Written by: Melanie Talastas-Soriano BA-Kin, CAT(C), ISSA-CPT
Athletic Therapist, Personal Trainer
If you think about the daily activities that we do, it is not difficult to develop muscle imbalance. When you have muscle imbalance, there are muscle groups that are overworked versus muscle groups that are weak. Whether we spend more time carrying, lifting, sitting on a computer, playing sports, eating or sleeping we all tend to overwork the muscle groups in front of the body (i.e. Pecs, neck, abdominals, hip flexors, quads). Which means, the muscle groups on the back of the body (i.e. traps, rhomboids, lats, Q.L., glutes, hamstrings, calves) could be weak and often sore. Therefore, the body will develop muscle imbalance.
In this article, there are 10 simple exercises on how to strengthen weak muscles and how to stretch tight/sore muscles. We will focus on strength exercises using resistance band and body weight that will target upper body and lower body muscle groups.
Prior to starting upper body strengthening, you need to learn scapular stabilization (stabilize shoulder girdle). Stand up and do it with me. First, stand up straight, shoulders down. Then, squeeze your shoulder blades together then contract your lats pointing your armpit forward. If you’re feeling tall, you’re doing it right. Before starting any upper body workout, be sure that your shoulder is stabilized.
1. Lat pull-down with resistance band. Stabilize your scapula then pull down on the resistance band contracting the lower portion of your back (lats, lower fiber of the traps, triceps and rear delts). Complete this exercise 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
2. Standing row with resistance band. This exercise will focus on the upper back (mid fiber of traps, rhomboids, triceps, rear delts). Complete this exercise 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
3. Bridge: body weight, lying on your back, knees bent. Engage your core, then squeeze the glutes, hamstrings and low back to lift your torso up on a bridge position. This exercise targets the muscles mentioned. Hold the position for 20 seconds and repeat 10 times.
4. Shoulder external rotation using resistance band. Standing straight up, shoulder stabilized with elbow bent, pull the resistance band apart focusing on squeezing your external rotators. This exercise targets the external rotators (supraspinats, infraspinatus, teres minor muscles). Complete the exercise 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
5. Superman: bodyweight focusing on lower back, glutes and hamstring muscles. Lie on your stomach, tightening all the muscles, lift your arms and legs off the floor and squeeze low back, glutes and hamstrings. Hold the position for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
6. Hip flexor stretch: in a lunge position, bring one knee on the floor. Lean forward to feel the stretch on the hip flexor and hold that position for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
7. Cobra stretch: lying on your stomach, prop your upper body using your hand keeping your hips and lower body on the floor. This stretches the abdominals and also help with low back pain relief. Hold the stretch 10 seconds hold and repeat 10 times.
8. Glute stretch (pigeon stretch). This stretch targets the glutes (glute max, piriformis, glute medius). Hold this stretch for 30 seconds repeat 3 times.
9. Hamstring stretch targets the hamstring muscles and calf muscles. You can use a belt and perform this stretch seated or lying down. Be sure your knee is straight enough to feel the stretch behind the knee. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
10. Pec stretch: you can use the door frame for the pectoralis stretch. This stretch will complement the upper body exercises mentioned above (exercise 1 and 2). Remember to stabilize your shoulder girdle first before the pec stretch. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
You can break this program into upper body and lower body. If the exercises are too much at one time you can complete 1-5 for one day and alternate 6-10 on other days. These exercises focuses on full body so it will be safe to perform all of the exercises every other day. It is a combination of strength and stretches.
Remember, stabilize shoulder girdle before performing any upper body exercises. The same rule applies for lower body where you engage your core before performing any exercises or stretches.
Written by: Melanie Talastas-Soriano CAT(C) ISSA-CPT
Athletic Therapist, Personal Trainer
People working at manufacturing setting may complain of muscle soreness/joint aches and pain. Many have develop overuse injuries due to repetitive tasks 8 hours, 5 days a week. For some, standing or walking for a long period of time can be stressful to the muscles and joints of the lower body. If these conditions are concerning you, there are ways to help you relieve your muscle soreness and joint pain.
1. Warm bath/heat-packs
Warm shower, bath or the use of heat pack will help sore muscles and stiff joints because of the vasodilation effects. Vasodilation is the opening of the blood vessels to promote more blood flow, release of histamine (feel good hormone) and healthy nutrients to the muscles and joints. Heat also helps soothe the skin as it is applied externally.
2. Hamstring stretch
For people who stands for a long time will feel sore around the hamstring and calf muscles/ behind the knee area. The hamstring stretch can be done seated using a belt or a rope. This stretch will help loosen the tight hamstring muscles. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.
3. Calf massage uaing foam roller
A foam roller is use for self-massage for sore or tight muscle groups. You can purchase a foam roller for an affordable price if you do not have one yet at winners, Walmart, Canadian tire or sporting goods store. The type of foam roller you should get will depend on your use. For example, there are different sizes (long and short) for travel and the density of the foam if you will be using it all the time. Foam roll your calves 20 times each leg or 2 minutes each leg. Awesome way to do while watching tv.
4. Sole massage using a tennis ball
Many of our clients who stands and walk at work also complain of heel pain. To avoid developing plantar fasciitis, use the tennis ball to massage the soles of your feet. A simple self-massage will come a long way in helping you maintain a healthy feet. Healthy feet means healthy knees, hips and low back. It’s all connected in a long chain. This is also another self-massage you can do during your break at work or while watching tv.
5. Quad massage with our Athletic Therapist
Come and see us for an assessment or massage for your quads, hamstrings, calves, low back or feet. We will be able to prescribe exercises to prevent you from injury or re-injury. Athletic Therapist specialize in musculo-skeletal injuries (assessment, observation, treatments, soft-tissue massage techniques and exercise prescriptions) suitable for you.
All of these simple ways to relieving your muscle and joint soreness will be effective if you add them to your daily regimen. These exercises and self-massages can be done during your break at work or at home. The more you do it the better your muscles will feel. Like I always say to my clients, you do not need to be injured to do these rehab exercises. These are designed to prevent you from any injuries you may develop from your day to day work/play. Prevention is key to a healthier body and mind.
If you are seeking further advice on an on-going injury or which exercises you should do, do not hesitate to contact us to book an athletic therapy appointment. You can reach us at email@example.com or call Melanie at 204-999-0933.