Still Easy, but a “Pain in the Butt”

So, last time we looked at real easy-to-do movements, which you can do anywhere, anytime. They form part of the foundation of your body. I sometimes wonder how I can really emphasize the importance of starting off with, as well as maintaining, base moves to ensure balancing your body.

It’s so easy to just put on your new running shoes and hit the road. This road, unfortunately will mostly lead you down a path toward injury. The largest muscles in the body, and the most important, are the glut muscles – gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. These strong sets of muscles, support the spine, stabilize the hips and assist in preventing compensations in the body. We all know that compensations can lead to lower back, knee, shoulder, ankle and hip flexor injury.

Think of the normal runner injuries – chondromalacia, patellofemoral knee pain, IT band syndrome, shin splints, over pronation. Weak glut muscles do not assist in pelvic support and then there’s also a lack of hip extension which prevents power. Cyclists and runners HAVE to train their gluts regularly to prevent injury through compensation, incorrect form as well as lack of peak performance.

Last time we looked at the basic plank position. Once this movement is mastered, it forms part of the glut-strengthening program. The addition to this movement is that one leg at a time gets lifted and held in an isometric hip extension for a count of ten before changing over to the other leg.

As we discussed, the side plank is another core movement that needs to be mastered. Once you have managed to hold the side plank in a stable, straight and lifted position, you can then add top leg abduction. This must be executed without any flexion, taking place in the hip area. Maintain a ‘toe down’ position and stick to the natural abduction range of movement. Complete 10 reps and repeat on the other side.

One of the best glut strengtheners is your single-leg squat. Amazing how few athletes focus on this movement and it basically can guarantee strong gluts and knees. It will also provide you with immense power, which could mean a winning performance without injury.

Using a bench for this movement in the beginning could be the solution to manage. Extend the one leg in front of you off the floor and simply lower the glut down to the bench with the bending of the other leg. Touch the bench with the gluts and straighten back up. Repeat 10 X before changing to the other leg.

This single-leg squat can also be done against a stability ball between you and the wall (Stork Squat). Standing sideways with your hip against a big stability ball, which is against the wall, off the floor. Lift the leg with the hip against the ball, off the floor and use the other leg to squat down and up. The support of the ball against the wall provides assistance in maintaining good form with knee and hip and foot aligned as you lower into the squat. Do 10 X on each leg.

The bridge is one of the basic movements to be done by all. Not merely for glut strength, but also to assist the hamstrings and lower back muscles. Once the basic bridge is mastered, you can progress into single leg extensions as well as bridge walkouts. The latter is also a favorite glut activation movement.

The basic bridge gets done with the back on the floor and knees bent. The lower back gets lifted off the floor with the feet, shoulders and head remaining on the floor.

These basic moves are there for everyone to use. You do not even have to be a gym member to take care of your body’s foundation. Build everything on top of this stable platform and success will be inevitable!

#Legs #Elsastorm #ElsaStorm #Expertfitness #personaltrainer #legexercises