This blog post is the first of five, designed to take you through my methodology and thought process of creating a balanced workout.
Today we will be talking about the first 10 minutes of the exercise program, focusing on the hips and legs.
The specific muscles we are talking about here are the glutes, quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, inner thighs, and calves.
The goal is to create strength, flexibility, balance, and range of motion.
In this section we are doing a lot of static holds, light ranges of motion, and low intensity with high volume.
This should take up the first 10 minutes of your workout. The reason why we do this first is because the hips are the center of gravity. Even more than the torso, they provide the foundation for the rest of the movement patterns.
Typically, I will break up the hips into three parts, based on planes of movement. So we have front to back motions, side to side motions, and rotational motions.
Front to back includes hip flexion and hip extension. Side to side is hip abduction and adduction. Rotation includes the rotators of the pelvis. We are also making sure that we hit the knees and the ankles.
The next consideration for these exercises as difficulty. Different individuals have different strengths and weaknesses, and different ranges of motion that are more flexible than others. Because of that, you want to think in terms of multiple ability levels. Typically this would be simple, like beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
For example, Glute bridges can be made more challenging by doing one leg at a time. They can also be made easier by keeping your hips on the ground and simply engaging the glutes without lifting. So you should never feel like you have to do an exercise that is too easy or too difficult.
Here is a list of exercises, based on difficulty, that typically belong in the first 10 minutes of your workout.
knee pillow squeezes
Hip flexor lift
Bridge with strap
One Foot Glute bridges
Supine leg raises
Off-wall outer thighs
Off-wall inner thighs
Kneeling Quad stretch
How do you know which exercises to choose? And how many?
Generally, you want to choose opposite motions. For example, when I do hip flexor lifts, I will usually also do glute contractions after to balance.
How many of these exercises should you choose? I will typically choose 6 to 8 exercises from this category, which will take about 10 minutes to do. If you feel like you want to do more exercises, one option is that you can do each exercise for 30 seconds instead of one minute. That way you're still under 10 minutes.
There are many different options, but I would recommend that you keep this part to 10 minutes total so that you have plenty of time for the rest of the body.
After you have finished your 10 minutes of hips, move on to the shoulders.
You are well on your way to achieving your fitness goals, and developing smart workouts for yourself.