We are going to start off the New Year with a super informative post about exercises that must be added into your workout routine. This applies to anyone who wants to be injury resistant, stay active, or improve performance. I do not care if you are a marathon runner, a weekend warrior, a ski bum, a CrossFit or OrangeTheory junkie… These exercises must be added into your routine.
Strength training is one of the best ways to stay injury-resistant (in general). That being said, strength training does NOT include bootcamp or high-intensity workouts that use weights. Strength training involves using specific and focused exercises that target all the major areas of the body performed in a manner that does not necessarily have you laying on the floor in a pile of sweat.
This type of routine involves movements that we do every day (ie. Squat, pick things up from the ground (deadlift or lunge), push (bench press), carry (grocery haul into the house), etc… They also MUST be performed with weights that are challenging enough to make changes in our body occur as long as we can perform the movements properly.
Now… adding a regular strength routine into your workout regimen is a topic for another post. The topic of THIS post is to provide you with insight on FOUR exercises that you SHOULD be doing regularly.
The focus is on single leg movement! Why do single leg activities?
- They help retrain each side of the body somewhat separately which can help with life’s challenges such as climbing up onto high surfaces as in a tuck bed or on a hike.
- They can help with certain aches and pains we have on one side of the body and not the other.
- Have an old injury? There is probably some weakness over there that is not present on the other side… single-sided work can help even that out.
- Are you a runner or do you run? You are never on 2 feet when you are running… training single leg work can optimize running performance and decrease injury risk!
Here are the exercises!
This movement can be performed with a dumbbell or kettlebell AND you can hold onto something for balance (ie. A pole or the wall)
TIP: keep your back flat and think about allowing the back leg to kick up as your torso hinges downward.
This movement is very challenging for most people. The video above shows the version while holding onto rings (also can be done with TRX straps).
TIP: keep your weight centered in your entire foot as you squat vs your heel. If you ever want to get to the point of doing these unassisted, you MUST lean your torso forward a bit and have full weight in your foot to perform properly.
This movement is not AS challenging as the single leg squat at first, but can still be tough when performing as low as the video. If you feel you need a modification, click this assisted skater squat demo.
TIP: do not allow the back leg to be planted – just tap your shin to the targeted surface.
Bulgarian Split Squat (or rearfoot elevated split squat) << CLICK TO VIEW
This is a fabulous version of the split squat that works the front AND back leg. Looking to get more flexible hip flexors? Look no further than this bad boy movement.
TIP: make sure that you have your legs far enough apart so when you perform the squat you can feel a nice stretch in the back leg while keeping your torso upright.
These are just a few but some of the best and most bang for your buck. I would suggest beginning without weight and adding resistance once you get comfortable with the movements!