Winter has finished and summer is just around the corner. During those cold winter months, it is so much easier to stay indoors and watch that Netflix series on the couch, or not go on that morning run because it’s just too cold. Before you know it, time’s up and it starts to get warm, and you realise 3 months have gone by where you’ve been avoiding moving and exercise. But hey, it’s now time to get pumped up and straight into those gym sessions you were doing before winter, right? Not so fast… If you have been taking it easy, spending loads of time sitting and avoiding those workouts you were doing before winter, there is a good chance you’ll have restrictions in muscle flexibility, joint movement and over all deconditioning: 3 months is not a short time! To get back to those awesome work outs you were doing, your best option is to get back there properly and make the absolute most of them without getting injured. Think about this: if you’re doing burpees, box jumps and chin ups (living young, like you should be) without having your fundamental joint movement, muscle flexibility and joint stability, you’re setting yourself up for disaster! Take a look at the Precision Performance Pyramid (left) for example. In this case, red and orange make green! Here are some easy tips you can do at home to see for yourself if your truly ready to get back to the gym! EXTENSION IN LYING (right) Lay stomach down on the floor with your hands under your shoulders, keeping your hips in contact with the ground. Can you push your chest away and straighten your arms? If not, the movement in your lumbar spine is restricted! This is crucial for keeping a safe & neutral spinal position during your squats and deadlifts. GLUTE BRIDGE (left) Lay flat on your back with your knees bent, bring both heels close to your hips. Press through your feet and bring your hips up so you have a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Can you raise your hips high enough or are you finding it super difficult to do so? If it’s feeling tougher than it looks, your gluteal muscles can be working better! The gluteus maximus muscle is vital to protect your lower back in all bending movements plus it’s one of the muscles that help propel you forward on those runs. HIP CIRCLES (right) With your hands on your hips, can you perform this movement without moving your hips or your elbows? If not then your have a hip joint restriction which will compromise your squat, lunge, deadlift techniques, putting your lower back at risk of injury. There’s a good chance you are developing compensatory ways to complete those exercises. This is your body trying to find an alternative way to get up from that squat because of the joint restriction. SHOULDER MOBILITY (left) Holding a straight back and without poking your head forward, can you perform both these movements? If not then your shoulder joint position is compromised – those shoulder presses may not be the best idea just yet! So it’s safe to say everybody wants to look good and feel good during summer! If you’ve been taking it easy during the winter, but now you’re wanting to get back to those awesome sessions you were doing before, give these movements a go and see if you have the essentials before you rush back!