Your fitness routine may have been based on the squat rack, deadlift platform, and heavy machinery for quite some time before the gyms were forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic. Or you have been injured and the doctor has a few weeks without touching heavy iron.
Either way, once you get permission to set foot in your iron paradise again, you'll want to turn off a few bench and overhead presses.
But before we do that, it's important to get our muscles back to where they were before our unplanned break.
Why is that important? When you re-enter a gym, you need to remain functional so that you can do the same compound exercises (exercises that target more than one muscle group) without feeling stiff and tense. Tightness in key areas such as the hips, shoulders, back, or other muscles in the back chain has a huge impact on your performance.
When you return, you may find that you have limited mobility and that your joints / muscles feel weak and frail after months of inactivity. In this article, we're going to go over a quick program that you can use to fix these issues.
This program is ideal for anyone who has had to take a long break from their iron paradise, be it due to a global epidemic, injury, or any other reason. Follow us and you'll be ripping your old 1 rep max again before you know it.
We need to start a program to keep each and every muscle group loose, strong, and flexible. We can do this by performing simple "single movement" exercises with light to no equipment to maintain overall functionality. We'll be including resistance bands and the optional pair of dumbbells if available. This device is cheap, versatile, and lightweight, if not weightless.
In this piece we will focus on the lower body. We're going to look again at how to loosen your top half in a separate piece.
HIPS AND LOWER BODY EXERCISES
The hips are an important muscle group for general and functional health. They play an important role in performing all of the lower body strength exercises, such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, snapping, and cleaning and pushing. If your hips are weak, you will experience a weak lift. When they're tight, they affect everything from maintaining a neutral spine to engaging your core, to lowering it above 45 degrees.
As a result, your spine is forced to counterbalance the stress of most lower body exercises. This leads to injury and is unable to target the correct muscles and lift the desired weight. Tight hamstrings also have a very negative effect on your shape. When these large muscles are tense, they severely limit the movement of all of your "seat muscles" such as the hips, glutes, quads, and core.
Without functioning hamstrings, your explosiveness, strength, and balance will be compromised during exercises like barbell squats and deadlifts. If the situation is bad, you may even feel like you are falling backwards from deep crouching.
In this scenario, the rest of the seat muscles must also compensate for this, as there is a risk of hip impairment, muscle tears and spinal problems.
So, before you hit the gym again, let's look at six exercises that can counteract all of these problems.