Human Anatomy

How To Train Your Core Functionally & Effectively

Written by Gabriel Pisanu, Studio Manager at Croydon Park. Article from June 2018

How To Train Your Core Functionally & Effectively

the core

At Optimum, we consider the core pretty much anything that attaches to your pelvis. That is a large plethora of muscles ranging from your Rectus Abdominis (6-pack) to your hamstrings.  I quite often see people in commercial gyms performing exercises such as planks, crunches and sit-ups to train the “core”. These are not always the best way to attain the greatest functional benefit from this crucial network of muscles which have the role of stabilising the spine, maintaining posture, improving performance and reducing the risk of injury.

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Think Of Balance As A Muscle

Written by Michael Zajc, Exercise Physiologist at Croydon Park. Article from June 2018

Think Of Balance as a Muscle


Did you know, not being able to hold your balance on one foot for longer than 5 seconds greatly increases your risk of falls. There are many senses and processes that begin to decrease as people begin to age. One very notable loss as we age is our ability to balance and control where we are in space. Balance is an essential part of our day to day lives and plays an important role in allowing us to live life to the fullest and with confidence.

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The Importance Of The ‘Glute Med’

Written by Brian Castro, Exercise Physiologist Student at ACU. Article from May 2018

The Importance Of The 'Glute Med'

glute med

If someone asked me to list the 5 most important skeletal muscles for joint injury prevention and for everyday function, the gluteus medius, also referred to as the ‘glute med’ would definitely be on that list. We usually hear the terms ‘glutes’ and ‘glute max’ but how often do we hear the term ‘glute med?’ Not very often. The glute med is generally neglected in typical exercise programs, therefore we need to understand its importance. Let’s start with its function.

The glute med is one part of the three gluteal muscles.

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Managing Your Lower Back Pain

Written by Susannah Keppo, Exercise Physiologist at Croydon Park. Article from May 2018

Mindful Tips On Managing Lower Back Pain

lower back pain

There has been much research into lower back pain and the best ways to manage it. This ranges from medications, therapy, heat packs through to surgery and other extreme measures. I believe the longer someone has been experiencing this pain (especially with unsuccessful interventions) the more likely that person is to fixate on this pain and withdraw from work and normal daily activities, ultimately letting the pain dictate one's overall quality of life. There is research looking into chronic pain and its psychological components.

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PFPS – Not Just Another Acronym

Written by Tess Hawkins, Optimum Exercise Physiologist. Article from April 2018

PFPS - Not Just Another Acronym

knee pain

Have you ever had pain at the front of your knee? Did it progressively get worse over time? You might have had patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). Research suggests that one in four people will experience PFPS at some stage of their life. It first presents as a dull ache, however, over time it gradually appears earlier inactivity and becomes more severe.

What is PFPS?

PFPS is a common overuse injury affecting knee function. It is a fancy term to describe the kneecap being pulled to the outside of the knee presenting as pain or discomfort.

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Exercise…For Your Bones?

Written by Matthew Craig, Exercise Physiologist at Blacktown. Article from April 2018

Exercise...For Your Bones?


If you’ve ever stepped foot through the door of an Optimum clinic there is no doubt you have heard us talking about muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and nerves, but did you know that you can actually strengthen your bones through regular exercise? In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that all healthy adults perform resistance training exercises at least twice per week, with eight to twelve repetitions of eight to ten exercises to assist in the maintenance of bone health and density.

The Stats Don't Lie

But why should you care?

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Atrial Fibrillation

Written by Joshua Hutchins, Exercise Physiologist at Hobart. Article from April 2018

Exercising with Atrial Fibrillation


One of the most common heart arrhythmia’s is atrial fibrillation (AF). When this occurs a person’s heartbeat appears to be irregular and rapid. Normally, our heart rate is controlled and regulated by an electrical impulse from a little node in the heart called the sinus node. For people with AF however, this is not the case. These electrical impulses are uncontrolled and travel through the atrial chambers of the heart rather than the sinus node. This causes the atria to contract out of time with each other, producing a “quiver” or “fibrillation” as seen in the image below:

AF Heartbeat

So, should someone be exercising with AF?

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DNA and Weight Loss

Written by Kimberley Webb, Accredited Practicing Dietitian at Campbelltown. Article from March 2018

DNA and Weight Loss

DNA Weight Loss

Results from a rigorous $8 million study are out!

There has been a growing area of interest in the area of Genomics and the hope that we have found the magic solution by matching a person’s DNA to a specific diet type. We had hoped it might explain why only some people manage to lose weight on a low carb diet and why some others succeed on a low fat diet (even though we know that diets are not sustainable long term and dieters tend to regain the weight initially lost!).

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Exercise and Endorphins

Written by Adam Shepherd, Exercise Physiologist at Homebush. Article from March 2018

Exercise and Endorphins

Endorphins & Exercise

Have you ever had a really stressful, busy day where everything just seems to whiz by at 100 miles an hour? Or have you had one of those long days that just seem drag on forever? Only to get to the gym and walk out thinking “wow! I feel so much better after that”.

Why is that? Why do we feel inherently better after a workout even when we’ve had a bad day? Well most of us are aware of the many, many physiological benefits of regular physical activity, but are you aware that exercise can have just as big an impact on your mental wellbeing and psychological health?

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Insulin Resistance

Written by Susannah Keppo, Exercise Physiologist at Ashfield. Article from February 2018

Insulin Resistance

insulin resistance

Recently I have been reading an interesting book discussing the causes of obesity and the health conditions associated with being overweight or obese. Insulin resistance is a term that is used to describe when the body becomes resistant to insulin (insulin is the hormone that moves sugars in the blood to the cells that need energy e.g. muscle cells for exercise) – however in this state the body does not respond to insulin and therefore sugars build up in the blood and eventually can cause type 2 diabetes.

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