Since the lockdown a lot of us have converted some space in our home to do online classes or gym classes. The best thing is that technology is keeping us connected and moving. Personally as an instructor, I find teaching online challenging in terms of the level of the exercises and if clients are moving correctly and safely. So in this blog will go through some tips and key points when doing exercises at home.
First and foremost, listen to your body! Do not work into any pain or discomfort. Take your time doing exercises, making sure your alignment and your set-up is correct before going into the movement.You can also get someone to video you in order to check or do the workout infront of the mirror for some feedback.
The benefits of warm ups have beennoted time and time again in scientific research. The aims of a warm up is toincrease blood flow to the body, increase the heart rate, get the body readyfor what is ahead and to help prevent injury. A good warm up should be around 10 minutes andcan consist of light jogging, arm circles, hip circles, inch worms etc. FIFA 11and GAA 15 have some great videos and tips on how to warm up well.
FIFA 11 Injury Prevention and Warm UpGuidelines: https://www.kort.com/uploadedFiles/KORT/Content/Services/Sports_Medicine/Concussion_Management/FIFA-the-11-Booklet.pdf
GAA 15 Injury Prevention and Warm UpGuidelines https://learning.gaa.ie/gaa15
You can also do more specific warm ups depending on what your workout consists of. For example if you are planning a squat or leg day, warm up working into some deep squats and some low lunges.
When doing weight training or body weighted exercises, it is so important to breathe. Normally the exhale is done on the more difficult part of the exercise. The reason breathing is so important is that your diaphragm muscle forms the top part of your core. By breathing deeply and correctly this helps to recruit the diaphragm, which in turn helps to switch on the deep core muscles.
Another very important point when doing exercises at home. A neutral position for the joints puts least stress and strain through the ligaments, tendons and muscles and helps to prevent injury.Doing exercises and in particular weight bearing exercises in a neutral position helps to prevent long term wear and tear. Be kind to your body!!
• Wrists – in a straight position, not over flexed or overextended.
• Shoulders – down away from the ears, pulled down and back towards the opposite back pockets.
• Neck – slight double chin with back of neck nice and long
• Lower Back – in a neutral position which is following the normal natural curve – not over arched
• Pelvis – facing forwards
• Hips/Knees/Ankles – in line with knees stacked over the ankles and hips stacked over the knees.
• Feet – arch high and weight bearing evenly through foot i.e. equal weight distribution between back of heel, under ball of big toe and baby toe.
These are some key points applicable to most exercises such as planks, lunges, squats, deadlifts and overhead weights or any arm free weights.
This point is very individual. We are all so different, therefore the weight we can lift and the repetitions we can do will depend on our age, our gender and our training level. Even our energy level on a given day may influence how we train or move. At home you can improvise and be creative with your weights by using bottles of water or fill up some socks with rice or use a backpack.
The American College of Sports Medicine (2019) has put together a list of training guidelines for resistance training for health. They recommend the following:
• 2-3 sets of 8-10 repetitions with good form.
• Lift and lower the weight in a controlled manner (2 seconds each way up and down).
• The last repetition is difficult and this is to ensure you have worked to the point of fatigue, i.e. where your muscle/body has reached its maximum capacity. This is one of the most basic muscle strengthening principles.
• The weight you are lifting is an 8 out of 10 on a difficulty level, 10 being the most difficult it could possibly be.
• Doing resistance training 2-3 times a week working on 8 to 10 of the major muscle groups.
Cool down post exercise allows your heart rate to return to its natural resting rhythm and helps to remove any metabolites that have built up in the muscles from resistance training back into the bloodstream. A research review of cool downs conducted in 2018 showed little to no benefits of doing a cool down (Hooren & Peake 2018). Personally, I believe this area is under researched and needs better conducted studies to truly evaluate the effectiveness of a cool down. When doing stretches post exercise it is important to hold each stretch for 30 seconds to 1 minute repeating twice on each side. This will also help to prevent any soreness post workouts andallow for a quicker recovery time.
Here at Head 2 Toe Chiropractic we believe in looking at the bigger picture. Book a consultation or speak with a qualified Dietitian or Nutritionist regarding your dietary requirements in terms of protein and calorie intake to get the most out of your body when doing workouts. Stay well hydrated before, during and after your workout
Check out our video on our webpage on Physiotherapy Tips for Home Workouts where some of these points are demonstrated. The main point when doing any workout whether at home or in a gym is to listen to your body and do what feels right for you, never any pain.
Enjoy the home workouts!