5 Exercises to Activate Your Muscles & Improve Your Workout

Muscle activation exercises connect the body and mind to enhance your workout and optimize your results. Activation exercises are typically short, isolation exercises that target specific muscles to “wake them up”. Just like stretching, activation exercises increase blood flow to prepare the muscles for weightlifting, cardio, sports, or other physical activities.

We will explain these 5 activation exercises throughout the blog:

  • Superman holds to activate your back
  • Push-ups to activate your chest
  • Band pull apart to activate your shoulders
  • Monster walks to activate your glutes
  • Walking lunges to activate your quads

Click HERE to learn more about muscle activation.

How Perform Activation Exercises

Activation exercises only take a few minutes, but are extremely valuable. They can easily fit into your warm-up and require little to no equipment.

Perform each exercise at a slow tempo. Focus on the moving body part and the muscle that is being engaged during the exercise. This will ensure you are activating the right muscle groups.

To advance the exercise, contract the muscles at the peak of the exercise.

Some exercises require a resistance band. A resistance band will increase the difficulty of the exercise and further increase muscle activation. When using a resistance band, choose one that is not too tight or too loose and allows you to keep constant tension throughout each exercise.

Learn more about resistance bands HERE.

Perform the Following 5 Activation Exercises

Superman Holds Activate Your Back

Lie on your stomach with your legs straight back and arms stretched above your head. Your forehead should also be resting on the floor. Exhale and slowly lift your arms, legs, and head off the floor. Keep your arms and legs straight as you hover them over the ground. You should feel your back muscles and glutes engage and activate.

Hold for 5 seconds and repeat for 3 sets.

Push Ups Activate Your Chest

Begin on all fours with your hands shoulder-width apart. Extend you legs straight back so all your weight is on your hands and toes. Maintain a neutral spine from head to toe.

Before you begin, engage your core. Slowly bend your elbows and lower yourself down until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle while keeping your elbows tucked in by the side of your body. Contract your chest muscles and push back up through your hands to the starting position.

For beginners, perform the push up on your knees rather than your toes.

Do 5-10 push ups and repeat for 3 sets.

Band Pull Aparts Activate Your Shoulders

You will need a resistance band for this exercise. Choose a resistance band strength that allows you to get through the exercise while maintaining good form.

Stand tall with good posture and your feet shoulder-width apart. Start by holding the resistance band with an overhand grip at shoulder height with your arms extended out in front of your body. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Maintain a slight bend in your elbows. Rotate your shoulders outward to engage your lats and upper back.

To initiate the movement, squeeze your upper back and begin to pull the band apart. As your arms begin to move backwards, your shoulder blades should retract and come together. When your arms are fully extended out to the side of your body, squeeze your upper back muscles, hold for a few seconds, and return to the starting position.

Repeat the exercise 10 times for 3 sets.

Read about how the Band Pull-Apart exercise can improve your posture HERE.

Monster Walks & Squats Activate Your Glutes

You will need a resistance band for this exercise. Choose a resistance band strength that allows you to get through the exercise while maintaining good form. Place the resistance band around your ankles.

For lateral monster walks, stand shoulder-width apart, keep your head, shoulders, and chest forward, and actively engage the glutes and your core. Keep a slight bend in your knees throughout the exercise.

Take a wide step laterally (to the side) with your right leg or lead leg, followed by your left leg or trail leg.

Continue stepping laterally for 10 steps and repeat on the other leg in the opposite direction. Repeat for a total of 2 sets in each direction.

Watch a step-by-step video about Monster Walks & Squats

Read more about Monster Walks & Squats HERE.

Walking Lunges Activate Your Quads

Start with your feet hip-distance apart. Maintain good posture with your torso upright and tall, core engaged, shoulders back, and chin lifted.

Take a big step forward with your right foot. Your left heel should lift naturally off the ground. Keep your core engaged as you bend your knees and lower your back knee toward the floor. Your knees should both make 90-degree angles. When you step forward with your left leg, your knee should not extend past your ankle.

Push through your right heel using your thigh muscles to rise to a standing position and lift your left foot from the ground. As your left foot comes forward, follow through with a big step forward. Keep your core engaged as you bend your knees and lower your back knee toward the floor. Your knees should both make 90-degree angles. Stop before your knee touches the floor.

Start with 10 lunges per leg and repeat for a total of 3 sets.


Muscle activation exercises are a great way to prepare your body for physical activity. Include these 5 exercises prior to your workouts or physical activities to optimize your outcome by encouraging mobility, joint stability, and safe, injury-free training.

Experiencing Joint, Muscle, or Bone Pain or Injury?

Are you experiencing pain in your bones, joints, or muscles? Make an appointment with Orthopedic Institute. Our orthopedic specialists will evaluate your problem and create a personalized care plan for your pain or injury.

Call 605.331.5890 or click HERE to make an appointment.


Radial Pulse Therapy used to treat Plantar Fasciitis, Tennis Elbow, and other forms of Tendinitis at Orthopedic Institute.

The Best Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis and Tennis Elbow

5 Signs You May Need a Hip Replacement

5 Signs You May Need a Hip Replacement

Many people managing rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteonecrosis and other general joint health issues struggle with whether or not they should seek hip replacement surgery. They have pain, but it can be hard to decide if the pain is significant enough to warrant a hip replacement.

Check out our list of 5 signs that it’s time to consider a hip replacement.

1. Hip Pain

The first, and perhaps most obvious, sign that you should consider a hip replacement is hip pain. Do you walk with a limp or depend upon a cane because of your hip pain? Hip pain shouldn’t interfere with your ability to live your life. If your pain affects your daily life, disrupts your sleeping habits or both, the damage may be serious enough to consider a hip replacement.

2. Limited Mobility

Simple tasks such as standing up, walking or taking the stairs can be incredibly difficult and painful for someone in need of hip replacement. Some people remain unaffected by their limited mobility, but if your hip pain limits your mobility to the point of interfering with your daily life, consider speaking with a physician about your options.

3. Stiffness

Does your hip stiffen up while sitting? Stiffness in a hip joint is a telltale sign that a hip may need to be replaced. Many patients in need of hip replacements will also experience stiffness when attempting to simple tasks, such as putting on shoes or gardening.

4. Grating or Rubbing

A grating or rubbing feeling in your hip joint, especially in combination with the other issues listed here, is another indicator that you may want to look into hip replacement. The hip joint is lined with smooth cartilage that prevents your thigh bone from rubbing against your hip bone. When you experience grating or rubbing, these bones are rubbing together, which can be painful and may be a sign that your hip joint should be replaced.

5. Nothing Else Works

Hip replacement surgery is never the first option. Before looking into a hip replacement, try other pain treatment options such as medication, injections, stretching and exercise. If these more moderate pain management approaches do not work, then a hip replacement may be your best solution.

If your hip pain doesn’t limit you from doing normal activities or you get relief from less invasive treatments, you may not need a hip replacement. If you are still unsure whether or not you should look into a hip replacement, come in to the Orthopedic Institute and speak with one of our hip specialists about your options.

Hip replacement can return you to a higher quality of life. Check out these Orthopedic Institute hip replacement success stories


Uploaded ToTop 5 Reasons to Try Cooled Radiofrequency Treatment for Chronic Hip & Knee Pain

Top 5 Reasons to Try Cooled Radiofrequency Treatment for Chronic Hip & Knee Pain

Chronic hip and knee pain can really slow you down. Dr. James Brunz is fellowship-trained in pain management and dedicated to staying at the forefront of pain management technology. His arsenal now includes COOLIEF Cooled Radiofrequency (RF) Treatment—a non-surgical procedure that builds upon his years of expertise using Radiofrequency Ablation for patients with arthritis of the spine.

We sat down with Dr. Brunz to discuss the top 5 reasons Cooled Radiofrequency Treatment can help chronic hip and knee pain.

“Cooled radiofrequency treatment can be an excellent option for people who have had a knee or hip replacement but continue to have chronic pain, or for those unable to have replacement surgery because of a health condition,” said Dr. Brunz.

  1. Effective Pain Relief: COOLIEF Cooled RF is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure that can safely treat chronic pain. This advanced procedure uses cooled radiofrequency energy to safely target the sensory nerves causing pain. You should begin to feel pain relief within one to two weeks. In some patients, the relief can be relatively long-lasting. In others, additional treatments may be required.
  2. Minimally Invasive: COOLIEF Cooled RF involves no incision, only a small puncture at the insertion site. You may experience some discomfort at the radiofrequency site for a short period, but this discomfort can be treated with common over-the-counter medication.
  3. No Narcotics: COOLIEF circulates water through the device while heating nervous tissue to create a treatment area that is larger than conventional RF treatments. This combination targets the pain-causing nerves without excessive heating, leading to pain relief.
  4. Quick Recovery Time: Every patient is different, but you can expect to return to work and normal everyday activities within several days. Dr. Brunz will recommend a specific amount of rest based on your unique needs and procedure requirements.
  5. No Overnight Hospital Stay: Procedure time varies, but it’s all done in an outpatient setting. COOLIEF requires no general anesthesia, and you should be able to return home shortly after the treatment. A responsible adult is required to be present in order to drive you home.

Ready to learn more? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Brunz to see if this treatment could be right for you.

Hip Replacement Success Stories

Most people wouldn’t describe getting a hip replacement as a “walk in the park.” Weeks of rehab and struggling to get around can cause many people to put off getting a necessary surgery. However, Lee Goldammer and Tony Bosch had excellent experiences with OI when they decided to pursue anterior hip replacements.

Lee Goldammer

How did you first learn about OI?

My wife worked for OI years ago, and that’s how I got there. I had Dr. Zoellner do my first hip replacement—my niece recommended him.

What was your first experience with OI?

My initial experience was my first hip surgery. They cut most along the side, and I underwent therapy for about a month. Although rehab took a few weeks, I still got along well. That’s just the way it was back then.

How did you decide to get the anterior hip replacement completed?

I heard about this new type of surgery and how Dr. Rothrock would perform the surgery. I knew I would be in the hospital two to three days, and Dr. Rothrock said the amount of therapy I wanted to take on was up to me.

I remember my hip hurt so badly that I couldn’t raise my leg, so I went ahead with the surgery. Afterward, I pulled my leg up immediately, and there wasn’t any pain.

What was therapy like for this surgery?

There was no therapy after that – the doctor simply gave me a few things to do. I used a walker for two or three days, and then I went to a cane. I was easily going up and down steps in about two weeks.

What would you say to someone who is considering this surgery?

I recommend it right away—I recommend it to everybody. I’ve talked to four or five people, and I tell them it’s a piece of cake. There was much less rehab than after my first surgery.

You can be on your way in no time. Everyone has a tendency to put it off. I know it’s hard to do, because no one likes surgery, but they always say they wish they had done it a long time before.

Tony Bosch

How did you first learn about OI?

My wife had some surgery done with Dr. Looby. She had a sciatic nerve problem. I had seen Dr. Looby before—I didn’t know who he was at time – but I went to the fitness center and I saw him, but didn’t realize he was my wife’s doctor until later.

What was your first experience with OI?

After my wife’s surgery, Dr. Looby came into the consultation room and we got to visiting. So I knew him when my hip started hurting. Next thing you know I have this hip causing me trouble. Dr. Looby said Dr. Adler was really good with hips. So I went in for an appointment, had the X-rays, and Dr. Adler told me my hip was full of arthritis. I asked him if we could do it soon, and he was able to make it happen for me the very next day.

I never missed one day of work after the surgery. I went to work after the surgery, set my walker off to the side, and I never used the walker, a cane or anything. The hardest part was training my head not to limp! Someone saw me afterwards and asked, “Didn’t you just have hip surgery? You’re limping pretty bad.” But my hip didn’t hurt at all. I was limping just because I was used to limping for so long because of my hip pain. So I took about a week for me to learn to stop limping.

What was your experience with the doctors like?

Dr. Adler is just one fabulous human being. Orthopedic Institute is very lucky to have him, Dr. Adler and Dr. Mitch Johnson. We are blessed to have this kind of medical facility, Orthopedic Institute, in Sioux Falls.

What was therapy like for this surgery?

I didn’t need any therapy. I mean, I had a total hip replacement. No therapy. Zero! You just knew when it started hurting that you needed to take a break.

What would you say to someone who is considering this surgery?

I wouldn’t look any further. Dr. Adler is the best there is as far as I am concerned. He’s not only a great surgeon but a great human being. He has patient charisma, he’s the whole package.

5 Common Injections for Treating Orthopedic Conditions

5 Common Injections for Treating Orthopedic Conditions

Most of us have had an injection of some kind at some point in our lives, whether it’s a seasonal flu vaccine or a Novocaine shot at the dentist. But not all injections are built the same in their execution nor their purpose.

Let’s break down the six most prevalent injections you might receive when visiting Orthopedic Institute (OI).

Epidural Injection

Primary Function: Treatment of nerve pain

This injection takes place in the epidural space, directly over the compressed nerve root in the spine or neck. These types of injections are typically used in the treatment of back, neck or limb pain or inflammation that can be sourced back to nerve damage in the spine.

Facet Block Injection

Primary Function: Treatment of severe arthritis

Facet joints can be found at each segment of the spine. They help provide stability and your range of motion. These joints can become painful over time from arthritis in the spine, back injuries or other back conditions. A facet block injection is traditionally used to assist your physician in determining if facet treatment is necessary, as well as to offer continued pain reduction for the patient thanks to a steroid element.

Medial Branch Block

Primary Function: Diagnosis of facet-joint blockage

The medial branch block goes hand in hand with the facet block joints mentioned above. The blockage is treated by injecting an anesthetic near the small medial nerves connected to a specific facet joint. There are usually multiple injections that occur in a single procedure.

SI Joint Injection

Primary Function: Treatment of lower back pain

A sacroiliac, or “SI,” joint injection can work to counteract sacroiliac joint dysfunction. There are two of these joints in your body, and they’re located near the spine on either side, connecting the sacrum (between the hip bones). Inflammation of these joints causes pain that can be remedied by an SI joint injection.

Corticosteroid Injection

Primary Function: Relief of inflammation

Also known as cortisone injections, corticosteroid injections are concentrated injections of anti-inflammatories. These types of injections offer quick relief to potentially inflamed muscles, joints and tendons. The most common places for injections are the shoulder, knee, hip, elbow and ankle.


If you feel like one of these injections might help you with your own orthopedic care, talk to our team and make an appointment. We look forward to seeing you!

Anterior Approach to Hip Surgery

Orthopedic Update: Anterior Approach Hip Replacement Surgery

The anterior approach to total hip replacement has emerged as a practical alternative to the posterior approach that most surgeons still use. Although it has been in use to some degree since the 1980s, new instrumentation allowing it to be performed using smaller incisions has made it increasingly sought after.

Called the anterior hip replacement, this procedure involves the surgeon making a four-inch incision through the front of the leg, rather than the back (the entry point for the more conventional posterior hip replacement surgery). Frontal entry makes it possible to reach the joint by separating the muscles rather than cutting through them and reattaching them (used in the posterior approach). By keeping the muscles intact, the Anterior Approach may allow for less pain, faster recovery, quicker stability and fewer post-operative restrictions.

Although each patient responds differently, studies have shown the potential benefits of the Anterior Approach.

  • Accelerated recovery time is possible because key muscles are not detached during the operation.
  • Potential for fewer restrictions during recovery. This procedure seeks to help patients more freely bend their hip and bear their full weight immediately or soon after surgery.
  • Possible reduced scarring because the technique allows for one relatively small incision. Since the incision is on the front side of the leg, you may be spared from the pain of sitting on scar tissue.
  • Potential for stability of the implant sooner after surgery, resulting in part from the fact that they key muscles and tissues are not being disturbed during the operation.
  • The Anterior Approach requires less tissue disruption, which may lead to faster rehabilitation.

We have four physicians at Orthopedic Institute who perform the Anterior Approach to hip replacement.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Adler, McKenzie, Rothrock or Suga, please call 1-888-331-5890.

Michael J. Adler, MD


Matthew J. McKenzie, MD


Corey P. Rothrock, MD


Please check out this short video on the Anterior Approach to hip replacement.


Don’t Let a Fall from a Ladder Ruin Your Holiday Season

Dr. Eric S. Watson, M.D.

The holidays are right around the corner. Do you have your decorations up? If not, you might be tempted to do it soon.

Dr. Eric Watson, a lower extremity specialist with Orthopedic Institute in Sioux Falls, recommends everyone take extreme caution when using a ladder this holiday season.

According to the World Health Organization, the United States leads the world in ladder deaths. Each year, there are more than 164,000 emergency room-treated injuries and 300 deaths in the U.S. that are caused by falls from ladders

“I have worked with patients who fell from ladders on multiple occasions,” said Watson. “It generally takes six weeks for a foot or ankle injury to heal, but that is after the surgery. Most cases are surgical but we have to wait to complete the surgery until the swelling has gone down. A foot or ankle injury could really ruin your holiday season.”

Watson said the most common injuries he sees are broken ankles and feet, but it all depends on how a person falls.

“If you jump off and land on your feet you’re probably going to do some damage to your feet or ankles, but if you land on your hands, you can harm your wrists, hands or arms,” he said. “You could also fall on your back and hurt your head or neck.”

Oftentimes, falls cause injuries in several areas, Watson said.

“There is almost always an associated injury to go with the broken bones,” he said. “A common one is a compound compression fracture in your back, which is very painful.”

Watson offered these tips to avoid injuries while working on ladders:

  • Always inspect the ladder to make sure it is in good working condition. “Make sure there is no excess mud on the rungs that could cause you to slip and make sure all the ladder components are working properly,” he said.
  • Always place ladders on a level surface. “Make sure the hinges are locked out and the legs are as level as possible,” Watson said.
  • Always face the ladder when climbing and wear clothing that allows you to keep a good grip on the rungs.
  • Place the ladder as close to where you’ll be working as possible. “You don’t want to have to reach off the ladder very far,” Watson said. “The further from the center of gravity you are, the more likely you’ll tip the ladder.”
  • If possible, have someone hold the ladder. “This is especially important if you don’t have a good, level surface,” he said.
  • Never step on the top rung or the paint bucket shelf. “Do exactly as the label says and stay off,” he said. “(Ladder manufacturers) really mean it; the warning labels are there for a reason.”
  • Use a job-appropriate ladder. “You don’t need to use a 14-foot ladder to reach up three feet,” he said. “The higher up you are, the more worried you should get because the ladder will be less stable. Make sure your ladder is the appropriate height for the job.”

Some common sense and a bit of planning will go a long way in preventing ladder injuries, Watson said. “The old adage, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’ is certainly true here,” he said.

The OI Way: Proven Weight Loss Support for Optimal Joint Health

The numbers are staggering according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one third of all adult Americans are obese, while the National Institutes of Health state that another third are considered overweight. This condition often leads to serious and chronic health issues, including heart disease, stroke, Type 2 Diabetes and certain types of cancer, as well as disabling joint degeneration. For Dr. Matthew J. McKenzie, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Orthopedic Institute in Sioux Falls, consulting with patients who have chronic or severe joint issues is his specialty. What has always concerned him, however, is the sheer number of his patients that have joint problems simply because they’re overweight. “Easily 30 percent of my patients have joint issues as a direct result of their weight,” McKenzie says. “I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life and when I grew up I was one of three kids in my school that had a weight problem. Now 20 to 30 percent of kids have a weight problem. I feel that it’s imperative as a healthcare professional to address the problem for my patients even though that isn’t the primary reason they’re making an appointment with me.”

In the past, Dr. McKenzie and his colleagues would refer overweight patients to local weight-loss facilities for help. However, because there was no way to follow up with their progress, there was also no way to encourage or guarantee weight-loss success and ultimately a better outcome for their joints.

“I wanted to know that I was doing everything I could to give my patients the help they needed, and that’s why we are now offering an incredibly effective weight loss solution called The OI Way within our clinic. This isn’t mandatory and not everybody is going to do it, but we wanted to have the means to help them if they chose to do it. This is a solid solution that gives people tools to control their weight,” McKenzie says.

The OI Way combines professional consultation and support from a Health Coach along with FDA label-approved food and recommended supplements. Depending on the amount of weight loss desired, most patients can expect to be on the program for three months or less.

“With this weight-loss program, we’re advocating a proven and highly-effective solution for our patients. I see many people that feel hopeless about losing weight because they are unable to exercise, their body is literally breaking down and they feel helpless,” McKenzie says. “When we address the original problem about their weight, I believe it will solve other health issues. Patients can come in to achieve not only a solution for their bad joint, but improvement of their overall health. This program is strict but foolproof, if you follow it.”

To schedule an appointment, or for more information about The OI Way, contact a health coach at 605.330.2416 with Orthopedic Institute in Sioux Falls.