Written by Al Painter, BA & NASM-CPT, PES, CES, and trainer at Integrate Performance Fitness.
Each weekend people worldwide swim, ride and run their way to higher levels of cardiovascular fitness. On the surface, this many being active seems like a great thing.
The long and short of it is that swimming, riding and running (not too mention sitting all week) only take place in one direction (or plane of motion) which opens you up to the potential to experience a whole host of repetitive stress issues. If you’ve got muscle imbalances that have lead to postural distortions this can easily become a matter of WHEN, not if, you get injured.
If you experience joint pain swimming (usually shoulders and low back), riding (typically knees and low back) or running (neck, hips, low back, knees, ankles) the best solution is the simplest one: STOP. DOING. WHAT. HURTS.
I interviewed Spine Biomechanics guru Stuart McGill a few years back, and he told me if “it hurts to hit your thumb with a hammer, put the hammer away, don’t use a bigger one.” However, for whatever reason, this has yet to be fully embraced in the endurance sports community. In my experience, swimming, running and riding more when something hurts rarely alleviates the pain (and very often makes it worse).
You WILL NOT lose fitness if you rest your body allowing it to heal. In fact you may just start to gain more if you give your body the chance to recover.
The take away? If it hurts, find out why, make the appropriate movement adjustments then strength train the right way prevent it from happening again.
There are ways to combat all of this in the gym. After a long weekend of uniplanar repetitive stress activity, you might just have a fighting chance of surviving with the right approach.
Moving in one direction for hours at a time (especially after sitting for seemingly days on end all week long) requires the right strategy to reset that. The good news that basics work best and can be tolerated by most people.
The key is moving the way our bodies are designed to: in a 3D environment in multiple planes of motion as we provide our base of support to move from. A few examples include pushing and pulling in a standing split stance, lunging in multiple directions, hinging, single leg squats and rotating.
Save time and try working out from home
Working out at home is about the most convenient way to get more fit. No drive time, the equipment is always available and with the right equipment, you can get a lot done in a short amount of time.
One of the trickiest parts of working out is programming how many, how much and how often. For us grizzled fitness vets, it doesn’t take long to come up with a workout for someone.
Especially if you use one of the most simple formulas there is for putting a workout together. This methodology is an approach used by Dan John and I’ve yet to find an easier way to program fitness routines.
All you need are exercises from the following movements, and BAM! Instant workout. The best part is these are five movements we do darn near every day, so if you can do them consistently, you’re chances of moving better regularly will go up quite a bit.