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September is in the air! Temperatures are falling (slowly), clouds are rolling in, and rain is sprinkling. We are in the transition season. Fall sports at school are ramping up too. For those not entering season workouts, it is an excellent time to get some prep work in for winter sports, indoor home projects, or general home activities and organization. As the weather transitions to winter, we tend to get cozier and seek more indoor workouts and watch more TV or read a new book. It is essential to keep moving to help prevent pain and keep your body primed for what you may throw at it.

A hot topic in fitness is core strength.

There has been evidence that a strong core can decrease pain levels, prevent injury, improve balance, and improve coordination. Your core is something that helps the spine stay strong under load and also controls your movement and allows you to move. There are various ways to load it that are safe when dosed appropriately and graded based on your ability. I will go over a few you can do right in your home with minimal equipment.

Plank

This exercise is typically well known, it can be performed on your elbows or in a tall push up position, movement can be added to make it harder. If you have a determined mind, you can work to hold it for a long time. If on your elbows and toes, try thinking about pulling your elbows down towards your toes to help engage your lats and rectus abdominis muscles even more. Keep a neutral spine while holding or challenging yourself with reaches, shoulder taps, or leg lifts!

Carries

Carrying weight is a great exercise. You can carry it in one hand, both hands, overhead! Plenty of ways to make this challenging. The keys here are to keep your shoulders over your hips while you walk with the weight and minimize movement in the trunk. If you have a bucket, adding weight to it and carrying it by your side is easy. You would need to get more creative for overhead holds. Remember here to really grip what you are holding and squeeze tight your shoulder blades. Maintain a neutral spine while walking.

Chops

With a band or a weight, there are plenty of chop varieties that can be done to help you move through your core in a diagonal/rotation pattern that we use to pick up objects, place them down, or spin 180 degrees on a snowboard! Anchoring a band into a door around a stable post will unlock these exercises. These can be performed in standing, kneeling, or a lunge position to engage more muscles. These can be made dynamic or kept static for more control. Change the chop to a reverse chop and it works a new movement pattern.

If you notice difficulty or pain with any of these movement patterns, it is good to check in with your local Physical Therapist, Athletic Trainer, or Personal Trainer. Give us a call here at Impact Physical Therapy and we can assist you.