Thursday, December 1, 2011

Detailed Description of Functional Movements

Detailed Description of Functional Movements

Squat: Stand with your legs hip-­‐width apart, and squat down by pushing your hips back just like you are sitting down in a chair. Keep your knees behind your toes, and push your knees out so they do not bend inward. Keep your chest up. Go as deep as you comfortably can, trying to squat down to a depth where the crease of your hip is below the parallel of your knee.

One-­‐legged squat (also called “pistol”): Balancing on one leg with the other one lifted slightly off the floor, squat down without letting your other leg touch the floor. Just like regular squats, keep your knee behind your toe. This requires a tremendous amount of balance and strength, so if you can’t do it on your own, try doing it next to a pole. Stand with the pole on the same side as the leg you are balanced on. Squat down as far as you can on your own, then hold the pole to go down to the bottom of your squat. Use the pole if needed to pull your body back up.

Jumping squat: Interlock your hands behind your head, and perform a squat (see above for proper form on squats). From the bottom of the squat, jump up until your feet leave the ground.

Push-­‐up: Lay on your stomach on the floor, hands next to your shoulders, and push yourself to a “plank” position, with your arms locked out and your body perfectly straight. Make sure your behind is not sagging to the floor, and also not sticking up in the air. If you cannot do this movement on your toes, bend your knees and do knee push-­‐ups. The same form applies for toe and knee push-­‐ups.

Plank: With your body in the same position as a push-­‐up, lower yourself down so you are resting on your forearms/elbows and hold this movement for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Just like the push-­‐up, your body should stay perfectly straight from your shoulders all the way to your feet. Your behind should not be sagging to the floor or sticking up in the air.

Handstand push-­‐up: Find a wall, and kick up to a handstand with your back against the wall. Bend your elbows and lower your body as far as you can, then push back up until your arms are locked out at the top. If you cannot go all the way to the ground, go as far as you can—you can stack something under your head to shorten the distance you have to lower your body down while you build up strength. If you still cannot do that movement, you can scale it further. Find a box (or a chair, or even your couch) that is 16-­‐24 inches off the ground. Put your knees on the edge of the box, and lower yourself down onto your hands. Try to keep your hands as close to the box as possible so you are simulating a “handstand” where your body is above your arms (this should not look the same as a push-­‐up position, where your body is facing downward). Bend your elbows and lower yourself down until your head touches the floor, then push back up until your arms are locked out.

Sit-­‐up: Lay on your back, and put the soles of your feet together with your knees facing outward (in a “butterfly” position—this position will ensure that you are using your stomach muscles instead of your leg muscles to perform the movement). Sit up until your body is perpendicular to the floor. If you cannot do it, try putting a small weight on your feet to balance you out, or have someone stand on your feet while you do it. Eventually you want to work up to being able to do it with no weight on your feet. If it hurts your lower back, find a small pad or rolled up towel to place under the small of your back while doing this movement.

Knees to Elbows: Find a bar high enough off the ground that your feet don’t touch. From a hanging position, bring your knees up until they touch your elbows. If you cannot bring your knees that high, bring them up as high as you can get them. If you cannot bring your knees up at all, or you have an injury that prevents you from hanging on the bar (i.e. a shoulder injury), lay on the floor with your hands above your head, next to something you can grip, and pull your legs off the floor until they are above your head. Keep your legs straight so you are using your core muscles, not your leg muscles.

Pull-­‐up/Jumping pull-­‐up: Grip the bar, and pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. If you don’t have the strength to do that, place a stool or box under the bar tall enough that you can reach the bar with arms slightly bent. Using both your legs and your arms, jump until your chin is above the bar.

Jump rope: Remember elementary school? Yep, it’s the same kind of jump rope. Find a rope, and start jumping. You can do single skips, or skips with a small jump in between. As you get better, you can attempt to do “double unders,” where the rope passes under your feet twice each time you jump.

Ring Dips/Box Dips: If you have access to a set of rings or parallel bars, get on the rings/bars and dip down until your upper arm is parallel to the floor, then push back up until your arms are locked out. If you don’t have rings/parallel bars, use a box or bench, place your hands on the box/bench, fingers facing forward, bend your elbows and dip down until your biceps are parallel to the floor. If you can, put another chair, bench, or stool in front of you and place your feet on it so your legs are parallel to the floor. This will require you to use those core muscles to hold your body up.

Walking lunges: Take a big step, and bend your knee until your back knee touches the ground. On the front foot, keep your knee behind your toe. Stand up and repeat on the other side. For an added challenge, hold a weight above your head with your elbows straight (don’t bend them—it’s harder than it sounds!).