How about a fun workout challenge??
How strong are your calves? Not, how large and/or tight and “ripped” do they look, but how *strong* are they *really*?
Calf raises. How far forward is your body translating when you raise up onto your toes? Check yourself against a wall (have something to hold onto!) or up to the kitchen counter.
Calf raises are a great way to strengthen not just your calves, but also your feet and ankles. There are so many ways to make them more challenging. Usually, people sway forward quite a bit and use the anterior (front) chain rather than the posterior (back) chain to create the movement. Cheater cheater pumpkin eater 🎃
Using the wall takes that cheat away and all you’re left with is foot/ankle, glute, and core strength. A.K.A. being faced with the truth of your back side.
The first time I tried these I couldn’t raise up a millimeter without holding on. Seriously. It was a gradual progression (mostly due to inconsistency) but the last couple weeks I have worked in a set at the wall each day and now it’s getting much smoother and I no longer have to hold onto anything.
Also, my calves were very unhappy initially. Clearly, I had never used them correctly before. When stationary, you should move basically straight up and down. When walking, calves work in concert with everything else to move you forward. Two different tasks with different demands. Work the isolated strength then move into dynamics and see how much better things feel.
I constantly battle my shoulder joints, have for a very long time. And I’ve been able to cheat and steal my way through mobility and strength deficits. I run, who needs strong arms?! 🤦♀️ But no more.
This year is the year of a strong upper body 💪. So I have enlisted myself in shoulder boot camp and am tackling those winging shoulder blades currently. Our shoulder blades aren’t supposed to look like bat wings in flight, what?!
Here it is, my new “favorite” serratus anterior exercise. I am a big fan of convenience when it comes to fitness because, well, compliance goes way up when it’s convenient. So I brought my gear downstairs while I immerse myself in a bit of shoulder boot camp.
”Oh lookey here, conveniently placed foam roller!” Each time I walked by it I would do 10 reps, set it down and be on my merry way. So that is how you make it work and get it done. Convenience.
This is sped up 2x, so take it slow. Set up like you are doing an awesome plank but on the wall...on a foam roller with a theraband . I like the foam roller at my wrists so I have enough to roll up, use arms to push yourself away to engage serratus anterior and glide shoulder blades along ribcage (no bat wings here!!). Next, engage core by zipping up your abs from pubic bone to belly button, knitting down your ribs with your abs (no #glutesofglory sticking up here!!). Speaking of, engage those glutes to help stabilize pelvis, and go slightly up on toes.
No you are ready. Keep elbows just wider than shoulders and make sure resistance is just enough to get those pec muscles to quiet down. Roll up and reach hands towards the wall (not straight up). If your band hits your face then you aren’t reaching towards the wall. You might need to readjust every few reps as the roller shifts.
When the movement was too hard for me early on I just did an isometric hold in the starting position. I still catch my pelvis wanting to rotate forwards (hence my adjustment on the second rep). So it’s a work in progress. But my serratus are finally waking up! Consistency is key, and for me to be consistent I also need it to be convenient **************************
I didn’t make this one up. The credit goes to what I learned from Dr. Sarah Ellis Duvall and the Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist certification I got last year. To say it has been life-changing is an understatement. So much amazing information, your brain will explode. But in a good way 😎 Click HERE to learn more as registration for the next class starts soon and you can save $150!
Bridges! Probably the second most prescribed exercise in physical therapy clinics across the U.S. Second only to clams. So much going wrong with them basically every time I see someone do them. And they are a great exercise for hip extension and building those #glutesofglory so today’s post is a quick tip on using better form.
Feet closer to bum = more glutes, further from bum = more hamstrings. Make sure to get a great 360 inhale first then exhale and use your lower abs to tilt pelvis posterior, pushing low back into the floor. Hold a nice brace at the end of your exhale and inhale again, still maintaining a gentle abdominal brace. On the exhale, tighten your brace slightly and push the ground away from you, contracting those glutes.
Remember 1.0: pubis in same plane as lower ribs, and ribs knit down with a nice abdominal brace. Breathing 360 under a brace is a skill and you may need to practice this. A lot. No breath-holding here, please!
Remember 2.0: don’t make your back work to create the movement. Keeping good core control will help keep the paraspinals soft so you can focus on using those glutes appropriately.
Remember 2.1: breathe throughout the entire exercise. NO BREATH-HOLDING!
Try it out and see what you think!
Part 4 of Car Seat Calisthenics!
This one will help wake up that core! I want you to think TALL, chin tucked slightly, abs engaged from the bottom up, ribcage down, and hip hinge from the glutes/hips. Only go as far down as your hamstrings allow in order to keep that good hinge. Set the car seat on something to make it higher if needed.
Push through your pinkies to engage shoulders and serratus anterior (remember her? She is besties with external obliques). Don’t sink into your shoulders, engage them!
Keep that core engaged throughout and move mindfully.
No bearing down my ladies with prolapse...none. Do what you can, skip what you can’t for now. If walking out and back with bent knees helps, do that.
Note: I have *no* baby in the car seat, which would have been helpful to keep it more stabilized. Empty made it a LOT more challenging!
Note again: This is sped up 2x so take it slow, breathing through the movement! Again, think: mindful movement, exhale on the effort.
Oh wait, another note: if these are too hard, modify!
~If hamstrings are a hindrance for hinging, put the car seat up higher.
~Bend knees to start and work up to straight legs if too challenging at this time.
~Hip hinge, hip hinge, aaaaaand hip hinge!
~Walk out as far as you can while keeping core engaged and without any doming/bulging/pooching.
~KEEP YOUR RIBCAGE DOWN! Yes, even in standing.
~Use a mirror or video yourself and see what is going on so you know what to fix or high-five yourself for doing well 😎
Well done 🙌 You now have a quick, four part, car seat workout that you can squeeze in without even having to wake up a sleeping babe 😁
Part 2 of the Car Seat Calisthenics over here. I worked up an actual sweat doing these 😎 Again.
I want you to think TALL, chin tucked, abs engaged from the bottom up, ribcage down!
No bearing down, my ladies with prolapse ...none. Do what you can, skip what you can’t for now.
Note: I have *no* baby in the car seat.
Note again: This is sped up 2x so take it slow, breathing through the movement! Think: mindful movement, exhale on the effort, and a delightfully neutral pelvis (pubis on the same plane as ASIS (bone on the front of your "hips"), on the same plane as lowest ribs...so bolster your head if you need assistance getting those ribs down).
Oh wait, another note: if these are too hard, modify!
~Keep one foot down at all times.
~Don’t use any weight and then work up.
~KEEP YOUR RIBCAGE DOWN!
~Only go as far overhead with shoulder flexion as you can while KEEPING RIBCAGE DOWN.
~Use a mirror or video yourself and see what is going on so you know what to fix or high-five yourself for doing well :)
Stay tuned for parts 3 & 4!
Runner, lifter of children, PTA, CPT, PCES, pelvic health zealot