“I need to get fit before I start training..”
This statement makes me want to brush my teeth with a brick wall. It has all the airs and graces of intention, yet culminates in a poor excuse for not getting the heart rate up.
It’s no secret that there’s a lot of hype and bullshit flying around the fitness industry – especially this time of year with all the ‘new years resolutions’ in action – it’s a fast paced industry where everything happens at a million miles an hour, it’s intimidating, I get that.
The thing is, you don’t know what you don’t know, and if you get told to rip out 700 burpees then you’re going to have a crack at it, you’ll be fired up off the back of your new found New Year resolutions, its going to hurt, you decide that it’s not worth the hassle & eventually go back to the grind you were in last year.
Sometimes the best way forward is taking a step back, working through a few simple steps, and developing your plan as you go – a wise man once said, “its not about perfection, its all about the process” – if you’re working through things at a sensible pace you’ll be able to assess whether or not your on track to obtain your goals, if not, reassess the way you do things, make any changes you need, keep it simple, & you’ll be amazed at how quickly you start to feel good and see changes.
The first adventure I suggest you embark on in 2015? Hip mobility.
Stretch!! It’s one of the first things I recommend to every-single-new-client-that-comes-through-the-gym. The key here is to understand the difference between flexibility & joint mobility and the benefits of both.
You may be able to bend over and touch the ground when stretching your hamstrings but you may not be able to perform a safe squat due to your hips being tight. There are a massive number of muscles (some of the biggest in the body) involved so it’s very easy for these to tighten up through the hips, especially with all the use they get throughout your lifetime.
In my experience Yoga gets a bad rap - people seem to think that going to the classes will rope them into a lifetime of burning incense & kale smoothies. In reality, Stretch & Mobility / Yoga classes provide the perfect combination of flexibility for your muscles and mobility for your joints. Putting it into perspective, after 8 weeks of semi-regular stretching / yoga sessions I felt better than I had done in years, even while playing sport – why?
I got some mobility into my hips and gained flexibility in my Glutes (bum muscles) which took pressure away from and strengthened my lower back - I felt lighter on my feet and was able to build better core strength. My range of movement increased as my hip flexors loosened off and helped to increase my strength & power. The benefits of stretch & mobility are huge & the price you pay for those benefits is tiny in comparison.
What’s the easiest way to increase your hip mobility?
Squat down as deep as you can go.. hips below knees.. arse to grass.. deep! Keep your chest as high as possible, your hips as low as possible, and your weight through your heels. If you can’t keep your balance, position yourself in front of a pole that will help you not to ‘fall’ backwards while you’re getting used to the exercise. Once you’re as low as possible think about pulling your hips forward to your heels in a really nice, tight squat to get some movement into your hips – feel free to take a wider stance or gently rock from side to side, it all helps.
If you do this exercise for 60 seconds every day you will start to notice the difference inside a week – you’ll achieve balance in positions you didn’t used to and will slowly start to feel fantastic as you notice the benefits kicking in.
Get excited, get stuck into it, and get your health & fitness on track in 2015!