From a chiropractic point of view, you need to be functioning well before you start your new exercise program. If you build muscle and improve fitness on top of underlying problems you are opening yourself up to injury. You need a strong foundation with which to build on. Think of it this way, if you build a house on top of a dodgy foundation the finished product is never going to be as strong as it should be. If you are starting a new exercise program I suggest you get checked out by a chiropractor or other health professional to make sure you are structurally functioning well. They will also give advice on what things to avoid or things to you need to work on to help avoid injuries.
Get good advice
When starting something new, make sure you get good advice. If you are going the gym make sure you get a proper program made up for you and get proper instruction on how to do the exercises. Poor technique is a major cause of problems that I see. If you have had problems or are getting over an injury ask your health professional on what to do and what to avoid to reduce the risk of injury.
Set realistic goals
You do not go the gym once and get fit. Change takes time. Make sure your goals are realistic. You can have a major end goal in mind, but make smaller goals along the way to keep motivation up.
Take measurements and photos
Some people don’t like this but it is the best way to track progress. Take ‘before’ photos and measurements. These measurements should be the calves, thighs, waist, chest, arms etc. Measuring these gives you the best way of tracking progress. You should re-measure at set points during the program. Weight can give you an idea of progress but seeing how things physically change is much better. This can help with your motivation levels.
Work on flexibility
Most people that I see have flexibility problems. Improving your flexibility will help reduce the risk of injuries, it will help with your technique, and will just make you feel better.
Practice the hip-hinge movement
The hip hinge movement is a movement pattern that a lot of people have trouble with. The hip hinge is a movement whereby your back stays flat and stable when leaning forward and the movement only occurs at the hips, hence the ‘hip hinge’. A properly executed hip hinge pattern will ensure a smooth transition from rehab to performance but also plays a big role in injury prevention. Most people utilize their backs too much during simple everyday tasks such as tying shoes, picking up objects and rising from a chair. This is even more pronounced when doing new exercises. By practicing this movement you will hopefully protect your back from injuries. The hip hinge with a stick exercise is a good way of practicing this. Here is how to do it:
- Take a stick or broom stick and place along your back. Make sure it touches 3 points (head, upper back and pelvis) throughout the entire movement.
- Reach the pelvis backwards with a slight bend in the knees. The knees should be above the ankles.
- Hinge the upper body forward making sure the knees do not bend too much. The movement should be through the hips and not the lower back.
- Throughout the entire movement maintain strict form and the 3 points of contact.
- Progress to doing this with one leg on the ground at a time. Search hip hinge on YouTube for hundreds of videos on this movement pattern.
If your New Year’s resolution was exercise or fitness based, these 6 simple tips will help you get the best results. If you have any questions, or would like a chiropractic assessment feel free to contact me. If you like what you read, please hit the like button below.