StrongBlog

The inventor of the Strongback Chair, our very own Ladd Lougee will be a guest on HomeTalk w/ Michael king – a nationally syndicated radio program and webcast. Ladd will be discussing the unique Strongback solution to posture support and comfort in portable chairs.

Ladd will discuss the history of the Strongback brand and the distinct advantages that these chairs have over traditional camping chairs. and why most of our customers won't ever sit in another conventional portable chair.

Who is the Cajun Contractor?

HomeTalk was co-created and is hosted by Michael King, an experienced, state-licensed general contractor. HomeTalk first aired in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 24, 2004 by news/talk radio station WSMB 1350a.m. HomeTalk discusses many topics and issues concerning home improvements, introduces the consumer to new and innovative products, provides access to industry experts, protects homeowners from consumer fraud, holds the home improvement industry accountable for its business practices, and advocates for a fair and mutual relationship between the consumer and the contractor.


· Michael King is THE most influential person in home improvement media. Source: OrbitzMediaRating
· Michael King was ranked 49th as the most influential personality on radio. Source: OrbitzMediaRating
· Michael King wins the coveted “2011 Radio Talk Show Host of the Year” by the National Radio Association.
· Michael King is the 3rd most recognizable name in the home improvement industry. Source: Apollo Media
· HomeTalk w/ Michael King is the 3rd highest rated self-help show on weekend programming. Source: WebTalk Radio Info
Bite
· www.hometalkusa.com is currently ranked in the top 0.4% of websites. Source: ALEXA

 

You can catch your interview live at www.lifestyletalkradio.com at 10:15 a.m. central time on Saturday June 29th, 2013. Just click at the top left where it says, “Listen Live”.

 Have back problems? Lower back pain? Most lower back problems arise because of sitting too long with an incorrect posture. And most chairs today do not support your lower back properly, so it is hard to sit in front of a desk all day, and keep correct posture.

Strongback chairs are some of the finest chairs that support your lower back while you sit. Use it for camping, hunting, barbeque parties, or even at home or office. Whenever you sit for extended periods of time, you definitely need a chair with lumbar support.

To learn about our products and their features, see our home page.

When you travel, although you are sitting for a great deal of time, you are also moving; you are getting in and out of your seat, into the taxi, on the plane, lifting bags etc. Some movements are easy on your back, others, if done the wrong way, can be a killer. Below I'll discuss a few basic principles of movement to keep a healthy back, that can be used during all parts of your life, not just traveling.

First, lets talk about a type of movement that we all know can be bad for your back - lifting stuff. We have all heard "lift with your legs" or "keep your back straight when you lift things" but what does this really mean? Does it mean you need to keep your back perpendicular to the ground like a tree when lifting something off the floor? No. It simply means do not hunch your spine when lifting. I will use the term straight spine to mean keeping your spine in a non-hunched position, in a straight line from the tip of your head to your tail bone. In the image below this is how you should lift stuff (you can pretend those dumbbells are suitcases…but, unlike below, you should probably where clothes while traveling…although airport security might appreciate the naked gesture because you make their job a little easier). His spine is in a straight and natural position - it is not perpendicular to the floor which can feel awkward, it is about 45 degrees to the floor when he is lifting stuff from the floor but in a straight line from his head to tailbone. This is the strongest position for your spine - when lifting stuff do not slump, hunch, or bend your spine - it is unnecessary and you can hurt yourself. 

 

GOOD lifting and carrying positions:

  (thanks to maxworkouts.com)

Straight back, perpendicular to the floor

 

Straight back, about a 45 degree angle to the floor before rising to a perpendicular position.

 

 

BAD lifting position:


 

Curved spine and under weight - Ouch!




 

 

 
 
 

 

(thanks to danfingerman.com)

 

If you still are not sure how to lift, rest assured, you already know how to do this because you learned it as a toddler. It is basically your jumping position - if you bend your legs a bit and prepare to jump straight up in the air, as high as you can, you will find you are in the above position; your back is straight (not perpendicular), your knees are bent, and your weight is centered over the center of your feet. You are in the strongest position for your body to jump (or lift stuff) as high as possible. Try it out and see - it is a very easy way to remember how to lift properly. 

Other movements: 

In general, with all movements, keeping a spine straight (again, straight does not necessarily mean perpendicular to the ground) and untwisted is the strongest position your back can be in. When getting up out of a chair, out of bed, carrying something, walking, or even playing sports, a straight spine will add strength, ease of movement, and help prevent injury. Even if you have a bad back you can still play sports if your movements are practiced enough to keep a straight spine. For example, in basketball you need move left and right, or pivot on defense - do this by moving your feet and you do not need to twist your spine. Practice keeping a straight spine in all of your movements and it will become second nature so you will no longer have to think about it. 

Does this mean you should never bend or twist your spine? No. Regular and controlled flexing or twisting of the spine for short periods of time can help keep your spine nice and supple and is good for you when done properly (for example see the child pose stretch I mention in Part 2 of this blog series). However, I recommend working personally with a well educated trainer for any exercises involving these actions. If you are ever unsure if a movement is bad for your spine, the safe route is to keep that spine straight. 

Here I am lifting almost 600 pounds over my head. You better believe I am not bending my spine! My straight spine starts at about 45 degrees to get the weight off the ground and then I keep it straight as I rise to perpendicular to the ground - if I were to bend my spine here my comparatively weaker back muscles and discs would collapse!


(OK, this is not really me -  but he does have good lifting technique, however I have a Strongback Chair.)


In the first blog we talked about how to keep your back comfortable while traveling by using back support cushions and getting up and moving around (e.g. on airplanes).  In this blog we will discuss another important thing to do to keep your back comfortable while traveling - stretching.

Keeping your muscles loose and limber is an important aspect to having and maintaining a good back.  And I am talking about more than just stretching your back - it is equally important to keep all of the muscles and tendons that are connected to your back loose too, otherwise your back can be pulled and twisted in uncomfortable ways even when you are just standing.  For example, if your calves are too tight they will pull on your hamstrings which, in turn will pull on your hips, forcing them into an unnatural or off-kilter position, which pulls your lower back in a less than optimum position and can result in back pain.

My 3 favorite stretches (below), which you can easily do anywhere you have some floor space (e.g. hotel room, gym, park, etc.), will keep most of the big muscles that are important for a healthy lower back loose and limber.  When stretching remember to warm up first (move around and get those muscles warm), hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds, don't bounce, focus on a pain-free stretch, and to relax and breathe freely.

(To learn more on the basics of stretching visit this site.

STRETCH 1

Child Pose - this is a very simple and relaxing stretch that comfortably loosens up your lower back - this is especially good after sitting for long periods of time.  Get on your knees, spread them apart about shoulder width, and lean forward stretching your arms out along the floor.  Sink down into the floor, breath easy, and hold it for 60 seconds or so.  Repeat multiple times per day if you like (it feels nice).

stretch 1 

 

STRETCH 2 - Hamstrings and calves

This is my favorite all-round stretch for keeping a healthy back.  Your back on the ground, under no stress, while you get a fantastic hamstring and calf stretch.  To do this stretch lie on your back, keep your lower back flat against the ground, raise one knee up to relax, and use a chord, rope, or rolled towel (or whatever will do the job) to raise your opposite leg up.  Locate the chord toward the ball of your feet and keep your knee straight.  The closer the chord is to the ball of your foot (towards your toes, not the heel) the better calf stretch you will get.  Eventually, you should at least be able to hold  your leg straight and perpendicular to the floor.

 Stretch 2

STRETCH 2 ALTERNATIVE - Hamstrings and calve

If you can't find floor space for stretch 2 (above) you will have to settle for standing up and doing the hamstring stretches.  I usually do these in the middle of a long plane flight in the aisle near the bathroom - sure some people look at me funny but who cares?   (If you like even more attention consider doing these while making a goofy face - people love it!).  Hold one leg straight in front of you and lean over it while bending the other leg slightly at the knee.  While doing these keep your back straight; straight does not mean vertical - in the pose below you can see her back is at an angle of about 45 degrees but is very "straight" from her tail bone through the top of her head.  Also notice her toes are raised to stretch her calf muscle and help stretch the hamstring. 

 

(Note, the first "Stretch 2" is preferred over this "Alternative Stretch 2" because in the first Stretch 2 you have no stress on your back when you are lying down and it is easier to relax your leg muscles.)

 

STRETCH 3 - Quad stretch.

Because you have just stretched the back of your legs now you need to stretch the front of your legs to keep your body, especially your back, in a comfortable balance.  In general, you don't want one side of your body (legs, arms, shoulders, whatever) more tight than the other side of your body or you may have posture problems with pain as a result.  Looser and relaxed in all parts is much better than tight.

 

To do the below stretch simply stand on one foot, using a wall or chair to balance yourself if you need to, and bring your other foot up to your hand and hold it there to stretch your quads.  It is better to grab the top of your foot than your ankle because you get a better stretch on the shin muscles (tibealis anteriors) that are opposite the calves you just stretched. 

Keep doing your stretches and maybe some day you can be like Zlata below? (ouch!  Don't try this1 - ooohhh, it gives me shivers…)


 

Quite possibly the most important thing you can do to maintain a healthy, comfortable, and strong back is to have great core strength.  How to do it on the go?  Be sure to read our upcoming STRONGBLOG - Comfortable back while traveling part 3 -Core Strength.

Since we are all about ergonomic travel chairs we thought an appropriate blog to begin with would be some advice on how to keep a comfortable back while traveling.  There will be several parts, we will begin with sitting in planes trains, automobiles, etc.

Many seats have inadequate lumbar support either because they are old and worn out, not the right size, or the designers were dummies (usually it's the latter - "but duuude, it looks so cooool" - um no, thank you).  Either way, if you are traveling you will often be unable to choose a seat with appropriate lumbar support.  So, instead of being uncomfortable during the trip (and in many cases for days afterwords) I recommend you do 2 things. 

  • Give yourself some lumbar support by placing a cushion behind your lower back.  An extra jacket or sweater will do the trick just as well as bringing along an extra cushion.  And, unlike a cushion, you can wear the jacket when it gets chilly.  Either fold or roll your jacket into a cushion and stick it behind the lumbar area of your back.  You can adjust the size and location to where it is most comfortable.  If your jacket is not substantial enough to give you the support you need try rolling it tightly into a ball and placing it directly behind the part of your lower spine that gives you the most problems.

  • If you can, get up and move around once in a while.  In planes and trains regularly get up, stretch a bit (especially your hamstrings ..more on this later..) , walk, and get that blood flowing in your spine.

Airline Side Note:

It is a challenge for the average American, even thin ones, to get comfortable in today's airline economy seats.  And it may be getting worse!  Check this out:

 

http://www.mcall.com/entertainment/travel/bal-tr-skyrider-airline-seat-pg,0,1215809.photogallery

Are you f!$#@$^@-ing kidding me?  Saddle seats?!  There is only one reason behind airline seating that makes any sense to me - DARK MAGIC (couldn't be money - no one is that greedy).  There is obviously a secret, dark, and magical power behind the airline industry, steering and directing decisions including seating, to their own selfish purposes: elves, gnomes and other diminutive magic creatures are responsible. 

Evidence:

These creatures have influenced the industry to design seats that are made perfectly to fit their tiny stature. 

  • Legroom perfect for a leprechaun but far too small for humans.  Anyone over 6' is knocking their knees against the seat in front of them.
  • Seat width to give a slender little elf lots of room to sprawl and relax but will cause most of us to exhale before entering…especially after that airport burger and fries.
  • Headrest height that allows a gnome to kick back and relax in style.  For a human over 6' tall if you sit up straight the headrest hits you in the shoulders causing a painful slouch and your head to loll around without support.

Do you really believe anyone could run an industry with such recurring incompetence to account for all of the lost baggage, shitty food, or delayed flights?  Please, open your blind muggle eyes!

How exactly these little creatures influence the industry is unknown.  Perhaps they form a majority of passengers and dominate flights that we can't see due to their magic, have a very strong lobbying effort within the industry, pay extravagant amounts from their hordes of treasures (everyone knows leprechauns and dwarves are loaded), or simply use their mysterious magic in ways we don't understand.  But it is happening. 

So what can we do?  Not much.  But if you see a small magical creature in the airport ask them to influence their people to make seats bigger. Or capture them, steal their gold, and buy your own jet.  Good luck.

 

The STRONGBACK Story

Most of us have had an idea or two we thought would make great products.  Few of us try to do it.  I have been a closet inventor for over 10 years until my first success, the STRONGBACK Chair.  Creating, designing and building something original is fun - even more so when you are able to help people while you do it.  Following is the story of how the STRONGBACK Chair evolved.

Ever gotten a sore back using camping chairs for too long?  You are not alone - turns out the majority of people do not find the standard sling-style chairs comfortable.  That's why you see so many people standing around or sitting on the ground with a bunch of empty camping chairs around them.  People just use them because there is no better alternative - until now.  I searched all over the internet and retail stores for any kind of camp chair to relieve my discomfort but I could not find a thing.  This is why I invented the STRONGBACK Chair - superior back support and comfort in a travel chair.  I can sit in my STRONGBACK Chair all day long without any back pain at all.  Normal travel chairs I can sit in for about 5 minutes before I start squirming in discomfort. 

I was sold on the idea for a travel chair with back support when I was camping in the remote Mammoth Lakes area of the California Sierra Nevada Mountains.  After squirming around in my chair in discomfort for the hundredth plus time, failing to get comfortable using cushions,  I asked if anyone else got a sore back in these chairs.  I was very surprised to hear that nearly everyone else, all people in their early thirties, did too.  That was all I needed - when I realized that it wasn't just me, but a common problem with the majority of people, I decided to sink my teeth into it.  I already knew form searvhing the internet that there was not a travel chair with good back support, but unitl this point, I did not know how many people needed one.  I realized that there must be a lot of people out there using travel chairs that are quietly suffering because they do not want to complain about a problem that is often associated with old people - back pain.

So, on the following evenings and weekends I got out my tools, made countless trips to the hardware store and eventually came up with the STRONGBACK design.  My initial vision of the solution to the problem, however, was very different than the final result.  I worked through about 30 prototypes, adjusting and tweaking, before I finally got it right about 1 year later.  Originally I had envisioned a bunch of straps and protrusions but as I kept making the back support more effective it kept getting more simple - a great trend to eventual product success.  All of the old standard chairs are shaped exactly wrong - they are sling style chairs that are neither comfortable nor ergonomically healthy.  Until the STRONGBACK Chair, no one could figure out how to make these sling-style chairs have effective back support without adding too much weight or bulk.  My ultimate solution was to simply reshape the frame and fabric of the chair back and seat so, like an office chair or auto seat, the fabric of the chair conformed to and supported the natural lumbar curve of the human spine. The result was a travel chair that provided comfortable and healthy positive back support while sacrificing none of the ease of use and portability qualities we enjoy in standard travel chairs. 

One really exciting part of the process was attending the Outdoor Retailer Tradeshow in 2009 and watching the excited reactions of the people who sat in my STRONGBACK Chair.  “Wow, this is great” was the common reaction by most who tried it.  I was also amazed at how many people passionately 'hated' the standard sling-style travel chairs.  From there I used my contacts made at the show to shop my chair around to various manufacturers and distributors.  A few months later I signed an exclusive licensing agreement with a well known manufacturer and distributor in the industry. 

I'm excited STRONGBACK Chairs are finally here for the public to use.  I hope everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors a little more comfortably and a little more often. 

Sitting is believing.  Try it out for yourself - our website promises a full money back guarantee if you do not feel our product is the most comfortable and ergonomically healthy travel chair you have ever sat in. 

Get out and stay active!


Hi and thanks for your interest in STRONGBACK Chairs. 

If you have ever been uncomfortable in standard travel sling-style chairs like I was, I promise you will be much happier and more comfortable in a STRONGBACK Chair.  I have even met people who no longer go to outdoor concerts and other events because they cannot get comfortable - that is sad - STRONGBACK can help.

If you are here because you are an entrepreneur looking for a little inspiration I hope I can help here too - you CAN do it.  It just takes patience, perseverance, and time.  Ignore the nay-sayers but do not BS yourself - if your idea is a loser ditch it and focus on something else.  But the key is enjoying it while you do it - that way you are never really wasting your time.

Best of luck!   ~ Ladd

 

 

The STRONGBACK Story

Most of us have had an idea or two we thought would make great products.  Few of us try to do it.  I have been a closet inventor for over 10 years until my first success, the STRONGBACK Chair.  Creating, designing and building something original is fun - even more so when you are able to help people while you do it.  Following is the story of how the STRONGBACK Chair evolved.

Ever gotten a sore back using camping chairs for too long?  You are not alone - turns out the majority of people do not find the standard sling-style chairs comfortable.  That's why you see so many people standing around or sitting on the ground with a bunch of empty camping chairs around them.  People just use them because there is no better alternative - until now.  I searched all over the internet and retail stores for any kind of camp chair to relieve my discomfort but I could not find a thing.  This is why I invented the STRONGBACK Chair - superior back support and comfort in a travel chair.  I can sit in my STRONGBACK Chair all day long without any back pain at all.  Normal travel chairs I can sit in for about 5 minutes before I start squirming in discomfort. 

I was sold on the idea for a travel chair with back support when I was camping in the remote Mammoth Lakes area of the California Sierra Nevada Mountains.  After squirming around in my chair in discomfort for the hundredth plus time, failing to get comfortable using cushions,  I asked if anyone else got a sore back in these chairs.  I was very surprised to hear that nearly everyone else, all people in their early thirties, did too.  That was all I needed - when I realized that it wasn't just me, but a common problem with the majority of people, I decided to sink my teeth into it.  I already knew form searvhing the internet that there was not a travel chair with good back support, but unitl this point, I did not know how many people needed one.  I realized that there must be a lot of people out there using travel chairs that are quietly suffering because they do not want to complain about a problem that is often associated with old people - back pain.

So, on the following evenings and weekends I got out my tools, made countless trips to the hardware store and eventually came up with the STRONGBACK design.  My initial vision of the solution to the problem, however, was very different than the final result.  I worked through about 30 prototypes, adjusting and tweaking, before I finally got it right about 1 year later.  Originally I had envisioned a bunch of straps and protrusions but as I kept making the back support more effective it kept getting more simple - a great trend to eventual product success.  All of the old standard chairs are shaped exactly wrong - they are sling style chairs that are neither comfortable nor ergonomically healthy.  Until the STRONGBACK Chair, no one could figure out how to make these sling-style chairs have effective back support without adding too much weight or bulk.  My ultimate solution was to simply reshape the frame and fabric of the chair back and seat so, like an office chair or auto seat, the fabric of the chair conformed to and supported the natural lumbar curve of the human spine. The result was a travel chair that provided comfortable and healthy positive back support while sacrificing none of the ease of use and portability qualities we enjoy in standard travel chairs. 

One really exciting part of the process was attending the Outdoor Retailer Tradeshow in 2009 and watching the excited reactions of the people who sat in my STRONGBACK Chair.  “Wow, this is great” was the common reaction by most who tried it.  I was also amazed at how many people passionately 'hated' the standard sling-style travel chairs.  From there I used my contacts made at the show to shop my chair around to various manufacturers and distributors.  A few months later I signed an exclusive licensing agreement with a well known manufacturer and distributor in the industry. 

I'm excited STRONGBACK Chairs are finally here for the public to use.  I hope everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors a little more comfortably and a little more often. 

Sitting is believing.  Try it out for yourself - our website promises a full money back guarantee if you do not feel our product is the most comfortable and ergonomically healthy travel chair you have ever sat in. 

Get out and stay active!


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