (lower back), curving slightly forward.  These curves should be held correctly while standing or sitting.  The APTA notes that when these curves are out of balance, certain segments of the spine (vertebrae) are put under stress and may become painful. 

   ● knees straight
   ● low back curved forward slightly
   ● upper back erect and chest held slightly up and forward
   ● shoulders in line with ears
   ● chin tucked in
   ● knees “locked” backwards
   ● low back arched forward too much (lordosis), causing the abdomen to protrude
   ● upper back rounded with chest sunk in
   ● shoulders pulled back too hard or slouched forward
   ● head slumped forward
Note from the APTA:  When testing for normal curves of the spine:  stand with your back to a wall, heels three inches from the wall.  Place one hand behind your neck and the other behind your low back.  If there is too much space between your back and the wall (if you can easily move your hands back and forth more than an inch), you need to correct your posture.20063kr02.JPG

Correct front and back view posture means the knees, hips, and shoulders are level, the spine and head are straight and the body weight is distributed equally on both feet.  Stand in front of a mirror and/or have someone look at your alignment.  Again, how do you line up?
   ● ankles straight
   ● kneecaps face straight ahead
   ● equal space between arms and sides
   ● arms relaxed at sides with palms facing towards body
   ● shoulders level
   ● head held straight
   ● ankles roll in so that arches go flat
   ● kneecaps face toward each other or face out
   ● trunk shifted
   ● arms turned so that palms face back
   ● one shoulder high or both shoulders shrugged
   ● head tilted, rotated or chin up too high
Develop good posture or maintain good posture by practicing until it becomes a good habit.  In Mrs. Kendall’s words, “bad posture is a bad habit.”  According to the APTA, if you have poor posture, your bones are not properly aligned and your joints, muscles, and ligaments take more strain, increasing the risk of injury.  Good posture only has one appearance, but poor posture comes in many unattractive styles.

To improve or hold good posture, think about keeping your chin tucked in, your shoulder blades gently pulled down and back, and your abdominal muscles pulled UP and IN as you sit, stand and move.  Avoid “locking” your knees backwards, remember to tighten your buttock muscles, and distribute your weight evenly on your feet.  These are general exercises that can be done throughout the day. Constantly strive to keep good posture while working out in the gym!  Check your posture TODAY!

If poor posture muscle problems arise and are outside of your experience and competence…seek help from qualified medical professionals.