Activation and mobilisation can be easily over-looked in favour of just jumping in and warming up with a few sets with the bar or a bodyweight version of the first exercise. This mindset will only get you so far and can be a big reason for lack of progress. A great way to change this mindset is to incorporate these short and easy exercises into your everyday life – in no time your body will be thanking you for it!
Lying on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor keeping your hands by your side as a support. Push your feet into the floor and raise your hips towards the sky focusing on keeping your knees out and squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement. Slowly lower back to the floor.
Thread the Needle
6 reps each side
Start in a quadruped position with your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. Turn one palm up and then pass that hand and arm straight under your opposite arm like you are threading a needle ensuring that your arm that is moving stays straight and you reach out as far as is comfortable. Bring your moving arm back out from under the supporting arm and then move your hand towards the ceiling ensuring that your eyes follow your hand while you slowly rotate through your thoracic region.
Band Pull Aparts
Using a resistance band, have your hands at shoulder width apart at eye level with a slight bit of tension in the band. Then slowly pull the band apart until your fists are in line with your body. Be sure to change your hand positions if the movement is too hard or easy to ensure that you can perform this movement through the full range.
In a quadruped position, sink your back towards the floor creating a curve in your back mimicking a cat stretching. From there breathe in and arch your spine by tucking in your tailbone and your head so that your spine mimics a camel hump.
Dr. Andrew Lock’s Big 3 for Shoulders
These exercises put together by Dr. Andrew Lock can help improve your shoulder mobility and strength, and will help to wake up your shoulders before a workout. Start without weights and then progress this to a 1kg DB in each hand. Remember that the quality of movement is much more important than the quantity of weight.
Arms stretched out at your sides, slowly lift the DB off the floor to a comfortable range squeezing your rhomboids and the slowly lower them back to the floor. Be sure not to drop the DB onto the floor.
Arms by your side with palms facing the ceiling, slowly lift the DB off the floor squeezing your middle trapezius and rhomboids and then slowly lower the weight back to the floor.
Arms by your side with palms facing the floor, slowly lift the DB off the floor squeezing your middle trapezius and rhomboids and then slowly lower the weight back to the floor. This movement will recruit your triceps more as well so don’t worry if you feel the majority of the movement through them.
Dr. Stuart McGill’s Big 3 for Core
Core stability is important when executing heavy lifts such as squats or deadlifts and improves your ability to change directions quickly, as well as to accelerate and decelerate. These three exercises (side plank, curl up and bird dog) for the core developed by Dr. Stuart McGill will increase your endurance and protect your back. We’ve also added in the regular plank as a bonus exercise!
Start on your side, stack your elbow under your shoulder and legs are straight out stacked one on top of the other. Slowly come up onto your elbow and forearm keeping your body in a straight line.
Stack your elbows under your shoulders and have your legs out straight. Come up onto your elbows and ensure that you are keeping your back in a straight position. Squeeze your abdominals as well your glutes.
8-10 each side
In a quadruped position, squeeze your core and maintain a neutral spine. Then lifting your left leg and right arm off the floor ensuring that you do not twist through your hips or back extend both limbs out and the return then back to the floor, repeat with the right leg and left arm.
8-10 each side
Start on your back with one leg straight out in front of you and one leg bent with your foot on the floor. This will help keep your pelvis and hips in a neutral position. From there you can place your hands onto your abdominal muscles or on your lower back to ensure that you are maintaining your natural curve. Tuck in your chin, take a deep breath in and then bring your ribs towards your pelvis. This is a small movement and you should only feel your abdominals activate then relax at the bottom of the movement.