How many hours do you spend seated every day?
Let’s say you’re in an office job during the day, and then you travel home in the car or on the train, then if you lounge on the sofa to relax, my guess would be around 8-12 hours!
Not moving around at regular intervals in your day is reeking havoc on your body and posture, even if you can’t see it yet. Spending extended periods of time staring at a screen slowly makes your body adapt to this posture and begins to change your musculoskeletal system. Now this is not to say sitting at your desk is wholly bad, you can sit like this for as long as you need to, providing you have the capability to move out of it freely in the opposite direction to combat any restrictions, and avoid permanent damage. Without regularly reminding your body of the full capability of its movement you can start to lose some range.
In my personal training career the most common problem I see lies within the glute muscles, and these affect almost everything you do, both in and out of the gym.
This group of muscles is important to stabilise the pelvis, produce power, move the hips and keep yourself looking perky in a pair of jeans!
Sitting for large amounts of time causes the muscles to become smaller, weaker and lazier. This can lead to many other problems such as:
•Lower back pain •Muscles tightness from compensation in other areas •Poor posture •Weak performance in the gym •Knee issues •Balance and muscle-coordination loss
If you suffer with any of the above I recommend you start finding a solution!
Begin by starting to train this area to build functional strength in order to help reduce or even fix your on-going problems.
Let me introduce the glute bridge!
This wonderful body weight movement is just what the doctor ordered to start sorting out your weak glutes. You can perform this exercise anywhere, zero equipment, just yourself and willingness to put the effort into sculpting some round, hard glutes and regain a better quality of life and fuller movement range.
How to perform:
•Lie down on your back with both knees bent and feet shoulder width apart. •Arms out on the floor, extended parallel to the body. •Chin down (let’s see those double chins). Lower back gently flattened into the floor.
•Press down through your heels and raise the hips up as much as you can without experiencing lower back pain/tension. •Hold and squeeze for a count of 1 second. •Return slowly down to the start position and repeat for the desired rep count or time.
My general advice to someone who has never done these, would be to perform the Glute bridge exercise 1-3 times a week, increasing the frequency as you progress to 4 times a week. Aim to start with 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions and give yourself 45 seconds to a minute rest in between sets.
For those of you who are experienced gym-goers and are not feeling the benefits of this exercise, or to those beginners who want to get the most from this exercise, I have a few troubleshooting checks.
Are you genuinely feeling your muscles contract during the set? Test that you are working in the optimum way by lifting the toes and putting the weight down just through the heels.
Are you lifting the hips from an arched spine? Involving the lower back can put the stress onto the muscles of the spine and lumbar, and takes tension off from the glutes. Before you lift, press your belly button into the floor and tense you mid-line like you are about to be punched in the gut. Hold this the entire way up and down be mindful of when you start relaxing and/or fatiguing. Stop the rep, start again with proper positioning.
There you have it, some homework to keep you busy! Begin to build this exercise into your weekly routine and notice the effect this has on your body and your day to day living- with every rep you’ll be one step closer to being in the best shape of your life!
If you need a helping hand to get started becoming the best version of you in 2018, simply drop me an email and we discuss my personalised online training programme or my in-person sessions. Together we can make those lifetime goals a reality!
If you enjoyed this article please do like and share on Facebook, drop me a comment and let me know if there’s another exercise you’d like me to discuss!