Stuck at home? Try this stability-focused workout.
Everyone has been effected by the Corona Virus, and everyone is, seemingly, at home most of the day right now. (And if you aren’t, then you should be if possible!) With that in mind, many people are rightfully avoiding the gym but wondering how to keep themselves in shape over the next couple of weeks. (Behind the back baby stroller pulls anyone?)
I thought I would begin our Whitehead Fitness blog with what I believe to be an excellent home workout, and one particularly geared towards golfers. This workout doesn’t require you to go out and buy weights, or have any expensive equipment, and it will still provide you with a balanced workout, comparable to those you might do in a normal gym. We will use various pieces of standard household equipment, and we can create the weights we need through various means. (for example: did you know a 32oz water bottle weighs about 3lbs and a gallon jug about 8.5?) This workout will be geared mostly towards stability. Stability of the hips, shoulders, scapulas, and the rotational core primarily. (“Basically, full body…” you might be thinking to yourself, and you would be correct.) This isn’t the time to go “balls out” on your workouts and thereby tax your nervous system and immune and recovery system, so keep in mind we want our intensity to be fairly low right now and our rest very high. Make sure and get plenty of water and sleep. I’d like for you to perform 3 rounds of all the exercises outlined below, performing one set of each in succession before repeating all of them. The amount of reps will be listed with each individual movement.
A1) Single Leg ABC's - 3x3-5/leg
A2) Dolphin Push-up to Down Dog from Elbows - 3x6-8
A3) Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat - 3x8-10/leg
A4) RDL Airplane - 3x3/leg
A5) Bird Dog on a Bench - 3x6-8/leg
See below for specific exercise instructions. EXERCISE 1: Single Leg ABC: This exercise will be a single leg balance/strength and hip stability exercise. Start by placing targets to reach for (water bottles will do fine) in a triangle/crosslike fashion. The crossbars will be two foot lengths apart, and the upper bottle will be one foot north of the crossbar directly in the middle. You will go one foot length back from the crossbar. From there, balance on one foot, and squat and reach across your body to a corner target. Make sure and squat and not just bend over and reach. Fully stand up between each reach, but continue to the middle target with both arms, and then across the body again with the other arm. Each three touches is “one rep”. And we will go for sets of 3-5 reps on each leg.
EXERCISE 2: Dolphin Push-up to Down Dog from Elbows: A great shoulder stability and scapular movement exercise here. Start in a plank on your elbows with your body long and core tight. (I find squeezing my heels together helps me to stay really firm throughout the entire body.) From there, squeeze your shoulder blades together, (keeping your core tight), then press as far away as you can, (you should feel a nice stretch on the back of your shoulder), then drive your head down between your elbows into a modified “down dog” position. What we are doing here is creating three different movements for the scapulas. Perform 6-8 total reps, with all three movements being part of one rep.
EXERCISE 3: Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat: Here is what I consider to be the king of all leg exercises (Maybe the queen to a Deadlift-King.) Start with a foot elevated back behind you on a couch or ottoman or even a lower bench of some kind. (Make sure and keep the top of your foot down and flat, rather than trying to balance up on your toes, this could increase the stretch to the front of your leg potentially and usually will decrease your balance abilities.) From there, we want to make sure that as we squat, our shin bone stays vertical and we don’t have the knee travel too far our past our toes. So make sure and set up where this is the case. Easy peasy after this, just go for 8-10 reps on each leg. Add weight as needed. (Remember, a gallon of water is about 8.5 lbs, so a couple of those might be a nice addition.) In my case, I added a baby.
EXERCISE 4: RDL Airplane: This will challenge our stability as well, and really increase our ability to internally and externally rotate into your hips. (A vital move if you want to play golf well, and/or pain free.) We start by balancing on one leg, pushing our butt and leg back towards the wall behind us, while letting our chest bend forward. Think “big chest” to help keep our spine nice and long. (You know, like an instagram model.) From there we extend our arms, and rotate: backswing/downswing. Back and forth for 3 times on that one leg. That is one rep. We’re going for 3 reps on each leg, alternating each leg until completion. Things to watch for: Going too fast. You will want to rush this because balancing is hard. Don’t succumb to this temptation, do it right and move nice and smooth throughout the entire exercise. Shoes will be easier for this exercise and barefoot will be more difficult. Choose accordingly.
EXERCISE 5: Bird Dog on a Bench Our last exercise will be a rotational stability exercise, where we have to work to maintain a stable spine and midsection, while moving all around it. As an added component we will try to do this on an ottoman or bench or elevated surface, which seems to add to the instability of the exercise for an unknown reason. (Actually it is known, it just isn’t that important. Just trust me in that it makes it tougher.) To begin, we will start on our surface in a four point stance. This means our knees and hands will be on the ground, with our knees directly under our hips and our hands directly under our shoulders. Find a neutral spine by tucking and arching your back and then stopping in the middle. From there, extend the opposite hand and opposite foot out and hold for about 3 seconds at extension. Come back to neutral and do 6-8 reps on one side and then switch sides. (If this is too difficult, performing this on the ground will be perfectly acceptable. If you find you still shift too much, doing it against a wall will help with that even more.)