Fully body/integrated exercises: Intermediate part 2

Lunge with Elbow Instep

Body part: Full Body/integrated, abs, butt/hips, legs – thighs

Equipment: None

Step 1

Starting Position: Stand with your feet hip width apart. Depress and retract your scapulae (pull your shoulders down and back) without arching your low back, and “brace” (engage your abdominal/core muscles) to stiffen your spine.

Step 2

Step forward by slowly lifting the right foot off the floor, stabilize your body on the left (stance / supporting) leg and avoid any sideways tilting or swaying in your upper body by maintaining the abdominal bracing.  Keep the left (stance/supporting) foot pressed firmly into the ground, hold this position momentarily before stepping forward with the right foot. The right (swing) leg should initiate contact with a heel strike first, slowly transferring your body weight into the right (leading/forward) foot placed firmly on the floor. As you lower yourself into the right leg, maintain a straight spine by leaning forward from the hips and lower your right elbow on the inside of your right knee.

Step 3

As you lower yourself into the lunge, focus more on dropping your hips towards the floor rather than driving your hips forward. This will help control the amount of forward movement of your shinbone (forward tibial translation) over your foot. Place both hands on the floor with the right slightly forward of the left and continue lowering your body to a comfortable position or until your front thigh becomes parallel with the floor and your tibia (shinbone) is in a slight forward lean.  While in the lowered position with both hands on the floor, push back through the left foot to extend the left hip and maintain the abdominal bracing to keep the pelvis stable and increase the stretch to the left hip flexor.

Step 4

From the lowered position, keep your abdominals braced and push your hands into the floor to begin to raise yourself back to a standing position.  Press the right (forward) foot into the ground and drive the right knee backwards to create knee and hip extension and pull yourself forward into a standing position.  Keep your chest lifted and abdominals braced to maintain a straight spine and level pelvis while beginning to swing the left leg forward to initiate the next repetition and stretch in to the right hip.                                                         

Step 5

Continue the exercise for a specific number of repetitions or over a certain distance of travel.

Step 6

Exercise Variation: to add a stretch for the hamstrings before stepping in to the next lunge, push off of the floor with your hands, lean back and push the right foot in to the ground to straighten the right leg while shifting your weight into your left hip and stretch the right hamstrings.  Alternate with both legs.

Focus on maintaining the abdominal bracing through the entire range-of-motion of the movement to keep the spine stable and pelvis level.

Spider Walks

Body part: Full Body/integrated, arms

Equipment: None

Start in a push-up position with the hands shoulder-width apart and the legs straight out directly behind the body about hip-width apart. Push the toes of the left foot into the floor and squeeze the left thigh and glute while moving the right knee forward to the outside of the right elbow. While the right leg is forward, push back through the left heel to straighten the left leg. Then straighten the right leg and bring the left knee forward to the outside of the left elbow while reaching forward with the right hand. Alternate this arm and leg action for the desired distance.

Sprinter Pulls

Body part: Full Body/integrated

Equipment: None

Step 1

Assume a ½ kneeling position with your right leg forward, left leg back, and your torso, right tibia (shinbone) and left upper thigh approximately vertical to the floor.  Move your left arm into the forward position with fingers level with your chin, and your right arm into the back position.  Squeeze both arms to your sides with approximately a 90-degree bend in each elbow, fingers extended and wrists in the neutral position (wrists aligned with your forearms).  Stiffen (“brace”) your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine, depress and retract your scapulae (pull shoulders back and down) and attempt to hold these positions throughout the exercise.  Align your head with your thoracic (upper) spine.

Step 2

Upward Movement: Exhale and explode upwards pushing from your glutes performing the following sequence:

  • Driving your left knee forward and upward (allow the knee-bend to open up slightly).
  • Driving your left arm backwards from your shoulders, while maintaining the 90-degree bend in your elbow and arm squeezed against your side.
  • Driving your right arm forward from your shoulders, until fingers are level with your chin (maintaining an approximate 90-degree bend in your elbow or less) and arm squeezed against your side.                

Step 3

Continue driving forward until your right leg (stance or support) leg moves into triple extension (extending your hip, straightening your knee and exploding onto your toes).  In this position, your body should be aligned vertical or in a slight forward-lean position with your head facing forward, aligned with your spine.  Attempt to hold this end position briefly, before returning slowly to your starting position.  Perform 5 – 10 repetitions and repeat with the opposite leg.

Step 4

Exercise Variation: This dynamic movement can be progressed by holding the triple extension phase for up to 5 seconds or holding a resistance cable or band in the forward hand to pull backwards.  Perform the movement using a slow, controlled tempo (pace), to master your technique then build towards a more explosive movement.

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