Although not everyone has the intention of training to elite athlete-level fitness, many of us with regular 9-5s and similar lifestyles that leave less room for regular training should at least shoot for a basic level of athletic ability to stave off chronic injury. Whether you're a regular weekend warrior or just someone who wants to reclaim use of some of the body's natural capacities and reverse some damage, here are 5 simple movements that can be done every day and so quickly that the excuse "there's no time" really doesn't apply.
1. Deep Bodyweight Squat: Done regularly, this movement will increase the range of motion in your hips which will prevent future problems with the joint. Perform for 30 seconds and if your mobility allows, use your elbows to further widen your knees. Do this once
2. Standing Maximal Glute Contraction: This movement acts to re-activate one of the most powerful yet often forgotten parts of the posterior chain. Properly activated and strengthened, it can compensate for other muscles during lifting, preventing fatigue and injury. While standing, squeeze the glutes as hard as possible for 30 seconds, making tight fists as necessary to help increase the intensity. Do this once.
3. Hamstring Stretch: Properly stretched hamstrings go a long way toward preventing lifting injuries both in the gym and in every day life. There are a variety of hamstring stretches that are effective, but ensure each is done for about 30 seconds per side and that the back isn't rounded to get more range.
4. Crucifix Stretch: This stretch serves to undo the damage and poor posture caused by the excessive hunching over that comes with long hours at the desk. Perform by standing tall and placing the arms out to the sides with hands wide open. Push the chest upwards while rotating your thumbs over and backwards. Finally, put the neck in a neutral position (give yourself a double chin). Hold this position for 3 second and repeat 5-10 times.
5. Diaphragmatic Breathing: Of all the effects stress can have on our mental and physical performance, one of the areas we might neglect the most is the most crucial to both: breathing. Perform this for 3-5 minutes.
For a complete description of each motion and its benefits, check out the original article on T-Nation.
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