This exercise is deceptively simple. It is called the one legged squat and the key of the exercise is, you want to keep the knee in alignment, don’t let it wobble back and forth. And as you keep the knee in alignment, you also want to make sure you engage the core as you squat down you want to bring the buttocks backwards so the centre of gravity is back, and as you squat down, you want to keep the knee over ankle - not over your toes. And you’re going to repeat three sets of ten. As you master that then you’re going to add a more difficult component - the hop. Now all this as you can see is using a red resistance band and as you do the hop you want to make sure you keep the alignment the same as you were doing before with just the squat. You’re also going to do three sets of ten.
Looking to try something new for your next workout? Try these fun and challenging exercises with a partner at the gym or at home.
Designing a work-out program for yourself? There are many different ways to create the ideal program that suit your fitness levels and fitness goals.
Periodization entails systematic planning of various aspects of a training program through progressive cycling during specific periods. The goal of periodization is to optimize fitness levels while reducing the risk of injury. There are different components to the basic structure of a periodization cycle.
A macrocycle is a complete training period that may be 1, 2, or 4 years in duration. A mesocycle is a period or multiple periods within a macrocycle aimed to develop a single training block. The mesocycle may consist of a preparatory period, a competitive period, and a transition or rest period. A microcycle is a structural unit that makes up a mesocycle. It details weekly plans for progressive overloads specific to the goals of the mesocycle. For example, four 4-week microcycles will equate to a 16-week training program or one mesocycle.
Linear periodization progressively increases in intensity with minor variations in each microcycle. Beginner athletes typically utilize this type of training where the program starts with a higher initial volume then progresses to a lower volume as intensity increases. This traditional model has a greater focus on developing general strength and requires longer training periods. For example, an individual may be only focused on building muscle mass in a hypertrophy phase for all of their workouts within a week.
Non-linear periodization involves varying the intensity and volume within each week over the course of a training program. This allows individuals to train different muscle features within the same week. Non-linear programming is ideal for experienced or elite athletes. For example, an individual may incorporate workouts aimed at developing strength and power at the same time. This model also provides flexibility in scheduling for individuals as the goal of non-linear periodization is to complete the workouts whenever possible, instead of completing the program in a fixed number of weeks.
The red chart depicts a non-linear periodization within a week that varies the type of training, sets, reps, and recovery time. Conversely, the blue chart details a linear type of periodization where the first couple of weeks are aimed at focusing on strictly resistance type workouts with the same sets, reps, and recovery time for that designated time frame. A hypertrophy phase and a maximal strength phase follows accordingly.
Four common types of phases in a training program are: hypertrophy, strength/power, peak, and recovery.
Hypertrophy involves building muscle mass. Exercises are completed with short rest periods and high volumes. Strength and power are completed with a reduced volume, but an increase in load and rest time. Peaking involves low volumes, higher loads, and long rest periods. Finally, recovery uses low volumes and low loads.
Home exercising can be just as effective as going to the gym by using household items such as a medium-sized towel. Check out the exercises below for a full body work-out:
In a plank position with a towel under both feet and maintaining a neutral spine, walk forwards by placing one hand in front of the other for 10 to 20 steps.
Find where the hairline ends to locate a noticeable “bump” on the back of your neck. This is the spinous process for your 2nd cervical vertebrae. Place the edge of an unrolled towel on this spot, then cross your hands over, making sure the top hand is on the same side as the direction of rotation (e.g. right arm will pull towel downwards towards the middle of the chest if you are turning LEFT). Complete a pain-free rotation 3 times in each direction per day.
Weak scapular muscles can lead to an array of injuries including shoulder impingement, rotator cuff tears, and other shoulder-related pains. Pain may be followed by a restricted range of motion and may severely worsen if left untreated. Strengthening the scapular muscles can provide long-term benefits for rehabilitation and performance. Try the five following exercises below:
1. Lie down flat on a bench with a light dumbbell in each hand.
2. Hold the dumbbells on either side of your chest with the palms facing away from your shoulders and your elbow at a 90 degree angle.
3. Push your arms upwards and feel your shoulder blades separate. Remember to keep the dumbbells parallel to each other until the very top of the press.
3. Inhale and slowly bring down both dumbbells to the sides of your chest until you reach the 90 degree angle at the elbow. Breathe out on your next rep. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
1. Stand a few steps away from a wall, then place your hands on the wall so that they are slightly more than shoulder-width apart and arms are locked out.
2. Maintain a neutral back and neck, then slowly lean towards the wall by bending your elbow.
3. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lower yourself and hold this forward position for 2-3 seconds.
4. Slowly straighten your arm and relax your shoulder blades. Repeat 10 times.
1. In a comfortable standing position, hold a light band in between both hands about shoulder-width apart.
2. Pull the band as wide as you can, then slowly bring the arms back to the starting position. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
1. Lie on your stomach on a bench or Swiss ball with a light dumbbell in each hand.
2. Straighten your arms so that the dumbbell is in front of your head.
3. Lift the dumbbells up, keeping your arms straight, to make a “Y” shape with your torso.
4. Slowly lower them down. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
1. Hold a very light dumbbell straight in front of you at approximately 45 degree angle.
2. Maintain this position for about 10 seconds.
3. Then, slowly lower the dumbbell to the side of your body. Perform 10 holds on each side.
BONUS: Watch this video to learn an extra exercise for the scapula muscles!
If you suffer from sacroiliac (SI) joint pain, you know it’s a problem that can’t be ignored. Walking, sitting and even slight movements can amplify the discomfort.
While certain motions may exasperate the feeling, did you know exercise can be among the best ways to alleviate your sacroiliac joint pain symptoms? Specific exercises and stretches can help you achieve significant relief from your pain.
First, it’s best to know why you’re experiencing sacroiliac joint pain and where it came from in the first place. The joint pain is called SI joint dysfunction. The SI joints are located in the low back, where the sacrum and right and left iliac bones join.
Cartilage covers the SI joints, and when that is damaged or worn down, the bones rub together, leading to degenerative arthritis. That is the top cause of SI joint dysfunction. Another major cause of SI joint pain is pregnancy. Additional weight gain due to pregnancy leads to more pressure on the joints, and when ligaments relax and stretch to make room for the baby, it can alter the way a woman walks.
The extra weight plus a change in walking can irritate the SI joints.
Certain exercises promote movement in the SI joint area. These stretches and exercises can allow for more normal, painless motion if you find yourself limited by your SI joint pain. Click each exercise for additional instruction and video examples.
Beginning Stretches: These stretches are ideal for a workout warm-up or a daily stretch series.
Single knee to chest stretch: Pull one knee, then the other, to the chest one at a time. Pump each knee three or four times. Do 10 repetitions on each leg for a full set. This extends the range of motion within your joints and promotes movement and fluidity.
Press-up: This is a simple but effective stretch, and the intensity is simple to adjust. Lie on your belly and press up with your hands. Be sure to keep your pelvis on the floor. Hold that position for five seconds, and work up to 30 seconds when you are comfortable. Repeat that motion 10 times.
Lying Tailbone Twist: This a slightly deeper stretch to try after you are warmed up. Lie on your back with one leg straight. The other leg will be bent with your foot flat on the floor. Drop the bent knee over your opposite leg and turn the shoulder on the bent leg side away from the bent leg. Hold that stretch gently. Repeat this stretch on the other side of your body.
Lumbar Rotation: Lie on your back with both knees bent. Keep your feet flat on the floor and rock the knees side to side. This will be a very slight motion. Continue to rock the knees for 30 seconds.
SI Joint Exercises: These movements help to stretch the SI joint area, and bring more motion to the joints.
Walking Sacral Shift: This is an exercise that uses pressure to help pinpoint your pain as you alleviate it. Place your middle finger of the hand on the side of your SI joint pain and touch the bottom of your tailbone. Move your finger about an inch toward the painful side, and pull up on the tissue there.
Press the heel of your palm up and inward, in the direction of your belly button. As you do that motion, walk ten paces forward, turn, and walk back to the starting point. Repeat the exercise with the other hand to assess your level of pain relief.
Reverse Sacral Twist: Like the Walking Sacral Shift, this is an exercise that uses pressure along with a stretching movement for pain relief. Lie on your back and raise one knee, starting with whichever side is in pain. Keep your foot flat on the floor. Gently drop your raised knee over the opposite leg and let it rest. Place the hand that is on the same side as your bent leg on your tailbone. Use your index and middle finger of that hand to locate the bottom of your tailbone. Move your fingers about one inch toward the painful side and gently pull upward, pressing your palm in. Keeping that pressure, roll back onto your back and straighten your leg. Repeat this motion on the other side of your tailbone.
Tailbone Rocking: This exercise strengthens the glutes and back muscles, and brings focused motion to the SI joint area. Lie on your back, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor. Alternately tuck your tailbone up and pull it back down by arching your back. Do this motion 20 times.
Resisted knees opening and closing: The resisting motion of this exercise really gets your thigh and hip muscles to work and release, which should bring relief to your SI joint pain. Lie on your back; bend your knees and pull knees up to be perpendicular with the floor. Hold your hands 4-6 inches apart and place them between your knees. Push your hands against your knees while resisting with your knees. Hold this for about 3 seconds. Then, you will do the opposite motion. Place hands on the outside of your knees. Try to push your knees together while resisting the motion. Do this motion for about 3 seconds. Repeat this process five times. Go through those same motions with your knees one foot apart.
Resisted Bicycle Motion: This motion, like the Resisted Knees Opening and Closing, uses resistance to help your muscles release. Lie on your back, bend your knees and raise them toward your chest until they are perpendicular to the floor. With hands 4-6 inches apart, hold one knee on the front of your leg, and the other knee from the back of the leg. Alternate pushing your knees into your hands. Do each rep for three seconds, switch hands to the opposite side of the knee and repeat. Do five sets. Then, repeat this set with knees one foot apart, then two feet apart.
Lying on a Wedge: Finish your stretching exercises with a relaxing position that uses your own bodyweight to stretch. Lie on your back with legs straight. Take a sneaker with a folded sock in the toe area, and place it below the SI joint. Relax in that position for five to 10 minutes. Repeat that position on the opposite side.
Practice different exercise and stretch series until you find a couple options that best alleviate your pain.
While the showoff muscles get all the acclaim, they’d be nothing without the supporting cast of smaller stabilizers and assisting muscles. Ignore them, and you’ll eventually pay the price. The cost? Injury. Missed workouts. Painful runs. An unbalanced body. Wondering if your’e guilty? Here, experts discuss the most neglected muscles, why they’re important, and how to strengthen them for an even, injury-free physique.
The Rotator Cuff
Deltoids the size of grapefruits won’t do you much good if you tear your rotator cuff, which is a group of four muscles that literally form a “cuff” to stabilize the shoulder joint. Injure it, and you’ll restrict your range of motion, making overhead movements painful. Shoulders have the most mobility, so they’re also the most unstable, keep them strong by taking a ‘pre-hab’ versus a ‘rehab’ approach. You typically only see people doing these exercises after they’re injured.
Strengthen it: Attach light to medium resistance tubing to a door hinge, then stand with your left side to it, grasping the handle of the tubing with your right hand. Bend right arm at a 45-degree angle to your side (your elbow is at your hip and your forearm is at a 90-degree angle in a handshake position), then rotate your arm at the elbow, pulling the tubing out towards the right side without pulling your upper arm away from your body— like a door opening on a hinge. Next, stand with your right side towards the door hinge. With your right arm bent at a 45-degree angle next to your side, grasp the handle of the tubing with your right hand and rotate your arm at the elbow, pulling the handle in towards the center of your body. Repeat 10 to 12 times on each side, alternating sides for each set.
The Erector Spinae
You probably work your upper back and traps for that wide expanse, but you’re likely neglecting the very muscles that keep you upright. The erector spinae is actually a bundle of muscles and tendons that extend throughout the lower, mid and upper back. They’re more about posture than anything. Weak spinal erectors and poor posture may lead to back pain and sports injuries.
Strengthen it: Lie face down over a back extension machine with heels anchored. (You can also use a fitness ball if you have a partner to hold down your ankles). Place your hands behind your head with elbows out to the sides. Slowly raise your torso (don’t swing) just until your body forms a straight line, with ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles in line. Slowly return back to start. Do three sets of 10-12 reps.
The Gluteus Medius and Minimus
Few muscles get as much attention as the gluteus maximus, yet it could not reach its full potential without these two lesser-known helpers, which serve to stabilize the pelvis— especially when standing on one leg. They’re vital for any athletic performance and crucial for walking and climbing stairs. Plus, when they’re toned they lift up the glutes.
Strengthen it: Using a heavy resistance tubing circle, step inside the tubing with both feet and fasten around each ankle. Stand in a wide sports stance, knees slightly bent, toes pointed straight ahead and hands on hips or out in front. Step out to the side and continue walking sideways for 8-10 steps, then repeat in the opposite direction. Perform 2-3 sets, 2-3 times a week.
The Tibialis Anterior
Have you ever suffered from shin splints? If so, listen up: failing to strengthen this vital muscle—which runs along the bottom part of your leg, next to your shin bone, and plays a huge role in forming a healthy gait—can increase your risk of getting those nagging lower-leg pains. The tibialis anterior plays a vital role in walking, running and sprinting.
Strengthen it: Do this 2-3 times a week: Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor, then—keeping your heels on the floor—raise your toes off of it for 8-10 reps. To increase the challenge, you can balance a small dumbbell (5 lbs) on your foot for added resistance. Or you can also sit on a high chair or bench, with enough room for your feet to dangle, and do the same exercise with a dumbbell between them.
All the crunches in the world won’t get you six-pack abs without working these puppies. The obliques include the external and internal obliques, which cross diagonally from the bottom of your rib cage to your pubic area. Functionally, they keep you stable in an upright position. Cosmetically, the obliques form a ‘frame’ around the mid-section of your abs. Problem is, most people believe they’re strengthening them by doing side bends— but they won’t work.
Strengthen it: Do Bicyle Crunches. Lie on your back with your legs extended, feet about 10 inches off the ground, and your hands behind your head. Rotate your right elbow toward your left knee, keeping your opposite elbow on the ground and your opposite leg straight. Exhale as you rotate, thinking about your ribs squeezing toward your hips, then straighten your leg back to the start position. Pause, then repeat the motion to the opposite side. Do 8-10 reps 2-3 times a week.
Sure all those squats, dead lifts and lunges indirectly hit the hamstrings—but not enough. Most guys are quad dominant and ignore their hamstrings, which are only about 60 percent as strong as the quads. So what’s the big deal? Any imbalance of opposing muscle groups, like big quads and weak hamstrings, can cause unequal pull on the joint. And in this particular case, that sets the stage for knee injuries.
Strengthen it: Prone hamstring curl machines and standing leg curl machines are both effective, or try this leg curl move using an exercise ball. Lie on the floor with your heels on top of the ball, toes up toward the ceiling, and legs slightly bent. Lift the hips by pushing down on the ball with your heels, then roll the ball towards you by pulling your heels towards your seat, kneecaps pointed towards the ceiling. Keeping the hips off the ground, roll the ball back out to the starting position and repeat. Do 8-10 reps 2-3 times a week.
The Forearm Extensors
Since these muscles are responsible for gripping heavy things, like dumbbells and barbells, weak ones my hamper your ability to train larger muscles and weaken your entire workout—not to mention your tennis backhand. We get the forearm flexors with all pulling moves or curls or even tricep presses but nothing other than reverse biceps curls hits those muscles.
Strengthen it: While watching TV, you can simply squeeze and release a tennis ball, doing 3 sets of 10 reps 2-3 nights a week. Or try this: tie a light weight to the end of a rope, then tie the rope around a piece of broom handle or a wooden dowel. Stand with arms extended in front of you and roll the weight up and then down by rotating the broom towards you and away from you. Do 2-3 reps.