When starting an exercise program keep these tips in mind:
Everybody starts at a different fitness level. Don't compare yourself to other people. We all have our own unique body shape, abilities and commitment level.
Move forward from where you are right now. If you want to run two miles without stopping but you're at one mile currently, you need to practice running more. Work towards adding a little extra distance each week until you get to your two miles. This applies to whatever exercise program you would like to do. Work yourself into it. Progression takes time.
Don't exercise intensely every day. I see this all the time, when people begin a fitness program they usually over-do it in the beginning by exercising intensely everyday until they burn out and quite altogether. We don't have to exercise hard every day! Add some moderate walking and stretching between workout days and give your body a chance to adjust. You're in this for the long haul.
Pay attention to how your body is feeling. If you're getting overly tired or overly sore it's time to lay off a bit and rest up. Recovery is good for you so don't take it as being a negative. Do less strenuous work during this time such as easy walking or simple mobility work. You could also take an easy yoga or mat Pilates class. Positive things happen when we allow our bodies to heal and rest a bit. Sometimes what we take out of our fitness program leads to greater results in the long run.
Keep these tips in mind when starting your fitness journey and you'll have greater success sticking to an exercise program. It's good to remember that doing more or too much intensity is not always beneficial for us. Work towards letting your exercise routine become a healthy habit by keeping yourself safe and injury free.
Boot camp class this morning because.... it's good for me and I get to move around in a bunch of different directions! Added on a 25 minute, by my own design, kettlebell workout because.... I love kettlebell workouts!
On the minute one arm kettlebell swings 10R/10L for 5 minutes (100 swings total)
5 kettlebell goblet squats five times
Kneeling one arm kettlebell press 8R/8L and 5R/5L snatches three times
Farmers Walks, 40 steps, three times (one heavy kettlebell in each hand)
You can use dumbbells or kettlebells for this movement. The nice thing about using kettlebells is the weight is not balanced so it should offer you a little bit more of a challenge.
Referring to picture one, start tall with your shoulders forward and hips forward, holding the kettlebell in your right hand. Hinge your hips back, bending the left leg slightly (sitting back on your left hip), drop your torso forward while letting the right leg go straight behind you into a single leg deadlift (SLDL), squeeze your right glute. As your torso drops forward let the kettlebell reach down towards the inside of your left ankle. Doing it this way is a little bit more challenging because of the anti rotation forces you need to control. You have to fight, stabilize and focus to keep that right hip pointing forward while staying balanced.
Referring to picture two, start tall with your shoulders and hips forward, but this time hold the kettlebell in your left hand, the movement stays the same as described above, except now the kettlebell will reach down towards the outside of your left ankle. That left leg will feel more stable as the weight helps to balance you on that side. You're not dealing with the anti rotation forces doing it this way (as in picture one) so you may want to go with a slightly heavier weight.
Another option for the SLDL is to have a weight in each hand while performing the movement. This increases the total weight which in turn will make it more challenging. But the weight is now balanced on both sides and this helps you stay steady throughout the movement.
The extra weight makes it more challenging but also helps with balance
Referring to the pictures again, remember to keep your spine straight (no flexion), and your shoulders down and back to stabilize your upper back. This is a hip hinge and if you are doing it correctly you will feel the hip loaded on the side that is stationary. Reach down only as far as is comfortable for you while keeping good form. Don't roll your back just to reach further. Keep in mind that your torso drops down the same time your leg raises behind you, like a seesaw motion, with your hip being the balance point. As you stand up be sure to squeeze the glute tight and keep tension throughout your body. That will help you to stay balanced.
Whether you decide to hold weight in both hands or one, your choice depends on what you're looking for, and whatever you feel like doing on that particular day. There is no good, bad, better or worse way when it comes to doing your SLDL's as I described. Each exercise will challenge you differently.
I suggest you play around with each one. Focus, stabilize, balance and figure out where you need to keep your tension as you go through the movement pattern. It's always a good idea to practice first with no weight. Go through each example and stand next to a wall if you're having trouble balancing.
SLDL's are an excellent way to build strength while balancing on one leg. If one side is weaker than the other this is an exercise that will strengthen the weaker side without letting the stronger side help out. Add these into your workouts at least once a week and it won't be long before you notice improved strength on your weaker side. Do anywhere from 4 to 5 sets of 5 to 8 reps or 4 to 5 sets of 10 to 12 reps on each side.
If you have any questions on this very beneficial strength movement please don't hesitate to ask!
Useful practical information and a workout or two...