Three Moves To Help You Stay Healthy

By Kevin Guild

Standing Toe Touch

This one gets no love as we move out of the static stretching phase of strength and conditioning. People don’t like stretching but they also can’t touch their toes or have back pain stemming from a “tight” posterior chain (more on that in later posts). 

Implementing a simple toe-touch at the beginning and end of your workout can markedly improve how you’re feeling on a given day. This isn’t your normal touch your toes and snap back up. Think about slowly flexing from the top of your neck down your spine, one vertebrae at a time. The whole flexion phase should take 15-20 seconds. Feel your body moving and find areas of your spine that don’t want to flex. Taking a video from a side-angle can provide feedback as to how your spine is flexing. 

When coming back up, same thing. Slowly extend starting with the lowest section of spine that you can feel. Move up towards your upper back and neck one vertebrae at a time. Take your time!

Open Book Stretch

In sedentary people, poor rotary ability can lead to chronic discomfort up and down the body depending on how one compensates. The open book stretch exercise promotes thoracic rotation (upper back) along with providing a solid stretch down the posterior line of the leg.

Assume a side lying flexed knee position. Take your bottom arm and press the hand down into the knee keeping it in contact with the floor through the movement. Reach with your top hand over your shoulder and behind you. You should feel this through your thoracic spine.

Lateral Lunge

It’s happening, people are training in the frontal plane. Still, I feel it necessary to include this exercise. A lateral lunge challenges one to rotate, flex and extend at the hip. All good things to maintain on a daily basis. To accomplish this exercise, step out to the right at a 90-degree angle, landing comfortably with your whole right foot in contact with the ground. From here, let the butt sit back as your hands come forward out in front of your body to offset your weight distribution change.

Keep the left leg straight. You should feel action happening along the inside of the left leg, the upper back and the posterior right leg. From this position, push the right foot through the ground and return to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite leg.

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