Carolyn J Lacey, otherwise known as CJ (@pilatefit) is a Sydney based personal trainer and Pilates instructor. She is a strong believer that you can improve your strength, mobility, and movement patterns no matter your age, current fitness level or any other obstacles you may face – and that includes lockdown.
Whether you’ve suddenly found yourself working from home or are now unable to attend your regular fitness classes, increasing your strength and fitness will only positively contribute to a healthier and happier you. By moving well, and more, you will prevent injury, have more energy, and start to feel fitter.
Like many personal trainers and instructors, CJ has recently moved much of her training online, including her short mobility classes, which she teaches through Zoom.
CJ reveals some of her favourite mobility exercises for the start or end of the day, which will help open up the hips, spine and chest. These exercises are perfect if you’re now working from home and find yourself hunched over your desk all day with little to no movement in between. They require zero equipment and very little space and take no more than 5 minutes.
Lunge Stretch with Thoratic Rotation
Lunge forward ensuring that your trunk and hips are both pointing in a forwards direction. Once you can feel the stretch through your hip flexors, stay upright and twist your trunk so that your chest faces your front knee.
It is important that the hips remain pointing straight.
This is a great stretch to open up the hips and increase the mobility in your thoracic spine (middle section of your vertebra between your neck and lower back). Thoracic mobility affects posture so is great for those hunched over a computer all day.
Floor Scorpion Mobility Exercise
Lie flat on your stomach with your arms straight out to your sides and your feet together.
Lift one leg off of the floor, crossing it over towards your opposite hand. Aiming to bring the foot to the ground, although this will depend on spinal and shoulder flexibility. Hold, then return to the starting position and do the same thing on the other side.
This is a great stretch that releases tension in the lower back, stretches the shoulders and often gives the most satisfying back crack.
Wall Angels (standing or seated against a wall)
This stretch is a great activation exercise to open up the chest and shoulders. It also activates the muscles in the middle and upper back to help take pressure off the neck.
To do this stretch, your heels should be as close to the wall as possible, while making sure that your hips and entire spine are pressed into the wall. If you’re tight, walk the heels further away from the wall and even bend the knees (like a wall sit).
Start with your elbows at 90 degrees then begin to straighten the arms directly overhead, trying to at least keep the elbows sliding up against the wall. Then bring the arms back down to 90 degrees.
Bonus: Thoracic Extension Foam Roller
This simple foam roller exercise is an excellent movement to help open the chest, shoulders and thoracic spine.
This simple movement drill will help your tight shoulders after a long day sitting, driving, or just before you start your training session.
Place the foam roller horizontally at the base of the shoulder blades and place the hands at the bottom of your head with the fingers interlaced.
Exhale to arch back over the roller, taking care not to let the ribs flare outwards.
For more info check out CJPT on Facebook
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