The body is super prone to injury without the proper warm ups and exercises to keep your muscles and joints limber.
Recently on my Instagram (@amazel_chef) I posted a video of me doing back squats with 45 plates and no shoes. It’s a huge accomplishment considering 7 months ago I had decided to step down from the 45s and backtrack to 25lb plates. The reason being I wasn’t hitting the proper depth that would help me increase strength.
I have to admit it felt shitty, and I felt like I failed. Nobody likes being told that they’re not going to accomplish their goal if they don’t take weight off. Let alone have to start all over (back to baby weights) to do so essentially; in addition to that I had to add mobility exercises and more stretching to my regime. But I sucked it up and went back to square one; why would I torture myself doing half-ass squats even with 45s if I wasn’t accomplishing anything? So for 7 months I slowly started improving from the 25lb plates up until just yesterday.
It wasn’t just about feeling shitty and having my ego hurt. Once I started noticing some improvement with the lighter weights, I realized I was putting my body in jeopardy and unnecessary strain. With the lighter weights, I started squatting lower and hitting the appropriate depth but it also caused me to feel extremely tight in my hips because my body just wasn’t used to it. In the back of my mind I always know I’m supposed to stretch. I’ve played sports my whole life and that’s, you know, second nature. But I’m just so lazy! It’s so time consuming! When it comes to fitness and goals, I’m very “go go go” and very eager to get to that next step. Well, walk before you run right? Adding mobility exercises to my training really helped my form in squatting low and evenly. Before I had noticed my hips would shift or sway to the stronger side upon coming up from the squat. Definitely not a good sign. Now? No more obvious swaying that’s for sure. I’m attempting to get Yoga (great hip openers) into my routine 3 times a week and I make sure to have a stretching session or some kind of session with mobility exercises at the gym.
Stretching. A LOT of stretching and hip openers definitely helped me get back up to where I am. I actually love taking the time to stretch now; I always feel nice and loose and ready to take on the challenge ahead of me.
Don’t underestimate the power of 20 to 30 minutes of stretching as part of your fitness routine. It’ll do you wonders.