By: Tone House Recovery Specialist Dr. Kamraan Husain
Not preparing, is preparing to fail. Many athletes jump into class without appropriately preparing themselves for the high intensity of Tone House. Trust me, I’m one of them. We are human. It happens.
Truthfully speaking, there is no fool-proof way to prevent injury, but emphasis should be placed on the preparatory work before class. Focus your efforts on improving the mind-to-muscle connection before class and you will greatly reduce your risk for injury during your workout.
Here are 5 great ways to activate your glute muscles (performed with or without a band) to prepare your body for class and make sure your muscles are firing correctly as you gallop down the Turf.
Performed on your back with both feet close to your buttocks. The key to this exercise is to maintain tension in the gluteals throughout the movement. A great coaching cue is pretending you are “squeezing a quarter between your butt cheeks”. This cue ensures that you can squeeze the muscle as you are working through the range of motion.
2). Bridge + Leg Extension
Performed the same way as the traditional glute bridge, however, the key to this exercise is to maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement by flattening the low back prior to initiating the movement, thus engaging the gluteal muscle without low back muscle compensation.
3). Side Bridge + Hip Abduction
Performed on the side (as if an athlete was performing a side-plank abdominal exercise) however the focus should be placed on bending the bottom knee and controlling the hip motion by elevating the top leg. Do not allow your spine to hyperextend or your hips to rotate.
4). Bear Crawl Hip Extension
Similar to the traditional rehab exercise known as the “Bird-Dog”, this bear crawl hip extension exercise places emphasis on trunk stability. At Tone House, we spend a lot of time in bear crawl, runner or gallop positions. It makes sense for our preparation for class to include some form of gluteal activation while also connecting the trunk and upper body.
5). L-Stance Hip Extension
Finally, the L-stance hip extension exercise allows our bodies to be in a vertical position while priming our gluteals in three primary ranges of motion (extension, abduction, and rotation). The foot stepping back should be placed shoulder width from the front foot – thus creating the “L” shape to the movement.
Each of the listed exercises should be performed to your comfort level – these are activation exercises and are not meant to completely fatigue you out before class. These exercises identify unique ways to target the hip musculature (in this case, the gluteal muscles) and will help have a positive carryover to your performance on the Turf.
For in-person guidance on how to complete these exercises or find the ones that are best for you, email Dr. Kam (HERE) or stop by his open-floor hours in the lounge at NOMAD. You can also browse all of our recovery services here.