You probably have a routine that you use for exercises. Maybe you work on your back, shoulders and arms one day and your legs, butt, and core the next. Maybe you alternate strength training with aerobic exercise. Whatever your typical workout regimen, there are probably important exercises that you aren’t performing.
Adding a few small exercises to appropriate points in your workout routine can improve the effectiveness of your regimen and reduce the likelihood of incurring a serious injury while you’re trying to improve your health and fitness.
- Leg lifts on your side. Surely you remember these as a staple of the Jazzercise era. While it’s been a while since side-lying leg lifts have been popular, their health benefits have never disappeared. Performing leg lifts while lying on your side engages and strengthens the glute medius, critical muscles which lift the leg to the side, help your leg rotate, and stabilize your pelvis and lower extremities. Add these to your lower body regimen and reduce the risk of a hip injury.
- Rowing. There’s a reason there’s always someone on the rowing machine: Rowing is a great exercise. It doesn’t just work your arms and shoulders. Rowing actually works nine major muscle groups, making it an incredibly efficient workout exercise. If you want to strengthen your glutes, lats, biceps, quads, hamstrings, core, shoulders, triceps and back, then rowing should be part of your regular exercise routine. Consider rowing as part of your aerobic routine each week.
- Side plank. You’re probably already doing a standard plank to help strengthen your core. You should also be including side planks at least once a week in your routine. These exercises help better strengthen your core and lead to better overall stabilization. Side planks help strengthen and stretch your obliques, your hips, and your shoulders. Make sure to do each side! Consider adding them every other time you work on core strength exercises.
- Resisted dorsiflexion. You want strong ankles and feet to support your legs as you get stronger. This exercise uses a rubber resistance band, attached to something stable in front of you as you sit. Wrap the band around your foot and flex your foot and ankle with the band providing resistance. Add these exercises to the days in your exercise regimen that are dedicated to strengthening your legs and lower body.
- Internal and external shoulder rotations. Like the resisted dorsiflexion exercise, these strength-building exercises require the use of a band. Performing these exercises can help strengthen muscles that are critical to safely using your shoulders and arms during workouts. You should be tending to your rotator cuff muscles at least two times a week.
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