Change takes time. It requires consistent action and sacrifice. Unfortunately many people give up on their goals before the time necessary to see results.
When setting a goal its important to choose a realistic time frame. Things don’t change overnight or in a week. True results come from long term consistency and sustainable actions.
Your daily decisions should reflect your goal. They must continue even when the initial excitement and motivation wear off. The more often these decisions are made over a long period of time, the closer you get to reaching your goal.
We can all practice patience. Our goals require time. When we understand that, we can then enjoy the process of reaching for them.
Single leg training improves balance, stability, and strength. Many of our daily activities require us to use one leg at a time – walking, running, hiking, etc. The step up is a great exercise to improve these areas. Here are a few tips to improve them:
We want to keep our knee in a good position throughout the movement – avoid letting your knee collapse inward or shifting too far forward.
Allow your torso to lean slightly forward – this is important for those with knee pain. Standing too upright will cause your knee to shift forward and place added stress on it.
Find your hamstrings
With your foot on the box, think about pulling your foot backwards as you stand up. This will activate your hamstrings and improve the effectiveness of the exercise.
People tend to push off the ground with their back foot creating momentum as they stand. Instead, think about pulling yourself on to the box (using hamstrings). This makes the exercise much harder, but you will get more out of it.
We all have bad days. We ate something unhealthy or we hit the snooze button instead of hitting the gym – it happens and that’s okay. The more important thing to focus on is how you respond to having a bad day. Do you let it spiral out of control and string several bad meals together? Or do you give up on the gym for the week and try again Monday?
Each day (or each meal) is an opportunity to get back on track. Our health requires consistency. In the long run, one bad meal or missing one workout will not impact much. It’s when it happens frequently when we start to see a decline in progress.
Working towards a healthy, sustainable lifestyle requires time and effort. Bad days happen. Instead of feeling guilty, we should acknowledge it for what it is then get back on track.
A proper squat pattern requires adequate mobility from your ankles, hips, and upper back. Here are a few drills to improve your squat.
Stiff ankles can limit squat depth. They will cause your weight to shift back making it difficult to achieve proper depth. Improving your ankle range of motion can dramatically change how your squat looks and feels. The box ankle mobility drill is one of my favorites. Place one foot on the box – keep your foot flat and drive your knee forward (towards your pinky toe). Grab the box and push your chest on your leg to increase the stretch.
Our hips play a major role in squat depth. As we lower into a squat our hips flex, externally and internally rotate – depending on which position were in. Our 90/90 hip mobility drill improves both external and internal rotation. The front hip is externally rotated while the back hip is internally rotated. Sit as up right as you lean forward to stretch the front hip. Then turn towards your back leg to work on internal rotation – still sitting upright.
Our upper back requires mobility to remain upright in the bottom position of the squat. Many of us have a tight upper back from sitting frequently. To improve thoracic (mid back) extension grab a foam roller and put it underneath the middle part of your back. Keeping your butt on the ground and your core braced, extend over the roller. Perform several reps until you feel a change.
Many aspects of our lives require balance. Focusing too much on one area may cause another to weaken. Becoming a well rounded individual requires us to devote time and attention to several parts of our lives.
This idea is very important when it comes to your health. We often see extremes in the fitness industry – people lifting insane amounts of weight or running hundreds of miles at a time. These individuals spend all of their time focusing on one aspect of fitness – usually neglecting all the others.
In order to feel good over a long period of time we must find a sustainable, balanced approach. We want to be strong enough to avoid injury during yard work and also have enough endurance to run a 5k with your friends.
Find something that works for you. It will take some time, but in the long run it’s worth it.
A proper set up leads to a solid press. Your head, upper back, pelvis, and two feet make up your 5 points of contact. Its important to utilize all 5 to create a stable platform to push from.
When setting up, position yourself so your eyes are lined up underneath the bar. This will prevent you from hitting the hooks that the bar rests on when you are pressing. Let your head rest on the bench – holding it up can strain your neck.
Squeeze your shoulder blades back and down to create a “shelf” with your upper back. Grab the bar just outside shoulder width. Use it to create tension through your arms – think “break the bar”.
Squeeze your glutes to create stability in your lower half. We want to create full body tension while we press. Your pelvis should remain in contact with the bench throughout.
Drive your feet into the ground as you press – this will provide a solid foundation for your press.
We’ve all experienced failure – it’s an inevitable part of life. How do you respond to it? Do you give up and stop trying? Or do you reflect and learn from your experience.
In order to grow we must fail. We have to try new things and put ourselves in uncomfortable situations. It is in these moments that we learn and develop.
We shouldn’t avoid failure. We should use it as a tool to improve ourselves and overcome obstacles. Your mindset is so powerful – a small change makes a big difference.
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”