One thing we all need is a daily dose of movement. Unfortunately, sometimes it can feel like you’ve hit a wall with your exercise routine. We literally hope you do hit a wall, because you can use that wall for exercise! Whether you’re working from home or go to the office, there are plenty of great exercises that don’t require a lot of time or special equipment. A simple wall is all you need to open up, align your body and get stronger. All you need is 10-15 minutes and a small wall space.
Wall Stretching Exercises
The following five mobility exercises can be done 1-3 times a day.
Legs up the wall
This stretch opens up the posterior fascial chain and can relieve some types of back pain. It’s also great for improving the circulation in your legs.
Lie down on your back close to the wall. Place both legs on the wall at a comfortable angle. Breathe. Stay for 1 minute at least. Feel the stretch anywhere from the back of your head down to your feet.
While on your back, bend knees and hips to a 90 degree angle, then cross 1 ankle over the opposite thigh. Breathe and try to relax the muscles surrounding the hip and low back. 1 minute each leg.
Active Posture Stretch
This active posture stretch both stretches the chest muscles and strengthens the muscles in the upper back.
First, stand with your upper back, shoulders and pelvis against the wall.
Next, make the shape of a field goal with your arms while your rib cage, pelvis, and head maintain contact with the wall, if possible. Finally, slide your arms upward along the wall going as far as you can without moving the rib cage or shoulders away from the wall. Do 5-10 repetitions.
This one will open up your lateral trunk. Stand perpendicular to the wall. Cross the outside leg in front of the other leg. Reach the outside arm overhead trying to reach for the wall. Hold and maintain the breath for 10-20 seconds, repeat 3-5 repetitions each side.
This is a good move to reverse the forward head and shoulder posture that result from sitting at a computer.
Place both hands on the wall, shoulder width apart, straighten your arms then lower your chest toward the floor keeping your legs as straight as possible, breathe and repeat 5-10 times.
Wall Strengthening Exercises
Now, which ways can you use the wall to build strength? Strengthening exercises are recommended 3 times per week. The following exercises should not cause pain; please consult with a physical therapist if you are unsure.
The bridge targets several areas: the front and back of the thighs, the buttocks, abdominals and the low back.
Lie down on the floor with feet on the wall, knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Engage your inner core and buttocks to lift your pelvis off the ground. Do 8-12 repetitions, 1-2 sets.
A good exercise for pelvic support is hip abduction or side leg lifts. Lie on your side with your shoulders, hips and feet against the wall. The bottom knee can be bent, the top leg will slide up and down the wall working the side of the hip. The spine should not move. Do 10-20 repetitions.
A great exercise to build strength around the knees and hips is the wall sit.
Stand with your back against the wall with your feet in front of you. Slide down the wall, bending your knees, make sure that your knees are right over your ankles. Pause in the sitting position, then push to standing while sliding back up the wall. Repeat 10-20 times.
This exercise develops upper body strength. Facing the wall, place hands on the wall shoulder width apart, with the head, rib cage and pelvis aligned.
The farther away your feet are from the wall, the more difficult this exercise will be.
Keep elbows hugged close to your torso throughout the exercise. Do 10-20 repetitions.
This exercise strengthens the lower legs and stabilizes your ankles.
Face the wall, lightly touching it with your hands. With straight legs, lift your heels, then lower slowly. Challenge yourself by not touching the wall or only using 1 leg. Do 15-30 repetitions.
Wall Alignment & Posture Exercise
Finally, use the wall to help your standing posture. Stand against the wall with head, shoulders, pelvis and heels touching.
Breathe 5 times while holding this position. It may feel awkward if your body has some alignment faults. Then, step away from the wall while maintaining this alignment.
Now, walk away from the wall taller, longer and stronger than at the start of this blog. The wall is a free, simple and effective tool for movement and alignment. This is just a few of the many exercises you can do at the wall.
Next time you feel like you’re hitting a wall, start exercising!
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