Now pretty much every Personal Trainer and Coach across the land will agree that the Squat is the most effective lower body exercise for improving strength and muscle mass, which is all well and good as long as the trainee does not have any strength imbalances or mobility issues on either leg.
This is when performing a unilateral exercises can work wonders, in helping with not only the strength on each side but also in improving mobility and range of movement, making the trainee more structurally balanced.
The Dumbbell Split Squat will help to improve the strength of all the stabilising muscles surrounding the hips, knees and ankles making it extremely functional in its application to many areas of life and sports, at the same time providing dynamic stretching of the hip flexors and calves. The primary muscles used are the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and adductors.
1. Always start with your weakest leg first (front leg) and descend in a plane of movement that is similar to an ‘Escalator’ (down and forward) rather than an ‘Elevator’ (down).
2. Pushing the front knee over the toe and aiming to touch hamstring to calf for a full range of movement before returning to start.
3. Ensure the back knee is behind the hip, keeping the back leg as straight as possible
4. Perform all reps on one leg at a time.
There are many progressions to work through as you master each one. The first and most basic is to perform with the front foot elevated, then both feet on the floor and the hardest is with the rear foot elevated. Dumbbells should be used first through all progressions before trying with a barbell.
As with any goal in life it's extremely important to not only set long term or outcome goals but to set more regular daily behavioural goals and habits. These may seem very simple and they are, but it is the simple things performed consistently every day over a longer period of time that will help you achieve your target.
This week we're kicking off the daily habits with something very simple but effective.
What do we mean by Whole foods?
We mean foods that have undergone no alteration from their original form, they arrive on your plate as they were designed to be eaten, whole and un-processed.
Has the food on your plate been tampered with, packaged or edited to enhance it's flavour?
Being more mindful of the food you eat will help you to make more informed food choices and to help you avoid processed sugars, salts, fats and other additives that can lead to health complications.
I'm sure if you're reading, this newsletter you may have tasted some of the incredible delights on offer at The Urban Kitchen. Their recipes are lovingly created from natural whole foods, supplying you with a nutrient dense diet.
Next week's exercise is: The Seated Row and the new habit is a secret!
Stay Consistent and Be Committed