“You sure do come up with some, um… interesting stretches.”
I look up and see a guy that I am friendly acquaintances with, hovering over me, looking at me like I’m a lunatic.
And it’s no wonder.
I am laying on my back with my knees bent and “scissored” so that my right knee is higher than my left, my left foot is internally rotated and on the wall while my right foot hovers slightly off the wall, and I have a foam roller between my knees…
I think I look at him almost as confused as he is looking at me and I’m thinking… what? Freaking seriously dude?
1. You think I just CAME UP with this?!?! (Like I would just be randomly hanging out one day and decide that this might be a cool position to hang out in…)
2. Does this seriously look like a “stretch” to you?
3. Why the hell are you talking to me right now?!? Don’t I look busy?
Of course I didn’t say any of this to him. I just smiled politely and said, “Uh, yeah… it’s actually not a stretch. It’s some rehab for my back and hip.” And went back to what I was doing.
By now I should be used to the weird looks I get in the gym.
Whether it’s pulling 225 for high reps….
or laying on my back in the “happy baby” 3 ½ month old position breathing out through a straw, I don’t do much “normal” stuff in the gym. And that’s OK with me. Who wants to be “normal” anyway? Not me. I want to be awesome.
And speaking of awesome… I wanted to give you guys a quick list of 5 exercises/things I am doing in the gym that I am absolutely LOVING right now! I just got a new program from Mike Robertson based on my latest assessment from the Diagnosis Fitness Seminar the other weekend. Some of the exercises you may be familiar with, others you may not, but either way you should GET FAMILIAR because they rock! Without further ado…
1. Diaphragmatic Breathing – Since I got my breathing exercises and drills from my friend and Coach Mike Robertson, I let him explain exactly why diaphragmatic breathing is so great and how to do it in this video.
I actually do several different versions of this breathing that MR programmed for my specific needs. I have been doing all of the versions for almost 2 weeks now and my back feels amazing!
2. Pull Throughs – Pull Throughs are an exercise that I have done off and on for years and every time they get put back in my program I ask myself, “Why haven’t I been doing these all along?!?” They are great for strengthening your posterior chain and can be done with bands, cables, whatever you want to use.
3. Tall Kneeling KB OH Press – The Tall Kneeling KB OH Press is actually brand new to me. I have done OH pressing in the half kneeling/split stance position, but not in tall kneeling, and I tell you what, it’s ROUGH! Especially since I am doing it one arm at a time and REALLY hammering my core stability.
As you can see in the video, I am trying really hard to tuck my butt under (get out of my anterior pelvic tilt) and keep my ribs down. For someone who has spent over 20 years stuck in a major anterior pelvic tilt, this is not easy… but I’’m working on it. Make sure you start really light if you try this exercise.
I normally OH press 35-40 lbs for 6-10 reps and here I am struggling with the 26lb/12kg.
4. Low Cable Single Leg RDL – Another relatively new exercise I am doing. I have done my fair share of single leg RDL’s but I haven’t done them much using a low cable for resistance. I usually use a KB or two instead. Here I am focused on hinging at the hip instead of rounding my low back, trying to keep my knee from caving in, and trying to keep my body from rotating too much to one side or the other.
This is a fantastic single leg accessory movement. Just make sure that you’re pretty stable on one leg and you have the “hip hinging” pattern down really well before doing this exercise. (My video for this one didn’t turn out so well so I am using someone else’s example. I am officially fired from my job as my own videographer.)
5. Dead Bugs – This is one of the most deceiving exercises I’ve ever done. It looks SO simple… but it’s tough. I actually did mine with a diaphragmatic breath each time I straightened one of my legs (an MR twist on the classic exercise) and it made it that much more difficult to complete.
You MUST make sure your back is completely flat against the floor and that you’re actively pulling your ribcage and pelvis towards each other. Form is key here. If it’s not hard, you’re probably not doing it right.
(Again, my video turned out like CRAP, so I’ll let MR and lil’ Stevie show you how it’s done. I was supposed to do it with the band, but honestly, I am not strong enough yet and kept losing my form, so I regressed myself!)
So there you have it! 5 of my favorite exercises right now including: some oldies but goodies, some new variations on common exercises, and some simple but surprisingly difficult ones. Try them out and let me know what you think!