By Dr. Matt McGowan D.C.
There is no doubt that Peloton is the hottest thing going in the home exercise space. It has had incredible popularity throughout the pandemic due to gym closures and personal preferences for working out at home. While Peloton has made an excellent machine and an even better streaming service, there are a few things that I find myself repeatedly explaining to patients that I would like to share.
Seated exercise is not the way to fix sitting problems.
In the current state of the world, most people’s work environments have them sitting more than ever. Many are finding themselves sitting on couches, at kitchen tables, or at countertops sitting on stools. The bottom line is that the amount of hours sitting is causing a shift in the balance of our hips and lower back. Increased sitting and improper exercise habits will lead to the quads and hip flexors becoming the dominant movers for the lower body. This can lead to pelvic imbalance and increased pressure and or injury on the lower back. If all we are doing for exercise is hopping on a spin bike several times a week—still in a seated position—the cardiovascular benefits you are getting will be far outweighed by the increase in injury to the hips and low back.
It is very important to diversify the movements you do on a weekly basis to make sure we are working out in all planes of motion. For those finding themselves in a similar situation to what I have described, here are some easy additions that I recommend to many of my patients, including photo illustrations:
1.) Immediately after completing spin or cycle workout, perform a kneeling quad/hip flexor stretch. You need to spend 2-3 minutes per side working in these positions. It is important that before lunging forward, first squeeze the glutes to tilt the pelvis posteriorly (backwards), flattening the lower back. This will ensure that the stretch is effective to the hip and will not bear any extra pressure on the lower back.
2.) After working on hip extension mobility, it is necessary to also work on hip extension strength. One of the best and easiest ways to start working on that are with glute bridges. These are simple exercise that require no extra equipment; there are also endless ways to progress them forward and make them more difficult. It is important to make sure you lift up your toes and press your heels into the floor. Again similar to the hip flexor stretch, you should first posterior tilt the pelvis by pressing the lower back into the floor before pressing through the heels and bridging up.
3.) Also add in exercises that work on strengthening the posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings). Some of my favorites are:
- Romanian deadlifts (not as intimidating as they sound!)
- Banded hip hinges
- Russian Kettle bell swings
With any exercise recommendation, proper form is of the upmost importance. If you have any questions please reach out to one of us or a qualified fitness professional.