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Improve Stability and Balance

If we walk with two feet, squat with two feet and deadlift with two feet, then why train your legs individually? Compensations occur throughout our body due to the overuse of a dominate limb in lifestyle activities (standing up from a chair, vacuuming, picking something up from the ground, etc.). We mention these habits several times in our blogs and offer ways to be aware of these compensations. The bottom line is, you must train body parts individually so they can perform optimally together.

In this routine, we train the legs individually, targeting the gluteal muscles which help stabilize the knee and improve balance. Working with hip stabilization exercises can really bring out your compensations. Are you a little more shaky on one leg than the other? It’s good to be aware of these imbalances. While doing the exercises below, I realized that I was less stable on my left side. That said, I’ll make it my project to focus more work into improving that specific side. These are advanced exercises that help with improving balance while challenging your strength.

Gluteal Strengthening Routine – 3x Through
-Bosu Banded Hip Bridge 10-12 Reps
-Banded Lateral Step Leg Lift 20 Steps Total
-Bosu Banded Cross-Over 20 Steps Total Each Side

Check out the equipment that was used below and start these exercises!

Best Moves To Train Your Midsection

Traditional ab workouts aren’t bad, but there are better ways to train your midsection. We came up with three exercises that will put your abs to the test!

Due to the anatomy of the torso, leg lifts are a primary function of your core. The psoas muscle is connected to the head of your femur (the part of the bone closest to the hips) and travels to your lower back (think of the front part of the lower spine)! Our first exercise will strengthen this muscle along with the superficial abdominal muscles. Working more of your midsection with one exercise is very time efficient.

Our second midsection exercise is the Swiss ball trunk rotation. This gut-buster works several muscles at once, challenging your body as a whole. Your glutes will help stabilize your pelvis as you use your external and internal obliques to roll the ball side to side. With added resistance, this move can really make you work!

Our last exercise is advanced and should only be attempted if you are able to do the modified versions. We use the unstable surface of the round foam roller, which adds a challenging variable. Holding a high plank is one thing, but holding a high plank on an unstable surface will recruit muscle fibers you may not have otherwise worked before.

Related Posts:

Chicago Creative Core
Burn More In Shorter Time
How To Use A Foam Roller

Burn More In Shorter Time

Single muscle engagement within an exercise program is good for isolating specific muscles. Biceps curls, crunches, hamstring curls, and quad extensions are all exercises that isolate specific muscle groups. There’s a time and a place to incorporate these kinds of exercises. However, what happens when we begin to engage multiple muscle groups within one exercise, creating compound movements?

All the muscles throughout our bodies require oxygen to operate. The more oxygen that is required, the harder the heart has to work. So, it only makes sense that if we are going through a hip drive to row or one arm banded side step, multiple muscle groups will be activated, and the heart will have to work harder versus just a triceps extension.

With that said, compound exercises result in higher heart rates which in turn stimulate our metabolism to higher levels even after we are done working out. Another benefit to compound exercises is that they target multiple muscle groups in a shorter period of time. With our hectic and busy schedules, a quicker workout seems a bit more appealing. In addition to increased heart rate and metabolism, coordination among muscles also increases. A higher level of focus and coordination is required when engaging multiple muscle groups.

The three exercises in this blog are multi-muscle, compound exercises. It is important to take time and think about the motions you are going through when executing these exercises. Focus, and get into the muscle; think about what it is you’re doing and what muscles you’re activating. Increase your heart rate, metabolism, and coordination in a shorter period of time with these compound exercises. Check out this article for a sample workout routine!

How To Use A Foam Roller

The foam roller has become very popular over the years. If not used properly you could be wasting your time or even hurting yourself. It takes some concentration and a little bit of skill to get these techniques right. Let’s go over a few ways to use the foam roller.

Tissue Release

Working with tissue that is tender and stressed is not very comfortable, so pay attention to the length of time the muscle is under pressure on the roller. The most common muscles that need care are the hip flexors, TFL and gluteals. All of these are shortened in a seated position. Also, these groups get heavily used in common exercises like squats, lunges, leg raises, and knee tucks, to name a few.

If these muscles have already been shortened all day, exercise will further tighten the tissue. Yes, you can strengthen the opposing muscle groups to counteract the tension, however, releasing the habitually shortened muscle will be beneficial to give the opposing muscle some room to contract in its full range of motion. Also, the foam roller’s compression will increase blood circulation to the muscle creating stimulation, and in turn, release the “tight” feeling. As you will notice, we apply cross-fiber pressure to the muscle when using the foam roll. This is more effective than going with the fibers of the muscle.

Mobility

Using the foam roller for mobility can be a great way to warm up your muscles and joints before exercise. It is an excellent tool to help guide you through body movements, opening up new ranges of motion. Below you will find a few moves that target the shoulders and upper/lower back.

Strengthening

After stimulating, increasing blood circulation, and mobilizing muscle groups, strengthening is the next step. There are some pretty challenging stability exercises for the foam roller. Here are a few we came up with.

Get a foam roller from Amazon and start these exercises!

Austin’s CORE-ner

Our four-legged furry friends give us more then we know. They encourage us to move! I know Austin gets me out of the house, and we might even sprint down the block for a few seconds. I really appreciate him; he’s ten years old and still has the heart of a puppy. In fact, he even looks like one, right? With his big puppy ears, it’s almost like he’s going backwards in time!

Here’s our tribute to Austin and all the other best four-legged friends out there.


Austin’s CORE-ner Routine
– 2x Through
-Plank Roll Up 10-12 Reps (try with one leg, too!)
-Dead Bug Variation 10-12 Reps Each Side
-Kneeling On Balance Ball 30 Seconds (use a wall to train stability)

Here are some great treat recommendations from dog lovers.

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Do I Even Need To Warm Up?

The answer is YES! A proper warm-up is crucial before any workout, especially if you had a previous injury. Check out Mike’s exclusive shoulder routine.

As you can see Mike was not stretching his muscles, he was actively moving his joints to lubricate the shoulder capsule. Performing stability exercises to prime his joints and muscles for heavier activity is a big part of Mike’s warm-up.


Even warm-ups like the ones below help increase blood flow and energize your muscles before physical activity. Since the muscle will be going through a contract/relax state during exercise, it should also be warmed up in a similar state. You can think of it as teaching the muscle what it will be doing so it doesn’t freak out!
In this warm-up, the quadriceps are put under tension and then relaxed before being under pressure from your body. A great way to get them used to a dynamic workout!


The side-to-side arm swing is a slightly different approach. Moving the joint in this fashion will increase synovial fluid within the shoulder capsule for a smoother rotation. However, the shoulder, pec, and biceps muscles are actively under tension every second and then relaxed again just like the dynamic quad stretch.

Chicago Creative Core

We like to keep our core exercises engaging and this series definitely does that. Completing these in a row is very challenging, however not impossible. We usually do about 10-12 reps for each exercise. If done in a row there is a 5-10 second transition between each exercise and 60-90 second rest between each set.


Creative Core Series – 2x through (advanced)

-Blue Line Transfer 10-12 Each Side
-River Kayakers 10-12 Each Side
-Skyscrapers 10-12 Reps
-Bosu Knee Balance Bird/Dog 10-12 Each Side
-Single Leg Jackknife 10-12 Each Side

Equipment used:

Top 3 Bad Habits that Wreak Havoc on Your Posture!

Your Daily Move works with several health professionals in the Chicagoland area. BridgeWrites Integrative Physical Therapy and Your Daily Move collaborated on a lifestyle video entitled “Top 3 Bad Habits That Wreak Havoc On Your Posture“.

Dr. Tolga Yenilmez offers his views on three lifestyle habits that will most definitely cause your body harm down the road if done on a daily basis. These aren’t the common habits you think of, like, drinking alcohol, bad eating, smoking, and lack of activity…to name a few. These are habitual body movements we do over and over again without realizing it or weight loading our spine unevenly everyday.


1. Wearing a Bag on One Arm!

Over a period of time, wearing a bag on one arm can lead to other stressors impacting,
back
hips
spine
knees

Here’s a couple tips on how you can help yourself out:
Wear both straps on the shoulders when carrying a backpack.
Alternate shoulders frequently when carrying a one sided shoulder strap bag.

2. Exploring that infamous wallet in the back pocket.

Habitually sitting with a wallet in the back pocket tends to lead to issues                surrounding the hips and low back.

What’s the fix⁉️
STOP SITTING ON A WALLET
Use a front pocket wallet
Carry wallet in jacket/coat

3. Most of us use the same, dominant arm or leg to get through our day.

What’s the take away?
Make a habit of using your non-dominant hand when using a remote control, your cell phone or even brushing your teeth. It can be little awkward, but it does help to even out that work load between both sides of the body.

Do You Have Body Awareness?

We have found that the hip hinge is one of the hardest movements for a client to perform. Having control of your pelvis has proven to be extremely important while working out or even sitting on your bum!

If you don’t know what a hinging motion is, let’s break it down just a bit.

  • This movement starts with a slight bend of the knees while maintaining a small arch in the lower back and then executing a bend at the waist. Keeping a straight spine throughout this movement is very important. Yes, you are going to get a huge hamstring stretch!

When we mention pelvic control we are referring to that little arch you create in the lower back, resulting in an anterior (forward) tilt of the pelvis. You can practice this motion even when you are seated to prevent your lower back from rounding.

You can see how this is important during exercise, right? Lets go through the cues of the straight leg dead lift (SLDL) exercise (also known as an RDL (Romanian dead lift) and progress it to the single leg version.

What Is Circuit Training And How Do I Use It To My Advantage?

When it comes to fitness, we all get stuck in a workout groove, which isn’t necessarily bad. A groove could be something like, “I work on legs on Monday and chest and back on Tuesday or I do push movements on certain days and pull movements on others” Whatever your groove is, how do you know it is the best for you? The answer is RESULTS! Whether you workout for stress relief, for lower cholesterol, or to just get in shape, there needs to be an end goal to your fitness plan. Otherwise, why do it?

Exercise Groove

We wanted to offer some insight on how circuit training can be your exercise groove. When putting together a circuit training style fitness plan, one has an infinite number of exercises that can be set together sequentially and performed for a various number of repetitions. This type of training style allows for a wide array of exercises to be performed together and creates engagement and interest, which is VERY important in exercise program retention.

We are going to put some of the guessing aside and create a simple, yet effective total body circuit training routine. We use a mix of explosive, strength, and endurance exercises in order to burn the maximum amount of calories. These exercises are safe and effective, and don’t worry, there will be modifications for most exercises. For most looking for an exercise program out there, the goal is usually weight loss. With that said, these circuit training programs ALONE will not achieve that goal. Diet plays a HUGE role in shedding those unwanted pounds, but that’s another topic for another time.

Exercises Worth Doing

As we mentioned before, there are many ways to lose weight in an exercise routine. In the list below, we go over the different benefits that come with the attached circuit training program.

  • Waiter’s Carry, High Side Plank Twist Reach, and Bear Crawl all strengthen abdomen, gluteals, and lower back. These muscles are some of the largest in our body and will elevate the heart rate and increase our metabolic burn rate. Strengthening these muscles will also support your spine and pelvis as an added bonus.
  • Forward Squat Jump/Reverse Squat Jump and Jump Lunge are explosive exercises that will maintain muscular tone and durability.
  • We added some endurance to increase the intensity of the workout. Quick Jump to Burpee and Mountain Climbers will make you sweat, losing some water weight and increasing the heart rate even further.

Aside from losing weight, this circuit style will maintain engagement with its variety of exercises. Watch the video below and try this circuit out yourself!


3 Times Through

  1. Waiter’s Carry 10-12 Steps Each Way
  2. Forward Squat Jump/Reverse Squat Jump 10-12 Jumps Each Way (20-24 Jumps)
  3. High Side Plank Twist Reach 10-12 Reps Each Side
  4. Jump Lunge 20 Jumps
  5. Bear Crawl 10-12 Reps Each Side
  6. Quick Jump to Burpee 10-12 Reps
  7. Curl and Press 10-12 Reps
  8. Mountain Climber 30 Secs
Rest 60-90 seconds and repeat circuit