1. Part 1 - Stretch Wave
The video below demonstrates the first part of the Stretch to Win Core 4 Lower Body Program. It's a really great stretch that helps to open up the hip flexors which shorten from sitting. Different than your traditional hip flexor stretch, this one will also open up regions higher up (e.g. spine and shoulders) and lower down (e.g. knees and ankles) because of the long extensive connections through your fascial net.
When your hips don’t move well, your body tends to compensate elsewhere. Common areas that take the movement are the lower back and knees. If they hurt, a good place to look at are your hips.
2. Roller T-Spine Mobilization
This is a simple mobility drill that helps to open up the upper back that gets rounded from sitting and slouching. We touched on this topic in a previous post where we discussed the importance of upper body mobility for overhead pressing.
The same applies to general movement. If you play tennis, garden and do other activities requiring your arms and shoulders, your upper body likely doesn’t function efficiently and you’re at risk of injury (if you aren’t already in pain).
The roller t-spine mobilization is one of many exercises that can help alleviate soreness and improve your thoracic and shoulder alignment so your muscles can move in proper alignment.
After opening up the hips with exercise #1, focus on strengthening the glutes. The bridge is a simple exercise that encourages you to strengthen and stabilize your hips so your body doesn’t compensate elsewhere. The key is to get the hips to extend as far as possible without getting the hamstrings or low back involved. Drive through the heels and keep your feet flat on the floor making sure you push up through the hips and not the spine.
4. Bird dog
The bird dog is an awesome exercise that activates the anterior core and improves back extensor strength and rotary stability. We love this exercise for it's anti-sitting qualities as it promotes extension of the body while engaging the posterior chain (which has become quite elusive in today's sit-on-your-butt culture).
The deadlift is literally the opposite of sitting - it’s literally standing. The deadlift can help to correct bad posture from sitting as you must be able to maintain a stiff and neutral spine while being able to get into thoracic extension.
When done properly, the deadlift is a great strength exercise for the core and posterior chain and has excellent carryover to real life.