In today's fast-paced, convenient world, we seem to have forgotten about the act of standing. Maybe our minds haven't, but our "standing" muscles have most certainly forgotten. Whether you experience hip, sciatic or low back pain; the blame really is the amount we are required to sit on a daily basis.
Don't believe me, do a self-experiement! For one day, keep track of the amount of hours you are in a seated position (eg, at work, in the car/transportation, on the couch, at the dinner table, in a restaraunt, business meeting, etc.).
Inactive glute (booty) muscles are the #1 source for pain experienced in the surrounding joints. Here are a few corrective moves you can practice on your own.
The glute bridge is an old, but long forgotten friend of the fintess industry. Practice pulling the hips and low back off the ground, by placing tension in the back of your legs (hamstrings) and butt (glutes). If you feel the move in the tops of your legs, then bring your heels off the ground.
Perform 12-15 repetitions and repeat 3-4 times. You can virtually practice this move anywhere and almost everyday of the week.
Once you've mastered the glute bridge, you can practice a single leg glute bridge. Cross one leg over the leg on the ground, pull hips and low back off the ground, perform 12-15 reps and switch legs. You can also straighten the non-working leg.
Another great exercise to add in, after mastery of the glute bridge, is a rear-leg-elevated single-leg squat. Place the top of one foot on a bench, step or chair; bend through the knee of the grounded leg, pushing through the heel. Be sure to keep the upper body upright, focusing on move straight up and down.
Perform 8-10 repetitions each leg and repeat 2-3 times. You will definitely feel these the next day! Beauty will never hurt so good!
The stiff-legged deadlift is a famed, but often misperformed exercise. Bend at the waist and slightly at the knee, glide a weight down the tops of the leg to mid-shin, once at mid-shin, squeeze through the glutes and hamstrings to return back to start.
Perform 10-12 repetitions and repeat 2-3 times.
The above exercises will take some getting used to, so ease into adding them into your daily or weekly routine. A good posterior-chain day (butt and behind the legs AKA the hamstrings) would look like this:
1. Glute Bridge 3 sets of 12 repetitions
2. Single leg squat 3x8 (each)
3. Stiff-leg Deadlift 3x12
4. Plank 3x 30 seconds
A good high intensity move, that focuses on the glutes is a kettlebell swing.. Bring the kettlebell down between the knees, swing the kettlebell up with the force created when straightening the hips and knees.
Perform 20 repetitions and you'll feel your heart rate increase.
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