Built to last, creating a strong foundation for your “House of Life” from the ground up. Stability Exercises that can help support your body as you transition through life.
As many of you know, at Transitions Chiropractic I tend to use a few analogies. One of my favourite analogies is thinking of our bodies like a house. Any good house has to have a stable foundation. In the body as a house metaphor, your pelvis and pelvic symmetry is the foundation or concrete slab. If that slab is off even 5 degrees, the whole angle of your house will be tilted, cracks will appear in the walls above, doors and windows will not fit properly and if it rains- leaks will not be far behind… In the case of your body, a weak foundation, a twist or rotation through the pelvis can create all sorts of irritation through the hips, knees, shoulders, neck and it may even relate to your headaches or migraines. So I thought I would spend some time at The Concept Gym in Highfields with one of my favourite trainers Brogan, going through a few simple stability exercises that you can use daily either at home or in the office.
We want to help you become as bulletproof as possible and strengthening your foundation is a great place to start.
The video above is # 1 out of 3. This one is focussing on single leg, pelvic and trunk stability through 2 stability exercises. The 3 videos combine to give you total body stability, from the hips and pelvis, through to your trunk and for the desk jockey there is another focussed on our head and shoulder position.
The Single Leg Chair Raise and Sit.
The beauty lies in its simplicity. The only equipment required is a chair or a bench. The first point to make however, is that the lower the seat, the harder the exercise. While standing on one leg, straighten the other leg out in front of you, cross your hands over your chest and lower yourself very slowly and smoothly to the seat. Don’t let your body “drop” onto the seat, try to control the movement. Once seated ideally keep the same leg out straight, the existing leg stays planted and you now stand back up. Drive your weight through your heel making sure it constantly keeps firm engagement with the ground. If you struggle on this and you feel the knee or hip buckling in that is ok. Focus on the lowering part of the exercise to the chair, then just stand up using both legs to start with. Once you can nail 10 reps of this each side you’ll be ready to progress to the sit to standing drill.
Another one of my favourites recorded here is the Single Legged Calf Raise.
When standing, lift one foot off the ground, bending your knee and hip so that your thing is parallel to the group (hold it here). With your other foot perform a heel raise so you are standing on the front of your foot. Here your weight is always staying on the front of your foot. Concentrate on keeping your hips level and your knee straight. You can make this harder by dropping your heel off a step before raising it or to make it easier, gently rest your hand on a wall for support. Using a wall is going to be more beneficial than doing both feet simultaneously because creating a strong foundation means focusing on each side separately.
The box step off and up is also very useful however, for this I would not recommend using your standard office chair. A bench or a solid box would work much better. Standing on the edge of the box with one leg, step off to the side with your other leg until it reaches the ground. Once there, drive your weight through the heel of the leg still on the box and stand back up. This is much harder than it looks and is definitely a more advanced exercise. Focus again on a strong foundation and keeping your pelvis square.
You have probably noticed a theme here, with every one of these 3 stability exercises they are best performed on a single leg. This forces and helps you focus on that strong foundation and core. It is this focus that is what will make the difference.
A word of caution, just because you think you have a left knee or hip problem does not mean that you should do the stability exercises on just one side. To the best of your ability always work your left and right. You want optimum strength and stability throughout your foundation. Even if your house was built on the side of a hill it would be best if you could start with a level concrete slab before adding the walls. A strong and balanced foundation will help build your best human performance house. Whether you are an everyday hero, office athlete, parent athlete, kid athlete or one that is striving for athletic excellence, a strong support or base goes miles into the longevity of your body, limiting aches and niggles and getting the best performance possible. Before you think too much about speed or flexibility, think of strength and balance as the key blocks in house of your health.
“Success is not a big step in the future, success is small steps taken right now.”