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…..and not a Kegel in Sight! MODERN Pelvic Floor Exercise

16 May

By:  Jenny Burrell BSc (Hons), Pre/Post Natal Exercise Specialist & Founder of Burrell Education (

OK ,the gig is finally up on ONLY performing Kegels to re-activate and  re-condition the Pelvic Floor!  Don’t get me wrong, after giving birth when the musculature, nerve and blood supply, fascia and ligaments of the Pelvic Floor and Pelvic Basin have undergone significant trauma or at the very least, have been stretched by carrying the weight of a growing baby,  Kegels are a vital tool.  In the every early days after vaginal birthing and C-Section, performing Kegels can provide a lifeline to knowing that you are still in one piece!  Also, performing Kegels for both the anterior, mid and posterior muscles of the PF assist with healing, bringing nutrient –rich blood and healing agents to wounded tissue.   And still after the acute trauma phase has passed these muscle contractions can still help to recondition the PF and restore function.  But there comes a point when Kegels are not really ‘functional’ – ie., preparing the mom for real life, after all…..afterall, who pees themselves when they are stood still?  It’s usually during movement and an increase in intra-abdominal pressure that the PF fails and urinary incontinence is experienced.  So, introducing  MODERN MOVEMENT-BASED PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISE, spearheaded by forward-thinkers such as Eric Franklin and many other specialists in this field across the pond.

Any Pre/Post Health & Fitness Specialist worth his/her salt now knows that the PF muscles respond much more to a host of functional movements such as squatting, lunging, hopping, moving in multiple planes, gravity and vibration.  Here are some tested functional movements and the microvolt reading (electrical potential of the PF muscles as contraction occurs) versus Kegels.  (These were measured using a vaginal probe).   I think you’ll find them pretty impressive!  NB these exercises were performed without adding either conscious TVA activation or a Kegel contraction!

Kegel vs Movement – EMG Testing Summary

Exercise Name

Maximum uV



Wide squat


Transverse step into squat off a low platform


Low Level Jumping


Supine bridge with resisted abduction (resistance band around knees)


Wide stance sumo deadlifts with resistance band


Table 1: (Reproduced with Permission) :  Kegels vs Functional Exercise EMG Study
–  Jenny Burrell, Louise Dear, Stephen Powell, Phil Nourse,  2011.

So,  in short, the Pelvic Floor LOVES MOVEMENT!  When the time is right and your mommy is out of her acute phase (and been given the goahead by her HCP to exercise – she must have had her 6 week check!) You need to get her squatting, lunging and moving in multiple planes – where appropriate.  You need to get her working her PF against gravity (start with mini hops on an empty bladder), introduce her to vibration (Power Plate or Flexi-Bars are both awesome tools for whole body vibration that includes the Pelvic Floor) and give simple adduction, abduction and pelvic tilting exercises as homework (great for when watching her favourite soap).

So Trainers!!!!  Let’s get those mommies moving for real-life solution to a real-life problem.  They’ll thank you forever.  Remember, it’s all about more laughs and less leaks!  Incidentally if your client base includes the post menopausal woman, this information is just as applicable!

Remember, keep it passionate, mediocrity is a sin!

Want to find out more about MODERN MOVEMENT BASED PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISE, attend the Burrell Education Modern Post Natal Assessment and Exercise Prescription  Course
worth 16 REPs CPD points

Visit:  for full details.


Eat Like a Dog And Stay Slim!

5 May

By Jenny Burrell BSc (Hons), Founder of Burrell Education, Specialist For Pregnancy and Post Natal Fitness & Therapy, London, UK.

That title got your attention didn’t it!

In a time when everyone is obsessed with restricting, it’s almost akin to swearing in church to advocate eating more, but that’s not quite what I meant….I meant, eat like MY DOG – PRINCESS POPPY!

It’s a Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, and as my body and brain is in non-work mode, I thought I’d do a ‘light’ post without all the latin and facts and absoultely nothing to do with Pregnancy and Post Natal, so here goes…….

I do believe that dear Poppy has greater emotional and literal intelligence than most human beings….and all the dog owners out there know what I mean here… this is the regime she employs to keep her figure:

1.  She employs INTERMITTENT FASTING, somedays she eats masses, somedays not much at all.

2.  Poppy always drinks her water, all day long.

3.   Poppy doesn’t eat sweet things, processed food, trans fats or anything rubbish – just high class OPTIMUM NUTRITION dog food.

4.  Oddly for a dog, she loves fish!  A bit of smoked salmon goes down very well 🙂

5.  She rests, lols around and sleeps most of the day in the comfiest spot in the house – some posh furry cushions ON MY BED!

6.  She takes formal exercise 3 times a day and is always gagging for it, if I just mention the word OUT and she’s on my heels til we head out.

7.  When on the lead, she heads off at a pace, employing the POWER WALKING STRATEGY.

8.  When released from her lead she bombs around the park for 20 mins employing the HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING STRATEGY.

9.  Nevermind 8 hours sleep, I’m sure she’s on more like 14!  Truly and obviously obeying her CIRCADIAN RYTHMNS!

10.  She is friendly, outgoing, extremely good natured and likes EVERYONE! She therefore is welcomed everywhere she goes and is always treated well by humans and her other doggy pals – OBVIOUSLY HAS VERY GOOD SELF-ESTEEM.

11.  She is never angry, growly or bitey…..unless you are the postman…..what is that?

12.  She has high emotional intelligence ie.,  shifts very quickly when I start swearing and stays very very close when I cry.

13.  She only gets stressed when little children are around…she is scared of them for some reason!  If they are in the park when she arrives, she turns around to leave.  A perfect demonstration of knowing what’s good for her and walking away from things that aren’t.  I BET HER CORTISOL ISN’T VERY HIGH!

14.  She accepts all kind words and deeds offered graciously – tail wags when you praise her and you could easily get a numb arm just sitting there rubbing her belly for over an hour 🙂 SHE OBVIOUSLY HAS  HIGH SELF-WORTH!

15.  Finally, she hates going in the car!!!! Just pure organic walking for this simple girl.

Hhmmmm….so back to the title, don’t you agree – EAT, REST AND LIVE like Poppy and we’ve got it licked!

Passionate About Pregnancy & Post Natal Health & Fitness Education FOREVER! 

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How to Create an Awesome Pregnancy and Post Natal Massage Service

3 May

By Jenny Burrell BSc (Hons), Founder of Burrell Education, Specialist For Pregnancy and Post Natal Fitness & Therapy, London, UK.

I began my massage journey nearly a decade ago studying for the ITEC Holistic Massage Certification and as soon as I began my studies, something just clicked.  For me, the skin-to-skin element of using massage and other hands-on bodywork techniques to connect with and help my Pre/Post clients seemed to be the perfect way to compliment the physical expenditure of one-to-one fitness training.

As a Pregnancy and Post Natal Fitness Specialist, my goal was always to progress onto deeper levels of study that would specifically empower me to help my Pre/Post clients and after embarking on  further study at  North London School of Sports Massage and other top London massage schools, I finally had the skills that could be honed into helping my own niche client base.

Fast forward 7 years and thanks to the support of Susan and the team at NLSSM, I created and now tutor their 2-Day CPD offering.

Next 2 Day CPD Course Date: Saturday/Sunday 19th & 20th May, 2012.

If you are a certified Massage Therapist wanting to extend your offerings to help the Pre/Post Natal client or a fitness professional with Pre/Post Natal clients and a massage qualification, this weekend CPD course will give you a ready-to-go, entire skill-set to help you create a stand-out service that will keep clients coming back time-after-time and keep them referring for you.

If you have any knowledge at all of the rigours of Pregnancy,  you’ll know that the myofascial and skeletal system is put under immense duress and undergoes a complete transformation in terms of function.  This dysfunction usually leads to soft tissue discomfort and pain, most of which can be alleviated by massage therapy and bodywork.  You’ll find that Pre/Post Natal clients will be some of your most grateful customers.

Typical Pregnancy Into Post Natal Period Posture (Client at 17 Weeks Post Birth)

The Top 20 Areas Where The Pregnant/ Post Natal Client May Have Pain and Discomfort & Why?

  1. QL’s – the anterior tilted pelvis causes shortening
  2. Lats – the anterior tilted pelvis causes shortening and scapular abduction causes length tension
  3. Intercostals – breathing patterns change as the ever-growing baby demands more space causing further rib flaring
  4. ITB (Origin and Insertion) – changes to posture and biomechanics may cause pain
  5. Quads – tightness in attachments at both the hip and knee
  6. Calves – changes in plantarfascia reflected further up the myofascial chain
  7. Plantar Fascia  – changes to tension due to dramatic increase in weight biomechanics
  8. Biceps – creeping scapular abduction closing down anterior musculature – breastfeeding and ADLs all contribute
  9. Anterior Delts – creeping scapular abduction closing down anterior musculature – breastfeeding and ADLs all contribute
  10. Pectorals – creeping scapular abduction closing down anterior musculature – breastfeeding and ADLs all contribute
  11. Rhomboids – creeping scapular abduction causing length tension – breastfeeding and ADLs all contribute
  12. Upper Traps – forward head posture due to change in weight/size and centre of gravity causes forward head posture and associated changes in tension of neck and shoulder musculature
  13. Levator Scapulae – forward head posture draws origin away from insertion causing length tension
  14. Sub Occipital Region – see above
  15. Platsyma –forward head posture causes length tension in the anterior neck
  16. Erector Spinae & Lumbar Region – increased lumbar lordosis and lack of exercise in this area causes shortening and dysfunction
  17. C- Section Scar Tissue –  Valuable work can be done to educate and instruct client to self-administer gentle massage to help avoid the build-up of restrictive scar tissue
  18. Tibialis Anterior – change in posture and biomechanics of the foot can be reflected in the anterior aspect of the lower leg
  19. Carpal Tunnel – fluid retention affects passage of nerve impulses through Carpal Tunnel, massage can aid dispersion of fluid build-up.
  20. Piriformis Pain – anterior tilted pelvis, everted foot fall and weakening of anterior Pelvic Floor muscles all contribute to increased tension and shortening.

Techniques You’ll Learn Over the Weekend

  1. How to address ALL  of the above areas and issues! Applying a suitable strategy specific to client’s needs.
  2. How to position and massage the Pregnant client – elevated supine, side-lying supported by bolsters.
  3. How to position and massage the Post Natal client – especially after C-Section.
  4. How to use a sheet for draping the client instead of towels.
  5. How to modify the traditional massage strokes, when the client is in the side-lying position.
  6. You’ll learn or polish your Soft Tissue Release (STR) skills.  (Shorten, LOCK target tissue, move to lengthen away from the direction of the LOCK’).  STR is so flexible that is can be used on all of the 20 listed areas above.
  7. Appropriate Contract/Relax Methods
  8. Therapist applied Myofascial Release using small foam rollers
  9. Simple Acupressure for the Post Natal Period
  10. Learning and teaching C-Section scar massage to the Post Natal client
  11. Which massage mediums are safest and most effective during the Pre/Post periods
  12. How to create a welcoming and nurturing environment for your clients
  13. How to Attract, Retain and Gain Referrals
  14. How to offer a polished, second-to-none STAND-OUT service – EVERYTIME!

What You Take Home

1.  A 2-day, paradigm-shifting educational experience that will help you hone your instinctive skills to serve a brand new additional client group
2.  A 100+ page fully illustrated and referenced manual
3.  Bonus client information on Pelvic Floor exercise and Pre/Post Natal Specific Mobilization and Stretching

4.  The skills to start your brand new business venture
5.  My personal business blueprint for creating an awesome service that will ensure you ATTRACT, SERVE AND RETAIN happy clients for years and years to come.

How to Reserve Your Place!

Contact Cassandra at NLSSM to book your place ( class size is limited to 10 participants, so be quick!)

Passionate About Pregnancy & Post Natal Health & Fitness Education FOREVER! 

Connect With Me on FACEBOOK and Twitter

10 Books For An Awesome Mindset!

2 May

 By Jenny Burrell BSc (Hons), Founder of Burrell Education, Specialist For Pregnancy and Post Natal Fitness & Therapy, London, UK.

1.  Gary Zukav – The Seat of the Soul – Deep, deep, deep – like a spiritual punch in the head.  Mr. Zukav will rock your tiny world.  Tough spirtual love but on the money every time.

2.  Steering by Starlight – Martha Beck – stuck in a rut? Get quiet! Simple!  :-)) Then get busy doing what the hell you came here to do!!!!!!!!  Martha holds no punches.  The book is full of gems that will guide you to a kick ass life if you are prepared to go through the ‘ring of fire’.

3.  Age of Miracles – Marianne Williamson – Unashamedly women’s business!!!!!!! Especially if you’re over 40!  You know who you are 🙂

4.  Broken Open – Elizabeth Lesser – ooooooooh this will make you cry, cause that’s what you do when you’re broken down and lose the ‘game face’.

5.  Practicing the Power Of Now – Eckhart Tolle – Anything by this man is gold. DEEP and profound.  A real life changer.

6.  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey – foundation text by the father of ‘get your ass in gear’…with love.

7.  Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill – always think ‘shame about the title’ – gives a false impression.  Written in the 1920’s and still as relevant as ever.  The truth never changes.

8.  10 Spiritual Principles of Successful Women – Victoria Lowe – found this in an airport bookshop in Chicago when I was en route to the home of Oprah, how apt.  Honest and inspiring text.

9.   Life with Full Attention- Maitreyabandhu – a Bhuddism inspired text that just stops you in your tracks and insists you create PEACE AND STILLNESS in your life DAILY!!!!! Amen.

10.  A Thousand Names for Joy – Byron Katie – Ms Katie is peace personified – her quote ‘Happiness is a quiet mind’ is a personal mantra.  De-junk your life on every level  -PEOPLE, PLACES AND THINGS and keep it simple, simple, simple. – Passionate About Pregnancy & Post Natal Health & Fitness Education FOREVER! 


Nutrient Content of Coconut Water Versus Gatorade

6 Apr

By Jenny Burrell BSc (Hons), Founder of Burrell Education, Specialist For Pregnancy and Post Natal Fitness & Therapy, London, UK.

Nutrient Content of Coconut Water Versus Gatorade

As a huge fan of Bikram Yoga, I first came across avid consumption of coconut water after attending the extremely dehyrating classes and of course I needed to know why it was considered such an exlir ;-).  I am a self-confessed science nerd!  In his awesome book, Superfoods, David Wolf (did you see him on the viral documentary about food & nutrition recently?) gives an amusing demonstration of the power of keeping it natural when considering your hyration and recovery drinks after strenuous exercise.  I think the case for making the ‘natural choice’ is made pretty clear here!  Anyway, I NEVER trusted those blue energy drinks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Coconut Water

Sugar g 5.33 3.71
Dietary Fibre g 0 1.1
Calcium mg 1 24
Iron mg 0.20 0.29
Magnesium mg 1 25
Phosphorus mg 9 20
Potassium mg 14 250
Sodium mg 39 105
Zinc mg 0.26 0.10
Copper mg 0.25 0.04
Manganese mg 0.05 0.142
Selenium mcg 0.0 1
Fluoride mcg 34 Trace
Vitamin C mg 0.4 2.4
Thiamin mg 0.011 0.030
Niacin mg 0.22 0.08
Pantothenic Acid mg 0.055 0.043
Vitamin B6 mg 0.022 0.032
Folate mcg 0.0 3
Amino Acids (Building Blocks of Protein) mg 0.0 785

Adapted from: Superfoods by David Wolf – North Atlantic Books 2009. – Passionate About Pregnancy & Post Natal Health & Fitness Education FOREVER! 

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My Top 2 EASY Social Media Books and More

4 Apr

By Jenny Burrell BSc (Hons), Founder of Burrell Education, Specialist For Pregnancy and Post Natal Fitness & Therapy, London, UK.

PS., I’m reblogging this post as I am fairly pleased with myself 🙂 My intention at the beginning of the year was to blog and read more…I’ve published 40 blogs so far so feel like I’ve been successful at establishing a habit.  Actually it does get easier once you get into a groove.  I remember listening to some good advice on an audio book while walking the dog and the author said – YOU’VE GOT TO BE ADDING SOMETHING VALUABLE TO THE CONVERSATION…..I hope I am !

PPS., If you use WordPress like me, I hope you know that you can schedule a whole week of blogs at once or on a Sunday night like I did this week and take the strain out of staying connected!

Happy New Year to you all!!!  Super stoked to start 2012!  In great health at last and with a head and heart full of energy for our brilliant profession and all the plans that I have for this brand new year.  So without further ado, I’ll tick off two daily jobs on my NEW YEARS RESOLUTION LIST…..READ DAILY & BLOG MORE! Voila!

Oooh it comes to us all!!!  Nevermind just being on Facebook and Twitter, I really needed to understand how they worked and how to maximise social media prescence without wasting time staring at various screens for the best part of the day so I did a little research and found the first two  books, both are awesome as explaining the ‘HOW TO DO’ and the ‘WHY’ and how to knit it all together time-efficiently.

Then stumbled across this little gem and literally ready it in one sitting then started again!!!  Perfect for these fiscally conscious time, I’m loving austerity, being creative and seeing how far a little brain power combined with elbow grease gets me ;-).

Lastly, fresh back from South America and having drunk Acai slush puppies in Brazil and felt crazy gooooood and smuggled home fresh Maca powder from Cusco. I’m re-reading this little gem and I’ve gotten busy making my OWN GREEN DRINK POWDER with great results.  I’ll blog my recipe shortly.  (I did, it’s in the archive)

Keep it passionate and remember, mediocrity is a sin!  Go BOLD or GO HOME!

Jenny X

Train Women? Read These Books!

4 Apr

By Jenny Burrell BSc (Hons), Founder of Burrell Education, Specialist For Pregnancy and Post Natal Fitness & Therapy Education, London, UK.

1. Fat Around the Middle – Marilyn Glenville – easy to read and understand. Great for clients who really need to get the message that STRESS is making and keeping them fat!

2.  The Female Body Breakthrough – Rachel Cosgrove – a kick ass text, she tells it how it is and shows you how to get blinding results from pretty easy to do changes in nutrition and beefing up your workouts (not so easy:-) – a personal favourite.

3.  From Belly Fat to Belly Flat – Dr CW Randolph – great if you have clients who are pre or currently menopausal and just can’t seem to shift the fat, especially from around their mid-section.  Some tough love here but I guess the mantra is ‘want something different, got to DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!  I personally, followed this book to help me with my Oestrogen dominance issues.

4.  Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom – Dr. Christianne Northrup – my ‘women’s business’ bible!  Even Oprah has a copy permanently by her bedside.  If you train women, get this!!!!!

5.  Pregnancy & Childbirth – A Holistic Approach to Massage and Bodywork – Suzanne Yates – I studies with Suzanne and was massively inspired.  A beautiful, sentient book, my bodywork bible.

6.  Anatomy and Physiology for Midwives – Coad with Dunstall – one of the major texts on the reading list for student midwives in the UK.  Heavy on the science but what did you expect? 😉

7.  Optimum Nutrition, Before, During and After Pregnancy – Patrick Holford – Does what it says on the tin from the ever-on-it Mr. Holford.

8.  Fitness for the Pelvic Floor – Beate Carriere – Foundation text.  Period! (Pardon the pun!)

9.  The Metabolic Effect Diet – Jade & Keoni Teta – BIG, BIG SCIENCE MADE SIMPLE!  The Teta brothers rock!  Got stubborn fat all of a sudden?  They’ll help you understand what’s going on and fix it, dramatically!

10.  Balancing Hormones Naturally – Kate Neil & Patrick Holford – Again, does what it says on the tin.  Great advcie and strategies for regaining endocrine balance.

Passionate Pregnancy & Post Natal Health, Fitness & Therapy Education – FOREVER!

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