One of the things I harped on in the previous post was viewing the body as a joint by joint process. Each joint needs specific qualities in order to properly align the body and prepare it for any type of activity or resist injury.
Joint by joint needs
- Foot= stability/control
- Ankle= mobility, dorsiflexion usually needing to be trained more than plantarflexion
- Knee= stability, balance between knee extensors and flexors
- Hip/Pelvis= mobility, stability, neutral positioning, and proper hip extension without compensations
- Lumbar spine= stability, stability, stability
- Thoracic Spine= mobility
- Scapulae= Stability, proper rotation
- Glenohumeral Joint= mobility, stability
- Cervical Spine= neutral alignment
All basic, fundamental movement patterns should be addressed as well (squat, hip hinge, pulling, pressing, and rotation). Now we want fully touch on all of these, but we will definitely give you a step in the right direction.
The warm ups for our clients always start with a series of soft tissue mobilization drills utilizing the foam roller, la crosse ball, and tiger tail or pvc pipe to help relax any fascial restrictions which may be hindering movement or proper joint alignment. Once that is done, a series of dynamic mobility drills will be performed.
Now, the warm up performed is completely dependent on the individual and what type of issues he/she have, whether it be muscle imbalance or restricted range of motion. Here is an example warm up of some of the exercises we use to obtain the proper qualities at each joint and teach good movement.
This exercise is great for getting clients into neutral spine easily and to get adequate mobility/rotation at the thoracic spine while keeping the hips and lumbar spine nice and stable.
Squat w/ Thoracic Extension
Great for teaching clients to maintain proper thoracic extension during the squat. Make sure to maintain a good brace in the anterior core to limit lumbar extension. Different thoracic extension exercises should be implemented for those who are in excessive anterior tilt or display an excessive lordosis.
The kneeling version of the pushup plus is another great exercise to get new clients into neutral spine position while teaching them how to properly retract and protract. In addition to this, it is a great strengthening exercise for the serratus anterior muscle to help reposition the scapula on those with winged scapula.
An effective way to give clients some self regulated feedback on maintaining neutral spine alignment while performing a hip hinge. Use this exercise against a wall to give clients a sense of where they are drawing their hips back and warmup for your hip dominant days whether it contains hip thrusts, pull throughs, rdl's, or deadlifts.
This bad boy trains hip flexion on the reaching leg and hip extension/mobility through the back leg. Overall a great exercise to really open up the hips. Make sure to set up with a nice straight back and that the low back stays nice and stable during the pulsation down through the hip on each side. In other words, we want to achieve the movement at the hip, not through extension in the low back.
Straight Leg Raise
This movement should be done by keeping the lower back nice and stable/flat without any arching and by keeping the down leg extended into the ground. Slide the hands at the natural arch of the low back to feel for any unwanted extension. This will teach hip extension through the down leg, integration of the core, and strengthen hip flexion in the up leg.
Split Stance Rotation
When performed correctly this gem will teach hip extension through the down leg, upper hip stability through the up leg, and thoracic rotation. Not only that, but it is a great position to get people into to engage the glute medius plus put tight hip flexors on stretch.
On a final note, keep in mind that the warm up for yourself or your clients should be population specific to the imbalances/issues being dealt with. For more exercises visit our youtube page.
If you are curious about exercises to perform for specific conditions, leave your questions in the comments section or e-mail.