The GAA season is well and truly underway and most of us are knee deep in training or game preparation. The biggest worry is picking up an avoidable injury just before a championship game. Every team has a guy riddled with hamstring problems, a guy who got his hips done, or a guy whose calves are always tight. Or maybe you are one of those guys. As we push on through the years many of us get stiff and weak in certain areas (usually around the hips) due to prolonged poor postures, poor training or injuries. Try these 5 animal flow exercises a few times a week to combat any weakened or stiffened areas.
Animal Flow Excercises
1 Bear Crawls
It might be years since you last crawled and you might think it will be easier now that you don’t have a nappy restricting your movement. Do 5 sets of 10 yards Bear Crawling and you might need that nappy again. But with all its toughness comes its greatness as it calls on all the intrinsic muscles around the spine, core and hips which are essential for being strong on the ball and remaining pain free during the season.
2 Crab Walking
Crab Walking is as ugly as it sounds but will get your posterior chain firing more than Tony Montana at the end of Scarface. Glute activation is so important for preventing hamstring injuries and you’ll get plenty of that with this exercise. It will also open up the shoulders helping hurlers strike the ball better and helping footballers strike their marker better. Begin with 5 sets of 5 yards and progress from there.
3 The Frog Squad
The Frog Squat is a staple with most primitive movement coaches. Its an exercise that looks simple but will leave your quads burning after just 3 sets of 15. It’s a fabulous warm up exercise before a match or training and it will strengthen your quads, glutes and hamstrings as well as improving the flexibility of your back and hips. A win win.
4 Kick Sits
A strong core is essential for every aspect of the game from competing in the air to getting inside your marker and with so many core muscles to work on (transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques) why not get them all firing in one simple (hard) exercise. Try 3 sets of 6 on each side and build reps and intensity as your body allows.
5 Half Hindus
The Half Hindu is an excellent all body exercise designed by Zuu creator Nathan Helberg. Along with calling upon almost every stability muscle there is in your body, it also stretches the hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, calves, lower back…. you get the picture! Try 3 sets of 10 and progress as able. Nathan explains it better here:
If you want to learn more about how animal flow exercises can help avoid injuries in your game, contact Paddy O’Rourke of The Physio Guys Physiotherapy.