by Bob Wells, CPT, PES
Whether we are building a single family home or the new World Trade Center, it is vital to build a proper foundation. If we don't, we will encounter future problems, regardless of what the outside may look like. The same concept applies to our bodies.
If you go to any gym or fitness club, you will see guys doing 10 different exercises for their chest, and women doing just as many exercises for their abdominals. Lost in the quest for the perfect body is an understanding of how the body works AND breaks down.
According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), impairment in one system of the body leads to compensations and adaptations in other systems. For example, weakness in your ankle, leads to movement compensations in your knee, which alters hip movements, which can cause pain in your lower back. So, that back pain you're feeling might be the result of your ankles not doing their fair share of the work. But can we blame them? We haven't trained them properly for the physical demands that we place upon them.
Let's reverse this trend and build up the strength and flexibility of our ankles. I like to use the Airex pad to do ankle work on. Start by simply balancing on one leg on the Airex pad. Once you have mastered this skill, you can work on the exercise seen below in the video, an unstable unilateral dead lift.
By adding exercises like this to your routine, you decrease your risk of injury as well as improve your body's ability to function correctly.