The best exercise you’re not doing……..

This is a series on exercises that will give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck in and outside of the gym. Today’s exercise is the static back.

You should do this because–  it’s a great reset for posture when you’ve been sitting or standing a lot throughout the day.  If you have lower back pain, this will help relieve an achy back.

Makes your everyday life easier because– it helps relieve your stress and resets your breathing. People can breathe into their upper chest rather then their belly (where you should be breathing from)  during times of stress.

Form tips –  Make sure your legs are at a 90 degree angle and your head is in a comfortable position.  Breathe in through the nose and down into your belly and then breathe out through your mouth. Do this for 5- 10 minutes and relax.
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Easy exercise

You may’ve heard the following exercise phrases before.

“Go hard or go home.”

“No pain, no gain.”

“Pain is a weakness leaving the body.”

“Sweat is fat crying.”

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

No pain

If your goal is to get stronger, lose weight or build muscle, exercise will be somewhat intense, uncomfortable and you’ll feel sore at times. But that’s okay because lifting weights isn’t meant to tickle.

However, not all exercise has to be balls to the wall. There are benefits to less intense, easier exercise that include

  • Reducing stress
  • Aiding recovery
  • Increasing mindfulness
  • Improving flexibility and mobility

And when you have no time, no motivation or you need a change of pace from your regular routine, engaging in some easy exercise could be just the ticket. Use the following exercises if that sounds like you.

1. Stretching

Due to the wonders of modern technology, you sit more and move less than your ancestors. Sitting and not moving for long periods over time can lead to tight hamstrings, hips and chest muscles and weakened glutes and upper back muscles.

Postural conditions such as rounded shoulders and lower cross syndrome have become more prevalent because of this.

These conditions are not a huge deal in the big scheme of things, but wouldn’t you rather have good posture?

what-causes-rounded-shoulders

If so, consider incorporating the following stretches into your daily routine.

Hip flexor stretch 1 minute on each side

Doorway chest stretch 15 seconds 5- 10 times on each side

Hamstring stretch 30-60 seconds on both legs

2. Mobility work

 I’m a mobility guy because the human body was made to move. Mobility allows you to squat, deadlift, push and pull like a champion. Furthermore, having good mobility helps you move well and often without pain or restrictions.

There are few other reasons why mobility is important, including

  • Mobility- it’s one of the original foundations of youth along with hypertrophy

 

  • Injury prevention- an unrestricted joint that can go through its full range of motion is a happy joint.

 

  • Becoming stronger– if your hip mobility is limiting your squat or deadlift then you’re not strengthening all parts of the movement.

Mobility exercise is uncomplicated and can be done anywhere at any time and small-time investments will have a huge payoff for your general wellbeing. Although there are a multitude of mobility exercises, these are the one I use for my clients on a regular basis.

Rocking ankle mobilization- 8 reps on both legs

Leg swings- 10 reps on both legs

Hip mobility series

Seated extensions 10- 15 reps

Back to the wall shoulder flexion- 10 reps

3. Walking

 Every day, weather permitting, I take my dogs for a walk. It’s great exercise for them and me and all it requires is a pair of shoes and some open space. It couldn’t be any easier.

There are numerous benefits of walking and there’s no need to rehash it all here. However, the hidden benefit of walking is that it reinforces our natural human contra lateral (opposite arm opposite leg) pattern of movement.

Walking is coordinated human movement that helps make other movements like jogging, sprinting and skipping easier .

Furthermore, walking is a use it or lose it scenario. Ever see elderly people shuffle their feet in fear of falling forward?  Or ride around on a motorized cart?  I rest my case.

Shuffling

The contralateral act of walking also activates the left and right hemispheres of your brain which can help you think clearer and reduce stress. Doesn’t all of this sound good?

Then strap on a pair of shoes and go for a walk.

4. Self-massage

 This can take many forms such as foam rolling, using your own hands or using golf, tennis or lacrosse ball. And depending on who you talk too, self-massage is either better than sliced bread or a complete waste of time.

That leaves plenty of middle ground to explore.

You should think of this as a poor man’s massage. Having hands on you with the massage therapist is more effective than other self-massage modalities. However, self-massage is cheaper and more accessible.

Any type of massage will help relieve muscular tension and bring healing blood flow to areas of your body.  Consider using the exercises below as part of your easy exercise routine.

Foot massage

Foam rolling hamstrings

Lower back

Upper back

Self-massage using your hands

Wrapping up

There are going to be times in your life when you’re tired, stressed and have a to do list as long as your arm and that’s where easier exercise comes in.  Now you’ll have to find a different excuse not to exercise.

If you need any help with your training, please contact me here.
 Email-shanemcleantraining@gmail.com

 

Instant exercise upgrades

Remember how your English teacher told you to dot your i’s and cross your t’s?  Or your high school coach always telling you to move your feet? Sure you do, it wasn’t that long ago, right?

coach 3

These are called one per centers. One per centers can make a big difference to your result. The same goes for when you exercise. A few tweaks can have a big payoff.

Here are a few exercise upgrades that you can use right away in your own training. I’m all about making it easier. Trust me, I’m a trainer.

1. When bench pressing or doing push-ups, bring your shoulder blades together as you lower the bar towards you or your body towards the floor. This provides a stable base to press up from.

2. When you’re exercising with your hands on the floor, push them into the ground and then spread your fingers apart. This creates more tension in your shoulders, triceps and it’s also easier on your wrists.

3. When squatting, or deadlifting turn your right foot clockwise and your left foot anti-clockwise, while keeping your feet flat on the ground. This creates tension in your outer hips to prevent your knees collapsing inward.

As an added bonus, you get a better looking behind.

4. When the front plank is not doing it for you anymore, try the RKC Front plank. This turns a core exercise into a total body challenge. Creating more tension while you exercise will only make you stronger.

5. Wrap a towel around a dumbbell/barbell while lifting. This increases your grip strength as it demands more work from your wrists and forearms. Doesn’t everybody want their forearms to look like Popeye’s?

6. Do all your upper body lifts (dumbbell, barbells or machine) with one hand. This will help iron out strength imbalances between your left and right sides. In addition, you’ll get an unexpected core workout.

Your English teacher was right for a change. One per cent does make ALL the difference.