My buddy Frederick is about to leave and spend some time in Kenya where he will be in more rural parts of the country and may have limited access to gyms and fitness equipment. He asked me to create something for him to work on building up his strength and mobility during our "off-season" over the next 6-8- weeks. He wanted to increase his flexibility/mobility for Jiu Jitsu (shoulders), soccer (hips, left knee issues), trail running (right and left ankle, left knee), and basketball (left knee, hips, shoulders). He's given me some key areas that he wanted me to focus on to make sure I work on injury prevention and address some areas that have been giving him off/on issues over the years.
In general, based on what I've seen of how Frederick moves, I think that he lacks good hip flexion and has difficulty getting deeper into his hips when squatting/lunging/stepping. He's mentioned that in the various sports he participates in the hips / knees / ankles or basically the whole lower extremities generally give him issues when trail running (on uneven surfaces) and stopping, cutting, changing directions when playing soccer or basketball. I've known this and have tried to use my speed to take advantage of this when we play basketball together.
If Frederick doesn't want me to take advantage of his weaknesses, then he's going to have to go through a training camp that will cover these basic movements of squatting/lunging and stepping. I've compiled a list of body weight exercises that will work on squatting, lunging, stepping and shoulder/core strengthening using multiplanar movements in various positions such as plank, table top/hands and knees, and in the kneeling and standing positions.
Using movements and testing in different positions allows us to get a more complete understanding of how we function. These movements can be used as the test and it doubles as the exercise. These movements and testing ideas were not my own creation, but something that I picked up from the GIFT program in 2010 or the Gray Institue of Functional Transformation. I credit them for creating the structural framework from which I understand physical therapy and make adjustments or "tweaks" to modify or progress an exercise to be harder or easier.
We function as 3 dimensional beings and can perform many things. If we look at the developmental milestones for children we can better understand the purpose for developing certain strengths and why it's important that we continue to maintain these strengths as we age. We develop hand-eye coordination and visual tracking, we learn to put our hands to our mouth and other parts of our body, we roll, we lay on all sides of our bodies, we sit up, we crawl, we kneel, we stand, we walk, run , hop, jump, skip, gallop, throw, catch, spin, twirl and twerk. We can do so many things and if we understand that we are also 3 dimensional beings and can test ourselves with these planes of movement in mind we can start to see a broader picture of how we function in life, but we can also focus in on specific movements and positions to really see under the microscope how we function with that particular task.
Here's my list of exercises I would have Frederick do daily. He's got intermediate level exercise experience: Exercises 4-5x/week for 30-60 minutes. Able to run, jump, hop, change directions and squat at least 1-1.5x bodyweight. No pain, but has occasional knee irritation.
3D Squat Matrix 3 Sets x 3 Reps each, Rest 2 minutes.
3D Squat matrix: Squats but in various foot positions. We can stand in a neutral stance, wide stance, and narrow stance. Our feet can be lined up, staggered with right foot or left foot forward. Our legs can externally rotate (toe out) and internally rotate (toes in). If we combine all of these positions and test them individually we can see that we have the ability to squat many different ways (27)! I've used them to get a feel for how well my body can load into the ground in each of the different positions.