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How Can You Improve Your Symmetry and Strength Outside of the Gym?

Posted 31 March 2015
Written by Ally Gurney

In my last blog, Asymmetry, I mentioned a few habits that a therapist may observe upon consultation, e.g. crossing one leg over another.  Did it get you thinking ‘I do that, what else do I do?’  Well as I mentioned, practice makes permanent and as creatures of habit we tend to practice the same things daily so here are some things to look out for to help you improve your symmetry and strength without even having to work out.

Standing up from a chair:
  • Don’t use your arms to help; your legs are much stronger.
  • Place your feet hips distance apart and ensure your knees stay over your feet on your ascent.
  • Squeeze your bum cheeks and dig your heels in before you rise and keep your chest up with a strong core as you rise.
  • If you want to go the extra mile, each time you stand up sit down again so you perform 5 repetitions: the strength will soon increase.
Tackling the stairs:
  • Alternate the leading leg especially if you bring the second leg to meet the first leg each time, this ensures both legs are strong and improves your mobility.
  • Go the extra mile, take two stairs at a time with a good strong gluteal squeeze before push off ensuring the knee doesn’t deviate from the central position, you get a strong knee strengthening with the stance leg and that you alternate the leading leg.
  • Why not go up the stairs 5 times each time you need to go up?
  • Just as important is how you descend the stairs: don’t turn to the side, take your time lowering yourself over your stance leg and ensure good balance is maintained.
  • This is known as an eccentric exercise of the quadriceps, imperative in muscle prehabilitation and anterior knee pain rehabilitation with not a gym in sight.
Carrying bags:
  • Alternate the shoulder that you carry your handbag on; this will reduce the tension in your habitual shoulder.
  • When bringing in the shopping don’t load up your left arm and just have the keys in the right hand, swop the roles to strengthen the right bicep and while improving the dexterity of your less dominant hand.
  • Importantly, don’t bend in the back to pick up a load of heavy bags, perform a goblet squat and at the bottom of the movement squeeze your glutes to help you lift.
  • Why not… repeat x 20 if you’re feeling strong?!
Many daily life activities can be replicated in the gym to improve your strength and ease of movement through the day so reinforce this strength by lifting correctly, standing with strength and bounding up the stairs like an over excited spaniel!

I would love to hear your feedback on my blog posts and any experiences you have relating to the topic.

Go forth and be active…

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