Archives for posts with tag: thoracic spine

Happy Monday everyone!

First and foremost I apologize for not posting last week. I’m in the middle of moving all of my room mates into our new apartment, and the last two weeks have been chaos to say the least! Things are finally settling in and we’ve gotten enough toilet paper to last the year šŸ˜€

Anyway, I figured it would be cool to have a weekly feature of something everyone could incorporate into their gym routine. What’s better thanĀ  a weekly warmup?

If you’re not doing a warmup before lifting, you’re doing yourself a disservice. And I’m not talkin’ about a 5 minute walk on the treadmill. I’m sure you’ve heard the benefits of warming up before, but just to remind you:

a. preps your body for the more compound, nervous-system-taxing movements you’re about to do

b. increases body tempurature and blood flow

c. preps joints with mobility and range of motion

d.Ā releases soft tissue constraints, ‘lubricates’Ā and mobilizes soft tissue

e. activates correct muscles

f. helps to prevent injury!

For my first edition of WUOTW I’m going to give you my go-to warm up routine. Ā It’s most likely stuff you’ve seen before, and maybe some new ones. This is my most basic form of warmup. I will give you progressions in upcoming weeks. In the future, I will have videos for each warm up. However, today will just be photos. Ā Here’s what were workin’ with:

A. T-spine twist- thoracic mobility, shoulder mobility, pec stretch, posture enforcer

B. Glute Bridges- Activates core and glutes

C. Birddog- activates core, glutes, and stabilizers. Posture enforcer and shoulder stabilizer

D. 1/2 kneeling hip flexor stretch- hip mobilization, hip flexor stretch

E. Inchworms- whole posterior back line flexibility, core activation

F. Spidermans- hip mobilization, t-spine mobilization, core activation, hip flexor activation, hamstring stretch

In my opinion, one characteristic of a good warm up is that it works from the ground up. Start with the simplestĀ activations/stretches and work into more dynamic and compound movement. Of course, this isn’t always the case; but it’s a good rule of thumb. A warm up doesn’t have to take longer than 5-10 minutes but will do you a world of good for your workout.

It’s Monday! Go get ’em.

-L

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Does that last position look familiar? You may or may not do it naked, but chances are you sit for most of the day. Here are my top 4 anti-sit stretches that you can do anywhere. Take a break every couple hours to do these stretches and you might just avoid some annoying aches and pains down the road.

1. Hip Flexors

Beginner

I haven’t been training for 20 years or anything, but I’ve yet to come across anyone with too flexible hip flexors. Get in the half kneeling position (seen above) and keep your torso nice and tall. Squeeze the butt cheek of the leg that’s down and you should feel a stretch at the top of your quad.

Moderate

Progress by taking 1 arm over head and bending to the opposite side. This will intensify the stretch.

Take hands up overhead to make it advanced

The last step will be to elevated the back foot using a bench, stool, couch or the likes. This will now stretch the hip flexors and quads from both the hip and knee joints.

2. Thoracic Spine

We have 3 main sections of the spine. Our cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back- aka t-spine), and lumbar (low back). We want to have good extension, flexion and rotation in our t-spine; and its where most people Ā lack.

The key for this stretch is to keep your feet, knees and hips stacked; don’t let the top leg shift when you open to twist. Your arm may not touch the ground at first but that’s okay. Spend some time relaxing and taking deep belly breaths (diaphragmatic breathing). The more you relax, the more your arm will sink. This might be my all time favorite stretch.

3. ChestĀ 

The classic doorway stretch. This gets your shoulder out of that internally rotated position to open up the chest and shoulders. Make this dynamic by isometrically pushing into the wall for 6 seconds, and then relaxing for 20 for 3 rounds. You should be able to go deeper each round.

4. Shoulders

The towel stretch: Gently pull the towel up and down to get a stretch in theĀ reciprocalĀ pattern. Make sure to switch hand positions and go the other directions.

BONUS!!Ā 

Lucky you! I’m giving you the money maker.Ā If you have all the stretches in the world to choose from, and can only pick 1- this should be it.Ā This stretch is dynamic, so a video will be better suited, but here’s a picture and description for those of you that are lazy enough to not watch the video šŸ™‚

The Spider Man Stretch

Boo yeah!

Just kidding.

Take a larger than normal lunge forward with right foot and put both hands on the ground. Twist your right hand up toward the ceiling. Right hand down, right foot back (now you’re in plank position) – repeat with left side.

Here’s a video

Now get up and stretch!

-L