The Perfect Workout

“They have a greater effect, a greater consequence, a greater benefit,” Seto says. “Maybe because you’re so flexible when you’re younger, you can spring [and] maybe you don’t see that big a benefit in stretching, rest and recovery, icing, all of that. You can get away with eating unhealthy. Now, as you’re getting older, it makes a huge difference. That little 2 to 3 percent difference as you’re getting older is huge.” – Dr. Judy Seto, the Los Angeles Lakers’ head physical therapist.

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For a mere 30minutes of floor time, Koby Bryant’s preparation was described as an “all-day” process.  High performance athletes place heavy emphasis on movement prep, mobility and recovery, on the contrary for us “normal” folks, prep-work before a workout is often cast aside when the smashing workouts precede as the cooler kid.

How many of us have rocked up to our group class before thinking it is OK to be late, it is just the warm up we’re are missing anyway (pffffft), or are so consumed with chasing WOD time and weight numbers that we ignore beneficial movement prep work or post-workout recovery drills?  How many of us suffer from at least one injury or discomfort in our bodies, yet claim about not having the time to do the “dirty” work of prehab/rehab exercises?

Living in a city that never sleeps, like Hong Kong, comes with its price.  We tend to pack our schedules so tight that a one-full-hour workout seems like a luxury.  I’m not saying to forget everything else and jiggle your life priorities around but there is certainly no harm with sneaking in small tweaks here and there.

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This list below was originally posted on Equinox’s blog and a darn good list that is.

If doing all 8 in one session and every session works for you, good for you.

If you are only able to implement just ONE tweak in your next session and build your way up to the rest, it isn’t failure either, YOU ARE STILL ON THE RIGHT TRACK.

The important thing is to remember WHY you work hard in your workouts…I hope that includes harnessing a durable body for as long as you live and playing the sports you love #traintheywayyouplay

1. Take Care of Your Tissues. Start your workout with foam rolling, yoga balls and massage sticks to release trigger points, improve tissue quality and maximize blood flow.

2. Warm-Up Well. Dynamic warm-ups (versus static stretching and/or cardio-only warm-ups) such as toe walks, heel walks, inchworms, and butt kicks better prepare the body for a workout by raising core body temperature, lubricating joints and preparing the central nervous system for the exercise ahead.

3. Turn On Your Core. Doing movements such as planks, quadrupeds and bridges early in your workout (after the warm-up) can help activate your core, which insures good posture and helps protect your back during the workout.  TRX Pilates classes place more emphasis on direct core training, let a knowledgable instructor lead you so you have a good base to start with.

4. Choose Multi-Joint Movements. Incorporate upper and lower body exercises that work more than one joint (for example, dumbbell rows work shoulders as well as elbows while bicep curls work elbows only). Not only are these exercises more time efficient, they are also more functional because the body rarely moves only one joint at a time.

5. Move in Every Plane. This targets muscles from every possible angle, creating synergy within the body so you don’t develop imbalances that can lead to injury.  Smart coaches train their athletes in every plane for optimum performance, you don’t have to miss out on this.

6. Pull More Than Push. Most of us need more stretch in the front of our bodies and more strengthening in the back. Doing a 2:1 ratio of pull to push can help improve posture, reduce injuries (particularly to the shoulders), and create a more balanced body.  Did you know TRX training is considered one of the BEST pulling equipment?

7. Hit Heavy, Medium and Light. Designate one day for heavier exercises with fewer reps (8 or less), one for moderate weight exercises for mid-range reps (8 to 12), and one for lightweight exercises with higher reps (12 to 20). Rotating the “rep ranges” helps train different muscles and maximizes overall muscular fitness.

8. Stretch Your Limits. Take time at the end of your workout when muscles are warm and receptive to do some static (slow and sustained) stretches. This will help restore muscles to their optimal length and reduce tension.  If you need guidance, check your gyms and studios if they conduct mobility classes.  OPS in Central, Hong Kong runs 2-3 mobility sessions a week.

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