At Home Strength Training

The COVID-19 pandemic has been intense and at times scary. I think we can all agree that 2020 has turned out a lot different than we planned.. Since the pandemic started many of our regular routines have been interrupted. Gyms were closed, kids were home, dining tables turned into workplaces, vacations got canceled. Many of us rely on routines to keep ourselves accountable and in the best health. Have you noticed that since Covid-19 you have more aches and pains? Are you having soreness in your knees or back? For many of us when the gyms shut down and our world got flipped on its axis, our normal strength training routine went out the window. Lack of proper strength training can lead to an increase in knee and low back pain. The good news is that it doesn’t take a bunch of fancy equipment to get a good workout. We put together a quick and easy set of body weight exercises that you can do at home in order to keep your knees and back strong and healthy. 

Below are images of the exercises with a more in depth description at the bottom. Make the workout a circuit to get your heart rate up! Try doing each exercise for one minute and then rest for 30 seconds, repeat the whole thing twice for about 30 minutes of strength training!

  1. Lunges : Step forward with R leg, drop into lunge, push back into standing. Repeat on left leg

  2. Single Leg Squat: (1 minute each leg) Stand on one leg, bend knee into a squat, straighten your knee and reach overhead.

  3. Side Plank with Leg Raise: (1 minute on each side) Lay on side with bottom knee bent and on forearm, lift hips into the air, lift top leg, keep core engaged.

  4. Body Weight Squat: Stand with feet hip distance apart, bend your knees and drop into a squat.

  5. Single Leg Deadlift: (1 Minute on each leg) Stand on one leg, bend forward at the waist until a stretch is felt, extend back up using your hips

  6. Plank: Rest on forearms and toes, lift your core up, keep back flat and core engaged.

  7. Split Squat Jump: Drop down into the lunge position, jump up and switch your feet, land in the lunge position

  8. Jump Squat: Drop into a squat, jump up, land in a squat

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Breathing and Your Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor is certainly a hot topic of conversation for many men and women. Specifically, people begin to focus on their pelvic floor when they are having incontinence, urgency/frequency, prolapse, or pain associated with going to the bathroom or having sex. These are all issues related to pelvic floor dysfunction. But, what many don’t realize, is that your pelvic floor is also integral in one of our most basic functions: breath.

The diaphragm, our respiratory muscle, is located at the bottom of the ribcage. At rest, the diaphragm is a domelike shape, and with inhalation the diaphragm muscle contracts and drops downward toward your pelvis. This downward motion is followed by a shifting downward of internal organs, into the pelvic bowl. The pelvic floor muscles and fascia make up the bottom of the pelvic bowl. So, with this downward force during inhalation, the pelvic floor muscles also descend or stretch slightly downward. Immediately following inhalation and pelvic floor descent, is exhalation, and similarly, the pelvic floor follows the diaphragm as it rises upward to a resting position. This synchronous rising and falling of the diaphragm and pelvic floor is often referred to as the “piston effect”.

Not to be left out, the lower abdominal muscles (transverse abdominis) also contribute to this synchronous movement pattern. Working together by relaxing and stretching with inhalation and a “belly breath”, and tightening and drawing inward slightly with exhalation. In this way, the diaphragm, abdominals, and pelvic floor make up an abdominal cylinder that modulates intra-abdominal forces and pressure changes.

When this cylinder isn’t coordinating well together, or if there is tightness or weakness within the system, we see common musculoskeletal complaints: low back pain, SIJ pain, poor stability through the back and pelvis, hip pain, pelvic pain, incontinence, urgency/frequency of urine or stool, prolapse, poor posture, balance issues, and intolerance to exercise.

Our pelvic floor physical therapists can help evaluate these movement patterns and coordination of these systems, and create a treatment approach specific to you and your individual challenges.