— You Should…..
Did I get your attention? Don’t lie…you were intrigued by the headline! I assure you though, there’s nothing explicit in here! There are some of our favorite mobility drills and exercises that you probably didn’t know about, don’t do…or don’t like to do given the fact that they may require some compromising positions or rather suggestive motions. Hopefully we can shed some light on how to make you a little more comfortable with these exercises and drills because they are VERY important for keeping us healthy while we enjoy our active lifestyles.
— The Stripper…..
I won’t save the best for last, I’m going to hit you with one of my favorite stretches right off the bat. Since we named this blog post after it, I guess we should start with the “Stripper” Stretch (which does not require a pole btw) a.k.a. the “goalie” or “frog”stretch. This one is great for anyone with tight hips or those of you who just want a good warm up before you step into the squat rack.
You start in quadruped position with knees under your hips & hands under your shoulders. Pushing back through your hands we want to sit back onto our heels while maintaining a mostly neutral spine. 2–3 reps here and we widen out the knees, repeat for 2–3 reps and so on till we find our end range of motion. Now once your knees are as wide as you can go, watch yourself in the mirror as you rock back and tell me you don’t look like a stripper!?! Here’s a video to help with the technique on this one Stripper Stretch .
Romainian and/or Straight Leg Deadlift-
Even I get a little self-conscious when doing these. If your form is correct then you’re literally sticking your butt out for everyone to see. Luckily, I’m a dude so no one really bats an eye when I do it (except maybe my wife….my booty is the only reason I landed such a hottie…#outkickedmycoverage ) but the ladies on the other hand, if you wear the wrong pair of workout pants, you may be showing everyone the color of your under garments! Side note: ALWAYS do the bend over stretch & peek test when purchasing workout pants…they are not all created equal and even vary widely within each brand.
The Romanian & Straight Leg deadlifts begin with one of the most important movements in fitness, the Hip Hinge. If you’re not familiar with what this is, you should avoid deadlifts…and any form of deadlift for that matter….and start here: Hip Hinge 101 video explanation of how to properly hip hinge. Bad form here can be costly to the low back so please watch, learn and practice this move often.
In the video we showed you how to learn a good hinge using the wall as your guide. The other good thing about a wall is it blocks you from Carl’s creeper stare …..who’s Carl you ask? There’s a Carl in every gym, you know, the guy who stares and doesn’t even try to hide it…..creeper alert! So if you’re gym has an open wall somewhere, this should be your straight leg or Romanian deadlift station. As always, your knees stay soft, and never locked out. Back is neutral (straight but maintaining it’s natural curves) as the hips are pushed backwards. Lower the weight while pivoting around the hips until you feel a good stretch in the hamstrings. Hesitate at the bottom, then push the hips forward squeezing the glutes tight at the top before pushing the hips back to begin the next rep as demonstrated here: Straight Leg Deadlifts …..and always, ALWAYS avoid eye contact with Carl!
Hip Thrusts / Glute Bridges….
oh where to begin with these. First off, the difference between the Thrust and the Bridge, anybody know? Nobody? C’mon it’s an easy one…..ok, well one of them is performed on the floor (bridge) and the other is done with the shoulders elevated on a bench, ball, couch or hip thrust station, all of which increase the potential range of motion. Both can be difficult with proper coaching but both, unfortunately resemble a very….uh, well to put it kindly, “awkward” motion. Flinging your lady/gentleman parts in the air with your legs spread isn’t exactly the most graceful of exercises but when done correctly, they have huge benefits! No, NOT in the bedroom ya weirdo! Ok, so that’s not exactly accurate either but that’s a blog post for another day…..
Bridges and Hip thrusts, involve ALL of the major muscles that protect the spine, which is commonly called the “core”. Our video Bridges / Hip Thrusters breaks down some of the finer points of doing the bridges so you can avoid some of the more common pitfalls often seen on the internet. This is another exercise where you can find that blank wall in the gym and face it while doing your reps so Carl’s wandering gaze can’t fixate on your no-no zone.
This video here demonstrates an advanced version using a resistance loop around the knees to better engage the glutes: Banded Hip Thrust. The minimal investment in the Bands can significantly increase the intensity and effectiveness of the workout!
So there you have it! Three awesome exercises that you can do the next time you go to the gym. If you have questions about how to use them correctly within your current program or you’re having trouble getting the technique right, just email us at email@example.com or check out our youtube page here: The Fitness Life Youtube Page