Official Website of Sarah E. Rippel, BS, CPT, FMS


Four years ago, I was doing random stuff that seems to be “cutting edge” right now…quite interesting. 🙂


This is a great exercise if you (or a client) have difficulty with proper lunge execution!  Why?  Well, the band provides assistance as you come up from the lunge.  Also, the extended-arm position places more emphasis on the anterior core.  You will most definitely feel this!  Think about it – a major function of the core is to resist lumbar extension.  The band is applying a pulling force opposite of the lunging motion.  When you return to standing position after each lunge, this force is going to try and take you along with it.  Your body must remain strong and stable in order to resist “giving in” to the band.

Here I am using a 1/2-inch Superband.

Once you have mastered the movement using two arms, try just one!  Extend one arm, keeping it in line with the band, and lunge with the ipsilateral (same side) leg.  Now you’re challenging…

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Want to get in on the Tuesday/Thursday 6PM Boot Camp action?


-Posture & Movement Screening-

Last Tuesday I had a few hours to kill, so I figured I would mock-screen myself. I have a fairly good grasp on what my specific “issues” are, but it never hurts to go through things and encourage some healthy deductive reasoning! I am also working on bullet-proofing my body for the 2013 Tri season, so I am taking on myself as a Rippel Effect client. 🙂

In addition to both static and dynamic postural/movement assessments, I look at gait, and am constantly watching people move in general. The assessment process is an ongoing one. It all comprises the overall picture, and some may feel static postural assessments are a waste of time if one also does movement screening, but I feel that’s baloney!

I like to get as much information as I possibly can on each of my clients. I mean, I am apt to ask you on which side you carry your child or purse, how you typically sit while driving, and how you tend to sleep! If you sit at a desk for eight hours a day, it most definitely will be reflected in your static posture, which if less-than-desireable, will negatively impact the way you move.

It all adds up!

So, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to share my findings with you, in case you’re curious!

Static Anterior:

Supination as compensation
Tibia external rotation
Femur internal rotation
(Under active Lateral Sling; possible tight ITs)
Hip shift L w/slight lift
L upper trap more pronounced

Static Left Lateral:

Ankle neutral
Anterior pelvic tilt
Seems shifted forward
Shoulder protraction

Static Left Lateral OH:

Increased lordosis
Rib cage flare
Less shoulder extension ROM L

Static Left Lateral SL:

Femur flexed to 90
Good alignment

NOTE: findings on R Lateral weren’t much different from L

Static Posterior:

Femur internal rotation & tibia external rotation apparent
R foot slight turnout
L hip higher & rotated clockwise

Static Posterior HOH:

R scapula winging

Static Posterior OH:

L shoulder flexion & adduction more ROM
R erector spinae tone

Static Posterior SL R:

Not aligned
Lateral bend to L
Tight L QL/weak R hip

FMS: 15
(Scored as 0-3 for each of the 7 screens; no major asymmetries, thank goodness!)
Deep Squat – 2 (got to 90, torso parallel to tibia, dowel passed toes)
Hurdle Step – 2 (more stable on R/moving L)
Inline Lunge – 2
Shoulder Mobility – 2 (more ROM L; scored prior)
ASLR – 2 (more ROM R)
Trunk Stability Push-up – 3
Rotary Stability – 2

Decreased activity of Anterior Oblique Sling (L external oblique/R internal oblique/R Add), Posterior Oblique Sling (L lat/TL fascia/R glute max), and Lateral Sling (L QL/R GMed/R Add)
Increased activity of Deep Longitudinal Sling (especially L)

Specific Correction Protocols:
Scapular Positioning
Anterior Pelvic Tilt
Lateral Pelvic Tilt
Limited Shoulder Flexion
R SL Stance
R Scapular Winging:
Limited Shoulder Flexion & Adduction

Strengthen AOS (especially L external oblique/R internal oblique/R Add)
Strengthen POS (especially L lat/TL fascia/R glute max)
Strengthen LS (especially L QL/R GMed/R Add)
Inhibit DLS (especially L)

R GMax
R GMed
R Add
L Lat
L Ext Oblique
R Int Oblique

L Sacrotuberous Ligament
L Biceps Femoris
L Peroneus Longus
L Tib Anterior
R Erector Spinae

The follow-up to this post will focus on my protocols to address my specific issues!

Until then, it pays to know what’s goin’ on with your bod!

-Improved Quality of Movement = Improved Quality of Life-

“We fix the obvious problems others seem to ignore.” – James Dyson, the founder of the vacuum manufacturer Dyson

I am currently re-reading Evan Osar’s most recent book, “Corrective Exercise Solutions to Common Hip and Shoulder Dysfunction.

Why am I re-reading it? Well, because in typical Sarah fashion I initially dove into it and basically “read” it at warp speed. Now I am going back and taking more time to absorb it.


I have been a fan of Osar’s work since 2005, when I first read his articles on PTontheNet.

“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I totally dig Evan Osar and what he has contributed to the educational side of the fitness industry. His attention to movement quality and the importance of proper progression fascinates me. He believes that most of our colleagues are ignoring proper breathing, progressions, and the education, empathy, and empowerment our clients deserve.

“Our job, as well as our challenge as fitness and health care professionals, is to help clients and patients recognize the intimate relationship between how they move and what happens to their body as a direct result of how they move. Regardless of genetics, trauma, disease, past experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and previous learned patterns, we can help our patients and clients create positive changes. This is not to suggest that someone with multiple sclerosis or just having suffered a stroke will ever return to a high level function they had prior to the disease. But it is not up to us to place restrictions or limitations upon them. Our job is to teach and empower them to regain their strength, stability, movement awareness, and confidence so that they can achieve the highest level of function they are able to, given their current state. Empower them to challenge their current level with the faith that the nervous system is capable of so much more than it is often given credit for.” – Evan Osar

Osar states that “while there are many methods, there are only three simple principles that apply to the rehabilitation, training, and/or conditioning of the human movement system.
The principles are: improve respiration, achieve optimal joint centration, and integrate these activities into fundamental movement patterns.”

He further states that “the value and effectiveness of your method is only proportional to the ability of that method to accomplish the three principles while simultaneously reducing the client’s risk of injuring themselves. If your method does this, then it is the best method to use with the client. Please note that I did not say injury prevention, as it is impossible to prevent all injuries. However, the goal is always to reduce the client’s risk by teaching them how to breathe better, improve their ability to centrate, and perform fundamental movement patterns.”

I am going to wrap up this post with some eye-opening statistics Osar listed, stating “the prime focus of this book is to present strategies and techniques that can be utilized to improve human movement. Why the focus on movement?”

• The United States spends approximately $2.1 trillion on health care each year or 16% of its gross domestic product. This is, by far, greater than any of the other developed countries, yet the United States ranks 50th out of 224 countries in life expectancy.

• Americans spend approximately $216 billion on prescription medications every year – a large majority of this cost is related to treating musculoskeletal symptoms.

• Arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions are cited as the most common causes of chronic disabilities in working age adults. While there are only approximately 18 cases out of every 1,000 persons between the ages of 18 and 44, the number of individuals experiencing these conditions rises remarkably to 56 between the ages of 45 and 54, and to 99 for those between the ages of 55 and 64.

• There are nearly 157 million visits to doctor’s offices for musculoskeletal conditions at a cost of $215 billion per year.

• The obesity rate for individuals between 18 and 64 years of age has more than doubled in the period 1971 to 2005.

And if you think this epidemic is limited to just adults, check out these statistics on the state of the health of our children:

• Nearly half of all injuries in children participating in sports are the direct result of overuse, and the majority of these occurred not while they were playing their sport but rather while they were at practice.

• According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System for the year 2001, there were approximately 14,000 injuries related to football. While this makes sense because of the aggressive and contact-nature of the sport, there were almost 700,000 injuries in basketball.

• There has been a 150% increase in physical education class injuries between the years of 1997 and 2007, with most of these being sprain/strain-type injuries. • Nearly one-third of children are obese.

In closing, I leave you with this:

“Our society is moving from production and manufacturing that was representative of the United States economy at the turn of the 20th century, to a predominantly service-driven economy in the 21st century that is characterized by more time sitting in front of a computer, in meetings, or on the phone. Coupled with increasing technology and automation that further limits how much we need to move, together with a nutrient-depleted, overly processed, and genetically-modified diet, this creates a human architecture that is far from capable of handling any increases in demands that may be imposed upon it.” – Evan Osar

See why I dig him?! 🙂

-Holiday Specials!-


Tis the season to be jolly…NOT to pack on the pounds and be lazy!

Being the generous person that I am, I am happy to announce that I am offering some amazingly good fitness cheer!

Current clients get bonus workouts and new clients get a discount!

Also, your initial fitness assessment & positive-brainwashing (lol) is FREE until 2013!

Can’t think of the perfect gift for someone special on your list? Problem solved!

Contact me for more info –

-Sarah’s Soapbox: Fitness Assessments-


Currently, there seems to be this battle going on in the fitness industry (big surprise there, lol). Some people seem to be overly-emphasizing corrective exercise and assessment, while others at the opposite end of the spectrum are saying it’s hogwash.

In true fitness industry fashion, too many people blindly adhere to a guru’s school of thought, while a few “renegades” diss it (some without having done much research, others probably just to draw attention). Furthermore, social media has enabled everyone to become an expert.

Those of us who do not profess to be renegades for the attention, nor sheep who cannot think for themselves seem to fall into the middle of the fitness professional spectrum. Here we somewhat-quietly conduct our own research via working with our clients and applying the methods of those we respect.

The result is a synergy of approaches, in essence, our own unique training methodologies…each a unique shade of grey.

I feel that the thought processes of those at either end of the fitness professional spectrum are flat-out ignorant. Nothing in life is black nor white, and to utilize such an approach is limiting to one’s personal and professional growth, as well as the lives they touch.

The FMS (Functional Movement Screen) has become one of the major whipping boys of this debate. Some want research proving that it is effective. There is no research proving that it is not effective, nor any stating that it is not safe. To be honest, I do not feel that there could be a realistic study focused on the FMS in the first place. This is one of those instances where I feel that “in the trenches research” may be more convincing.

The FMS is a tool. It doesn’t cure cancer, create the best athletes, or allow anyone to become a personal training genius.

The FMS does, however, allow the fitness professional to provide a simple, standardized method of screening movement. This is more than 80% of personal trainers/group fitness systems do out there in the real world!

It has most definitely impacted my programming in a positive manner. Do I need scientific proof to back this up, or is the fact that I am able to more effectively prescribe exercises for my clients sufficient?

Here’s my $0.02 on fitness assessments:

They are an essential part of establishing a baseline for a client’s fitness program.

If you’re skipping this important part of the process, you’re crazy.

You wouldn’t seek the help of an MD when you have the chills and are throwing up all over the place, and then take their advice if they didn’t perform some sort of test, would you?

Obviously we are always assessing clients when they are training with us. That should be a given.

The initial assessment DOES NOT diagnose anything (we are not MDs), nor does it allow us to accurately pinpoint specific issues, but it DOES allow us to devise a strategy to safely troubleshoot a client’s postural/movement/strength/whatever discrepancies.

The initial assessment gives us the ability to narrow down the possible reasons for any issues and subsequently formulate a plan of action to minimize them.

It gives the client an ongoing measure of their progress and gives the fitness professional a list of checkpoints for each client.

The information gathered in the initial assessment serves as a reference for those who wish to progress their clients safely and effectively towards their goals.

My career as a fitness professional began in 1995. I started my clients’ programs with an initial assessment back then, and I do not see any reason why this should change. My protocol has morphed over the years (I no longer have clients perform the 1-min crunches and sit & reach, for obvious reasons), but the idea of starting a client’s program without an assessment? Ludicrous!

-Comprehensive & Complementary Fitness Evaluation!-

If you are interested in a comprehensive fitness evaluation, please drop me a line!

Evaluation includes (but is not limited to):
Postural assessment
Movement screening
Range of motion testing
Simple gait analysis
Baseline strength/endurance testing

The assessment will be based on your goals/sport.


Why not get a head start on the 2013 race season and/or your New Year’s resolutions?

Oh, and I guess I should mention that I am providing all of this for free for a limited time, out of the goodness of my heart!

Email me now to schedule an appointment!