Personally I exercise for three reasons. Firstly, it makes me feel great and boosts my energy levels.
Secondly I love the outdoors and want to experience the vastness of what New Zealand has on offer; from surfing to snowboarding and mountain biking to motocross.
Thirdly, with children not far away from the teenage years I want to be able to surf, motocross and run with them as they grow into young adults. That means being able to stay injury-free and to be fit, flexible and strong well into my 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond.
Last month I talked about the importance of the Functional Movement Screen. Even if you have been exercising for years, do you really know your true weaknesses? Do you know your muscle balance and flexibility? You are only as strong as your weakest link.
“If you think doing crunches, GHD sit-ups, knees to elbows, and toes to bar is going to train your core please stop now. These exercises should be banned.”
The three injuries we see on a weekly basis that commonly derail people from achieving their goals are low back pain, shoulder pain and calf or Achilles tears. So how can you avoid these injuries, how can you train to perform at your peak and how do you keep it going.
If you think doing crunches, GHD sit-ups, knees to elbows, and toes to bar is going to train your core please stop now. These exercises should be banned. Any exercise that creates movement in your spine causing you to round your lower back will lead to a back injury. By doing these exercises, you are training your brain to be really good at rounding your low back, which is the last thing you want to be doing when you are lifting a heavy weight.
The majority of shoulder injuries come from a poor rounded posture. Getting the spine straight is the target here. No matter how bad your posture is now, as long as you have fluid flowing through your veins, then you can change your posture for the better. Taking five minutes to lay over the Obie roller or Oov and allowing the spine to stretch open, will make a drastic difference in how your shoulders function.
The next crucial focus is flexibility. It is a must to attend yoga or body balance classes, at least twice a week, for 8-12 weeks. Learning to properly stretch and breathe is such an important tool. Once you have done an initial block of classes, you can start doing the stretches at home or after training. With regard o flexibility, daily use of the Obie roller to release the leg muscles is critical. Keeping the calf pain free on the Obie roller will drastically reduce the chance of tearing the muscle.
At Advance Wellness, for every new client we create a performance programme. This always starts with the FMS screen, which gives us an overall picture of how your body moves. From there we can design a programme to build strength, increase flexibility and prevent injury.
To build proper functional strength, you must be training your brain to stabilise your lower back, holding neutral spine and allowing the hip muscles to drive power. The only way to train this is to become proficient on the Oov. With a strong balanced core you can pretty much do any exercise that the trainer can throw at you.
What do you want to do in 2015?