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Old 06-16-2007, 05:09 PM   #1
Jay L Swan
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Default suggested metcons for my wife

So historically my wife (40 y/o) hasn't done much for fitness other than hiking and occasional long distance running. However, I've gotten her into doing this circuit every couple of days:

250m row
3 plank pulls
5 pushups
10 walking lunges or light KB RDLs
Max rounds in 20 minutes

and she likes it a lot. My question: she has extremely tight hip flexors and anterior pelvic tilt, with the accompanying chronic low back problems. What are some other ideas for high-intensity metcons that aren't going to aggravate her back, or might actually loosen it? 20 minutes max. She is a creature of habit and will happily do the same thing over and over again, but I'd like to give her some variety. Available equipment: rower, 25 and 35# DBs, rings, KBs 35# and higher, dragging tire, 10 and 20# D-Fit slamming balls.

I am looking specifically for metcon stuff, not prehab/rehab exercises.
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Old 06-17-2007, 01:13 PM   #2
Garrett Smith
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Jay,
If there's a known imbalance, I'd suggest you make the majority of the workout session deal with that. Joint mob prior, stretching after.

Doing hard metcon (for each person's fitness respectively) will tend to aggravate areas of excessive tension, due to the intensity (ensuing form degradation) and systemic tension created by trying to "earn points", especially if she tends to repeat workouts over and over (my wife does the same dang thing).

With any and all exercises for metcon or otherwise, make sure that she fully extends (I'm not saying hyperextend) the hips and really squeezes the cheeks to reciprocally inhibit the hip flexors.

One rule of thumb is that she can do whatever she can that absolutely does not cause her pain--during the workout OR afterwards.

Wish I had more to help with what you requested, yet I know that this issue must be taken care of or nearly any exercise she does will cause her spine unnecessary wear and tear on the posterior portions of the intervertebral discs due to "misalignment" of the structures (ie. anterior pelvic tilt).

Take this as advice from someone who has a wife that has a major injury/surgery history due to gymnastics and (professional) dance--she doesn't like the prehab/rehab stuff because it doesn't make her feel "exercised" and yet she tends to get pains post-workout because of all of the compensations that are going on in her system. Not my goal as her trainer, we'll put it that way. That and the training advice she gets is coming from her husband (what can he know, anyway?).

With hip flexors, much benefit can come from ankle/foot mobility drills, mainly due to the types of shoes that women wear. Lack of movement in the ankle inhibits the hip flexor muscles and makes them tight (protective reflex).

Maybe someone has some better suggestions for metcon workouts, I'm guessing most suggestions are going to run along the lines of this post though.
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Old 06-17-2007, 04:22 PM   #3
Yael Grauer
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I would take out RDLs for now..
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Old 06-21-2007, 09:16 AM   #4
Yael Grauer
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So I was really hoping other people would respond to this since I have the super tight hip flexor thing going on too... I guess it's not all that uncommon in women. Anyway, I am doing the exercises to fix it (hip flexor and glute exercises, my ankle mobility is actually fine) but wonder which exercises could exacerbate it and I don't think trying to figure out what hurts is the best way to determine that... For instance, doing bird dogs wrong doesn't hurt but it's still detrimental...
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Old 06-21-2007, 10:28 AM   #5
William Hunter
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Well, I think Garrett pretty much covered it. If you have a significant issue, it's always in your best longterm interest to deal with it sooner rather than work around it. Jay, however, stated clearly that he was not interested in prehab/rehab, but only painless metcon. Seeing as the hip flexors are some of the most important muscles in the human body, centrally located, it's really hard to work around them. IMHO, proper form can often be lost in the middle of a jiggy metcon workout, setting up some awful movement patterns that become ingrained in the CNS.
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Old 06-21-2007, 12:32 PM   #6
Yael Grauer
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So no metcon until you have perfect mobility?
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Old 06-21-2007, 02:03 PM   #7
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I guess ultimately it's a personal decision to completely forego metcon for a period of time to clear up the glitches. I would at least do what Garrett mentioned and spend quality time every session going through the appropriate mobility/rehab stuff, work the slow lifts with picture perfect form. Certainly stretch the hip flexors out multiple times daily. As stated before, with tight HF'ers the glutes often become hypotonic and underfacilitated. You really have to concentrate to fire them during movement if they're not used to it. Banging out reps for time, battling fatigue, etc is where you probably see a lot of people starting to let their form slip.
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Old 06-21-2007, 02:12 PM   #8
Yael Grauer
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Yeah, I just think that's pretty extreme. Even my (former) chiropractor who works mostly with elderly people who never exercise says it's okay to both do lifts and metcon while working on improving anterior pelvic tilt or other problems. And this is the guy who says to not do situps because they're dangerous. I do think it's possible to get some good metcon in without letting form slip... was just surprised nobody had sample workouts that would be less aggravating.
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Old 06-21-2007, 06:05 PM   #9
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Anyone who wears modern shoes, especially women's, has ankle mobility issues that should be addressed prior to every workout, IMO.

I've seen very simple ankle/foot mobility drills create drastic, immediate changes in hip muscle flexibility (hamstrings and/or hip flexors).

One can still exercise and improve deficiencies, sure. Just as training for endurance tends to sacrifice power, so does minimizing prehab/rehab just to get "fitter" sooner. Refusing to address them at all only results in eventual disaster. I work at both ends--helping those smart enough to prevent it, and making most of my living repairing those who try/attempt/fail to "hammer through it", as my triathlete patient said the other day.

Since a lack of suggestions was noted, I'll donate one. Tabata intervals on an Upper-Body Ergometer (UBE). Or the one pullup (or body row) on the first minute, two the second, etc.

It's next to impossible to work the lower body without exacerbating the hip flexor problem. Although long lunges, with proper form maintained throughout (maybe even Bulgarian/split squats) may help the issue and give a lower-body exercise at the same time.
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Old 06-21-2007, 08:38 PM   #10
Jay L Swan
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We already have lots of resources on prehab/rehab (MagMob DVD, and two excellent PTs in the extended family). She pretty much only works on prehab/rehab when having acute problems, though. I'm afraid there's not much to be done about this, so I figure some form of conditioning is probably better than something that's not as good.
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Old 06-21-2007, 08:58 PM
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