Mike Gaudette is a Sportsmedicine Physical Therapist and founder of the myPTpro website, helping people prevent and rehabilitate from injuries. Visit us at http://www.myPTpro.com.
By Mike Gaudette
Published on 06/27/2016
So, you want to keep your muscles and joints healthier to prevent injury and stay more active? Well, I believe you’re making a good choice and I
want to do my part to help you out.
Over the years, I have worked with thousands of people and have seen patterns of weakness and tightness that show up with a variety of
injuries. Now, I want you to learn from my experiences.
Physical Exercise Should Keep You Away From Doctors
So, you want to keep your muscles and joints healthier to prevent injury and stay more active? Well, I believe you’re making a good choice and I want to do my part to help you out.
Over the years, I have worked with thousands of people and have seen patterns of weakness and tightness that show up with a variety of injuries. Now, I want you to learn from my experiences.
Of course, I realize you are not a professional athlete and can’t dedicate your entire day to keeping your body finely tuned. So, for you to incorporate an exercise program into your weekly routine, it needs to cover all the major body areas and it needs to be quick and easy, or else you’ll find excuses for not fitting it in.
With these factors in mind, I created a mini ‘circuit’ routine to address common problem areas. For your convenience, I have split this article into two parts: Upper Body and Lower Body. Depending on your activity, you can focus on either or both to train the areas that need it most. I have also included one ‘core’ exercise in both articles because the core is essential in stabilizing the body and transferring momentum from the lower body to the upper body.
1.Calf Raise/Lower – stand with ball of foot on a stair with your heel hanging off the edge. Raise up on both toes, shift your weight onto your right foot and slowly lower your heel back down over the edge. Raise up on both toes again, shift your weight onto your left foot this time and then slowly lower your heel back down over the edge of the step. This is 1 repetition. Do 20-30 repetitions.
2.Ball Squats – if you have an inflatable exercise ball you can use it to do wall squats by placing it between your buttocks/low back and a wall. Move your feet out away from the wall another 12 inches until you feel yourself leaning back against the ball. Slowly bend your knees to squat down as you let yourself roll down the ball. Go down until your thighs are parallel to the floor and then push back up, rolling up on the ball. That is one repetition. Do 20-30 repetitions.
Alternating Lunges – standing with both feet together, take a big step forward with one foot and slowly bend your front knee while lowering your hip down toward the floor so you get equal bend in your knee and hip. Don’t let your knee go forward past your foot as it bends. Slowly push yourself back up to your starting position and as you do so, look down at your knee and make sure it stays lined up with your foot (don’t let it rotate inward or outward). Once back in the starting position, switch and do a lunge with the opposite leg to complete one repetition. Perform 20 alternating lunges. Keep your abdominals tight as you lunge forward and you should also feel a stretch in your upper thigh/hip.
3.Hamstring Stretch – stand holding onto something sturdy for balance. Lift one knee up toward your chest and keep it there as you extend your leg out and straighten your knee. Once you kick out straight, let your leg come back down to the floor slowly to complete the first repetition. The lift your knee up to begin your second repetition. Do 15 repetitions, switch legs and repeat 15 reps on the other side.
4.Hip Flexor Stretch – the dynamic part of this stretch starts by standing and holding onto a sturdy object for balance. Lift your knee up toward your chest and then, keeping your knee bent and your stomach tight, lower your knee back down and slowly go through a ‘kicking’ motion backward (make sure to keep your stomach tight as you do so) and you should feel a stretch in the front of your hip and upper thigh. Slowly come back to the start position (knee straight down, still bent) to finish the 1st repetition. Lift your knee up to start your second rep. Do 10 repetitions and then switch sides and repeat. Next, kneel with one knee down and the opposite knee up with the foot flat on the floor.
While keeping your stomach tight and your back straight, slowly lean your hip forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip and/or upper thigh. Hold for 15 seconds, relax and repeat for a total of 5 stretches. Switch legs and perform 5 repetitions.
5.Alternating Diagonal Abdominal Crunches – lie on your back with your knees bent up and your feet flat on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest and curl your shoulders up off the floor as you angle your left elbow toward your right knee. Slowly return back down to the floor and then curl back up, angling your right elbow toward your left knee and slowly lower back down. That is 1 repetition. Complete 15-20 repetitions.
Keeping your lower body in shape and ‘ready to go’ will help you stay active and will improve your performance for many years to come. The exercises above are general and may not help rehabilitate specific injuries once you have developed them. Rather, these are meant more for preparing your body and preventing injuries.