Mobilising and Stabilising your body to train effectively.
In my last two articles I spoke about how to get started with a routine and what to look for in your fitness expert. Now im going to go a little deeper and give you some advice on important aspects of training
Mobilising and Stabilising your body to train effectively.
In my last two articles I spoke about how to get started with a routine and what to look for in your fitness expert. Now im going to go a little deeper and give you some advice on important aspects of training that my team of Fitness trainers deliver to our members who are looking to get beneficial and lasting results from training.
What a lot of people tend to miss out in all aspects of training is,; can their body actually sustain the amount of training that is needed to acquire the desired result? In most cases the answer is no! This usually leads to poor posture, injuries, re-occurrence of injuries, lack of effective training and even over training! All of these will slow results and make training so much harder.
Being a Biomechanics coach via ‘Intelligent Training Systems’ I take a strong stance on preparing the body to do the crazy things us Personal Trainers tell you to do or else you will fall victim to injury.
So, lets begin!
Do you currently have an injury or do you get repeated injuries when you train?
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This is usually a telling sign something in your body isn’t aligned properly or is over compensating for another muscle not doing its specified job. Consult a biomechanics coach first to get a run down of where to work first.
Foam rolling tight muscles
Due to many people’s lifestyles and occupations muscles tend to be tight or full of knots. Without getting rid of these knots muscles are susceptible to injury and do not function to their maximum potential. Self Myofacial Release (foam Rolling) will release some of these knots and increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscles before exercise and help to get rid of toxins post exercise which may reduce post exercise soreness.
Anti-spasm vs stretching
When a joint is vulnerable the small muscles around that area will gradually tighten or spasm. We are not talking about the kind of spasm that occurs when you bend over and get an intense pain! But with the use of anti-spasm exercises you can greatly reduce the risk of damaging the joint and the muscles that surround it.
Stretching, enables you to lengthen muscle fibres to allow better range of movement. However, in some cases the use of stretching can cause an already spasmed muscle to tighten further or at very least not lengthen from the point you started. So you could be spending several minutes stretching yet not actually achieve anything! Visit a Biomechanics coach to learn more about anti-spasm exercises.
Mobilise your spine
The priority for anyone with injuries! Not just bad backs but with hip, knee, shoulder or neck injuries. Depending on what part of your spine is immobile you should be focusing on that area. In most Lumbar spine areas its due to the QL (Quadratus lumborum) being in spasm and will not allow much movement laterally or in rotation (usually limited rotation anyway). This can cause the lack of movement in big movements in the gym. Simple body weighted side bends, rotations and pelvic tilt exercises can help reduce this risk.
Engaging your biggest stabiliser
What is the biggest assisting muscle in anyone movement? The Abdominals or the core! Let’s first take away the thought that the core is a certain few muscles that only a few high end athletes possess. In fact the definition of ‘core’ is anything that connects to the spine. So if we learn to engage our core properly then all our movements in the gym will be more controlled, more efficient and achieve greater results for our tummy areas without even having to do those dreaded sit ups or Ab crunches! Next workout try thinking about bracing your middle area, think as if you are laughing or coughing or about to take a punch to the gut! Hold that and see what happens!
Effective warm up
In most cases unless you are a competing athlete or rehabbing an injury lengthily warm ups are not needed. If you class yourself as the average gym goer just try using a piece of cardio equipment like a cross trainer or rower as these will not only lift your heart rate but will also mobilise most of the joints that you will no doubt use during your session.
Stretching or no stretching?
Again, athletes; stretch for your sport! In most other cases limit stretching to after exercise. It has been proven that an effective warm up can provide the necessary release in tension to allow a person to exercise without risk of injury. But make sure you lengthen the muscles you’ve worked after exercise unless you have been taught anti-spasm techniques.
Which resistance training is best for me?
With injuries or if you know you are biomechanically dysfunctional somewhere it may be best to stick to fixed resistance workouts where you can control the movement better. If you know you’re in good condition to train then maybe push into free weight training or cable multifunctional movements to promote more muscle movements. Try not to use over complicated exercises unless you have been shown by a professional!
Don’t use over complicated exercises
Guys in particular! The next time you look at the model in your men’s health related magazines remember that they are often regular trainers or pro bodybuilders who are conditioned to perform the exercises telling you how to get that amazing body! Work within your limits and if need be ask a fitness trainer for some advice as they can offer alternatives to save you putting your back out in the fancy squat technique in last months mag!
Revisit your anti-spasm and foam rolling
Once done with your workout, go back to releasing your tight muscles with some foam rolling techniques and then some anti-spasm.
Post exercise foam rolling will also reset the muscle ready for your next workout and leave you in better condition when leaving the gym than when you came in.
By limiting your risk of getting injured you can sustain a more progressive exercise plan and get more goals with less work. Don’t worry about the person next to you who is pounding away on the treadmill or up in the weights area pushing big weights as these people may be a ticking time bomb waiting to go off with a prolapsed disc or stress fracture! Listen to your trainer and keep your body conditioned to exercise before you actually exercise!
Next week; Quick Fix gimmicks!
Martyn Oakey (Fitness Manager and Personal Trainer GL-14)