Online Personal Trainer ACTION PLAN Lesson 2: Flexibility and Balance Created by: IaWellness
Overview Most people take part in aerobic activity to improve their cardiovascular endurance and burn fat. People weight-train to maintain lean muscle tissue and build strength. Unfortunately, flexibility and balance training are often neglected. Lesson 2 will educate you on the following: • Warm-Up Tips and Examples • The Importance of Flexibility • The Importance of Functional Balance • Finding Time to Increase Flexibility and Balance • Cool-Down Tips and Examples
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1. Warm-Up • Begin your workout with a simple, low-intensity warm-up, such as easy walking or swinging your arms in a wide circle for at least 2-5 minutes. • The general recommendation for people starting an exercise program is to perform gentle dynamic-type stretches before the workout.
1. Warm-up Dynamic Stretching Examples Here are some examples of Dynamic Stretches that you can include in your warm-up: • Linear Movements: High Knee & Butt Kickers • Lateral Movements: Side Shuffle • Leg Swings: Forward/Back & Side to Side • Lunges/Hip Flexor: Forward & Side • Arm Swings: Small Circles, Large Circes and Front/Back
Dynamic Stretching ExamplesLinear Movements Walking or jogging 2-5 minutes Back Pedal 30 sec -1 minute / High Knees 20 reps each leg / Butt Kickers 20 reps each leg - High Knees • Quickly bringing your knees up to horizontal while swinging your arms in opposition. The goal of high-knees is quickness, not stride length. - Butt Kickers • Trying to kick your own bottom with your heels with the goal of quickness.
Dynamic Stretching ExamplesLateral Movements Lateral Movements • Lateral Shuffle • Lateral Shuffle Shuffling involve moving side to side, or laterally, preparing knees, ankles and hips for any and all movement patters. Start in a half or quarter squat position with legs apart, and then shuffle sideways. Do not let your legs cross over each other or touch.
Dynamic Stretching ExamplesLeg Swings • **Also called straight leg marches or Frankenstein walks • Forward/Back Leg Swings • - Side to Side Leg Swings -Forward/Back Leg Swing • Swing and kick your leg up as high as you comfortably can, feeling a stretch in the hamstrings and glutes (butt) while activating your hip flexors. Continue to attempt a backwards kick in which you stretch your hip flexors and activate your glutes and hamstrings. **Try to keep your feet flat on the floor. Side to Side Leg Swings (Right and Left) • Swing and kick your leg up as high as you comfortably can across your body to the right and left. This will stretch your hip flexors, groin and glute. **Try to keep your feet flat on the floor.
Dynamic Stretching ExamplesLunges or Hip Flexor Stretch Lunges/Hip Flexor • Forward Lunges 5 reps each leg • Side Lunges 5 reps each leg • Lunges- Activate all the leg muscles of the legs while providing a stretch for the hamstrings, hip flexors and quadriceps. For dynamic lunges, take a longer stride than traditional lunges. Only allow your back leg to bend slightly, and keep your front knee behind your toes (but over your ankle). Hold the downward position of the lunge for two to three seconds, then push off the front leg, and continue with the other leg. Try these lunges sideways for an abductor, hip and groin stretch.
2. Flexibility Being more flexible has its benefits, such as: • Greater freedom of movement and improved posture • Increases physical and mental relaxation • Releases muscle tension and soreness • Reduces the risk of injury
2. Flexibility (Continued) • Some people are naturally more flexible. • Flexibility is primarily due to one’s genetics: • Gender, age and body shape (personal weight distribution) • As people grow older, they tend to lose flexibility, usually as a result of inactivity, but partially because of the aging process itself. • Current or Former Lifestyle • Level of physical activity, previous experience (dancer or gymnast), or time spent stretching • The less active you are, the less flexible you are likely to be. As with cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength, flexibility will improve with regular training.
FLEXIBILITY TESTS! • Begin with a warm-up before assessing your flexibility. • Jog on treadmill, go on the Elliptical, or ride the bike for 5 minutes • Perform 20 reps each direction of leg swings, lunges, and arm circles. • Flexibility Test: Overhead Reach, Over-Under Shoulder Flexibility, Sit and Reach, Cobra, and Straight Leg Raise
FLEXIBILITY TESTS!Overhead Reach Test Why: If you have tight shoulder adductors, you may look like a Gorilla because your shoulders are depressed and rotated forward and the arms medially rotated. This means you have tight chest muscles and weak back muscles. How to perform test: Lie down flat and put your arms overhead GOOD Shoulder Flexibility (adductor flexibility): If your arms touch the table above your head FAIR Shoulder Flexibility (adductor flexibility): If your arms do not lie flat on the table (below ear level) POOR Shoulder Flexibility (adductor flexibility): If your arms do not lie flat on the table (above ear level) PAIN during movement If you have any pain throughout this range of motion, seek medical attention.
FLEXIBILITY TESTS!Over-Under Shoulder Flexibility Test Why: Poor shoulder flexibility can affect your postural alignment How to perform the single Shoulder Flexibility test: 1. Stand tall with your arms hanging comfortably 2. Make a fist so your fingers are around your thumbs 3. In one motion, place the right fist over the head and down your back as far as possible while simultaneously taking your left fist up your back as far as possible 4. DO NOT “CREEP” CLOSER 5. The image below is testing the LEFT shoulder flexibility. Repeat steps above to test flexibility and mobility in the RIGHT shoulder. GOOD Shoulder Flexibility: The fingers can touch FAIR Shoulder Flexibility: The fingertips are not touching but are less than 2 inches apart POOR Shoulder Flexibility: The fingertips are more than 2 inches apart PAIN during movement If you have any pain throughout this range of motion, seek medical attention.
FLEXIBILITY TESTS!Trunk Flexion: Sit and Reach Test Why: The Sit and Reach Test will measure the lower back and hamstring flexibility. Tightness in the low back and hamstrings is often related to muscle pain and stiffness, so this test may help determine a person's risk for future pain and injury. How to perform the Sit and Reach test: 1. Remove your shoes and sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you with knees straight and feet flat against the front end of the test box or step. 2. In a slow, steady movement, reach up and then reach for your toes. Keep your knees straight and slide your hand up the ruler as far as you can go. 3. Hold the stretch for 3 seconds. Repeat three times. ** Focus on keeping your back flat and knees on the ground. Look forward not down.
FLEXIBILITY TESTS!Trunk Flexion: Sit and Reach Test (continued) GOOD Trunk Flexibility: The trunk is able to move forward onto the thighs, and motion occurs at the hips and low back. Arms can reach your feet, while keeping your back flat. FAIR Trunk Flexibility: Bending forward causes some restriction in the low back so that bending occurs more in the lumbar spine. Arms can reach your ankles, while keeping your back flat. POOR Trunk Flexibility: Bending forward results in the lumbar spine remaining straight, and the bending occurs in the upper areas of the spin. Arms can reach your mid-shin, while keeping your back flat. The only way to increase reach is to bend the knees or round the back. PAIN during movement If you have any pain throughout this range of motion, seek medical attention.
FLEXIBILITY TESTS!Trunk Extension: Cobra Test How: While administering this test, work your way up to your hands. * Start in the poor position (1). If there is no pain, try the fair position (2). If the fair position is not painful, try the good position (3). Why: The spine is the most important part of the body, but many people damage their spines through incorrect sitting postures or poor workplace ergonomics. Back pain or injuries are common because most people don't exercise to keep their spines flexible. 2 1 3
FLEXIBILITY TESTS!Trunk Extension: Cobra Test 3. GOOD Trunk Flexibility: The arms are fully extended (arms are straight) and hips are off the floor. PAIN during movement If you have any pain throughout this range of motion, seek medical attention. 1. POOR Trunk Flexibility: The elbows remain on the floor and hips are fully on the ground. 2. FAIR Trunk Flexibility: The arms are in a 90-degree angle (bent). The hips may remain on the ground.
FLEXIBILITY TESTS! Do Something Different: Self-myofascial release combines flexibility training with massage. Self-Myofascial release uses a round foam roll, and massages away restrictions to normal soft-tissue extensibility. You will place a foam roll underneath the targeted muscle and gently rolls on it until you locate a tender spot, at which point he rests his weight on the spot until the pain begins to decrease. Myofascial release techniques may reduce chronic pain and rehabilitate injuries.
3. Functional Balance • Balance is the fundamental fitness component that underlies all forms of movement. All of your daily activity, from walking to picking up your children, requires functional balance. • Functional balance workouts incorporate movements that challenge your balance while simulating daily life or athletic activities. • Progression is the key to safe and effective functional balance training. As a baby needs to crawl before they walk, adults must find their balance in less challenging positions before they progress to advanced exercises on balance training equipment. • Suggested training sequences start with exercises performed in a two-legged stance and progress to one-legged exercises using similar skills. Once you have mastered these basic exercises, add challenge by performing counterbalancing arm movements, performing the exercise with your eyes closed, without shoes, increase the range of motion and adding unstable surface training.
3. Functional BalanceForward/Backward Balance Without adequate F/B balance, you would not be able to walk down the street or up and down a staircase or push a shopping cart without falling over. Forward/backward balance also comes into extreme balance scenarios, such as remaining upright when someone tries to push you forward or backward. • Outside forces challenge your balance in the F/B or forward/backward movement planes. Weight shifting exercises thus provide the most basic and functional form of balance exercise.
3. Functional BalanceExercises to improve Forward/Backward Balance Perform 4 weight shifts, then center your weight and step forward with your left foot. Do eight steps traveling forward and eight steps traveling backward. Progress by clearing the space in your room and performing the exercise with your eyes closed or on a single leg. • Stand in an upright position with your knees and shoulders relaxed, core muscles engaged and head in alignment with your spine. Step forward with your right foot, placing the heel of your right foot directly in front of the toes of your left foot. Keep your feet flat on the floor, and shift your weight forward and backward between the toes and heels of both feet.
3. Functional BalanceLateral Balance Lateral balance exercise exemplifies the functional threshold of balance, because it allows you to shift your weight in the direction of the movement while still remaining in control. • Lateral instability limits your ability to walk, such as while holding the leash of an energetic puppy using one hand and your baby using the other.
3. Functional BalanceExercises to Improve Lateral Balance Add additional challenge by swinging your arms in the opposite direction of the weight shift. To take lateral balance training to the next level, stand on an uncrowded street bus or boat in close proximity to a stabilizing bar. As the bus or boat makes a turn, let your weight shift in the turn's direction but remain upright. Avoid wearing high heels or carrying heavy objects while performing this exercise. • Begin your lateral balance training with simple balance shifts. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, shift your weight to the right and lift your left foot a few inches from the floor. Return to center and repeat in the other direction. After mastering the exercise, perform it with your eyes closed or on a single leg.
Single leg Balance 3. Functional BalanceSinge Leg Balance Challenge yourself and see how long you can stand on a single leg: • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your weight equally distributed on both legs. Place your hands on your hips. • Lift your left leg off the floor and bend it back at the knee (A). Hold the position as long as you can maintain good form, up to 1 minute (if possible). • Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. As your balance improves, increase the number of repetitions. ** For variety, reach out with your foot forward as far as possible without touching the floor (B). ** For added challenge, balance on one leg while standing on a pillow or other unstable surface
4. Finding the TIME! • Time constraints keep many people from stretching and balancing. Some people complain they just don’t have time; others hurry out of their fitness classes before the cool-down exercises are completed.
4. Finding the TIME! • To increase flexibility, spend 10-30 minutes, three times per week, on flexibility training. This could be yoga class, Pilates class or just flexibility training. • If this is unrealistic, even a mere five minutes of stretching at the end of an exercise session is better than nothing to reduce potential muscle soreness. • All cardio and strength training that is moderate to vigorous intensity should start with warm-up and end with a cool-down and stretching. • Even if your warm-up is 2 minutes, cool-down is 2minutes and stretching is 2 minutes. That is 6 minutes that will help increase flexibility and decrease injury! • SOMETHING is better than NOTHING!! Balance can be part of your every day routine. It could be in your strength program, yoga class, or even at home or work.
4. Finding the TIME!Fitting flexibility training into an overbooked schedule Try a few simple stretches before getting out of bed in the morning. Wake yourself up with a few full-body stretches by gently pointing the toes and reaching your arms above your head. This can clear your mind and help jump-start your morning. Take a stretching class such as yoga or tai chi. Scheduling a class will help you to stick with a regular stretching program. • If you don’t have time to sufficiently warm up before stretching, try doing a few stretches immediately after a shower or while soaking in a hot tub. The hot water elevates body and muscle temperature enough to make them more receptive to stretching.
How to squeeze balance training into an overbooked schedule: 4. Finding the TIME! • If you don’t have time to do balance training, try these tips: • Single leg balances while you are at home. While brushing your teeth, cooking, talking on the phone, or watching TV!! • During Strength Training: Stand on a Bosu ball, unstable surface or a single leg while doing upper body exercises (bicep curls, shoulder press, lateral raises, etc.)
5. Cool-Down and Stretches to Increase Flexibility • The intent of a cool-down is to bring your breathing and heart rate back to normal so your blood flows regularly rather than with rapid force. For instance, in a yoga or Pilates class, you engage in a series of stretch movements that increase your blood flow even though it seems as if you are not moving too fast. You use your muscles during stretch movements, causing your heart to pump slightly faster to keep up with your range of motion and, together, these things increase your pulse. The cool-down eases you back into resting heart rate and a lowered body temperature. • The general recommendation for people starting an exercise program is to perform static stretches after the workout.
5. Cool-Down (Continued) Avoid these stretching mistakes: • Don’t hold your breath during the stretch. Continue to breathe normally. • Don’t bounce a stretch (ballistic stretching). Holding a stretch is more effective and there is less risk of injury. • Don’t strain or push a muscle too far. If a stretch hurts, ease up.
5. Cool-Down and Stretches to Increase Flexibility *Safe Cool-down Tips: Reserve the last 5 -10 minutes of your workout for cooling down. After completing the more intense portion of your workout, take a short and slow walk while making an effort to slow your breathing. Incorporate one or two static stretches to help lower your heart rate and hold the stretch for 5 to 10 seconds each. Keep your cool-down stretching light because the focus is on slowed breathing and lowering your body temperature, but still challenge your flexibility.
5. Cool-Down and Stretches to Increase Flexibility When performing a static stretch: - Take a deep breath and slowly exhale as you gently stretch the muscle to a point of tension. - Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, relax and then repeat the stretch two to four more times.
5. Cool-Down and Stretches to Increase Flexibility Sumo Squat- 1. Move feet wider than shoulder-width. 2. Drop down into a (deep) squat, place elbows at the medial aspect of the knees (inside knees), and move palms of hands together; abduct feet slightly (toes point outward) 3. Maintain a neutral spine position and look forward 4. Hold stretch for 10 seconds before pushing knees together. * Hold the stretch for 30 sec. Target Muscles: • Glutes • Hip Adductors (adductor brevis, longus, magnus)
5. Cool-Down and Stretches to Increase Flexibility Lunge Hip Flexor- 1. Step into a forward lunge position; the knee of the rear foot has ground contact. 2. Make sure the knee of the front foot is flexed at 90˚ and doesn’t protrude past toes. 3. Bring your hips forward until rear leg/hip is hyper-extended; maintain neutral spine and head position (straight back; look forward). Add Rotation! * Hold the stretch for 30 sec. and perform to the other side Target Muscles: • Hip Flexors (iliopsoas, rectus femoris, sartorius, gluteus minimus)
5. Cool-Down and Stretches to Increase Flexibility Butterfly - • Sit down, abduct hips, flex knees, and move feet together. 2. Place hands on top of the knees and slowly push knees towards the ground. * Hold the stretch for 30 sec. Target Muscles: • Hip Adductors
5. Cool-Down and Stretches to Increase Flexibility Supine Straight Leg Hamstring Pull– 1. Lay down flat in supine position (face up) with legs close together and toes pointing straight up 2. Flex the hip and lift one leg off the ground. You can use a towel or dog leash to assist you. 3. Hold towel in both hands and wrap it around the toes. 4. Keep knee extended and slowly pull leg closer to your body (towards the head) or as far as possible. Remember the following: - Keep both of your legs straight and toes pointing up - Keep your hips, back and head on the ground - Keep your non-stretched leg on the ground * Hold the stretch for 30 sec. and perform to the other side Target Muscles: • Gastrocnemius & Soleus (Plantar Flexors) • Hamstrings
5. Cool-Down and Stretches to Increase Flexibility Seated Piriformis (4 Pose)- 1. Lie down in supine position (face up) and flex the knees. 2. Flex the right hip thereby bringing the right knee closer to the body; position the right ankle just below the flexed left knee. 3. Move the upper body off the ground and towards the knees until stretch can be felt in the buttocks; you may have to place arms behind the body on the ground to hold position. * Hold the stretch for 30 sec. and perform to the other side Target Muscles: • Target Muscle: Piriformis
5. Cool-Down and Stretches to Increase Flexibility Side Lying Quad- 1. Lay flat on the side with legs close together; the to-be-flexed leg rests on top of the other; extend bottom arm; look forward. 2. Grasp the toes of the to-be-flexed leg and pull the heel towards the gluteus (buttocks); lower leg remains straight; maintain neutral pelvic position. 3. If applicable, extend hip behind the torso for an additional hip flexor stretch; maintain posterior pelvic position. * Hold the stretch for 30 sec. and perform to the other side Target Muscles: • Quadriceps • Hip Flexors (iliopsoas, rectus femoris, sartorius, gluteus minimus)
5. Cool-Down and Stretches to Increase Flexibility Seated V- Stance- 1. Sit down and abduct hips to a “V” with knees extended. 2. Lean forward with upper body and reach for each foot and down the middle of the “V” with both hands. 3. Grab toes if possible for an additional calve stretch. * Hold the stretch for 30 sec. and perform to the center, right and left Target Muscles: • Hamstrings (knee flexors) • Erector Spinae (trunk extensor) • Gastrocnemius (plantar flexor) • Soleus (plantar flexor)
Lesson 2 Activities: Go through a stretching and balancing workout! You can even do it with a partner (coworker or spouse). - Warm-up for 5 minutes using the warm-up examples and dynamic stretches from this lesson. - Perform all of the flexibility tests. See if you have poor, average, or excellent flexibility. - Test your functional balance using the forward/backward and lateral exercises. See Exercises to improve F/B Balance and Lateral Balance from this lesson. - Cool-down for 5 minutes and perform all of the static stretches.
Lesson 2 Activity: Rank yourself using the box below: Warm-up: Rate your WARM-UP (circle one): Poor/Fair/Good Cool-Down: Rate your COOL-Down (circle one): Poor/Fair/Good
Thank You!! Please take the Lesson Quiz. You have to pass the quiz with a 70% or greater to receive credit! Contact iaWellness if you have any further questions! Thank you, Your Wellness Team