Progression to a Pull-Up

Let’s talk about pull-ups! Pull-ups are a great exercise to target upper body strength. The pull-up recruits the following muscle groups:

  • Lats
  • Biceps
  • Traps
  • Deltoids
  • Pecs
  • Teres Major Muscle

Pull-ups, however, are a very challenging exercise. These muscle groups will only be targeted correctly, avoiding injury, if the correct technique is applied.

Our PT, Katy, has provided a pull-up progression sequence to follow to work up to the pull-up movement!


Scapular row: With a resistance band and arms straight forward, pull the band towards the body with elbows close to your side. Squeeze shoulder blades together.


Ring row: At a slight incline with arms near full extension, full body towards rings while squeezing shoulder blades together.



Inverted bar row: While under bar at a slight angle, pull body towards bar while squeezing shoulder blades together.



Scapular pull up: While hanging from pull up bar, squeeze shoulder blades together and down, just slightly pulling yourself up from the ground



Resistance band pull up: With a resistance band on your foot, complete pull up while still squeezing shoulder blade together and down



Pull up: Complete pull up while still squeezing shoulder blade together and down



Happy Pulling!!


Progression of a Push-Up from UBE!

The push up is one of the most basic body-weight activities for strength and endurance. Push-ups target the pectorals (muscles in your chest), triceps (back of your arm), and scapulae and anterior deltoid (shoulders).
While starting with a basic push-up can be daunting to some, there are many different variations and hand placements that can be used to progress towards a basic push up.


Wall push-ups: Performed against a wall. To find the starting position, stand away from the wall and extend your arms in front of you till the tips of your fingers come in contact with the wall. If you find the exercise too hard, come a little closer to the wall.

Incline push-up: Look for a place where your incline can be halfway between the wall and the floor (45-degree incline); the steeper the incline the easier the exercise

Resisted kneeling push-up: with a resistance band around your hips and anchored on something steady above, complete push up while kneeling.

Kneeling push-up: keeping back straight and knees on the floor and hands below shoulder, start bending at the elbows until chest is almost touching the floor.

Regular resisted push-up: with a resistance band around your hips and anchored on something steady above, complete push up with back straight and feet about hip width apart.

Basic push-up: keeping back straight and feet on the floor about hip width apart and hands below shoulder, start bending at the elbows until chest is almost touching the floor.



Celebrate small wins!


Robin Sharma once said,

“5 small wins a day leads to 1,850 wins in 12 months. Consistency breeds mastery.”

Being defeated is not an easy task for anyone. Being defeated by your own body?! Undeniably awful. We’ve all been there, either big or small. But I think most of us can also say we have overcome the defeat. Overcoming doesn’t have to mean you’re back to your old 100%, maybe you adapted and you’re at your new 100%! Now think back to your journey of overcoming the defeat, did you give yourself credit where credit was due? Did you celebrate ALL of your wins in that journey.

At UBE we like to celebrate any and all wins! It’s important for us to work alongside you to listen to your body and adapt to whatever it may need. During the course of a patient’s care, our therapists will evaluate frequently and may continually adjust a treatment plan in order to challenge the patient and improve their condition. With Physical Therapy, a small win will eventually lead to functional movements that you are able to see and feel.

Wins that we are seeing as “small“, are wins that our bodies worked so hard to accomplish. Think of how much you could accomplish with 1,850 wins!!! As the new year keeps rolling in, let’s celebrate together ALL that we accomplish!

P.S A win, is a win, is a win!!!

Modification is key!

180725-Z-SE977-8043_1.jpgYou should never feel bad about modifying a workout! If the anticipation of having to modify a workout or movement is keeping you from the gym – let’s step back and take a look at the bigger picture!

When the ultimate plan is to get stronger, we all have to start somewhere! And to start now, you have to start with the exercise that you CAN do now…and I promise you will progress from there. You can’t get to that desired movement by avoiding it all together…

UBE strives for your success, and we will work with you to modify ANY workout or movement for you! Sometimes getting back to the basics is what’s best anyways. Correctly executing a modified version of an exercise can lead you to perfect form when you advance to the next level! This will leave the “sloppy” form behind and also prevent potential injury.

But….if an injury does happen, don’t worry, we can help with that too!

Don’t let an injury hold you back! UBE is well-versed in modifying movements to avoid aggravating your injury, and alternatively implementing exercises to strengthen muscles to promote healing of your injury. Having Physical Therapists close by in our gym lets us bounce off some ideas to make sure we are providing you information to best benefit you!

So don’t let being afraid or embarrassed by modification keep you from coming to the gym! Modification is a key component in some strength programs. Long story short…that push up is within your reach!!

Foam Rolling: What are we actually doing?

It is now commonplace to see various tools at the gym to improve muscle length and tone, with foam rollers and lacrosse balls being the most prevalent. These tools are used to improve the mobility of the muscle tissue that you are targeting, typically before and after your workout, aiming to reduce muscle or joint pain.

There is not a lot of research to support that you are stretching the fascia, but what you may be doing is improving the muscle quality underneath the fascia if there is what is known as a trigger point or more commonly referred to as a muscle “knot”. Fascia is designed to be resilient to tensile stress, and therefore, does not respond to stretching. A trigger point is a taut band of muscle located within a larger muscle and may be tender to touch, although they don’t have to be. Normal muscle won’t have trigger points and will not exhibit the same tenderness.

The pain associated with trigger points is caused by the release of various chemicals that occur with tissue damage. Strength training will cause small microtears in the muscle, and this damage time after time can develop knots in the muscle and cause subsequent pain. Knots in the muscle can occur for a variety of reasons whether it is trauma, illness, inactivity, or from your workouts. When there are several trigger points within the larger muscle it can affect the tension on the surrounding joints. As you can imagine, if there are multiple trigger points in the muscle, the muscle is effectively shorter, thereby pulling more at the joint.


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So, when you are foam rolling, for example, you are not actually stretching the fascia, however, you are manipulating the tissue to make it more malleable in order to address the muscle knot. Adding sustained pressure to these trigger points can cause a release of these chemicals, improve the underlying tissue length and thereby improve your pain. Therapeutically, it would be beneficial to address both of these concepts. Generally speaking, spending two minutes per muscle region is ideal, both rolling up and down the muscle, but sustaining a hold on the tender areas of the muscle. Rolling before your workout is a good idea to improve the muscle length of the muscles that you intend to work to optimize function, and then roll or mash again after your workout so that the muscle is better able to repair without developing trigger points.
It is important to remember that this mobility work will be uncomfortable at first and that it is uncomfortable because there is dysfunction. However, consistency is the key and the more you perform your mobility work the less uncomfortable it will become.


– Cat, PT, DPT

End of the deductible year is fast approaching!


As the end of the year approaches we wanted to remind you about your healthcare insurance to make sure you get the most out of your benefits.
Most health insurance deductibles will reset to $0 at the beginning of every calendar year. Just a quick reminder, a deductible is the amount you are responsible for before your insurance company will start paying healthcare bills.
We wanted to make sure you are maximizing your health plan as the end of the deductible year is fast approaching.
For those who have met or almost met your deductible, most insurance plans will reset at the beginning of the calendar year, meaning in just a few weeks your deductible will reset back to 0. If this is you, it is wise to consider coming in to see us to take care of that nagging injury you’ve been putting off before the New Year comes!
There are also some things to be aware of if you have FSA. If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) through your employer, don’t forget this is on a ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ terms. Funds from this account will not roll over from year-to-year.
A final reminder is that being pre-emptive with your health is just as important has being pre-emptive with your money. So, as 2018 comes to an end take care of yourself and use all your health care benefits available to you to keep in good health. UBE is here to help with any insurance questions you may have or to get you in to see our Therapist to take care of that nagging injury! You can reach our office on (207) 992-4000 and also find us on the web at

Who’s your workout partner?



This week we wanted to turn the focus of the blog to fitness! And the only thing better than fitness is fitness with a friend. So, I asked UBE employees, “If you could workout with anyone in the world who would it be and why?” and this is how they answered:


Cat: Schaeffer Grierson – Bangor renowned personal training superstar

Will: Kai Taylor, my favorite athlete

Schaeffer: Dirk Nowitzki

He has a hard work ethic, and believes in putting in the work to get the results. He is dedicated to his teammates and his city and has been since joining the NBA. I believe his qualities in both his personal life and work life are something to admire.


Jemily: If there were one person I’d train with it would have to be Stefi Cohen. She currently is a doctor in physical therapy; a 20x all time record holder, and a businesswoman all at the age of 24.

Not to mention she is now one of the strongest female power lifters in the world, with a deadlift that surpasses 4x her body weight. She was able to lift 525lbs for a deadlift with straps at a 125lb body weight and just had her best deadlift performance of 507lbs in competition.

Not only does she work on the big three lifts, but her background as a physical therapist and certified CSCS coach gives her insight on important rehabilitation movements to focus on and how to train your body for optimal recovery and performance all across the board.

Personally, I (Mollie) would choose my mom, and I am fortunate enough to do just that everyday! I like working out with her because she’s not afraid to push me..and she always tells me how strong I am (moms always right, right?!).

We’ve all either experienced or seen it happen before, pushing through that last set of burpees, hitting that last rep on the squat, or simply working out with a smile. According to recent scientific studies, working out with a buddy increases the effectiveness of your workout. A Michigan State University researcher actually did a study that resulted in a 90% (NINETY) increase in the participant’s performance when working alongside a partner.

As these cold months move in and the idea of getting in to the gym seems to be a little further away than usual, phone a friend. Alternatively, check in on your buddy! As human beings, accountability and peer pressure work their magic on us, let this work in a good way. And if your buddy can’t make it one day, no sweat, UBE trainers are usually pretty good company!! We always accept “phone a friend” calls, so call or stop in anytime!

Hope to see you soon.

Stay strong, Mollie

Physical Therapy at the Gym

The UBE gym has a very unique addition to the gym that many other gyms are lacking; a doctorate of physical therapy, highly trained and licensed trainers, as well as a massage therapist specialized in deep tissue and sports massages. This extensive team of experts can help individuals that are medically compromised achieve their fitness and health goals in a safe and manageable way.

Every year, there are individuals that are recovering from a recent injury, come to physical therapy, and then head back to another gym, only to injure themselves once again.

At UBE, the goal is to recover from your injury or ailment, and allow gym members to learn how to exercise and strengthen their body the correct way, allowing members to lead a healthy lifestyle post-rehabilitation.

Another benefit to having your physical therapy and gym membership in the same building is cost benefits. Many times with physical therapy, insurance money ends and there is a therapy cap as to how many times you can have treatment. Here at UBE, gym members can continue through affordable direct pay and/or supervised gym use.

UBE gym allows a smooth transition to the gym after physical therapy sessions have ended, with physical therapists continuing to be involved and stay in touch with patients to help them achieve their goals as well as gives therapy patients that are traditionally uncomfortable with general gym settings an opportunity to get in their best physical shape.


Safety On ICE!

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Winter has officially arrived! Here in Maine, we have received our first snow accumulation which has caused many surfaces outdoors to be slippery. Walking on the snow and ice can be a difficult task, causing a much higher risk for falls resulting in injuries to the hip, hand, back, etc. Here are some tips on what to do when the ground is icy/snow covered:

  • Avoid locking up your knees; walk with flat foot with knees slightly bent
  • Take short steps
  • Stop by Cadillac Mountain Sports for some ice traction slip-on or metal cleats
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets and if necessary, keep your arms out by your side for balance
  • Walk on less-smooth surfaces if possible (grass, gravel, sand)
  • Keep your body weight with your center of gravity directly over the feet as much as possible for added stability

If a slip-and-fall does unfortunately happen, or if you have any questions about training or physical therapy, contact UBE via phone: (207) 992-4000 or email:

You Are More Than An MRI

Here at UBE Physical Therapy, we work with many patients of varying deficits and limitations. One of the most frequent cases that we receive are patients with back pain.

We have many patients that have come into physical therapy with the immediate want for an image and a concrete diagnosis. While understanding what is wrong and a proper diagnosis is important, there are many times in which imaging may cause more harm than good.

Just because a patient has a “degeneration” reading on an MRI, does not make their presentation a cookie-cutter “back patient”. As shown in the resource below, there is a very high percentage of healthy individuals who have signs of degeneration noted on an MRI. Your physical therapists (and medical professionals in general) should be mindful to focus on the patient, and not just a diagnosis or image reading.


Imaging, and specifically MRIs are not the enemy. Imaging is an appropriate tool used for certain injuries and pathologies. However, it is important to keep in mind, an MRI can show more than the clinical presentation. On the flip side, a patient can have significant pain, receive an image, and be told there is nothing wrong.

Your UBE physical therapist will treat you and your clinical presentation. If you have any questions about training or physical therapy, contact UBE via phone: (207) 992-4000 or email: