Sitting for long periods can cause the upper back, hips, and core to weaken, round the shoulders forward, and create tightness in the hip flexors. After all, they say ‘sitting is the new smoking.’
Ever done a glute workout, but feel everything other than your glutes turn on? Can’t tell the difference between using your quads vs hamstrings? Does your back take over during squats, planks, or things where you know ‘that shouldn’t be happening’?
Next on the Back to Basics is an activation routine that will help you find the muscles and stack that can get a bit lost when we sit for long periods of time. It’ll help you understand what alignment is in the body and what it feels like, so anytime you exercise – load, lift, or HIIT – you understand what’s supposed to be happening on a deeper level. Here, we focus on the glutes, lower traps, and inevitably your core.
Often times, people dive into reps before they build isometric strength. Isometric strength is important to help us understand how to activate a certain muscle group before we go on to adding reps and increasing load. It’ll ensure we’re progressing in our bodies in a healthy, sustainable way.
Paired with my mobility flows, I call this my ‘personal maintenance’ routine. It’s helped me undo the negative effects of sitting in my body (for me, it’s tightness across my chest, hip flexors, and pain above knees).
Add this after your mobility or warm-up, or use it as your daily form of movement! You’ll need a door, Theraband, resistance band (lighter the better, than progress from there).
Activation Routine to Counteract Sitting
Perform the moves in each superset back-to-back with 30 seconds of rest in between. Rest 2 minutes between supersets. Perform each superset 3x times though.
Clamshell Holds (10 sec. holds, 3 reps)
Feet, hips, and shoulder in one line, as if there were a wall behind you. Without pressing into the bottom foot, lift the top knee. Hold for 10 seconds. Tap the glutes to bring awareness, keeping the hips stacked and ribcage down.
Prone W Hold (10 sec. holds, 3 reps)
Here we are activating the mid and low traps. Pull the shoulder blades away from the ears. Lift and pull from the shoulder blades. Elbows by your side, squeeze shoulder blades down and back.
Sidelying Hip Abduction Holds (10 sec. holds, 4 reps)
Lift the top leg, reach the arch away from you and back.
Theraband Ankle Side Steps (10 sec. holds, 3 reps)
Rib/pelvis aligned. Reach hips back. Knee-ankle aligned in your squat. Place the Theraband above the ankles (instead of thighs). As you step, think about opening outward from your hips and knees. Keep tension on the band the entire time as you step.
Scapular Pushups (10 sec. holds, 8 reps)
Here we are increasing scapular strength and really utilizing the serratus anterior (our punching muscle). Start in a normal plank, then push the floor away from you. The shoulder blades to protracts as it comes away from the spine.
Resistance band Lat Pulldown (10 sec. holds, 8 reps)*
Rib/pelvis aligned. Initiate from the shoulder blades, as they draw down and back. Hold and squeeze between the shoulder blades.
*To set up the resistance band for the lat pulldown: tie a knot at the middle of your band. Place the knot over the top of your door, with the knot hanging outward and off the door. Close & lock the door. Tug on the band to check it’s secure.