Workout Anytime Daily 10 Prehab Routine
Everyone knows that prevention is better than dealing with an injury, and part of injury prevention is spending time working on what are commonly referred to as “corrective exercises” or “Prehab”. 10 minutes a day spent doing 10 basic exercises can prevent many injuries, improve results from exercise, and dramatically improve movement.
Ideally do these exercises barefoot or in socks – your feet will be working very hard during these exercises and shoes reduce ground feel. If possible do them in front of a mirror to see your form!
Hip Hinge – Hip Hinging is one of basic primal movement patterns, and it is also the movement pattern most frequently done incorrectly. The best way to groove this movement pattern is practice it using a wooden handle or PVC Pipe held vertically against your back touching the back of your head, the top of your shoulders, and your tail bone. By keeping contact with all three points as you hinge it teaches you to maintain a flat back which is essential for preventing low back injuries and developing proper movement mechanics that allow you to effectively load and unload the glutes and hamstrings.
It is also a phenomenal dynamic warm-up for the hamstrings! Here is a video showing how to do it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PG67O49Hsso Do 50 reps per day and you will see and feel positive changes in your posture, movement, strength and mobility!
Downhill Skier Exercise– This exercise contains elements of the squat and hip hinge. Start by placing the hands palm down on the top of the thighs. Keep the back straight slide the hands down until the palms are resting on the knees with the hips back like you are a second basemen. You should begin to feel a stretch in the hamstrings. Continue to hinge from the hip forward and slide down until your elbow are resting on the inside of the knees with back straight and hips back like you are a downhill skier. This will require your knees to track forward over and maybe even slightly beyond your toes (this will generate a stretch in the calf muscles and specifically the single joint soleus muscle). Keep your heels down the whole time – do not let them lift up off the floor!
Keeping the back totally straight extend the knees as far as possible – you should feel a strong stretch in the hamstrings. Your hips will rise but keep your elbows on the knees and do not move the upper body! Then drop the hips, flex the knees and let them move forward over toes as you drop back down to the downhill skier posture.
Start slow but as you get the hang of it you can move faster – as long as you maintain proper form. Do 30 – 50 reps every day. You will start to notice that your squat and your hip hinge movements all get easier along with improved mobility in the ankle knee and hip! Click here for a great video of how to do this exercise properly: https://youtu.be/nXKWtlr3rBQ
Goblet Squat – Squats are another primal movement pattern and goblet squats help emphasize the best form. They should be done daily with a relatively light weight for a good 20 – 50 repetitions. Keep the dumbbell, kettlebell or Sandbag held against the chest the entire time. If you have difficulty getting thighs parallel to the floor spread your feet farther apart, and also rotate out at the hips so that your feet are pointing outwards. This can make a huge difference. By doing this and holding a light weight against your chest you may find you can squat to a decent depth while maintaining an upright torso. It should look like this: http://cfitness.me.formecdn.com/2016/12/goblet-squat.jpg
Alternatively you can hold a kettlebell/Dumbbell with both hands letting it go straight down between the legs as you squat down like this: http://workoutlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/watermarked/Pile_Sumo_Dumbbell_Squat1.png
Single Leg RDL – Romanian Deadlift – is one of the most important corrective exercises you can do to help self-identify and correct muscle imbalances that are the most common cause of movement dysfunction and injury.
The best way to do this exercise is barefoot in front of a mirror where you can see your whole body throughout the entire sequence of the exercise. Ideally you should be on a firm and level surface as well.
Start by facing the mirror standing on one foot with the other leg flexed so your thigh is parallel with the floor and knee flexed to 90 degrees with hands on your hips. Look in the mirror and make sure your hips are perfectly level and if not fix that!
Next, without moving the upper body extend the flexed leg down and hinge forward at the hip of the standing leg. As your swing leg passes the other leg you should try to straighten it, and ideally you hinge forward at the upper body while keeping your swing leg and upper body in a straight line the whole time.
As you hinge try NOT to let your swing leg hip drop and keep your stance foot pointing directly forward with no angle. The stance leg should flex slightly but the knee should NOT move forward – rather you should “sit” back into the hinge at the hip. Pause when you reach at or near parallel with the floor with your upper body and swing leg then smoothly return to standing and flex the swing leg. Slower is harder AND better and do NOT use any load/weight.
10 repetitions on each side each day! Do all 10 on each side one time per day and you will see some amazing changes in your strength, balance and athleticism!
Here is a great single leg RDL tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vc21IwnIcwk
Hip Thrusts – The hip thrust simultaneously develops the glutes while enhancing mobility in the hip flexors (both key because this counteracts the negative effects of sitting all the time!). These can be done on the floor or with shoulders on a bench, bed or sofa to make it a bit harder. You can do hip thrusts with two legs or one leg at a time to create additional
load. Here is a good shot of the exercise: http://cdn-www.womenshealthsa.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/hip-thrust-hold.jpg
Important NOT to arch lower back at all and concentrate on squeezing glutes at top and NOT using low back. Even without any load this exercise can produce great benefits – 20 – 50 reps each day!
Plank – The plank is a simple functional core exercise that produces great benefits. It can be done on toes and hands (upper push-up position), Toes and Elbows, Hands and Knees, etc to adjust the difficulty. Do a version of the plank that challenges for one minute per day while maintaining good form. Here is a great article on some of the many variations: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20813896,00.html/view-all
Side Plank – The Side Plank is also key to building core strength, but in the front plane (side to side stability and strength). 30 seconds to a minute on each side each day. Like the plank there are many variations and one of the best when you are ready is a side plank with leg lift: https://rutheburke.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/side_bridge_abd.jpg
Static Lunge – Lunges are another primal movement pattern, and there are many different variety of lunges. A static lunge is done with feet in a split stance like this: https://www.google.com/imgres?imgrefurl=http://thefitnesslink.uk/exercises/static-lunge/&tbnid=J1sOV9EYH0PmVM:&docid=lgeVWz3ThLe7OM&h=1417&w=1890
The exercise is fantastic for simultaneously developing strength and mobility in the foot, ankle, knee and hip. Best done barefoot on a firm surface. Keep your front heel down the entire time and rear foot is up on ball of the foot with rear knee, hip, back and head kept in alignment the entire time. Do 10 reps at a time on each side per day – no weight is necessary.
Side to Side Skater– This exercise develops hip mobility including providing an excellent dynamic stretch/warm-up for the adductor (inner thigh muscles). Feet should be wide apart with feet facing forward – not angled out. Keep feet flat on the floor and flex forward at the hip keeping back straight (only flex forward as far as you can while maintaining a flat back and keeping both feet on the floor with entire foot kept down in contact with the ground). Push the hips directly to the side and pause as you feel a stretch in the trailing leg’s adductors.
Ideally your head and torso stay perpendicular to lower body and centered during the entire exercise just like a speed skater. Then push your hips back in the other direction to the other to the other side. NOTE: Do NOT go up and down – your hips should go back and forth in a straight-line parallel with the floor. Do 20 – 30 reps each day.
Ankle Circles – This exercise improves ankle mobility and is great before just about any activity. Stand on one foot. These can be done seated, standing or lying down – best done standing to simultaneously work on balance and stability. The action is simple: holding foot and leg in the air draw a circle with your toes for 10 circles in one direction and 10 circles in the other direction like this: http://web.eccrsd.us/christy/public/athletic_training/ankle_sprain_rehab_beginner_files/Picture%201.jpg
You will notice that one direction is much harder than the other and you will feel much less coordinated and same thing with one leg vs the other leg. Do more repetitions in the direction that is challenging and more on the leg that is more challenging. Ideally do the exercise while you stand on one foot while you pull your other leg up with knee bent so that your thigh is parallel with the floor. This is more challenging than it looks but will provide big benefits in terms of balance and stability.
Done daily and before workouts these 10 exercises will provide big benefits including improved posture, stability, strength and mobility. You will also notice that you improve at many other exercises and movements.