THE BEST DRILLS TO PERFORM BEFORE YOUR WORKOUT (Part 2)
Following on from last weeks article regarding the best mobility drills to perform before you start a training session, I would now like to show some of the best activation drills for you to try. Remember, the sequence should be mobilise, ACTIVATE, prime.
Im going to focus on two key areas. The hips and shoulder joint.
It is very important to get the muscles of the hips (gluteals), activated prior to undertaking activities such as squatting, lunging or deadlifting. For many, their job requires long periods sitting at a desk. And at home, many are in the same position on the couch. This causes the gluteals to weaken and fail to ‘fire’ properly. Spending time activating your backside will give you more strength and stability when performing the above mentioned exercises.
The first one i’d like to show is the banded crab walk (Below).
Taking a fairly tight band (you need it to create a burn sensation), sink into a quarter squat with feet hip width apart. Keeping the chest up, walk sideways 10 – 12 paces ensuring the feet don’t come back too close together, think staying at hip width. Repeat this for 2 – 3 sets.
Important Tip: Aim to keep the band under tension throughout the movement. This will ensure you create a ‘burning sensation’ in the outside of the hips.
Next we’re going to look at the banded glute bridge. (Below)
For this, you’re going to place a band up and slightly above your knees. Lying down on your back, bring your feet towards your butt until your knees are bent at 90 degrees. Driving up through your heels, lift your backside off the floor, keeping your knees out against the band. Avoid letting the knees buckle in, until you reach a nice straight line through the knee, hip and shoulder. Hold for a count of two at the top and squeeze your butt hard.
Important Tip: As you lower yourself back to the floor, gently unroll yourself vertebrae by vertebrae until flat. Avoiding collapsing down flat.
Following that we have the banded side-lying clam. (Below)
Rolling onto your side, knees bent at 90 degrees, hips, knees and feet stacked, support your head by placing your bottom hand underneath so that the neck is held neutral, the top hand on the floor in front of you for support. You’ll now open your legs (like a clam) as wide as possible.
Important Tip: Try not to allow the feet or hips to seperate through the movement. And be sure to use a band that allows you to open widely. As you get stronger you can move to tighter bands.
Give those a go for ‘firing up’ the muscles of the hips before your next lower body training. You’ll feel a lot stronger from the get go!
Now we’ll look at the shoulder joint.
This is important before any pressing or pulling upper body movements. It’s said that a strong and activated shoulder girdle (upper back), increases strength and stability on movements such as Bench Press and Overhead Press.
For this I start with a simple banded external rotational movement. (Below)
Take a band that allows you to get a good range of motion, place it around the wrists and with the arms bent at 90 degrees, seperate your wrists out to the side while keeping your elbows tight to the body. Do 8 – 10 reps then raise the arms slightly to hit them from another angle, and repeat the process for 2 – 3 sets.
Important Tip: Keep your shoulder blades relaxed down, away from your ears during the movement.
Next we have the reverse grip banded pull apart. (Below)
The shoulder joint / girdle is made up of lots of tiny muscles which all need to be targeted. A slight change in hand position can achieve this.
Grab a light band with palms facing up and set at around upper abdominal height. Keeping the shoulders relaxed down, pull apart the band as far as possible then release back to the starting position. Repeat for 2 – 3 sets of 10 – 12 reps.
Important Tip: Hold for a second in the squeeze position.
Lastly, we have a variation of the banded pull apart. (Below)
Attach a light band to a rack or support at about chest height. Grasp far enough down the band with palms down to allow for a full range. Pull the band back so that it clears the head. This will put the shoulder into a slight rotation at the top of the movement. You can also pull the band back so that it reaches you at around chin height. The slightly lower elbow position shifts the emphasis slightly.
Important Tip: Take a solid stance when performing this. Knees with a slight bend. Keep your mid-section braced tight and avoid swaying back through the motion.
So give these a go in your next warm up before you train and feel the difference!
Be sure to keep an eye out for the third and final instalment of this three part series on efficient warm ups. Your body will thank you!