5 Steps to Optimizing Joint Health & Function in the Gym: Intraset Active Recovery

It’s vital we consider promoting longevity techniques whenever we can to add value to our daily life…

We’ve covered waking up your spine and prepping for the day’s movements, now let’s talk about how to make the most of rest time during your workouts.

Performing a shin box extension in between heavy squats may not seem like much, but for most of us, working out is more of a hobby, and we rely on our bodies to work well and feel good outside the gym to complete our everyday tasks. It’s vital we consider promoting longevity techniques whenever we can to add value to our daily life, and the time spent resting in-between sets is the prime time to do so. During the 2-5 minutes you take for rest, pick a simple exercise—like the shin box extension—get on the ground, move slow, and become conscious of how you’re breathing.

With your breath, simply try to slow your exhales out through your mouth, slowing your heart rate down as you move. When you feel your breath rate drop, go straight into nasal breathing. This will keep your body running at a lower intensity before ramping up your nervous system during your main lift.

The following three movements are great to pair with their corresponding lifts; these movements will respect the tissues affected during your main lift while assisting to potentiate before your next set.

Modified Shinbox 10 reps in between squat sets (5 each side)

Beginning in a seated position with your feet hip-width apart (or wider if needed), actively pull both butt cheeks into the ground with a wide, proud chest. As you begin to rotate and drop your right knee towards your midline, let the outside half of your right ankle come off the ground. At the middle position, pull the inside portion of your right ankle and your right butt cheek into the ground and hold for 3–5 seconds before rotating your right knee back to the starting position. The non-moving leg (left leg) should stay completely still and not rotate internally or externally throughout the routine. Repeat on left side. 5 reps each side.

Beginning/transition position: neutral seatedBeginning/transition position: neutral seated

Middle position (R): ankle and butt cheek static contractionMiddle position (R): ankle and butt cheek static contraction

Middle position (L): opposite side static contractionMiddle position (L): opposite side static contraction

T-Spine Rotations10 reps in between deadlift sets (5 each side)

Start in a quadruped position with your knees underneath your hips and hands underneath your shoulders. Reach across your body with your left arm until the pinky edge of your hand is actively pressing into the ground. Keep your hips stacked vertically over your knees as you pull your left hand up towards the ceiling. Hold the reach for about a 3-5 seconds before placing your hand onto the ground in the starting quadruped position. Transition to right side; 5 reps each side.

Reach across bodyReach across body

Middle position: pinky edge into groundMiddle position: pinky edge into ground

End position: sky reachEnd position: sky reach

Rotating Overhead Arm Circles10 reps in between bench sets

In a tall kneeling position, actively press your knees into the ground and squeeze your butt cheeks forward; lock your arms and begin a forward stroke routine. Your upper body/torso can rotate, but try to limit how much your hips and lower body move. 10 reps each side.

Tall, kneeling position; arms extendedTall, kneeling position; arms extended

Torso and shoulder rotationTorso and shoulder rotation

Torso and shoulder rotationTorso and shoulder rotation

Intraset Active Recovery is part three of the five-part series 5 Steps to Optimizing Joint Health & Function in the Gym.

Part one: Spine Warm-up
Part two: Movement Preparation
Part four: Post-Workout Decompression
Part five: Diaphragm Breathing

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