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by Dave Thomas
CPT-NSCA, USAW L1, RKC, CNC

Today’s post is a quick hitter on things you can buy to really improve your skills and mobility, all without breaking the budget, or even gently shaking it.  Here’s a list of things I recommend you purchase for a total bill of around fifty bucks, each item worth their weight in gold.

Foam Roller, $20

Crystal is always all over foam rolling and does a phenomenal job explaining it in her classes and sessions.  Expect a longer post from us regarding the importance of foam rolling over the few weeks, but in the meantime what we can say is, go buy one.  Everyone should own a foam roller.  There is perhaps no greater tool for less as far as keeping you healthy, and the power of consistent foam rolling should not be underplayed.

Here’s an easy one to get you started. Our P360 foam roller warm-up video from over two years ago.

It’s a bit dated but it will do the trick.  Regular foam rolling will release knots, massage the soft tissue and break up stagnation in the connective tissue.  It helps to lengthen muscles and keep them from a constant state of shortened length.  The decreased stagnation will lead to improved blood circulation which is one of the healthiest markers of thriving we have.  The more free flowing our highways, the less build up of harmful invaders.

If you elect to ignore all of those things and regularly murder yourself in your training, a very preventable injury likely awaits you.

Resistance Band, $10

This is another no-brainer.  Own one of these and spend ten minutes on the floor stretching your hamstrings, glutes, IT band, piriformis, calves, quads, you name it.  Heck, you can even spend $0 and simply use a towel in your house as Julianne suggests.  A band will give you a little more options and flexibility (no pun intended), and you can also use it for other fitness purposes.

A simple posterior chain/IT series is to lay on the floor, leg extended straight up in the other while the other remains extended on the floor.  Hold a band around your elevated toe and hold this position for thirty seconds.  Then, bring your leg out to the side, and finally over top of your body to the other side with some thoracic rotation.  Repeat for the other leg.  This is a simple one that athletes have been doing for years (as well as a regular in Julianne’s restorative classes) to maintain the important performance muscles of the posterior chain.

Captains of Crush, $~20

A personal favorite of Coach Robby’s, owning and using these is a sure fire way to increase your grip strength.  And when you increase your grip strength, you increase your strength-strength.  While there are a variety of grip modalities (crush, pinch, etc.), you need not worry about that for the purposes of basic grip strengthening. This will have a direct carryover to your deadlifts, cleans, snatches and pull-ups.  For those of you who often ask us how to improve your grip on your own, this is a start.

Lacrosse Ball, $1

Go to any second hand sports store and you can buy these for one dollar.  They are an amazing tool to do what foam rollers can’t and that’s target hyper-specific trigger points.  If the foam roller is the platoon, the lacrosse ball is the three-man mission to go where the group cannot.

Here’s another one from a few years back with some lacrosse ball uses.

You can should browse our full library of mobility videos for foam roller and lacrosse ball uses.  You can find a variety of areas you might need help such as front rack, overhead positioning, deadlift stability, and other areas that likely need fixing.  Own it.

Time, $0

Time is money, or so the adage goes.  I say, time is health and if you allocate it properly, you get more o fit.  There isn’t a single item on this list that will help you unless you are willing to spend 10 – 30 minutes a day on yourself.

The less you rely on others to “fix” you, the more you are able to own your shit.

Dave Thomas is a coach, owner and programmer for Performance360 in San Diego, CA.   They have two beach locations and over six hundred active members.

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