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Non Traditional Tweaks to Old Time Favorites–Part 5

In the fitness world, there are several exercises which have stood the test of time.  These movements have remained because they work, require little equipment, and give you a lot of bang for your buck. The movement patterns these exercises use are very important and you should continue to train using them throughout the duration of your life for optimal function. However, as we age, our joints lose space between them.  This makes spinal compression and shear forces more problematic in many individuals.  This decreased space in the joint also makes impingements in the hip and shoulder more likely, as well as discomfort in the knee and elbow.  When this begins to happen, many individuals just shy away from the movements all together leading to loss of strength, stability, and mobility throughout the body.  One solution we have found to this problem here at Fenton Fitness is reducing overall system load by altering range of motion, balance/stability, or load placement.  In some cases, these lower load alternatives completely replace the standards and in others, they are rotated in based on client history, goals, and adaptation.  For the next few weeks, I will be giving some alternatives to some traditional exercises.

Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, CSFC, Pn1

Horizontal Pull:

Traditional–Bent over Barbell Row

Alternatives–Suspension Trainer Row or Horse Stance DB Row

The Suspension Trainer Row requires only your body weight and places no external load on your lower back.  It also better activates the lats.  The Horse Stance DB Row introduces a component to the movement in a position known to reduce back pain and strengthen the core musculature.

View video of these exercises: View Video

Non Traditional Tweaks to Old Time Favorites–Part 4

In the fitness world, there are several exercises which have stood the test of time.  These movements have remained because they work, require little equipment, and give you a lot of bang for your buck. The movement patterns these exercises use are very important and you should continue to train using them throughout the duration of your life for optimal function. However, as we age, our joints lose space between them.  This makes spinal compression and shear forces more problematic in many individuals.  This decreased space in the joint also makes impingements in the hip and shoulder more likely, as well as discomfort in the knee and elbow.  When this begins to happen, many individuals just shy away from the movements all together leading to loss of strength, stability, and mobility throughout the body.  One solution we have found to this problem here at Fenton Fitness is reducing overall system load by altering range of motion, balance/stability, or load placement.  In some cases, these lower load alternatives completely replace the standards and in others, they are rotated in based on client history, goals, and adaptation.  For the next few weeks, I will be giving some alternatives to some traditional exercises.

Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, CSFC, Pn1

Squats:

Traditional- Barbell Back Squat

Alternatives- ½ Racked KB Squat or Rear Foot Elevated Goblet Split Squat

Both the ½ Racked Squat and RFE Split Squat reduce load, easing the stress to the low back, hips, and knees.  The ½ Racked KB Squat introduces rotational & lateral flexion forces to the equation causing the core to work very hard to resist these forces.  The Rear Foot Elevated Goblet Split Squat leads to a more upright posture reducing shear and compressive forces on the lumbar spine.  This exercise also tends to better target the glutes and put the quad under a more stretch and larger range of motion.

View video of these exercises: View Video

Two types of exercise that are ignored/skipped by a majority of gym goers are heavy carries and crawls.  This is unfortunate because these are two of the most fundamental and functional movement patterns we have.  Incorporating these two exercises on a regular basis will likely make drastic improvements to your mobility, posture, and work capacity.

In their most basic form, these exercises are incredibly simple, involve minimal technique, and pose relatively low risk of injury.  Heavy carries offer the benefit of strengthening the body from head to toe (particularly the core, upper back, grip, and legs) when the body is moving on both feet horizontally.  Crawls take us back to our first movement patterns as humans and put us in the transitional position between being on the ground and standing.  We must all continue to master this movement if we want to enjoy good quality of life as we age.  Crawl variations challenge and improve our mobility and strengthen the core and the shoulders.  I believe that most people would be well served and pleasantly surprised in the way they look, move, and feel by adding 1-2 sets of crawls and carries to the beginning and end of every workout.

A quick search on YouTube or a look at our Team Training workouts will give you some good visuals.  Here are my top 3 picks for each exercise type:

Heavy Carries*carry

1. Farmers Walks

2. Kettlebell, Dumbbell, Barbell Front Carry

3. Barbell Overhead Carry

*Heavy = a true challenge to complete your desired distance

Crawls

1. Bear Crawl

2. Seal Crawl

3. 4-point Lateral Crawl

 

-Jeff Tirrell, B.S., CSCS

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