The 5 Best Prehab Exercises for Guys Over 40… and by prehab I mean warm up… but prehab is super fancy so Im rolling with it.
Don’t wait for pain or injuries to keep you out of the gym. Spend time doing the best prehab exercises to get your body in pain-free, injury-resistant shape!
I love the concept of prehab. The word “prehab” is a portmanteau of “pre” (meaning before) and “rehabilitation”. Essentially, it refers to the practice of proactive training with the intention of reducing future pain and injuries.
Instead of just focusing on building muscle mass and cardiovascular endurance, prehab incorporates exercises that enhance mobility, joint function, balance, and flexibility. At the same time, it works muscles around your most vulnerable areas (the joints: lower back, hips, knees, shoulders, and so on) in order to protect them. By enhancing mobility and muscular strength in this very specific way, you drastically reduce the risk of injuries and/or muscular pain in the future.
Most of the best prehab exercises focus on your hips, abs, back, obliques, and shoulders, the “pillar” of your body. By strengthening these parts, you improve posture and alignment of your spinal column. This ultimately leads to better, more efficient movement. Strengthening these “weak areas”, you prevent chronic aches and pains from developing.
For guys over 40, this is a definite MUST! Muscle mass loss begins to set in once you hit your 30s, and your bone mass decreases around this time as well. By the time you hit 40, you’re fighting an uphill battle to maintain your strength, endurance, and mobility. Spending more time on prehab exercises will combat aging and keep you young, spry, and mobile.
Here are the five best prehab exercises you can do:
Exercise #1: The Crossfire
This exercise will activate the muscles of your “extensor chain”, the muscles of your spinal erectors, glutes, and hamstrings. These are the muscles responsible for extension of your legs and upper body. Unfortunately, thanks to our modern seated lifestyle, our shoulders and spine tend to round forward. Over the course of time, these forward flexion postures can lead to the weakening of the extensor chain muscles. Thanks to all the time you spend seated every day, you may be losing spinal mobility and lower back stabilizer muscle strength.
Not with the CrossFire to kick your ass! This movement encourages natural movement by lying flat on the floor, restoring a neutral spine.
To perform the movement:
- Lie on your back, with your palms flat on the floor and your feet turned outward. Keep your neck in neutral position.
- Rotate your hips internally to twist your feet inward, and rotate your palms upward until they are pointed over your head. Your spine should arch off the ground as you rotate your hips and shoulders.
- If you’re finding it difficult, focus on first your upper body (rotating the shoulders), then move to the lower body (rotating your hips and legs).
- Repeat with your head turned to the right for a few repetitions, then turn your head to the left for a few repetitions. This will help to loosen up the upper back and neck muscles.
The external rotation of your shoulders and internal rotation of your hips will help to correct your posture and restore a natural alignment to your spine.
Exercise #2: Bear Crawl
Bear crawling is a wonderful exercise to focus on your anterior core muscles, placing all the emphasis on the front of your body (including the transverse abdominus and internal obliques). Doing this exercise will restore efficient movement to your rib cage and pelvis, keeping that core-to-lower-body connection properly aligned.
To perform the movement:
- Crouch and place your hands on the floor in front of you, roughly shoulder width apart.
- Lift your butt/hips into the air to form a V-shape with your body.
- Crawl forward using opposite hands and feet: right hand and left foot, left hand and right foot.
You’ll find that this movement will do wonders to improve and correct your postural problems!
Exercise #3: Pigeon Pose
Pigeon Pose is one of my favorite joint distraction movements!
Joint Distraction: exercises that create a vector force to separate joint surfaces. This allows more synovial fluid to fill the space, leading to reduced friction and more fluid motion.
Pigeon Pose is a glorious Yoga movement that focuses on your hip joints. It works your hip in three ways: external rotation, hip abduction, and hip flexion. For guys who want greater range of motion for those Squats and Deep Squats, this is a must-do exercise!
To perform the movement:
- Sit with one leg folded underneath your torso, with your shin perpendicular to your spine.
- Bend forward slowly, lowering your hips to the floor and walking your hands forward.
- Lower until your torso is lying atop your folded leg.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.
This does amazing things to loosen up the hip joints and muscles. You’ll be able to go deeper into those Squats and Lunges without feeling the stiffness in your hips. Trust me, this simple static stretch is good as gold for improving hip range of motion.
Exercise #4: Hip Flexion
Hip Flexion is another excellent joint distraction movement that will provide a greater range of motion for hip flexion. Not only will you have better mobility overall, but you’ll find your hip muscles protest less as you Deadlift or Squat.
Note: Try this exercise with a resistance band for a deeper, more intense stretch.
To perform the movement:
- Stand with your heels against the wall.
- Bend forward into the Downward Dog position. Make sure your heels are touching the ground, an push your tailbone as high into the sky as possible to really limber up those hips. Once you’ve mastered the Downward Dog position, it’s time to move into the real stretch.
- Without moving from your position, reach your right hand toward your left ankle. You’ll feel the stretch running all the way from the back of your legs, up your hips and spine, and even in your shoulders and upper back muscles.
- Repeat with your left hand touching your right ankle.
This is an AMAZING stretch, one that will increase range of mobility primarily in your hips but also all the way up your spine. It’s a tough one to get right—it feels odd to be supporting your weight on one hand while stretching with the other—but it will do wonders for your extensor muscles.
Exercise #5: Foam Rolling
Foam rolling is another form of joint distraction that utilizes a solid surface (foam roller) to create the vector force to separate the joints and increase synovial fluid.
Foam rollers can be used on your:
While many people treat foam rollers as a deep tissue massage to loosen up tight muscles, they’re most efficient for increasing joint mobility.
Pain and injuries can do more than just keep you out of the gym for a few days; they can become chronic conditions that remain with you well into your 50s, 60s, and beyond. With these awesome prehab exercises listed above, you can PREVENT the problems before they set in. Spend time working on your mobility and you won’t have to worry about achy, stiff joints for many years to come!
If you struggle with mobility and are looking to be more effective and pain free in all aspects of your life then I have a great mobility program at no cost to you 🙂 https://specforceabs.com/kickstart-your-core/ – Enjoy it