The majority of Americans sit too much. Whether we are on the couch or working at the office, this sedentary lifestyle is taking its toll on our bodies. Jonny Mack, one of the personal trainers and co-owners of Anytime Fitness in Liberty explains how sitting isn't just rounding our shoulders; it's killing our legs too.
"If I'm working with a client that works at a desk, which is 90% of my clients, I'm working on lengthening the muscles in the front of the body to counteract the effects of hunching over. Because people are sitting, your hamstrings and glutes naturally smash up against the chair and don't do anything. We do a lot of glute strengthening to engage them and wake them up."
Modifying one basic movement can provide a range of difficulty without having to learn a completely new move. Plus, Mack advocates for compound movements that work more than one body part at a time. Mack recommends working in two sets to start, doing enough reps that you come within three or four reps of your failure rate. For some that may be eight, for others 12. Listen to your body.
For the office dwellers with disengaged glutes, he humbly submits: the lunge.
Kneeling Lunge, Foot on Box
Place a mat on the floor with an additional pad for the supporting knee. Place a box in front of the mat for the elevated foot. In a kneeling position, place one foot on the box, stabilizing by engaging your core. Lunge forward toward the front foot, stretching the front hip flexor in the supporting leg. Engage your abs to keep yourself upright. To add an upper body element, grab a length of PVC pipe, a yoga strap or a towel and pull your arms up and over your head, as shown, opening the shoulders.
Runners Lunge or Split Stance Squat
Start with feet hip width apart. Start with one foot forward and and one back. Lunge forward as far as is comfortable. Maintain upright posture but don't force yourself rigidly upright. Some movement forward is natural. Engage the abs to maintain your balance. if you need support, grab a bar or the back of a chair to steady yourself. Lunge forward over the forward foot--it's okay to go past the toe if it is comfortable. Return to starting position.
For those that have worked out some of their balance issues, move onto the elevated lunge. While the floor lunge elevated the front foot, the elevated lunge lifts the back foot. Place the back foot on a bench or chair, either with the top of the foot down or flexed; each position is valuable and stretches the foot in different ways. Lunge forward with the front foot and bend until max flex has been achieved in the ankle, knee, and hip. Throughout, keep the body upright by engaging the abs. If you want more of a challenge, grab a prop and open up the chest by stretching arms up and over the head. Push through the leg to return to upright position.