YOUR PREHAB PLAN
Do this 10-minute routine by Third Space elite personal trainer Andy Vincent (@andyvincentpt) three times a week to reduce your risk of injury by strengthening, stabilising and mobilising your most vulnerable areas
do 2 sets of 3 reps on each foot
targets Forefoot and rear foot mobility
(they should work in opposition and freely), ankle mobility, knee and hip stability
why? Shoes are like coffins for your feet. They need to move – with 26 bones and 33 joints articulating to the surface of the floor, sending signals to the brain to tell you about your body position.
Feet can be overlooked, so barefoot prehab training is a great way to unlock them.
(a) Stand barefoot, feet parallel, at the centre of an imaginary clock face.
(b) Imagine you’re gliding a coin along the floor with your right foot. Reach it forward to 12 o’clock, extending your right leg and keeping all your weight on your left foot – avoid locking your standing leg. Return to the starting position.
(c) Repeat to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 o’clock. You can turn out your hip as you move, but keep your left foot on the ground and avoid tensing or gripping with your toes.
HIP FLEXOR STRETCH AND REACH
do 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps on each side. Repeat this exercise again after move 3
targets Foot mobility and hip flexors, glute and core activation and spinal alignment
why? Muscles adapt to the demands placed on them, and sitting for prolonged periods can shorten the muscles around the pelvis, making them tighter and/or weak. This move gets your feet, hips and pelvis working together, as they do when you walk, run or jump.
(a) Stand with your right foot slightly in front of the left, both pointing straight ahead. Lift your back heel just off the floor, keeping the big and little toe joints in contact with the ground.
(b) Keeping your back knee straight, squeeze your left glute and draw your abs in, tucking your tail bone underneath you. You can bend your front knee to push your hips further forward.
(c) Raise your left arm, driving it up to the ceiling for a lateral abdominal stretch.
SCAPULAR CARS (controlled articular rotations)
do 4-8 slow rotations in each direction
targets The muscles around the shoulder joints and shoulder blades
why? Good shoulder blade control and alignment are crucial for shoulder health. This exercise can reduce pain by improving mobility and control.
(a) Kneel or stand on the floor, stretching one arm out in front of you. If you’ve never done this exercise before, start off kneeling.
(b) Ready? Draw the shoulder blade of your outstretched arm back and down, then forward and up, taking the shoulder joint through its full range of motion. Imagine the air becoming 30% denser as you move, consciously contracting the muscles around the shoulder blades.
The upward motion should be a glide, not a squeeze. Take care not to contract your neck muscles. Repeat clockwise, moving forward and down, then back and up. Repeat with the other arm. 90/90 FLOW do 10 reps
targets Mobility and control of end ranges of the glutes, adductors, hamstrings, internal and external hip rotators as well as core activation, body awareness and control
why? Cycling, rowing and running can overwork the hips, limiting their range of movement, as they put emphasis on the front of the thighs and hips. This exercise will build flexibility, strength and control around the pelvis and spine.
(a) Sit on the floor with your left leg bent at 90° in front of you and your right leg bent at 90° with your foot behind you. Keep your spine straight. Leaning forward will increase the glute stretch.
(b) Pressing your heels into the floor, lift your knees, keeping your trunk as long as you can.
(c) As slowly as you can, with control, swivel your knees so you bring your left leg into a 90° bend in front of you, and your right leg into a 90° bend behind you.
SPLIT-STANCE PALLOF PRESS
do 2 sets of 10 reps each side
targets Obliques and transverse abdominis
why? This full-body isometric exercise reinforces strength and control, backing up everything you’ve done so far.
(a) Set a cable machine or wrap a resistance band around a fixture and hold it just below chest level. Stand side-on to the cable, holding on to it with both hands. Step one leg back so you’re in a staggered lunge stance. Raise your back heel, grounding the other foot firmly into the floor. In position? Good.
(b) Squeeze your glutes and tuck your tail bone under, keeping your torso long, chin tucked – think about giving yourself a double chin. Set your shoulders down and back.
(c) Inhale deeply. As you exhale, push your arms out in front of you. Don’t allow the cable to pull you offcentre. Return your arms to the start.
do 1-2 sets of 3-5 reps on each side
targets Thoracic spine mobility and control
why? Compensating for imbalances in the lower body can create excessive motion in some parts of the spine (usually lumbar and cervical) and a lack of motion in the thoracic spine. Cue tension in the neck, shoulders and lower back. This drill opens up the thoracic spine.
(a) Lie on your left side and rest your right knee on a foam roller or rolled-up towel, bent at 90° in front of you. Stretch both arms out in front of you, softly sliding your shoulder blades down your back.
(b) Take a deep breath in, then slowly draw your right arm overhead in a circle, matching the movement to a full exhalation. PRONE SWIMMERS do 2 sets of 5 reps
targets Upper-back strength in end ranges of shoulder movements
why? Weakness in the upper back and muscles that attach to the shoulder blades can cause incorrect alignment of the shoulder girdle. Strengthening them will help improve upper-body posture.
(a) Lie face down on the floor with your forehead in contact with the ground and your chin tucked (that double chin again). Extend your arms out in front of you with your palms facing each other.
(b) Start the movement by sweeping your arms down towards your hips. As your arms pass your shoulders, turn your thumbs down and depress your shoulder blades.
(c) When your hands reach your hips, bend your elbows and bring your hands up your spine, reaching as far as you can. Rest your hands on your back and press your elbows towards the floor. Hold for 2-3 secs, then reverse.