As the warmer weather starts to pop up more and more in Central New York, it seems the entire town is becoming increasingly active after a winter this area hasn’t seen since Budweiser’s ‘Whassssssup’ Super Bowl Commercial. However, before heading out on the black top to recreate Shabazz Napier’s signature move here is a list of 5 things your body needs to go through in order to perform optimally; not to mention annihilate any chance of injury.
1. Strengthen the posterior chain
The posterior chain involves all of the muscles on the backside of your body. These muscles are responsible for safely decelerating the body during physical activity as well as changing direction effectively at top speeds. Hamstring pulls are a common injury this time of year and can mostly be attributed to weak or inactive glutes. Strengthen your glutes and the rest of your posterior chain with these timeless movements. Squats, Deadlifts, Kettle bell Swings, and Bridges.
2. Adopt a mobility routine
Along with a weak posterior chain most people suffer from immobile ankles, hips, and upper back. These 2 mobility movements done daily will improve these problem areas and lead to much more optimal movement patterns and less pain!
3. Train for strength
Adopting a full body strength routine 1-2 days each week won’t pack on muscle or melt away fat very quickly. However, it will improve neuromuscular function. This means improving the connection between your brain and muscles. A full body strength routine with proper movement patterns will ensure all muscle groups are contributing their fair share. This can reduce the likelihood of cramps and spasms. The way you move determines what muscles will take over the majority of the work. This causes other muscles to ‘fall asleep’. For example hamstring cramping and lower back pain can occur as a result of taking on too much of the workload. ‘Awakening’ the glute muscles can solve these common issues by taking on more of the workload and ease the stress on the surrounding muscle groups.
4. Be reasonable
Seeing the sun and feeling the warm air for the first time in months is extremely enticing and properly warming up is the last thought in the mind of many weekend warrior’s. No matter your warm up habits, start slow and don’t expect to be doing the same things you were doing at the end of last summer if you haven’t been maintaining that same level of activity throughout winter.
5. Schedule an assessment with a qualified trainer
Do you have pain and want to move better? Seek professional help. If your personal trainer doesn’t know the muscles of the hamstring, uses exercise machines as their primary form of exercise, or cites fitness magazines as research literature then put your wallet away and walk out. A certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) has achieved the industry gold standard through written exams and an undergraduate degree. Strength and conditioning specialists, chiropractors, and physical therapists are all qualified movement specialists trained to conduct movement assessments and spot movement dysfunction.