With a myriad of exercises that are in the fitness world, how do you know which exercises to choose? What you will find is some fitness professionals that will give you “their favorite” exercises based off of their individual experience (what made them the most sore) and or whatever exercise is the hardest or most difficult in concept. Although some of these exercises seem relevant, are they the BEST exercise for you or for someone's grandmother or grandfather. With that said, let us look at and highlight 3 exercises that you may or may not be using in your workouts. These movements can be key to
your functional and fitness success but before you attempt these exercises please make sure that they are applicable to you and your regimen. Prior to beginning this or any exercise program, make sure you have cleared by your physician for a fitness program.
Now that we have that going for us let us begin! There are a few things to note:
None of these take place while being supine (on your back). Reason being, to engage more of the “core” or trunk muscles. The musculature of the core/trunk being:
All 5 abdominal wall muscles
Deep set abdominal muscles (those that help to stabilize spine) and help with respiration
Lower back muscle
Middle back muscles
Glute muscles (not directly a core muscle but important to hip stability) which is tied into your core via sling
· Load the anterior musculature (all muscle that are in the back of your body) and are key to posture and subsequently injury prevention and increased performance
2. Are compound movements (involving more than one muscle group) i.e. more calories burned
So, when you apply all these factors these three exercise can help with not just developing a “six pack” or a “better backside” but they will help with lifting, reaching, and balancing which are more valuable. Think of a muscle car a 1966 fast back Mustang, painted Candy apple red with black trim and shiny chrome wheels fast right? Now go under the hood and the engine is the engine from a 1981 Chevy Chevette ( and yes I had one .) On the outside the Mustangs looks powerful but with a Chevette engine it won’t perform to its potential. Now apply the same logic to your body and movement in particular. Focus on what's under the hood ( the core and all associated muscles) and the rest will take care of its self. This is a text book Win Win..
All 4’s contra-lateral reaching
Start on all fours with hands shoulder distance apart and knees about hip distance apart (if you have knee trouble you can use padding to help the kneeling)
Draw you belly button toward your spin to engage abdominals and support spine
Reach your right arm and left leg away from one another keeping shoulders down and hips level thinking of bring rib cage to the opposing hip ( in the picture right rib to left hip and vice versa)
Bring your right elbow left knee while maintain spinal stability and repeat
A second level can be achieved in high plank position
Complete 8-10 repetitions on each side or until movement quality is compromised
Exercise #2 (will require a loaded barbell or two dumbbell of moderate weight)
Clean and Press
With barbell in front feet shoulder width apart In one movement, drawing abdominals inward and hinge at the hips.
driving the hips forward using glutes and hamstrings allowing the power of the movement to drive the weight up to clean position or chamber and partial squat.
Coming out of the squat simultaneously press barbell or dumbbell overhead and return to shoulder (chamber) position
· Complete 8-12 repetitions or until quality of movement is compromised
*note: this move can be broken down into just the clean (power clean) for more attention on proper lifting & functional performance
Single leg RDL (Romanian Dead Lift)
· Start with feet together knees slightly bent. Standing up straight, abdominals in, shoulder back and down, balance on one leg and hinge forward with hands reach down toward the front knee.
Return to the standing position contracting the glutes and hamstrings of the standing leg.
Remember to keep hips level as your complete movement.
If a modification/ regression is needed, keep the tip of your back leg on the floor to help maintain balance.
Complete 8-10 repetitions on each leg or stop when movement quality in significantly diminished (complete loss of balance)
It’s important to remember that these exercises are not the only exercises that you can do to get to that elusive land known as “fitness nirvana” but with the integration of these 3 exercises into your program You will not only see a change in posture, function, and movement but you will begin to increase the quality of life.