Strength and Conditioning
Strength and conditioning is the art of preparing the body for a specific sport to prevent injury and maximise the body’s potential to perform.
Here are some tips on how to condition your body to prime and protect it.
WARNING! The below may cause you to lose weight, and look amazing in a leotard. Keep that in mind as you read on!
Creating strong muscles gives us strength to perform each move with ease. The easier the movements feels, the more effortless your work will look. It will also assist in strengthening any old injuries and prevent any new ones!
For a Physie girl, the most important areas to strengthen would be;
- All of the muscles of the legs – hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, hip flexors, and calves
- The core
- The muscles of the back – trapezius, latissimus dorsi, erector spinae (lower back)
If you would like to go that extra mile, the nice-to-haves would be;
The easiest way to find sport specific exercises for your strength and conditioning is to take a look at your syllabus. Ask;
- What areas of your work to you find challenging?
- Is it challenging because there is a lack of strength or is it something else?
Pinpoint the challenges and then work on them by replicating that movement in a form of resistance training.
For example, we had an exercise group for Seniors a few years ago that I struggled with because my shoulders were exhausted. This particular Exercise had a lot of arm movements above yard, and I was so fatigued by the end. Shoulder and Trapezius strength became my focus point for that syllabus. It really depends on you and your syllabus. Consequently, if you are doing Resistance Training, you are in fact shortening your muscles, which leads me to my next point.
Yoga / Body Balance / Stretch Classes
Stretching is required on a daily basis, even if it is only 15mins per day, it will make a huge difference! In our busy routines it is difficult to fit this in, I totally get it. BUT, there is a way to make it easier. Create yourself a stretch sequence! Just like a Physie syllabus, choreograph your own stretch sequence and perform it daily. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can create a few different stretch sequences perhaps one with a focus on legs, back, chest/shoulders etc. You can then spend longer on a particular muscle group and alternate them each day.
Alternatively, if you are feeling brain dead after a long day and you want someone to walk you through it, try some of these YouTube stretch sequences;
Stretching muscles keeps our joints mobile, enables us to age gracefully and perform our Physie to its fullest potential. Lock yourself in a room for 15mins and take a time out to stretch. You deserve it!
TIP: Set a daily alarm on your phone, when you know you’ll be available to dedicate some time for stretching – No forgetting, no excuses!
Interval Training Sessions / Cardio Classes (‘Body Attack’)
Our cardiovascular system definitely needs some attention when it comes to Physie. We’ve all experienced the classic signs of an unfit cardiovascular system – huffing and puffing, mouth open, red faced, fatigued etc. It’s not pleasant for anyone and neither is cardio training! Cardio schmardio!
If you hate cardio, I have some great news for you, it doesn’t have to be as bad as you think!
True story; I had a goal to run Nepean River which is 7kms. After about 6months slogging my guts out, I got there and I was able to run it in 35mins, which I was super pleased with. My sister on the other hand, not much of a runner, but practiced Physie daily over and over again, giving it 100% each time.
We went for a little practice together at the Rec Centre and it became quite apparent to me that even though I could run 7kms, I was STILL extremely fatigued and puffed during Physie! My sister on the other hand was on her 5th go at Exercise Group and hardly breaking a sweat. My point here is that you don’t need to spend hours or long periods of time huffing and puffing to get the sufficient Physie fitness. For a marathon – yes. For physie, what you need to work on is short bursts of an increase in heart rate and then a rest.
Now, let’s talk about Interval Training! Much more bearable for the cardio haters because it is usually only 15-20mins of work! Can I get a hallelujah?! The way it works is you pick an exercise, perhaps rowing. You would perform it at your maximum for 30 seconds and then slow right down for 1 min and repeat until you’ve reached 15-20mins. You can change up your intervals based on your fitness levels.
Circuit Training is also great! Isn’t our syllabus basically one giant circuit? As previously mentioned, Strength and Conditioning is basically replicating your syllabus in the form of exercise. Even if you just do your work over and over like my sister, you will create enough fitness to allow you to perform at your best without being fatigued.
Fuel & nourish your body with a healthy diet
You wouldn’t want to waste all of your hard work above by fuelling your body with a less than average diet. It’s like filling a Ferrari with E10 – You just wouldn’t do it! Well guess what, you are a Ferarri, so it’s time to treat yourself that way. Next time you put something in your mouth ask yourself this:
- What health benefits does this food have on my body?
- Am I treating my body the way it deserves to be treated by eating this?
- Will I feel great after eating this? Or will I feel sluggish?
I guarantee you, if you had a bag of chips in your hand, you will be putting it down.
Do you ever notice when you eat well, all the stars align? You wake up easier, your feel more beautiful, you have more confidence, your life is organised for once, you are exercising regularly, you are genuinely happier and feel on top of the world? You know, you could live like this indefinitely if you choose to. I’m not saying you can’t have some dessert every now and then, but you know the drill, everything in moderation J
How will eating healthier affect your Physie? Well, with most processed food, you burn through them very quickly and then hit a huge slump in energy. Sometimes to the point where you will experience hypoglycaemia – Not nice! This is when your body has used its sugar supply and ran dry! You are left looking white as a ghost and in desperate need of a soft drink, which in this case, it the best thing you can have! With a healthy balanced diet, your body will have enough energy to supply your muscles with energy right through your syllabus. You will not experience highs & lows in energy, and your muscles will also heal faster if you have over exerted them.
Did I mention that you will also look amazing in your leotard – Tick! Tick! Tick!
When all of these elements align, we create a beautifully balanced body that is strong, supple and fit. Take care of you, and it will show in your Physie!