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Top 3 Hip Mobility Exercises (No Equipment!)

Every time I stand up after sitting down for too long at my desk, my hips make that horrible crack – crack – crack sound. Past injuries and intensive training as a young athlete has left my body feeling older than it really is.

Here are some of our top mobility exercises to keep those hips supple and strong –

Single Leg Glute Bridge

Take glute bridges to the next level and perform some single leg bridges on each side to work your glutes, which are important for controlling lateral stability, hip extension, and internal and external hip rotation.

Well+Good has a great video on YouTube explaining the right way to engage your muscles in this mobility movement, and explains the most common mistakes that can make it less effective.

I personally also focus on creating a motivational space for myself on Instagram by following fitness/mindset coaches like Jibby or Ben Patrick.

Cat-Cow

One of my all-time favourite yoga positions and mobility exercises is the cat-cow flow which targets the spine. Improving mobility in the extension and flexion of the spine helps us build strength in the correct neutral position which improves posture and hip mobility.

Adriene describes this move as a “little dance up the spine that is perfect for beginners” and explains the progression well in her YouTube Video.

Lateral Lunges

Taking standard forward and backward lunges into a different directional plane targets all the same muscles plus the inner thigh muscles (adductors). Lateral lunges are great for working the gluteus medius muscle which builds stability in the hip joint and they have a less impact on the knee joints compared to exercises like squats.

Conor Harris has a great thread on the biomechanics of a lateral lunge and an informational YouTube Channel with more mobility exercises.

Caroline Girvan is also a great source for at-home workouts and even has a 10-minute leg workout focused solely on different variations of lunges!

Resources

Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered!

Mobility

One of my favourites is Ben Patrick (@kneesovertoesguy on Instagram and YouTube). ATG Personal Training is a full body fitness system and I personally love their short videos over on Instagram, particularly on beginner-friendly mobility exercises.

Yoga

A great way to include mobility exercises into a training program is yoga. Yoga with Adriene is one of my personal inspirations – great for beginners and usually offers several modifications for difficult exercises.

Community

Join the Rewire Fitness discord server and chat with the community!

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Neuro-Training: How and When to Use the Different Aspects of Rewire

PART 1 – How do you use Rewire

Neuro-training represents a unique aspect of the Rewire Fitness app giving athlete a significant opportunity to improve their performance through mental resilience. There are many ways to incorporate neuro-training into your training program and how you do so really depends on a number of things:

  1. Goals
  2. Phase of training/season 
  3. Other training for the day 
  4. Readiness 
  5. Lifestyle factors 

Goals 

As with all things, your meta goals will flow down into driving smaller and process goals. So, within your life’s goals, you will have other goals such as work or fitness related goals. These will aid in deciding how and when to use neuro-training. Ultimately, as with all training, the goals aid in decision making on if, when, how and how to use any given modality. 

The simple answer as to why you would use neuro-training is anyone who is looking to improve mental endurance. Where mental endurance may help, is a more extensive question but in short, anywhere that prolonged focus and concentration is required. This comes to the fore in prolonged physical endurance activities (as mental fatigue is part of more general fatigue) as well as prolonged mentally taxing activities for example aspects of work, long haul driving or an extreme example may be extensive surgery. The other aspect in which neuro-training comes to the fore is resilience, that unexpected hill in your run, the unforeseen weather during your competition or just a generally tough day at work. 

With this in mind, who should do neuro-training is clearer, but even in the examples above it is fairly simple to see that how these people may approach neuro-training is very different, more on this later. 

Focussing more on the athletic population, the goal question becomes a level deeper, in that this question can be applied to any given period of training, or training session itself. Certain training sessions and phases of the season lend themselves more or less to neuro-training than others or may mean neuro-training is best fit into the broader schedule differently. For example it may be sub-optimal to perform extensive periods of neuro-training prior to a key workout that requires significant mental focus and endurance. Whereas a easy session, with the goal of primarily adding easy training volume may lend itself well to some neuro-training, perhaps even during the training session to augment the mental aspects of the training session. 

Phase of training/season 

Once goals are understood, a program is usually built towards these goals in a systematic way. This will have different phases with different emphasis points and sub-goals therein. For example, one may be trying to run a new marathon time, but with a base building phase, where the goal is to accumulate running volume and develop the aerobic and musculoskeletal systems. Or, in a team sport example, the pre-season may be focused on certain tactical and technical aspects that will be key to performance of the selected tactical game model. 

The phase of the season and resultant training emphasis and goals of the period should form part of the decision-making process when considering how to best incorporate neuro-training into your training week. 

During more general and less specific training periods, as is usually the case further away from the competitive portion of the season, neuro-training will be able to be used more flexibly. That is, accumulating mental fatigue at this stage of the season has fewer negative consequences. In fact, if this is during a conditioning phase, where physical fatigue is being accumulated, it may be additive in the training stimulus. 

As time progresses and the training phases become more specific, where neuro-training fits into any given day or week becomes more important. That is due to the fact that neuro-training can be quite taxing and thus should be removed from training sessions that are more focussed on skill acquisition, tactical specifics or perhaps even more significant speed or endurance balanced sessions. This is due to the cognitive and neural load of these sessions in themselves and wanting to be fresh for them. There is, of course, the ability to do neuro-training after these types of training sessions if you want to add more stimulus. Specifically this is where you can best utilise the ‘Post-Workout’ Neuro-Training category.

Once you are in your competitive season, it should be considered how much neuro-training is appropriate given your competition. For example, in championship type events such as is common in endurance sport, it may be reasonable to avoid neuro-training for a period pre-race. Similarly, neuro-training on the game day for team sport athletes seems counterproductive. 

Other training for the day 

Zooming in a layer deeper from the phase of the season, we can start examining where within a day may be appropriate for you to fit neuro-training in. Of course, most users are busy, as part time athletes so this becomes even more important. 

Neuro-training can of course be done at any time that suits you but can also be done as part of your physical training session, be it between sets in the gym, during a run or on the bike trainer (with Rewire Neuro-Buttons – Coming Jan ‘23). There are definitely some training sessions where this would not be appropriate (and of course the normal safety caveats here!). 

Training sessions with very specific focus on quality of execution do not generally lend themselves to use of neuro-training during the training session or indeed before it. It is best to do these training sessions fresh and really get the best benefit from them. It is probably best to complete neuro-training on other training days, where sessions are less contingent on high quality execution and thus mental freshness. That said, there may be a role for neuro-training after a session of high quality if you feel up to it and cannot complete it elsewhere. 

Readiness 

Similarly, to your daily readiness potentially modifying other training plans as a result of not being ready to best adapt to the planned stress of the training session, you can consider modifying neuro-training plans to fit readiness also. 

Overall readiness, as dictated by the Rewire app, gives you a level of insight into your general preparedness. It may be worthwhile having days off or very easy if this is particularly low. Within that global score, though, are the components thereof: physical, emotional, and cognitive. Herein lies the opportunity to really dial things in.

Neuro-training on low physical readiness days

This could be the biggest opportunity afforded to Rewire users over the competition. Whilst preliminary, there is evidence supporting training based on physical readiness (specifically HRV, a component of Rewire’s physical readiness component – see references), wherein athletes down regulate training when HRV is low (and physical readiness is low). On these days, there is the ability to perform extra neuro-training and take advantage of the reduced physical load. 

Neuro-training on low cognitive readiness days

It is probably ill-advised to complete neuro-training on days where your cognitive readiness is low. This may also be the case on days of low emotional readiness though this is probably somewhat user dependent and a little dependent on how frustrating you find aspects of neuro-training. 

Lifestyle factors 

Whilst much of the discussion to this point has been pertaining to fitting neuro-training in with the rest of your training program, as with the rest of it, you should consider neuro-training the context of your broader day also. Specifically, this usually means work for most people who aren’t full time athletes. Depending on your job and its mental load, it may be that neuro-training is best done post work, with the fatigue of work aiding in the stimulus and meaning less neuro-training stimulus is required. Doing this may also mean the neuro-training stimulus required is lower, both practically and for optimization of the training effects. Alternatively doing your neuro-training before work may be a good option on days where you have a less mentally burdensome start to the day. 

All of this negates the very practical viewpoint of “the best place to do neuro-training is the place where you will be consistent in doing it”. Specifically, as a non-professional athlete, it should always be remembered that training will be somewhat secondary (or tertiary) and thus will never be optimal, but just more or less optimal. Making sure you get your desired neuro-training stimulus is more important than it being a little more or less optimal in the scheme of your day or week. 

Other Use Cases

Injury

Whilst unpleasant to think about and often not mentioned, this is a reality of life as an athlete of any level. In a somewhat similar scenario to the above “Neuro-training on low physical readiness days” section, there is a unique opportunity to increase neuro-training load when physical training is limited. This represents another unique opportunity to leverage the unfortunate situation to gain an advantage over the competition for Rewire users. 

Building Load

Whilst not quite the same as the above situation, and with the acknowledgement that neuro-training is hard to quantify and not a direct replacement for physical load, there is an opportunity for athletes who are currently unable to increase physical training loads. These athletes may see benefit in performance outcomes but also preparedness to tolerate increased physical loads in the future as a result of increasing neuro-training in preparation for increases in physical training load. 

Examples

These examples are to give some idea of how one may fit neuro-training into fairly standard weekly plans and periodisation models for the given example scenario. These are not exhaustive but aim to put some paradigm and context to the above information. 

Endurance Athlete

  • More neuro-training in base building, off-season and pre-season phases and less in-season.
  • Try to avoid neuro-training before key workouts and races. 
  • Good times for neuro-training: during or around easy volume (60-90mins Zone 2 of a 5-zone model for instance). 

Team Sport Athlete

  • More neuro-training in base building, off-season and pre-season phases and less in-season.
  • Try to avoid neuro-training before skill training and game days.  
  • Good times for neuro-training: Conditioning days, easy lifting days, rest days. 

Strength Sport Athlete

  • More neuro-training in base building, off-season and pre-season phases and less in-season.
  • Try to avoid neuro-training before technically challenging days, key sessions and competition days.  
  • Good times for neuro-training: Conditioning days, easy lifting days, rest days.

Take Home Message

As mentioned above, some neuro-training is better than none and so whilst optimizing neuro-training can help in training outcomes, this should not be a barrier to doing any neuro-training. 

When building your neuro-training schedule into your training program always consider:

  1. Goals
  2. Phase of training/season 
  3. Other training for the day 
  4. Readiness 
  5. Lifestyle factors 

And of course, don’t forget to utilize it more when physical loads are less able to be tolerated for example when nearing current load tolerance capacity or when injured. 

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  1. Peter Düking, Christoph Zinner, Khaled Trabelsi, Jennifer L. Reed, Hans-Christer Holmberg, Philipp Kunz, Billy Sperlich,Monitoring and adapting endurance training on the basis of heart rate variability monitored by wearable technologies: A systematic review with meta-analysis, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport,2021, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2021.04.012.
  2. Javaloyes A, Sarabia JM, Lamberts RP, Moya-Ramon M. Training Prescription Guided by Heart Rate Variability in Cycling. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2018 May 29:1-28. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2018-0122. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 29809080. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29809080/
  3. Carrasco-Poyatos M, González-Quílez A, Altini M, Granero-Gallegos A. Heart rate variability-guided training in professional runners: Effects on performance and vagal modulation. Physiol Behav. 2022 Feb 1;244:113654. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2021.113654. Epub 2021 Nov 20. PMID: 34813821 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34813821/
  4. Manresa-Rocamora A, Sarabia JM, Javaloyes A, Flatt AA, Moya-Ramón M. Heart Rate Variability-Guided Training for Enhancing Cardiac-Vagal Modulation, Aerobic Fitness, and Endurance Performance: A Methodological Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Sep 29;18(19):10299. doi: 10.3390/ijerph181910299. PMID: 34639599; PMCID: PMC8507742. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/19/10299

Dr David Lipman is an Australian trained Medical Doctor, Podiatrist and Exercise Physiologist. He has worked with athletes of varying levels in all 3 roles. He is an ultramarathon runner, avid physical activity advocate and is passionate about performance in all people.

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How to use Visualization to achieve your goals

How to Use Visualization to Support Sport Performance

Many elite athletes such as Michael Phelps have used visualization techniques in preparation for competition. According to neuropsychological evidence, practicing visualization can help you achieve your sport performance goals. Visualization stimulates brain regions involved in movement rehearsal, priming the brain and body for action and, like physical practice, functions as training to improve real-life performance.

Our top strategies for using visualization to reach your sport performance goals:

  1. Get Clear and Specific on Your Goal: Be clear about what you are trying to achieve. Visualization works best when you are specific and detailed as it needs to be as close to reality as possible.
  2. Visualize the Full Sensory Experience of Reaching Your Sport Performance Goal: Make sure that you visualize the full sensory experience. The more sensations you bring in, the better the mental rehearsal. 
  3. Visualize it in Real-Time: For example, if you are visualizing a 100m sprint, the visualization should reflect the duration of time it will take for you to complete it. It is important for your visualization to be as close to the realistic event as possible. 
  4. Practice Frequently: Practice your visualization daily. Mentally rehearsing allows your skills to improve with repetition. 

Struggling to implement visualization into your day? The Rewire App will support you in your journey to achieving your sport performance goals!

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Achieve Your Fitness Goals

6 Tips for Achieving your Fitness Goals

Exercise and fitness goals are among the top New Year’s resolutions set by people each year, but many people fail to achieve or follow through on their resolutions.
People can fail to accomplish a goal for various reasons, including lacking the willpower to continue long-term, failing to make deliberate decisions, or forgetting about them altogether.

Continue reading for our top 6 tips to achieving your fitness goals so that you do not fall into these pitfalls!

1. Think about Your Why. 

Think about why you have set your goal and why it is important to you. Reflecting on your purpose for setting the goal will drive you to achieve it when motivation becomes low. 

2. Make Sure that Your Goals are Measurable.

Once a goal is set, make sure that it can also be measured so that you can carefully and continuously monitor your progress. Check whether the effort you are putting in is in line with what you were hoping to achieve. A re-calibration, a plan change, or an adjustment might be needed sometimes.

3. Narrow Down and Be Specific.

The number one mistake athletes make is that they set too many fitness goals. Narrow it down to the 1-2 goals that are the most important to you right now and make progress on them until you switch to something else. 

4. Build Your Self-Control. 

Whenever we set a goal, we have to exert effort that is outside of our regular routine which requires self control. You can start exercising your self-control by using neuro-training exercises on Rewire to build mental toughness.

5. Set Realistic Goals that are Optimally Challenging.

Make sure that the goals you set are difficult, but possible. You should have a fair chance at accomplishing them, but they cannot be too easy. Once you reach them, you will feel good and be ready to set new ones.

6. Boost Your Self-Efficacy.

According to Bandura’s (1997) Social-Cognitive Theory, self-efficacy refers to your beliefs about your ability to successfully perform certain actions. Studies in psychology have shown that boosting a person’s self-efficacy helps them perform better, focus attention more effectively, exert more effort, and remain optimistic in the face of challenges.

Visualization can be a great tool to help you prepare and succeed in achieving your fitness goals! Read more about how to use visualization to support sport performance here.

Are you ready to achieve your fitness goals and unlock your ultimate performance? Start Rewire free today!


Sources:

Bandura, A. (2012). Social cognitive theory. In P. A. M. Van Lange, A. W. Kruglanski, & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of theories of social psychology (pp. 349–373). Sage Publications Ltd. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446249215.n18

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