I have finally officially started work as a personal trainer! I have two clients that I am so excited to work with! Both of them are looking at injury prevention. I talked a little in a previous post about taking preventative measures during training or weight room sessions.
Injury is like a domino effect. If you being feeling pain in a certain area on your body, you immediately begin to compensate for this by favoring the injured area, putting more stress on an uninjured area or areas of your body. One of my clients, who I can relate to as it turns out, wants to be able to hike again without knee pains. Knowing this, I remember back to when I was in physical therapy for similar knee issues. What a lot of it came down to was small alignment issues along with some muscle imbalances. When one thing is out of whack, it causes more things to become out of whack. I can specifically remember doing one-legged leg press reps (with extremely light weight), and watching exactly how my knee would actually be pulled out laterally away from my body’s midline. This was a solid indicator of a muscle imbalance. Being able to use this a way to design a program for this client helps it to be all the more effective, as well as boosts my confidence going into it.
I’m very big on preventative and body weight exercises, which include any exercises that involve just your own body weight. To me, form is everything. Here I’m going to share a set of exercises that can be done at the gym AND (for the win) in the comfort of your own home 🙂 These exercises are easy to perform, and because I don’t have a photographer at the moment, I will, for this time, describe the movements as best as possible.
Exercise #1: Clams
Lay on your side, putting weight on the front of your hips, with as much of your glutes off the floor as possible.
Have your knees bent between 75-90 degrees, with your feet directly under your glutes.
Lift the top knee up and away from the body’s midline, keeping your heels together.
Hold for 5 seconds, and lower.
Repeat 10 times, then switch sides. Do two sets.
Exercise #2: Isometric Bridges
Lay prone, facing the ceiling, knees bent with feet flat on the floor.
With hands and arms relaxed by your sides, lift your hips off the floor toward the ceiling, squeezing and engaging your glutes as you do.
Hold for 30 seconds, or as long as you can. It’s a good idea to time yourself the first time you do this so that you can establish a platform, and then be able to see improvement as it happens.
Return hips to floor. Rest for 1 minute and repeat. Do three sets.
Exercise #3: One-legged Isometric Bridges
Perform the same motion as Exercise #2
When your hips have reach maximum height, lift one leg off the floor and straighten, keeping your things parallel and your hips level.
*The goal with this exercise is to continue strengthening your glutes while being able to compare levels of ability. When my physical therapist prescribed this exercise to me, she first evaluated the strength on the left side vs. the right side, and there was indeed a considerable difference. My left side was far weaker than my right, and this turned out to be true for most of the exercises we went through. Knowing this allows to adjust your workouts accordingly to avoid the chance of further imbalance.
With leg straightened, hold pose for 30 seconds or as long as possible.
*It’s important that when you are ready to come out of the position to lower your hips slowly and controlled. This makes sure you are holding your form all the way through, a very important habit to get into as you grow in your ability and strength.
Exercise #4: Isometric Wall-sits
The beauty of this workout is that it can be modified to any level of ability. If you have a workout ball and have little experience in the weight room, I would advise this be the method you use for the first few workouts. You want to establish that motion and become familiar with it before adding on what could be too much.
Place a workout ball between your back and the wall.
Keep your chest open and your shoulders back. Tighten your core. You can place your hands on your hips or your head, whichever you feel best about.
Place feet away from the wall, at a distance that is no less than the length of your thigh. You Don’t want your knees to come over your toes in this exercise.
Slowly bend your knees, and come down into a seated position, back remaining straight.
Hold for 15 seconds, come up. Do 8 reps. If you cannot do 8 reps, lower the time you hold the isometric (seated) position to ten seconds. If you feel that you can do more, either increase the amount of time on each rep, or increase the reps to 10-12.
The same exercise as Beginner, but without the support of the ball.
The same exercise as Intermediate, but this time place one heel on the opposite thigh. Do 8 reps on each side.
Again, these are exercises that can be done in the gym or at home. Done multiple times a week, they can be very effective when executed properly and with proper form, whether it be just to build some lower body strength, or help rehab a knee injury.
***And please remember to ALWAYS listen to your body. If something hurts or is uncomfortable, STOP immediately. Pushing through pain will not make you stronger. You want to enjoy getting fit, not prevent yourself from doing it longer.
And I do apologize for the long absence! Summer has been so much busier than I ever anticipated, and I’ve been working on a project that has been calling much of my time. Take care all!