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Zero2Fit: How to be Flexible for Beginners

The key to working with individuals who have flexibility and mobility issues is:

Understanding how joints moves and how far joints should move across different populations.  When you break down complex movements into one of their 10 Archetypes: Lunge, Squat, Push, Pull, Hinge, Arc, Hollow, Rotate, Twist, and Resist Twist — all moves can be scaled and modified to the individual.

Flexibility is built just like endurance.  If you want to become more flexible, you need to use the right techniques and mobilization exercises.

When laying out the foundation for your conditioning routine, the workout should emphasize high intensity while limiting the amount of rest. The limited recovery and increased work time enables high aerobic output and caloric burn. The level of resistance needs to be between 60 – 75% of your one rep maximum for that movement in order to perform multiple repetitions with limited rest. Choose exercises that require a high level of oxygen output such as snatches, cleans, and squats.

Combining Flexibility & Weight Loss Programming

 3 essential exercises for beginning a strength training workout

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Deadlift – The deadlift is another exercise that is foundation in fitness and teaches muscle recruitment that can be applied to everyday life. Imagine how many times you pick something off the floor. Beginners should always be careful to maintain a neutral spine position throughout the entirety of the exercise. Commons faults with this movement include straining the neck in an improper position, rounding of the back (not bracing the core) and offset grips. Although you might see the overhand – underhand grip utilized in your local gym, this position places huge strain on your bicep, can create muscle imbalances and could eventually lead to a tendon tear.
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Pushups – Men’s fitness cites how push ups, “target your arms, chest, and core, serving as one of the most efficient bodyweight movements you can do.” This foundational exercise can be done anywhere and does not require any equipment just your own bodyweight as the resistance force. Many fitness enthusiasts perform this exercise although there are a few important technique details to note.

An icon in foundational fitness, Kelly Starret, points out that a lot of beginners miss having a stable position in both the midsection and shoulders. Create torque in your shoulders by externally rotating your shoulders and bracing of the core and glutes generates improved stability throughout the your body during the movement.

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Squats are a compound movement that is foundational to core musculature, lower body fitness, and nuero muscular control. When initiating a squat, the core must be braced out to stabilize the spine and provide stability throughout the movement. A good cue for beginners when performing this is to imagine a person is going to punch you in the stomach and you must brace before impact. With a stabilized core, hinge your weight at the hips to transition your weight back towards your glutes and hamstrings. Body mechanics is important when watching for knees tracking over the toes, the pelvis floor does not pass lower than the knee joint. According to T-Nation, “Squats are the ultimate test of total body strength and mental toughness and one lift that every strength athlete worth his salt takes very seriously.”

Weight Loss and Flexibility For Beginners

4 Areas Beginners Miss on Mobility

Clients that need to lose excess body fat, improve joint range of motion, and or build a better aerobic capacity share a common interest. Learning proper movement patterns, increasing endurance, and flexibility are paramount in developing a person’s success in fitness.

  • Ankles – As people run, walk, jump etc we constantly use our feet to flex and extend to utilize muscles in legs. For those that are both sedentary and active, muscles overtime become tight from remaining in the same position. Calves and perroneals become overactive and compensate for limited strength in the anterior tibialis (shins). A balance of equal muscle relationship is necessary for optimal joint motion. Good range of motion in the ankle can lead to better stability in the knees, hips, and lumbo/pelvic joint. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrpGCzSDkhU
  • Quads – Walking and running both favor high demand on the quadracep causing decreased strength in the hamstrings and glutes. As the front of our legs continue to get overworked and the back of our legs weak, people set the stage of cramps, imbalances, and injuries. Implementing a mobility plan restores normal function of the muscle and opposing muscle groups. Anyone who falls in this category should have a foam roller and perform myofascial release often. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00ckqwJmwmE
  • Hips – Optimal hip range of motion is essential to maintaining balance in leg muscles and a strong support for the lower lumbar. A great example of hip mobility is the hip hinge that allows movement at the hip joint transferring weight to the posterior chain. People who also spend a good deal of the day in a seated position creating tightness in the hip flexors and decreasing strength in the posterior chain. Restoring range of motion in the hips will Mobility in this area is vital to ensuring balance between muscle systems. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hL3CVpu8zN8
  • Thoracic Spine – The T- Spine is an area overlooked by both athletes and the common individual.This middle region of the back plays an important role in providing shoulder stability,upper body strength, and lower lumbar support. Relating back to the hip example, the average person spends a great amount of time in their day in a seated position with their shoulders forward, hunched over a desk or workplace. Over time this altered spinal alignment can lead to shoulder problems, headaches, muscle imbalances, and back pain. Improving flexibility in this area is a fantastic way to improve posture. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nboERV7j00E
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Coach Paul

Diagnostician of Movement and Biomechanics at Sand & Steel Fitness
BioMedical Engineering - Johns Hopkins University.
Juris Doctorate - Rutgers.

Paul has trained over 100 coaches in personal training and over 3000 clients over his 10 years as a personal trainer. As a personal trainer, Paul will methodically find your weaknesses, and teach you how fix them. Lose Weight, gain flexibility, and build rock-solid strength -- Get Steel Strong!
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