“Reboot and revive” with six alignment exercises
It is that time of year to keep your mind and body active as the cool weather sets. We’re almost halfway through 2021 and now is the perfect time to refocus on your self and realign your body.
The personal training focus for this issue is increasing blood flow to weakened or lacklustre skeletal muscles. In short, you want to increase cell development in your drowsy muscles by releasing your natural growth hormones from the pituitary gland. By increasing this natural hormone your body forces a boost to strengthen muscles in aligned resistance training. Combination muscle group training encourages these cells to harmonise, triggering stability and improved posture. By using this retraining, optimal health is achieved in overall biomechanics, ensuring less injury and improving recovery, which is especially important as you age.
Research indicates that our posture has deteriorated due to longer working hours and sitting in front of technology during COVID. This has been coupled with lower back issues, the wearying of hips and leg muscles, spine misalignment due to trunk and core instabilities and shoulder stress. Thus, these slight muscles groups around the larger muscles have simply gone to sleep. That is why these dual-muscle alignment exercises, and your biomechanical movements, are imperative.
This particular series of movements influences spine mobility, posture strength and muscle alignment sooner, which makes your body feel younger.
The reason for using dual muscles as opposed to single-muscle focus is that you increase your body’s alignment capacity by using two opposing muscles in unison. If you simply focus on one muscle group you are training unproductively as you are not creating a routine, or neurological pattern, of strengthening mobility. You are instead teaching your body movements that are inefficient and inappropriate for everyday life. I complete dual-muscle movements in all my workouts because first, it saves time, but it also proves to be more effective on the body conditioning and neurological patterning. This particular series of movements influences spine mobility, posture strength and muscle alignment sooner, which makes your body feel younger.
Our session involves six dual-mobility exercises to improve alignment and trigger those sleepy or weakening muscles. We will be focusing on posture and opening all circulatory pathways to increase blood flow.
When beginning a new program, always complete the first exercise slowly. Use a mirror or shadow if available to see how your body and posture are tracking. Ensure you are focused, to trigger the brain pattern and muscle switch. These practices help you to remember the exercise. Many of us are time-poor and the rush is our undoing in our body training.
Complete eight to 15 repetitions of these exercise and three to five sets. You only require body weight, but I do encourage you to complete the maximum amount of repetitions in the first and last set. Complete these exercises daily for one week. Then complete them every second day for the next two weeks. On the final week of the month complete them every day. The session should take approximately 30 minutes.
For a more intense workout, add a set of 5kg to 7kg hand weights and complete the workout. An added option of a four-minute speed walk or jog between sets will really spark your system. I personally add this into my workouts.
Ensure you complete the set in the order below, as it helps to trigger muscles to recover and allow a complete and fulfilled workout. Try these effective and simple dual-muscle-boosting exercises focusing on spine alignment to really feel revived.
1. Wall slide squats and press (use a wall to start)
Find a wall that is usable and clear to stand against and find your correct posture. Start by standing with your back against the wall with shoulders blades flat and heels as close as possible. Slide your body down the wall to a squat position. (As a beginner you may require your heels slightly elevated if your calves or Achilles tendon are tight.)
Hold this position for a count of five and push your body back up. Put your shoulders and arms into a press position and push your arms straight above your head. Focus on your legs being at 90 degrees. Remember your focus is alignment.
Next, step slightly away from the wall; hold this previous position in memory and complete this set of 10–15 repetitions. Beginning in standing position, squat down so your knees are at 90 degrees in your knee. Hold for a count of five, and push back up to standing. Repeat. Focus on your navel pulling in toward your spine.
2. Plank with knee to elbow holds
Hold into a body plank position. Place hands flat and wide, fingers on the ground using toes to hold the body plank. Move knee to elbow right side, hold and then left side. Hold for five seconds after each set. Focus on your navel pulling in toward your spine.
Next kick your leg out straight and hold for five seconds, ie hold for five seconds with bent knee at elbow and then with leg straight and swap sides evenly. Complete the repetitions of 10–15 per leg.
3. Forward and step back lunges
Stand upright with your hands at your hips or in pray position; press your hands firmly together to trigger shoulder alignment and muscles.
The reason for using dual muscles as opposed to single-muscle focus is that you increase your body’s alignment capacity by using two opposing muscles in unison.
Take a large step forward with your left foot and drop your knee to the ground, hold and then bring your left knee forward returning to standing. Hold for five seconds. Then step backward with your left foot. Lower your hips so that your right thigh (front leg) becomes parallel to the floor with your right knee positioned directly over your ankle. Your left knee should be bent at a 90 degree angle and pointing toward the floor with your left heel lifted. Return to standing by pressing and using your momentum to return to standing at the end of your mat. This is the end of one repetition. Alternate legs, and step back with right leg. Focus on your navel pulling in toward your spine. Complete 10–15 repetitions and take it slow. Focus on the core, the legs and knee tracking correctly.
4. Wide stance ankle taps
Stand with feet wider apart than shoulder width. Start with hands in a pray position and retain for the exercise. Begin with bending the right knee and bend the body to tap the floor or ankle in a side lunge position. Return to centre position each time. If using a weight, tap the ground nearest to the foot. Avoid bouncing and exhale upon each tap to the ground. Focus on your navel pulling in toward your spine.
5. Abdominals knee to single leg chest crunches
Begin with back flat upon a mat or ground. Lift legs to a 90 degree position and set arms into a link. Bring the left knee toward the chest and bring linked hands around the knee. The right leg should be held in a pointed toe position. Hold and swap legs. Focus on your navel pulling in toward your spine and the grounding the shoulders.
6. V-sit abdominal twist
Begin in a seated V-sit position. Bring the knees to a 90 degree position and hold. Set hands in linked grip or pray hands position and tap the left-hand side of the hip on the ground, then twist and repeat to the right side. Focus on your navel pulling in toward your spine and pushing your shoulders back.