Today on the show, we look at the building blocks of safe movement. These functional movement building blocks are the bread and butter of all training. They are the squat, hip hinge, lunge, push, pull and carry.
Our functionality is influenced by many factors in our lives, from injuries, to how our bodies have physically developed to influence the functionality of our joints.
With all of these factors, there is one thing that influences every body and it’s sitting.
We all spend a lot of time sitting and while we’re all isolating this has likely increased for many people. Regardless of who you are, sitting creates a bunch of issues in our bodies.
We weren’t designed to sit the way we do in chairs for the length of time that we do.
Our bodies are generally designed to be upright and walking or jogging for extended periods of time.
When we go from being less active to more active, it’s common to jump right in and do a bunch of big movements that we may not be used to for as many days in a row as we can.
You might be waking up with the sorest back, neck, hips, calves you’ve ever experienced.
This is because we’re suddenly asking muscles that aren’t used to lengthening much at all. To do work they may not be ready to do.
So it’s really important when you begin to move your body more to do it gradually.
Last week on Episode 14 I spoke about stretching. Stretching is your best friend. I know that it’s not the most fun activity, but when you begin to move or try moving in different ways, it’s super helpful.
Stretch alone though is not going to be enough. It’s great for relaxation but when we want to practice some more intense movements, we need to couple it with activation of the muscles.
Activation after stretch is important because it works to kind of reset the muscles in how they remember to sit and move.
Think of stretching as a way to wipe the memory the muscle had of being tight and activation is the new memory you’re replacing the old one with.
Sitting causes a lot of tightness in our hip flexors (the muscles in the fronts of our hips) and in our pectoral muscles (the muscles that run from the fronts of our shoulders across our chests)
Having tightness in these two areas throws our whole bodies out of whack.
We end up hunched over with rounded shoulders and legs that feel a bit tight to straighten out. Tight pecs causes neck pain, shoulder pain, upper back pain, headaches to name just a few things. Tight hip flexors cause hip pain, lower back pain, knee pain and ankle instability.
WHEN IT COMES TO GETTING ACTIVE, THERE ARE THREE WAYS WE CAN BEGIN.
- Start by taking breaks through the day where you can spend a couple minutes not sitting and just moving your body. Walking to the fridge or toilet doesn’t count.
- Add a couple walks to your week.
- Begin slowly and try to find classes that give some time to mobility.
When we do start to introduce more structured training into our lives, it’s important to begin with basic movements. There are some pretty bad arse looking movements out there and over time they may be totally achievable for you but all training needs to start with building a strong base.
Building a strong base means getting good at your functional movements. These are movements where you squat (squat), hip hinge (deadlifts or kettlebell swing), lunge (lunge steps) push (push ups or presses) pull (pull ups) and carry (farmers walks).
If you have physical limitations that stop you from moving your body in certain ways, explore the ways that you are able to move and begin there. Figuring out just one thing is a perfect start. Think, am I able to comfortably move my upper body? If yes, what could I push, pull or carry? If you have more comfort moving your lower body explore how you can squat, hip hinge (deadlift even bodyweight deadlift) or lunge.
You don’t necessarily have to be able to stand to do some of these either. If you can lay on your back and tuck your knees up to your chest, you’re squatting, congratulations. You can also sit in a chair and hold a thing in each hand as a carry.
Get imaginative with these movements based on how you know your body and what it’s capable of.