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

Posts tagged “personal trainer

Exercise Expertise: The Dead Bug

The almighty Dead Bug. It’s a great exercise! Many people are familiar with it, but not everyone implements a sound, logical progression into their routine.

Click on the link below to read my latest post over at! I expand on the Dead Bug exercise and lay out my current progression which covers 28 variations! That’s a lot of dead bugs! 🙂

I will continue to post links here, but as a reminder, I am no longer utilizing this blog as my main site.

Have a terrific Tuesday and keep expanding your exercise experience!

Sarah 🙂



Rippel Effect Fitness

Rippel Effect Fitness

Rippel Effect Fitness is moving! Eventually this site will be redirected. Until then, take a look at the beginnings of the new, content-rich, interactive Rippel Effect Fitness site.

-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!

-Just Freakin’ DO IT!-

When you are compelled to utilize your gifts, experience, and desire for continued growth and learning to help better the lives of others, the worst thing you can do is worry about those who may question your methods. If your methods are safe, sound, rooted in science, work both in theory AND in practice, and serve to restore and fortify one’s health, that’s all that matters!

I am at a turning point in my career where I can no longer stand off in the shadows. It is my responsibility to speak out and do as much as I can to negate the BS that plagues the fitness/nutrition industry. I may be little ol’ me, but I can and will make a difference!

“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard

Here’s a simple way to steer clear of most of the BS:

  • If it is endorsed by a celebrity, it’s garbage.
  • If it is backed by the government, it’s garbage.
  • If it makes lofty promises that get you all excited because it seems too good to be true, it’s garbage.
  • If its “seen on TV” and/or in commercials, it’s garbage.
  • If it comes in a package with a laundry list of ingredients you cannot pronounce, it’s garbage.
  • If it is a trendy fad, it’s garbage.

I could go on and on, but I’m stopping there!

Bottom line:

It is YOUR responsibility to take control of your health. No one else can do it for you. Stop whining about how hard it is to do this or that and JUST DO IT. Would you rather spend your “golden years” gathering bedsores or LIVING? Many of you probably feel pretty yucky right now, and you’re not even old. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT ALREADY!

Sheesh! 🙂

Happy Monday, y’all!