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Putting the Fun in Functional Movement


Courtesy of UrbanFit

When I hit New York earlier this month to present at the IIN conference, I scheduled my trip so that I’d have a bit of extra time to meet up with friends and have a little fun. In some cases, this was in the form of meeting pals for drinks (related: have you been to The Tippler beneath Chelsea Market? If not, make it a priority — it might literally be the coolest place I’ve ever been), but, of course, in other cases, it was all about the workouts.

Saturday, immediately following the presentation at the Jazz at Lincoln Center, Erin and I met our friend Lauren (from Brooks Running!) and walked over to 57th Street to check out UrbanFit at New York’s Urban Wellness Clinic. The concept is something that really excites me — the team there includes all kinds of functional movement experts (chiropractors, physical therapists, personal trainers, etc.). They’re not just there to help you alleviate pain (although, naturally, that’s a focus), but they want to get to the bottom of why you might be experiencing discomfort and what you can do or change to keep it from coming back, and it’s all done in a clean, modern, comfortably luxe environment.

You might recall that I’m pretty heavily in favor of everyone working with some movement pros (if you’re in a position to do so, that is) to see what kind of surprising limitations you might be working with and to learn whether any of those put you at risk for injury. So this whole concept? SERIOUSLY my jam.

Anyway, we got to take a private class with Dr. Emily Kiberd, a chirporactic physician (and yogi, and new mom, and then some) who founded Urban Wellness Clinic, and she focused on exercises designed to combat the positions we, as desk jockeys, often find ourselves in, so we did a lot of hip, shoulder and thoracic opening stretches with complementary strength work as we went along.

The thing that surprised all three of us was the fact that many of the movements seemed really simple and small, but by holding them for an extended period, or by engaging another muscle group while stretching an area, it became a whole hell of a lot harder, and fast. All movements were deliberate — there was no swinging your leg around for momentum — and therefore, all movements really worked our muscles. And different movements proved tricky for different people — the balance pose Erin couldn’t hold was a breeze for Lauren, but when it came time to get down into a low squat and hold, Erin made it look way too easy.

While I don’t remember exactly what we did in the 90 minutes we spent with Dr. Kiberd (besides watch our muscles tremble, that is), I do have their Essential Seven types of moves that everyone should try to work into their workouts on a regular basis.

Push: Push ups, kettlebell snatches

Anti-Rotate: Side planks, single-arm kettlebell swings

Hinge: Two-armed kettlebell swings

Squat: Low squats with weights

Lunge: Front and side lunges

Carry: Biceps curls

Pull: Standing or bent over rows

All these moves mimic movements you do in your everyday life, so working on them in a focused way (with some weight!) is a great way to prepare your body for your day-to-day activities.

Do you do all of these on a regular basis? Any you tend to leave out? I’m terrible about getting in much hinging, but I’m working on it! Kristen

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1 Comment
  1. Lesley says:

    I have tried many of these movements, and need to get back to doing most of them! Great post!


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