The last several months have been a journey for me, I am struggling to overcome an “injury” to my body that is limiting both my mobility and motivation. Through all of this, I have learned to be an advocate for myself and the importance of working on those little muscles. I’ve been to two specialists, a Physical Therapist, and my GP, nobody has an answer, but as I have discovered the best thing I can do is just keep going after it.
Don’t Neglect the Little Muscles
The injury has to do with continual swelling in a couple of my toes making it difficult to walk and resulting in an improper gait. As a result of this “injury,” I have had to be creative in my exercises and what I have discovered is the need to work on the little muscles, the supporting muscles.
I have always exercised focusing on mostly bodyweight and dynamic movements, and in the process thought I was taking care of the muscles that can easily be neglected, for the most part, I have. This discovery led me to realize how important the intrinsic supportive muscles are.
Do some shoulder rotations, some hip raises, single leg balance exercises, try the Susan Summers style clam shell exercise, even the strongest of athletes need to find time to exercise these smaller, “hidden” supportive muscles. Next time you go to the gym find ways to work your smaller muscles.
5 Great Small Muscle Exercises
- Shoulder Rotations – stand with your arms out like a T and rotate in small circles counter-clockwise and clockwise for 20 rotations each direction.
- Hip Raises – Lay on your back on the floor and feet flat on the floor, raise your hips off the floor and squeeze your glutes as you get your trunk and legs parallel to each other.
- Single Leg Balance – Stand up nice and straight and simply raise one foot off the floor and stay balanced for 10-30 seconds.
- Single Leg Raise – Stand on one leg and raise your leg up to 90 degrees at the hip, hold for a 3-5 count and repeat 10 times on each leg.
- Superman – Lay on your stomach on the floor with your arms out and above your head, raise one arm and the opposite leg 2-5 inches off the floor. Hold this position for a 3-5 count and repeat on each side 10-15 times.
These exercises will help engage the smaller muscles in your shoulders, hips, and legs. Improving core stability, balance, and strengthens your shoulders. Give them a try and let me know what you think.