Proprioception and Balance go hand in hand and in the aging population it is the first thing to go. Proprioception is your brain’s ability to know where it is in space. While you may think you are young and this article and workout doesn’t pertain to you, it actually does pertain to you. For the aging population, this might be a little advanced, but it is worth a try if you have no major orthopedic concerns. While the moves are safe, when executed correctly, these moves require a lot of body awareness and muscle sequencing which is fundamental for athletes, weekend warriors, fitness enthusiasts and those of you who are looking to challenge your entire kinetic chain through balance, multi-chain movements and multi-planar movements.
According to Dr Slava Shut of Back2HealthPT, “Compound exercises that utilize multiple joints and muscles all in one exercise is most preferred. As humans, we operate in multiple planes of motion at all times. We twist, turn, walk forward, move sideways, and ultimately need our training programs to replicate these movements so that we can train our proprioceptors in the brain to learn how to fire up the muscles responsible for such movements.”
So without further ado, here is the compound program which challenges every muscle in the body. Enjoy it at a slow pace, with precise movement. Breathe through each movement and perform 3 sets of every exercise, with 12 repetitions each. Take short rest intervals in between each exercise as in 20 seconds to 1 minute and then repeat.
1) Iso-Lunge to Lateral Raise:
First set yourself up into a lunge with one foot forward and the other back. Keep your hips squared forward and neutral (avoid hip hitching where one hip is higher than the other). Your back knee should be directly under the back hip. Bend both knees to a 90-degree angle and feel grounded before executing the exercise. Have a light dumbbell ready for the lateral raise. You can face your palms forward or down, whichever feels better in your body. Without disrupting your iso-lunge, exhale the opposite arm up to about shoulder height and pause at the top. Slowly return your arms back down while maintaining the same position in your legs. Keep your belly tight and your shoulders relaxed the whole range of motion. Do both sides.
2) Squat Kickbacks to Lunge with an Anterior Punch:
Starting with your feet hip distanced apart, descend your hips down to a little shy of ninety degrees, keeping your abdomen engaged to avoid arching your lower back. Keep your chest upright while sending your knees over your ankles, and a neutral lower back by snapping your belly button in towards your spine. Once you’re down in the squat, bring your arms close to your side body in a low row position and then extend your elbows straight back behind you. Stay in the squat when you do this and avoid arching your back as you kick back. Exhale the breath. On the inhale come up and lift your right leg up into a single leg stance and very carefully place it down with the same technique as the first exercise. Pause at the bottom of the lunge and gentle punch the arms forward into an anterior punch. Push off of the front foot to return back to the squat and repeat the triceps kickback. Then switch to the other side and alternate back and forth.
3) Plank Row to Pushup to Knee to Nose:
Choose moderate weighted dumbbells and place your hands on the dumbbells. Stack your shoulders over your wrists. You have the option to drop to your knees or take the challenge and remain on your toes in a plank position. Draw your shoulders away from your ears activating your lats muscles. Keep your stomach muscles engaged to neutralize the pelvis and support the spine. Firm through your thighs to offer more support in the plank. Row one arm close to your side body, keeping your palm facing inward. Keep your hips neutral and facing the ground. Avoid rotating the hips. Switch sides. Find your high plank and stabilize. Then mobilize into a closed grip pushup (arms close to your side body). Push yourself back up with strong core and thigh engagement and drive one knee into your chest for a mountain climber. Switch sides. Then repeat the entire compound exercise.
4) Side Plank with Leg Abductions:
Crawl onto your right hand and the knife edge of the right outer foot. For beginners, drop your bottom knee down to the ground. Turn your chest to face the side wall and ensure that your bottom wrist is directly under your shoulder. Relax that bottom shoulder and avoid putting pressure into the bottom arm. Engage your core muscles including your lats muscles, keeping your spine neutral and your obliques engaged the entire set. Lift your top leg up and hold slightly in abduction, in alignment with your hip. Raise the leg up a couple of inches and thenslowly back down, right in alignment with your hip. No need to lift your leg too high. Watch that you keep your trunk neutral and no pressure in any supporting limbs.
5) Standing Leg Abductions with Contralateral Biceps Curl:
Standing tall with one dumbbell of moderate to heavy resistance in one hand, transfer your weight onto the other leg for a single leg stance. Do not lean. Stand up tall and ensure your foot is stable. Lift up tall through your chest. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Keep your stomach muscles engaged, lending to a neutral pelvis and spinal position the entire set. Stability is the most important aspect of this exercise, so take your time finding stability before mobilizing the opposite arm as you execute the biceps curl during the leg abduction.
Video and Photo Credits: Dr Alan