By Cody Lichthardt, Rock Valley Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is not just for post-injury recovery. To celebrate National Physical Therapy Month, check out these exercises we call activation or pre-hab exercises. Performing them at the beginning of your workout will help to reduce the chance of pain/injury, increase performance, and improve posture.
Note: The ideal rep range is 5 – 8 and 1 set should do the trick.
- Band Hip External Rotation
This exercise is good for teaching you how to use your gluteus.
By using your gluteus properly, you reduce the chance of having knee pain or injury and also will see an increase in performance on lower body exercises.
To perform the exercise, place a mini band around your knees slightly above your knee caps.
Stand with your feet shoulder width and a slight bend in your knees and hips.
From this position move your knees in and out.
If you do not have a mini band, the exercise is still beneficial when performed without one.
- Band Two-Part Row
This series of movements trains the muscles responsible for retracting the shoulder blades.
It helps avoid shoulder pain and injury, and also improves posture.
To execute the exercise, anchor a band with handles preferably to a sturdy object.
Begin by pulling with your mid back muscles, being careful not to pull with your arm.
Once your shoulders are retracted fully, finish the movement by pulling with your arms.
If you do not have a band, perform the exercise bent-over using only the weight of your arms.
- Shoulder Taps
This exercise improves shoulder stability while activating the abdominal muscles.
Shoulder stability is crucial in preventing injuries to the shoulder, and activated abdominal muscles reduce the stress placed on the lumbar portion of the spine.
Two benefits for the work of one!
To carry out the exercise, start by getting in the push-up position on your hands and feet.
This exercise can also be done on your knees for a less intense version.
Once in this position, raise one hand off the floor and tap your opposite shoulder, alternating back and forth between arms. Go slowly enough to avoid movement in your torso.
This exercise activates your gluteus, low back and hamstrings, while stretching your hip flexors, quads and abdominals.
This is one my favorite exercises to prescribe to my clients that spend a lot of time in the seated position.
If you feel like you’re starting to hunch over, this exercise will counteract that and get you back to standing tall.
To do the exercise, lie facedown on a mat with your arms extended out in front of you.
Next, raise your arms and legs up as high as you can at the same time. Then slowly return them to the mat.
If you cannot raise your arms and legs at the same time, raise just your upper body.
Cody Lichthardt is a Performance Enhancement Specialist at Quad City Sport Performance and a Certified Personal Trainer at Rock Valley Health. Cody works to help others gain the benefits of training and proper nutrition. You can read Cody’s bio and other blog posts by clicking here.